If you are looking to promote your business, attract new customers, and retain loyal customers without necessarily making a huge upfront investment, coupons are definitively worth looking into.
You may not have noticed this, but recently, out of nowhere everyone seems to be crazy about coupons.
Latest statistics on coupons
- The recession prompted consumers to turn to coupons more in 2009 than they did the year before, this is the first increase in 17 years, according to a new study. Online coupon access increased 92% and redemption shot up 360%, although the Internet still accounts for only 1.5% of coupons redeemed (Source: Inmar, a coupon transaction processor).
- According to Google Insights, the number of people searching for the term ‘Coupons’ increased by 150% in 2009 in Australia alone, and by more than 300% in the USA, UK and Canada.
- One in five US consumers use digital coupons, which equates to 45 million US consumers in 2009 alone, a 20% increase from 2008 (Source: Coupons inc. Feb 2010).
- Internet analysts comScore reported on February 2nd, 2009 that the number of unique visitors (your potential customers) looking for coupons also rose in December 2008 to 31.5 million in the United States, up 46 percent for the same period in 2007. That means that 10 million more consumers were looking for online coupons in December 2008 than those just a year earlier. If the economy continues to lag, hoards of shoppers will spendtheir dollars where they can get deals in their search for both products and coupons.
Make your coupons count
The first and most important thing you need to investigate is your offer.
You need to make an offer that people can’t really ignore.
This may seem obvious, but your offer needs to be enticing enough for your customers to not only use it, but also feel the need to share the coupon with their friends.
The viral aspect of a coupon campaign can be very important in getting the word out. Best case scenario: the recipient of your coupon will forward it to their friends, post it on Facebook, on Twitter etc.
Design your coupons with your cost in mind
When it comes to the offer, you need to keep an eye on the bottom line. Some considerations might be:
- Offer a dollar discount on one particular item instead of a discount on the entire value of purchase. This way your costs are controlled for if you are offering a dollar discount on a specific item, you can control the quantity of that item being offered to the customer with the discount.
- Offer a free gift with purchase.
- Offer free shipping with purchase on a specific product (if your products on offer are all roughly the same size you can anticipate your costs).
If your business offers services then offer the customer a type of enjoyable service that is going to make them want to return (e.g. manicure vs. eyebrow waxing). This is going be particularly valuable for first-time customers to convert them into repeat customers.
Your coupons must be explicit
Your offer should be non-ambiguous for people unfamiliar with your brand and should have an obvious expiry date.
It is also useful to have some fine print with any other info the customer needs to be aware of. For example: this coupon is not valid with any other coupon offer etc.
I recommend checking out coupons from big reputable retailers to get some idea of which restrictions you may wish to apply.
Readable coupons on mobile devices are a must have
Keep in mind that more and more customers are looking for and redeeming their coupons on mobile devices.
The use of digital coupons is growing rapidly, up 60% in 2010, according to a report from Kantar Media. Make sure your coupon design allows customers to clearly see the offer on a mobile device. If your coupon has a barcode ideally it should be scannable from a mobile device.
Many retailers such as Gap and Toys 'R' Us already have this technology.