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7 Tips for Offering Coupons to Your Customers
September 12, 2018
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7 Tips for Offering Coupons to Your Customers

As a small business owner, attracting and retaining customers is critical to your ongoing success. However, it’s often difficult to determine which marketing tactics will reach the largest audience and in turn, generate the best results for your business. A common strategy many businesses use to differentiate themselves from the competition, incentivize first-time customers, and reward existing customers is to offer deals and discounts in the form of coupons.

While you may be worried that discounting your products or services will negatively impact your profits, the right execution can help you increase sales while building a reliable customer base. In fact, a recent study by VoucherCloud found that 57 percent of shoppers say they wouldn’t have made a purchase without a coupon, and 91 percent of coupon redeemers say they’ll visit a retailer again after being offered a coupon. If you’re searching for ways to advertise and grow your business, the following tips can help you design a successful coupon strategy without hurting your bottom line.

How to Create a Coupon Strategy for Your Business

1. Make a Compelling Offer

No matter how you structure your offers, remember that your coupon is only valuable if it’s relevant to the consumer. This means it’s important to do your research and understand your market before launching a coupon strategy. Additionally, since your goal is to ultimately influence behavior —whether it’s by getting customers in the door or incentivizing them to spend more — your offer should be aligned with the outcome you’re seeking. For example, if most of your sales are in-store and you want to increase online orders, consider offering free shipping or a coupon code at checkout for first-time orders.

2. Distribute Through Various Channels

A coupon that’s too difficult to find isn’t an effective marketing strategy. Ideally, your coupon should find each potential customer, not the other way around. For example, in addition to leveraging websites and print media, consider targeting customers through direct mail, email campaigns, or social media. This will help you cast a wide net while staying top-of-mind with those not actively searching for deals and discounts.

3. Customize Your Coupons

Remember, coupons are also a great way to advertise your business, so make sure to include your company logo and photos or graphics that catch people’s attention. Your potential customers are more likely to notice your coupons if they’re visually appealing. If you’re working within a limited budget, there are many online tools that allow you to create your own professional-looking designs for free. Alternatively, you can hire a freelancer or graphic design company to take ownership of the project.

4. Appeal to Unique Customer Segments

While your primary goal may be to attract new customers, your coupons don’t need to be a one-time deal. Coupons can also be used to build loyalty by offering past customers periodic discounts and promotions. Email is an effective tool to target customer segments with specific offers. For example, you can reward your best customers or entice the clients that you haven’t seen in a while to come back by offering them exclusive promotions.

5. Don’t Offer Too Many Deals

Although coupons are a great way to keep your customers satisfied, you don’t want to offer so many discounts that they never pay full price. If they get used to the frequency of your offers —say, coupons that consistently arrive weekly or monthly — they may wait until the next promotion to make a purchase. When you send out coupons, let the recipient know that this is a unique opportunity.

6. Set a Deadline

In addition to marketing your company, your coupon strategy should include a call-to-action. You’re more likely to see immediate results if you create a sense of urgency. Instead of giving recipients an open time frame to use your coupons, designate an expiration date. However, make sure the date is clear; you don’t want to disappoint potential customers or lose their business by rejecting their coupon when they attempt to use it.

7. Do the Math

Finally, be sure to run the numbers before determining what deals and discounts to offer. If you continually discount your products or services without increasing your sales revenue, you’ll likely end up losing money at some point. Ultimately, whichever strategy you implement shouldn’t interfere with your ability to operate profitably.

You have many tactics available to you to market your business. Coupons — whether used on their own or as part of a larger marketing campaign — are often an effective way to attract new business and grow your repeat customer base. Like any business decision, you should weigh the pros and cons and consider all your options before deciding on the best approach.

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Fora Financial is a working capital provider to small business owners nationwide. In addition, the Fora Financial team provides educational information to the small business community through their blog, which covers topics such as business financing, marketing, technology, and much more. If you’d like to see a topic covered on the Fora Financial blog, or want to submit a guest post, please email us at [email protected].