Everyone is looking for a deal, both online and offline. In fact, 73 percent of consumers rely on coupons more than they did three years ago.
We know people want to save money; the trouble is getting them to use your money-saving coupons. If you’re struggling in this area, there could be a number of reasons why, from distribution to type of coupon offered.
Learn more about the secrets to coupon creation before sending out your next one. You’ll be more successful, driving customers and revenue, with these tips:
1. Try digital and print.
We live in a digital world, but people still like paper coupons. “The percentage of consumers using discounts from paperless sources has increased, yet coupons from printed sources still account for the majority share of use," according to Valassis’ 2017 Coupon Intelligence Report. "This demonstrates that shoppers value savings whether via printed or digital formats.”
The report found that 86 percent of people use coupons they get in the mail. On the other hand, digital coupons are just as valuable and popular. eMarketer found that 52 percent of the adult population will use digital coupons in 2017, and many shoppers cite convenience as the reason why.
To get people using your coupons, test both. Track total sales from each type of coupon over the course of a quarter and then compare the results. If you’re split down the middle, consider continuing both print and digital. If they’re driving revenue, the extra effort is likely worth it.
2. Have a distribution plan.
If you don’t distribute your coupons, you can’t expect consumers to use them. Luckily, you have a wide variety of outlets to share with new and future customers, including email, social media and direct mail.
- Website: Most retailers share current deals and discounts as banner or pop-up ads on their websites. Use this as a way to hook new customers who may not follow you on social or get your emails yet. Notice in the image below how Target is offering not only one, but two current deals. Target even points the consumer in the direction of more coupons, with the bottom right ad.
- Email: If you have a subscriber base, keep them in the loop about new coupons. Segment your list so you can send targeted coupon emails based on geolocation, past purchases and more.
- In-store: If you have a brick-and-mortar store, don’t forget to advertise and distribute coupons there, too. A whopping 86 percent of consumers make a purchase based on a discount in-store, including those presented via in-store circulars or mobile notifications, according to the Valassis report.
- Social media: Social media is a great way to get your coupons out to the masses and reach new customers. Use relevant hashtags on Twitter and Instagram, like #flashsale, #shoplocal and #shopsmall. Use any other relevant hashtag, including those that are branded, and consider paid ads for distributing deals and discounts on Facebook.
- Direct mail: A large portion of consumers report that they still use the coupons sent to their home. You can initiate a direct mail campaign to reach these shoppers throughout the year or partner with a local coupon book.
- Printed from online: If you don’t want to invest in direct mail, offer your coupons in printable format online. In the same Valassis report, 79 percent of shoppers said they use coupons printed from the computer.
3. Create the right kind of coupons.
If you always distribute coupons for “new customers,” you run the risk of making loyal patrons feel left out. “Regular customers may feel alienated by brands that give discounts exclusively to new customers," advises CouponBox in its 2016 survey, Great Coupon Deals: The Simple Secret." This alienation could result in decreased sales or, worse, loss of customers.”
To get people to use and appreciate your coupons, introduce variety in terms of type. The CouponBox survey found that the best coupon to maximize sales was “Sitewide, All Products” based on a poll of top retailers. Get more ideas for new coupons based on the rest of the results below:
4. Don’t go overboard.
Coupons are a great way to entice shoppers to spend money, but if you always offer them, customers will begin to assume, “Oh, well, they’ll send me another coupon in a few days, so I’ll pick out a new pair of shoes then.” The value of coupons is the urgency that they inspire in shoppers. In this case, that urgency has gone out the window, rendering them ineffective.
If coupons are your bread and butter, treat them like content and create a coupon calendar. Instead of offering coupons whenever a sale idea strikes, follow a structured plan. You can align your coupons with holidays, product launches and seasons, making them more effective and less frequent.
Get customers to use your coupons with these simple ideas. When you share them in all the right outlets, display them in your store — online or offline — and introduce variety, sales and customer loyalty will be on the uptick.
Jessica Thiefels has been writing and editing for more than 10 years, and spent the last six years in marketing. She stepped down from a senior marketing position to focus on growing her own startup and consulting for small businesses. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 and connect on LinkedIn.
Jessica Thiefels has been writing and editing for more than 10 years and spent the last six years in marketing. She stepped down from a senior marketing position to focus on growing her own startup and consulting for small businesses. She's been featured on Forbes and has written for sites such as Lifehack, Inman, Manta, StartupNation and more. When she's not working, she's enjoying sunny San Diego with her husband and friends or traveling somewhere new. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 and connect on LinkedIn.