25 Coupon Examples & Advertising Ideas for Small Businesses
Coupon ads are an effective way to reach new customers, boost sales, and increase brand awareness. When implementing new coupon advertising ideas, consider your budget and target audience and make sure you have the resources to handle a large volume of coupon redemptions. To help guide your strategy and maximize your return, we rounded up over two dozen print and digital coupon examples and explain why they work.
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Examples of Print Coupon Ads
Print coupons generally have a higher return on investment (ROI) since they are redeemed less frequently than digital coupons. Below you’ll find coupon examples with marketing ideas you can use as part of your strategy to attract new customers and grow sales using print coupons.
1. Get More Customers Using Postcard Coupons
Send special offers to attract new customers with postcard coupons or encourage clients to come back by sending a postcard offering a special deal on their next visit. Not only do physical coupons increase the number of in-person visits, but direct mail postcard ads also have a high probability of being read. Postcards have a far higher read rate than any other kind of direct mail, 94% compared to just 14% for letters.
Unlike digital ads that are easily overlooked, postcards share a message without needing to be opened. Visit VistaPrint to locate high-quality coupon examples you can edit, print, and send at the lowest prices, or Moo.com for higher-end, more luxurious-feeling postcards and flyers.
2. Use Newspaper Coupon Inserts
One advantage of extending special offers through newspaper inserts is that you’ll have a clear idea of your target audience’s demographics so that you can tailor your deals. If you are a local business aiming to drive traffic to your brick-and-mortar store, using newspaper inserts can be a solid solution.
3. Attract More Customers Through Coupon Ad Flyers
Flyers are a direct way to share offers with customers. Depending on your type of business, this could involve leaving flyers near your store’s point of sale, handing them out at a location with a lot of foot traffic, or distributing them through marketing partners (e.g., another business that’s willing to display or distribute your flyers). For example, realtors could include your flyers in welcome packets for homebuyers or a hotel might place them in guests’ rooms.
Thanks to Fiverr, you can hire people to design high-quality coupon ad flyers for you at 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 creating flyers and get instructions on how to create effective marketing materials.
4. Refer to Point-of-sale Coupon Examples for Boosting Repeat Business
One way to capture repeat purchases is to give out coupon ads when a guest checks out. It gives customers a reason to return, usually within a short period. For example, national retailer Kohl’s is known for using this coupon marketing strategy and has even branded their coupons as “Kohl’s Cash.” It’s an effective way to get customers returning to your store more 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. It prints out coupon ads at the register on receipt-like paper after you make a purchase, and the coupons are often related to your purchases. This type of coupon personalization also makes them more effective.
5. Place Coupons in Direct Mailers to Increase Open & Response Rates
Sending coupons by direct mail can attract shoppers looking for a bargain, build brand awareness, and turn passive buyers into active shoppers. You can vary the value of your coupon ads depending on how likely a recipient is to use them.
Including coupons in direct mailer pieces is a great way to increase response rates and return on investment (ROI) for direct mail campaigns. Based on the Coupon Intelligence Report of Valassis, half of the 1,000 U.S. consumers surveyed said they prefer to receive coupons in the mail.
6. Attach Print Coupon Ads to Products Sold In-store
You can also physically attach coupons to specific products you want to promote. For example, hang tag coupons are frequently found attached to the neck of wine bottles. Providing customers with an immediate discount can spark a buying decision and give people a reason to choose your product over another. Stickers are also frequently used in the same way.
7. Generate Sales With In-store Coupon Machines
Blinkies, or SmartSource Coupon Machines, are coupon dispensers often used to advertise a new product, and encourage purchases from a particular brand over a competitor and also increase impulse buying. Shoppers can immediately get the coupon ads (also called blinkies) from the little black boxes with a blinking red light.
Coupon Examples for Digital Advertising
While print coupon examples could be the first that come to mind when considering coupon marketing, digital coupons are used all the time. They also offer great opportunities for audience targeting, as the distribution method often dictates the audience. What’s more, digital ad distribution on social media and Google retargeting also enable you to proactively target the exact audience you want to reach.
8. Showcase Seasonal Offers in Social Posts & Web Banners
Seasonal promotions are discounts, special offers, or limited edition items tied to a special day or time of year. This includes holidays like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, as well as times of the year like back-to-school and end-of-summer seasons. Holidays and seasons are often critical to retail revenue and represent a significant portion of annual income.
Promoting seasonal and holiday offers with digital coupons and ads can be memorable to your customers as well as help boost your business and convert a one-time customer to a loyal patron. It can also help to come up with catchy creative coupon redemption codes that are easy for prospects to remember when checking out online.
9. Create Coupon Ads on Facebook
If you’re interested in reaching your target audience over social media, try deploying coupon ads on 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 ads similar to these Facebook coupon examples in the Facebook Ads Manager, there are also third-party apps for extending coupons on Facebook. For example, try apps such as Woobox or AgoraPulse Facebook coupon apps.
