Coupons can drive sales and bring more customers in to your business. In the past 90 days, 96% of all consumers have used coupons. In 2012 JC Penney tried to break that habit of consumers using coupons and unfortunately for them saw a 23% drop in their sales in the first three quarters of 2012. If JC Penney couldn’t change the way people shop with coupons, we doubt that you could either.

The real question is not ~ should you use coupons, but: How can you BEST use coupons to strategically grow your business, and not give up too much profit margin in the process?

HERE’S THE CONS;

The biggest negative with using coupons for your business is the fact they can cost you money. All discounts that you offer, mean less money coming in to the business. You need to decide if that specific discount has a positive effect on your profit margin by bringing new customers into your business or it brings back old customers who left you chasing better deals. You should come with a method to determine if a coupon discount makes financial sense for your business.

Your regular customers will likely get into the habit of waiting for your business’s coupons, which takes away income that was already coming in before you started implementing your coupon program. So, you really should think about whether or not to offer coupons in order to avoid having a negative impact on your regular customer base. 

Coupons can be a double edge sword. They result in a reduced profit margin on the product or products that are included in your coupon campaign, although the cost of you paid for that product will not change. When deciding what the value of your coupon campaign will be to your business, you should search for a good way to figure out if the discount you sacrifice will improve your bottom line in the end.

Offering Coupons to Your Customers

As a business owner, retaining and attracting new customers is vital to your business success. Although, it’s not easy to figure out which marketing techniques will find the largest audience and, create the best results. A good strategy some businesses use to separate themselves from their competition, they try to incentivize their first-time customers, while rewarding their existing customers by offering discounts and deals in the form of coupons.

You may be concerned that discounting your products or services too much will have a negative impact on your profits, but the right technique can increase your sales while also building a loyal customer base.

A recent study found 57 percent of shoppers would not have made their purchase without a coupon, and 91 percent say they will go back to a specific retailer again when they are offered their coupon. If you’re looking for techniques to effectively advertise your business, and grow your business, follow these tips:

NOW HERE’S THE PROS;

The pros of offering a coupon campaign for new customers include introducing them to your store and introducing them to your new product lines. It also provides a good method of getting rid of your unwanted inventory in order to make more room for newer products, which encourages customers to try out a new brand that may be more profitable, and it encourages those customers to come back into your store. 

In today’s digital world of using coupons, maximizing the advantage of coupons is key as an effective way to build up your customer base. Coupons have become a critical technique for a social media marketing program, provided you use them properly.

For instance, one of the better ways to have coupons become a long-term marketing technique that effectively encourages repeat customers, is to make sure they provide their email address and name in order to receive the coupon. This way you can effectively build an email marketing list and encourage them to return when you offer new products, or when you launch other marketing campaigns. If it’s not an online coupon, you should require them to give their email address and name to use that coupon at the store register.

CREATE AN EFFECTIVE COUPON STRATEGY FOR YOUR BUSINESS

Another effective way to market coupons is through social media, like Facebook. Make your coupons available to those customers who “like” you on social media. This gives you an effective way to better communicate with them for free using social media. And you can also set up discount offers directly through certain social media websites.

HERE’S HOW;

1. Distribute Your Products Through Various Channels

An effective marketing strategy must not consist of a coupon that’s difficult to find. Your coupon campaign should search out and find each potential customer. For instance, leveraging different websites as well as print media, while also targeting customers through email campaigns, direct mail, or social media. This will assist you in developing a wide net while also maintaining you and your products as top-of-mind with those people who are not really searching for discounts and deals at that time.

2. Set a Deadline date

Your coupon campaign should also include a specific call-to-action.  You will see better results if you develop a sense of urgency. It’s not smart to give coupon recipients an open time frame for using your coupons, it is important to designate a coupon expiration date. Although, you should make sure the date stated clearly; you would not want disappointed potential customers or to lose their potential business by refusing their coupon when come in to use it.

3. Find New Customer Segments

Your first goal should generally be to obtain new customers, your coupons do not have to be ~ one-time only deals. You can also use coupons to build up loyalty by employing a coupon campaign that offers old customers a discount and/or deal. Email is a good way to target these customer segments in this way. For instance, rewards can be offered to your best customers or you can entice customers that you haven’t been in for a while and get them to come back by offering exclusive promotions.

4. Make a Strong Offer

Be aware, your coupon offer is only valuable to the recipient, depending how relevant it is to that specific consumer. That means it’s vital for you to do your research and to have a good understanding of your market before you launch a coupon campaign. Also, because your objective is to influence behavior —whether it’s getting a new customer in to the door or providing them an incentivize to spend more money — your coupon offer should be in line with the stated goal or outcome. For instance, maybe the majority of your sales are in-store and you would like to increase online sales, consider giving them free shipping or offer a coupon code at checkout for first-time customers.

5. Don’t Over Do~It

Even though coupon offers are a great method for keeping your customers satisfied, you really don’t want to put out too many deals or discounts that they are too used to it that they never want to pay full price. If they get too accustomed to the number and frequency of your offers —say, your coupons arrive monthly or weekly— those recipients may just wait until your next promotion in order to buy your products. So when you send out a coupon campaign, make the coupon recipient aware that this is a short time, unique opportunity.

6. Personalize Your Coupons

Coupons are certainly a great way to promote your business, so be sure to have your company logo, best photos and catchy graphics to get people’s attention. People are more apt to take notice of your promotional coupons if they look appealing. If you have a limited budget, there are still many ways  to create professional-looking designs free of charge. Or, you can find a graphic design freelancer or company that can handle the project.

7. Numbers Don’t Lie

Finally, run those numbers before deciding what discounts and deals to promote. If you discount your products or services too often without increasing revenue, you will probably just lose money instead of make money. So, whatever coupon strategy you end up implementing should not interfere with your ability to turn a profit.

There are many techniques available to you for marketing your business.  Coupons are a very effective way to find new business and repeat business.  Whether it’s a smaller campaign or if it’s part of a larger marketing campaign —Just like most business decisions, you should analyze the pros and cons and determine what your best your options are before you decide on your best approach.

When deciding on a coupon strategy, you should consider how you want to use it to improve your bottom line. For instance:

  • The coupon may entice customers who have not been in your business for some time to come back into your store. For instance, a good marketing database can deliver a discount coupon to every customer on that list who have not been into your business for at least 60 days or more.
  • When a coupon campaign brings those people into your store, those potential customers may also buy some other non-discounted products. This is a common practice used by many food stores.
  • The coupon could also bring in new customers to your store. The key is to use the coupon campaign to begin a long-term relationship with that new customer through email or social media.

To Summarize;

Coupons will bring more customers into your business. Develop your strategy carefully so you know that strategy will increase your long-term and repeat customer business or increase the per-customer sale amount.