Discount coupons have proven to be highly effective marketing tools for every conceivable size and type of business. A simple explanation for their acceptance by advertisers is their overwhelming popularity and use by the consuming public. In fact Advertising Age reports that 87 percent of all shoppers use coupons. Another independent marketing research firm, the A.C. Nielson Co., reveals that 95 percent of all shoppers like coupons, and 60 percent actively look for coupons.
Regular use of good couponing strategy can provide a steady stream of new customers and high quality sales leads. Here are some of the more important DOs for creating a coupon promotion that will work for you:
- DO have a plan in place.
- Make a solid offer.
- Use bold and specific headlines, without putting your company name or logo at the top.
- Use line illustration or photographs.
- Include your USP (Unique Selling Proposition).
- Appeal to the self-interest of your customer.
- Make sure to include multiple ways for prospects to get in touch with you.
- Include an expiration date for using the coupon.
- Remember to always upsell.
- Capture your customers name, address, and phone number, so you can develop an in-house mailing list for ongoing direct marketing.
- Train your staff to prepare them for the event.
- Use point of sale displays to help cross sell and upsell in the store.
Now let’s take a look at some important DON’Ts. Couponing alone is not marketing; it is only one part of what must be a multi-faceted marketing plan. Too many inexperienced small business owners will sit back and be satisfied to reap the rewards of a coupon campaign, without a follow up program designed to keep customers coming back for more. Then they calculate how much “it cost them” in terms of money and time, instead of how much they invested and what they should do next to ensure they get an optimized ROI.
- Don’t ignore the fact that all promotions are going to cost you. You must make a serious effort to figure out what the actual costs will be before you initiate a promotion.
- Don’t diminish the consumer who’s looking for a deal.
Steve Chapman has over 35 years of marketing and sales management, business management and small business ownership experience. He is now actively involved in developing an Internet based training and business consultancy called SOMA Marketing & Communication Consulting.