10. Maximize Usage of Twitter Coupons to Drive Sales
Use Twitter to make quick posts, like flash coupons, to promote 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 77% of people follow a brand on social media with the goal of getting special discounts. Keep your coupons time and quantity-limited (e.g., “the first 50 people” or “limited to stock on hand”) to increase scarcity and drive impulse purchases.
11. Customize Special Offers for Social Followers
A big reason people follow brands on social media is to get special offers, so digital promotions can incentivize people to follow you on social media. You can even make it a point to provide your followers with exclusive offers just for them.
As part of your online coupon marketing strategy, offer coupons as an incentive for liking and sharing your social media content or referring others your way. For more ideas, check out other ways to boost sales through social media advertising.
12. Include Coupon Ads in Online Directories (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 to incentivize users to choose their restaurant over alternatives.
13. Use Coupons to Get More Reviews
When competing with many rivals for customers’ attention and purchases, having positive reviews is key in informing purchasing decisions. Whether you’re looking to get more reviews on your Google Business Profile page (formerly known as Google My Business) for higher ranking in local search or you want more reviews on your Amazon product listings to generate more sales, coupon ads are a great way to get more reviews.
14. 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 brand’s visibility.
15. Coupon Examples of Emails for Cart Abandonment
Based on a 2021 study by Statista, nearly half of U.S. shoppers (47%) said they received coupons through emails from brands they follow. Not only do consumers subscribe to email lists to get special offers and coupon ads, it’s also a great strategy for reducing cart abandonment.
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 like those in the coupon examples below is a powerful tactic to bring these customers back to complete their purchases.
16. Promote Coupon Ads in Email Marketing
One of the most popular ways to deploy a coupon ad campaign is through email marketing. It allows you to send emails 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. Don’t forget to include a hint about your offer in your email’s subject line to increase open rates.
New to email marketing? Get the complete guide to using email marketing campaigns.
17. Increase New Subscribers With Pop-up Coupon Ads
Customers go to your small business website for many different reasons—they may want to know more about your business, read reviews, understand your product, or find a discount. Use your pop-up ads and splash pages to feature special offers. Add a discount with an opt-in lightbox, which lets you control exactly when a discount pop-up will appear on your website.
18. Decrease Site Abandonment With Exit-intent Pop-up Coupons
The key to curbing shopping cart abandonment is to nudge the customer to get them to follow through on their purchase. As they’re about to hit that “X” button to close the tab, suddenly a pop-up appears offering them some discount if they complete their purchase. That extra 20% off may be all the motivation a prospective customer needs to convert.
19. Increase Average Sales With Minimum Purchase Discount Coupons
Extending an offer based on the total value of the customer’s purchase is an effective upselling technique that encourages your customer to spend more. Minimum purchase discounts increase your average order size. For example, Crocs gives customers a $20 discount for orders over $100 or more. Another common way to do this is by offering free shipping for certain order minimums.
20. Give Your Customers More With BOGO Offers
For some businesses, offering a buy one, get one free (aka BOGO) is a more effective coupon strategy than a percentage or dollar amount discount. 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.
21. 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. If your business has a physical location, you can extend verbal coupons that work like a secret handshake.
For example, a local restaurant might have a verbal coupon where those in the know ask for the special deal that’s not on the menu or use a catch-phrase to get a 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.
22. Reach Customers in Your Area With Geo-targeted Coupon Ads
The coupon examples below show how you can reach people when they’re near your business with geo-targeted ads. For example, a florist might target local customers with ads in the days leading up to Mother’s Day, reminding them to get mom some flowers and including an incentive to order ahead at a discount.
Another example is restaurants sending out geo-targeted ads a lunchtime to boost business on a slow day. Check out GroundTruth to see if geo-targeting is a good fit for your business.
23. Generate More Sales With a Groupon Coupon
By now, pretty much everyone has heard of Groupon. It has over 34 million active users who browse the site for great local deals. So whether you’re a local chocolatier offering a chocolate-making class, a new dental practice getting off the ground, or a salon stylist wanting to build a book of business, Groupon could be a good way 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.
24. Coupon Examples for Incentivizing Referrals
Similar to offering coupons for reviews, if you’re looking to leverage your base of happy customers and gain some word-of-mouth marketing, use coupons in return for referrals. It incentivizes others to spread the word about your business on your behalf the same way affiliate marketing does.
25. Run a Retargeting Campaign With Coupon Ads
Retargeting refers to displaying ads to people who previously visited your website to get them to return and make a purchase. As such, retargeting coupon ads help you reach warm leads, which are easier to convert into customers and sales. Coupon marketing is a natural fit for retargeting since the ads are visual display ads.
Retargeting is done through Google Ads and costs far less than Google Search Ads. You might also make this part of a larger strategy where you generate brand interest and first-time site visitor traffic through Facebook advertising, and then use retargeting to nurture those leads as they surf the web. Find out how to get a free Google Ads promo code to get started.
As these coupon examples demonstrate, small businesses owners can drive more sales through both print coupons and digital coupon ads. There are plenty of channels and methods that can help you succeed in your coupon marketing campaigns, and using the tips above will put you in a better position to achieve your sales goals.
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