No matter which industry you’re in, starting a coupon campaign can be a major step toward building a loyal customer base. Let’s take a look at the best ways to tackle coupon advertising strategically from where to promote your coupons (offline and online) to ways you can build brand visibility, as well as loyalty and repeat sales.
1. Generate More Sales With a Groupon Coupon
Pretty much everyone has heard of Groupon. In fact, it has over 34 million active users who are browsing the site for great deals and interesting offers—for both local businesses and national brands. So regardless of whether you’re a local chocolatier looking to promote a new event such as a chocolate-making class or a pet food brand, Groupon could be a good way for you to reach a wider audience and build brand visibility.
Groupon can have a tremendous impact on small businesses, but it’s important to execute your strategy carefully. To learn more, check out our Ultimate Guide to Groupon for Businesses, which explains costs and effective Groupon strategies for small businesses.
2. List Your Coupon on Coupons.com
This billion dollar startup is highly influential in the marketplace. If you want to reach frugal-minded consumers, move a lot of product (e.g., maybe you need to clear out room for a new shipment), or simply give consumers a reason to choose your brand over your competitors, you must have a local presence on Coupons.com.
Using Coupons.com is easy and it enables you to advertise your business via printable coupons. Coupons are one-time use, with a maximum print out of two coupons per computer.
3. Run a Retargeting Campaign With Your Coupon
Retargeting might sound fancy, and it might not sound relevant to coupon advertising, but it’s entirely possible to use a retargeting campaign with coupon ads. Retargeting helps you reach warm leads, which are easier to convert into customers and sales. A good way to create a retargeting campaign is through Facebook or Google Ads.
For more information, check out Fit Small Business’ guide to Setting Up a Facebook Ad Retargeting Campaign.
4. Create a Coupon on Facebook
Interested in reaching your target audience over social media? Then try deploying a coupon via Facebook. To do so, you’ll first need to create a Facebook Business Page, and then you will also need a Facebook Ads Manager account in order to set up your coupon. For the latest steps on how to set up your coupon, check out this guide from Facebook.
In addition to creating a Facebook Coupon through Facebook Ads Manager, there are also several third-party apps that can help you create a coupon on Facebook. For example, try apps such as Woobox or AgoraPulse Facebook Coupon App.
5. Distribute Coupons With Postcards & Flyers
Send special offers to your clients with postcard coupons or encourage clients to come back with a flyer offering a special deal on their next visit. Not only does a physical coupon increase the number of in-person visits, but it’s also a unique way that nearly guarantees your audience will actually read it. Unlike digital ads that are easily overlooked or traditional junk mail that needs to be opened to be read, postcards share a message without needing to be opened.
6. Drive More Sales With Twitter Coupons
Use Twitter to make quick posts, like flash coupons, for your products or services. If you have an active customer base on Twitter, they will jump at the chance to buy from you at a discounted rate. This also helps to incentivize new followers as upward of 70% of people follow a brand on social with the goal of getting special discounts. Be sure to keep your coupons limited in order to increase scarcity and drive impulse purchases.
7. Increase New Subscribers With a Pop-up Coupon
Use your own website to promote your coupons. Customers check out your website for many different reasons—they want to know more about your business, they want to read reviews, they want to understand your product, or they want to find a discount. Add a discount with an opt-in lightbox, which enables you to control exactly when a discount pop-up will appear on your website.
8. Decrease Shopping Cart Abandonment With Exit-intent Pop-up Coupons
We’ve all been there: You’ve been window shopping online, you have a few items in your cart, and yet you go to exit the site because, well, you’re just not that motivated in the moment to make the purchase. Then, as you’re about to hit that X button, suddenly a pop-up appears offering you some discount if you complete your purchase. That extra 20% off is often all the motivation a prospective customer needs to convert.
9. Reach Local Customers in Print Without a Contact List With Valpak
Valpak is a direct marketing service that sends coupons and ads through the postal service. The coupons come together in a blue envelope and usually feature local businesses. Prices vary depending on the scope of the campaign, but a minimum of 10,000 houses is required. Expect to pay between $150 and $400 per campaign.
