Coupons are an ideal way to promote your business. They can cost almost nothing, allow you to change offers almost immediately, and can drive prospects to your website for more information.
Coupons Are Inexpensive
Let’s start with “cost almost nothing.” Although print media and direct mail still offer coupons that have to be designed, printed and distributed, you can get coupons out on your social media sites and blog, through email blasts, and even as part of the signature on every personal email you send.
If you have a storefront, let passersby scan a QR code on a window cling or sidewalk sign to reach the coupon offer on your website. In your store, hang photocopied coupons by displays of products you’re promoting, or hand them out when customers make purchases.
Coupons Are Flexible
Want to test offers? Especially with virtual coupons, it’s a snap! Tweet an offer valid for free shipping and another for a discount, and see which generates more sales. Or compare interest in a “two-for-one” offer with a coupon for a specific product.
Coupons offered online are especially easy to change as often as every hour, and even the offers you make in-store can be switched. Hang one coupon on the shelf with a binder clip or tear-off pad in the morning, and trade it for a different offer—on the same or a different product—in the afternoon. Or put out coupons only on the slow-traffic days of the week.
Coupons Attract Prospects
Coupons are also an easy way to get prospects to your website. If your products or services need explanation, a coupon introduces people to you, and encourages them to browse your catalog, the “About Us” section of the website, or your list of retailers. If you sell direct, a coupon can provide a general introduction (for example, for tutoring services or kids’ costumes), or it can drive traffic to a specific page of your website—the algebra tutors, for example, or the patterns for princess gowns.
The discount must be significant.
Compare the total price of your offer—product less discount plus any applicable sales tax or delivery charge—with the lowest price offered for a comparable product elsewhere.
Include complete information.
The legal details are important: exactly what product is discounted, whether the purchase is returnable, when the coupon expires, and the fact that the coupon has no cash value. And because many coupons are not used, but saved as a reminder of the business, be sure to include your complete business name, phone number, website URL, and if you’re a storefront, your hours and location.
About the Author
Linda Carlson is the Seattle author of Advertising with Small Budgets for Big Results: How to Buy Print, Broadcast, Outdoor, Online, Direct Response and Offbeat Media (Barrett Street Productions, 2014), available from online retailers and bookstores. Linda also offers more books, webinars and in-person presentations on DIY and low-cost marketing communications.