Category Archives: Coupons

The Power of Coupons – Distributing :: Part 3

Welcome to part 3 of our coupons series. We’ve already discussed offers you may provide and how to print them. Now you’ll need to distribute them. So how do you do that without spending an arm and a leg?

In person. Place coupons in store or in shopping bags. The problem with this is, with the exception of referral coupons, it can’t help you get new customers.

Mailing List. You can always mail or email existing customers with coupons. Again though, this will not get you new customers unless you send a referral coupon.

Door to door. This may be time consuming, but canvassing is mighty effective. Leaving coupons on car windshields, house door steps, etc. is an easy way to bring your message to the masses.

Mailing Lists. This covers both mailing and email lists. While it costs money, the advantage is that targeted direct mailings are some of the most effective ways to distribute coupons.

CO-OP Mailings. You know those envelopes you get stuffed with coupons from different businesses? That’s what they did. You share the costs of mailing with other businesses in the group. Get in touch with these groups for a low-cost way to distribute your offer and share the expenses.

Newspaper. This one also costs money, but you can reach a lot of people. It is a great way to target people in a specific geographical area.

Now you know how to use coupons to boost your business…so get to it!

If you have any tips or questions about coupons, please post them in the comments section.

The Power of Coupons – Printing :: Part 2

Now that you’ve decided to use a coupon and what kind of discount to offer, let’s learn about printing options.

Do it yourself. Printing yourself is easy. You can print off hundreds of your own coupons on your PC or take a trip to the local copy store. It’s easy, but you risk customers making their own coupons, which can suddenly turn 100 coupons into 10,000. This can work positively as viral marketing, but be sure you can handle that sort of discount.

Have customers print them. This is the easiest and the only free way to print coupons. This method requires online or email distribution. The downsides are the same as printing yourself, people can try to manipulate the coupons or print off too many.

Pay a professional to publish them. For most small companies, a professional printer is not the best option unless it is included with your distribution method. For example, a distribution group or a newspaper will print your coupons for you.

Print them on promotional products. An underused method of coupon distribution. These may not be free, but they offer you additional advertising, can’t be manipulated and people will want them –even if they don’t need coupons.

However you print your coupons, don’t forget to add an expiration date, like “offer valid through August 31.” This creates a sense of urgency around the offer, enticing customers to act now and it protects you from discounting longer than intended.

The Power of Coupons – Planning :: Part 1

How many times have you used a coupon at the grocery store for a product you’ve never tried before?

Coupons are a great way to get customers to try your service or product. They can also “woo” your competitor’s customers to give you a try. If you have a new product, service or an overstock, try offering a coupon to draw attention and sales. You can also minimize the impact of a price increase with a coupon -people won’t realize there was a price hike when excited about a coupon.

Different offers work better for some businesses than others. Which type of offer will work best for you?

BOGO. The always popular “Buy One –Get One.” This is a customer favorite. This offer works best to clear out surpluses or to sell things with huge markups. If your item doesn’t fit into either category, this probably isn’t a good discount for you.

Freebies. This discount involves giving people something for nothing. You distribute coupons offering a free goodie to anyone who stops by. This coupon works best for grand openings and businesses that heavily rely on foot traffic.

Percentage off. Offering a percentage off discount lets you control the sale. Larger discounts attract more attention. This can also push people to make larger purchases so they can stock up while the sale is on. 10-20% discounts can bring in a lot of customers.

A small amount off an item. This is similar to the $.50 off soup coupons you see at grocery stores. With this sort of a coupon, you have to ask yourself, “is this a discount I would take advantage of?” If you are offering too small a discount and your answer is no, either increase the coupon value or don’t bother with it at all. A good coupon drives people to use your products or services, a mediocre one gets tossed.

Pay only {discount cost}. Rather than showing the money they save, show the price they pay. This can be surprisingly more effective than offering a small discount on a popular item. If the price sounds good, consumers are likely to think the coupon is more valuable than it really is.

Referrals. Print coupons with blank lines for people to write in their names. Give instructions on the coupon that you will give a small discount to everyone who uses the coupon and that you will give everyone with their name on the coupon (the referrer) a small credit towards future services.

Now that you have a good idea about what kind of discount you’d like to offer, it’s time to decide how to print it. A lot of people skip past this, but it is an important step in creating coupons. Stay tuned.

Image courtesy of drh