10. Add Coupon Offers to Your Online Listings (e.g., DoorDash)
Is your business listed on online directory sites like Yelp, DoorDash, or Houzz? Many of these platforms enable businesses to create and promote coupons, special deals, or coupon codes. For example, a local restaurant that uses DoorDash might offer a free dessert with the purchase of an entree as an incentive to get users to choose their restaurant over alternatives.
11. Hand Out Coupons With Flyers
Flyers are a direct way to share your coupons with customers. You are literally handing them a coupon. Whether the flyer is only a collection of coupons, or if you’re sharing information about your business and adding a coupon as an incentive at the bottom, flyers are effective at evangelism.
Depending on your type of business, this could be as simple as leaving flyers near the cash registers (e.g., in the case of promoting an event and using coupons to help increase ticket sales) or hanging them out on a busy street. Of course, no one really wants to stand outside and hand out flyers, but thanks to Fiverr, you can hire people who are happy to do so for a low cost.
Remember to add a special code for your coupons at the bottom of each flyer, so that you can note the source when the coupons return to you. Learn more about what you need to create flyers that effectively market your business.
12. Take Advantage of Holiday & Seasonal Offers
Seasonal promotions are discounts, special offers, or limited edition items tied to a special day within the year. This can be a specific holiday such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday, or it can be a certain time of the year like Back-to-School or End-of-Summer seasons. Holidays and seasons are critical to revenue since they represent a time when a significant increase or decrease in sales can take place.
Promoting seasonal and holiday offers can be memorable to your customers as well as help boost your business and convert a one-time customer to a loyal patron.
13. Email Coupons to Convert Sales From Abandoned Carts
Abandoned cart email offers is another revenue boosting email that you can send to prospects. Customers often abandon their carts without the intention of doing so. They either got distracted, forgot about it, or found the process complicated. Deploying abandoned cart email offers is a powerful tactic to bring these customers back. You may also send the customers a copy of their shopping cart.
New to email marketing? Get the complete guide to using email marketing campaigns.
14. Introduce Offers for Liking, Following & Sharing on Social
One of the hardest parts of running a new online store is letting others know about your business. Offer coupons to customers as an incentive for liking, following, and sharing your business page on social media. For example, CabinZero offers a free warranty extension for 25 years, instead of 10 years, to customers who like their Facebook page.
15. Use Coupons to Get More Reviews
When consumers have the world at their fingertips and often a lot of competitors vying for their attention, reviews are key in informing a purchasing decision. Whether you’re looking to get more reviews on your Google My Business page so your business ranks higher in local search or you want more reviews on your Amazon listing to help your ranking and generate more sales, coupons are a great way to get more reviews.
16. Increase Sales With a Minimum Purchase Discount Coupon
Extending an offer based on the total value of the customer’s purchase is another effective upselling technique that can encourage your customer to spend more. A minimum purchase discount increases your average order size. For example, Crocs gives customers a $20 discount for orders of $100 or more. Another common way to do this is by offering free shipping for certain order minimums.
17. Give Coupons Upon Checkout
One way to capture repeat purchases is to give out coupons after checkout. It helps give customers a reason to return, and usually within a short period of time. For example, the national retailer Kohl’s is notorious for using this coupon advertising strategy and has gone as far to brand their coupons at checkout as “Kohl’s Cash.” What’s neat about it is that it gets customers returning to the store frequently, which naturally drives up sales.
Another way to do this is through the automatic coupon machines you’ll often see at supermarket checkouts. This is called a catalina, which prints out coupons at the register on receipt-like paper after making a purchase.
18. Attach Coupons to Products Sold In-store
If you’re selling a product through a third-party distributor, you can also attach coupons to your products. For example, hang tag coupons are frequently found attached to the neck of a wine bottle. Providing customers with an immediate discount can help inform the buying decision and give people a reason to choose your brand over another. Stickers can also be used in this same way to attract attention to sales and can make a difference in the buying decision.
19. Share Coupon Codes on RetailMeNot
RetailMeNot is a huge digital coupon marketplace. Unlike the other websites we’ve listed so far, RetailMeNot is not typically used for local searches. Instead, it’s used by retail chains and websites (big and small) to share coupon codes. A fun thing about RetailMeNot is that users can directly add coupon codes to the site. While most people coming to the site are looking for a coupon for a specific business, it’s another way to help increase your potential visibility.
20. Attract Attention With In-store Coupon Machines
Blinkies, also known as SmartSource Coupon Machines, are coupons that you can find in the little black boxes with a blinking red light hanging on the shelf of the front side of the product. Blinkies are used to advertise a new product, encouraging purchasing from a particular brand over a competitor, or to increase impulse buying.
21. Give Your Customers More With BOGO Offers
Coupons don’t need to be limited to a fixed percentage discount. For some businesses, offering a buy one, get one free (aka BOGO) is a more effective coupon strategy. Not only is BOGO sometimes more enticing for your audience, but it may also be more cost-effective for your business. In addition to customers simply getting two for the price of one, in some instances it can help your customers bring you more customers—especially in the food service industry.
22. Promote Your Coupon Through Email Marketing
One of the most popular ways to deploy a coupon ad campaign is through email marketing. It gives you a reason to send email to your contact list while giving them a reason to open your email. In return, people are happy to see your business’ name show up in their inbox, which creates a positive brand image and keeps your business top of mind. Just be sure to include your offer in your email’s subject line so recipients know that your email holds value to them.
23. Customize Special Offers for Social Followers
A study found that 70% of people reported following a brand on social media in order to receive special offers and coupons. What this means is that coupons incentivize people to follow you, in addition to that your followers want coupons. Be sure to not just use social to promote your coupon, but also provide your followers with exclusive coupons just for them.
24. Use Groupon as an Alternative Financing Strategy
OK, we know we already mentioned Groupon in this list. However, we didn’t mention that it’s not uncommon for local and service-based businesses to use Groupon as a capital acquisition, or alternative financing strategy. This is because Groupon works a little differently from coupons in that these Groupons are structured more closely to gift cards. In other words, people pay upfront for services they have not yet consumed.
In return, a business such as, say, a medical spa, might offer a Groupon in order to acquire the capital needed to purchase a new piece of equipment. Or, an auto body shop might use it to land the sum of money needed to purchase new tools or equipment.
25. Create a Verbal Coupon That Works Like a Secret Handshake
Not all coupons need to be clipped from a newspaper or online. It’s possible to get creative with coupon advertising, e.g., if your business has a physical location where customers come to you in-person, you could try a verbal coupon that works like a secret handshake.
As an example, a local restaurant has a verbal coupon geared toward locals so when patrons visit, those in the know ask for the special deal that’s not on the menu or know of the two-for-one drink special on Thursdays. Like a traditional coupon, it provides an incentive to purchase by sweetening the deal, while also creating loyal customers who keep coming back.
26. Reach Customers in Your Area With Geotargeting
Reach people when they’re in your area by offering geotargeted coupon ads. That’s right, thanks to technology, you can reach your target audience based on their location. For example, a florist might use an ad days before Mother’s Day to remind people to get their mom a card and flowers and that they get a coupon from that business if they place an order before a certain date. If you’re looking to geotarget coupons, check out GroundTruth.
27. Offer Loyal Customers Coupons for Referrals
Turn your happy customers into promoters by offering them coupons for referring others to your business. Similar to offering coupons for reviews, if you’re looking to leverage your base of happy customers and gain some word-of-mouth marketing, try using coupons in return for referrals. Similar to affiliate marketing, it will help incentivize others to spread the word about your business on your behalf.
Small businesses owners can drive more sales by offering coupons. There are plenty of channels and methods that can help you succeed in your coupon advertising campaign. Using the tips above will put you in a better position to achieve your sales goals. Do you have additional coupon advertising ideas? Share them with us in the comments!