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Coupon crazy consumers

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Thursday May 8, 2008 )

Tough times mean folks are looking for real or perceived bargains – and given current economic conditions, coupon sites have become increasingly popular. If you’re not using coupons yet for your online business, you’re likely missing a lot of sales and new customers.

According to this article on Business Week, traffic to sites focusing on coupon offers has increased a whopping 38% from March 2007 to March 2008; compared with 5% growth for the Internet overall. They aren’t just going more often, people are spending more time on these sites – also up 37%.

I’m a big fan of coupons used as part of a marketing arsenal as they are so simple and so viral. A few numbers and letters that people can easily IM or email to each other or post up on their web sites. If your shopping cart software has coupon functionality but you’re not using it, do so. If it doesn’t; get one that does – it’s really that powerful a marketing tool.

Even when I buy pizza, I check who has the best coupon deal and buy from the best offer :).

Once you’ve generated your coupons; start submitting them to coupon sites. Some will list for free, others will want a cut of any sales they send your way, usually under an affiliate type arrangement – another very important marketing strategy. Even if the coupon site doesn’t focus entirely on your industry, it’s still worth the minute or two to submit.

While offering coupons is definitely worth the effort, just be sure to check your margins when calculating discounts – don’t go over the top, but also bear in mind that customers who use coupons tend to buy more or higher value goods.

Put coupons in your newsletters and other customer communications – and here’s a simple trick; be sure to tell people to pass the coupon on. You’d think people would do so anyway, but it’s amazing how more effective a simple call to action makes. Put up a page on your web site with your coupons; and ensure the term appears frequently – you’ll likely attract more search engine traffic that way.

Coupons? Love ’em! A marketer’s best friend :).

Learn more about using coupons in your marketing mix.



 

 
3 comments for Coupon crazy consumers
  1. I thought this was an interesting use of coupons by California Pizza Kitchen:

    http://www.tomhcanderson.com/2008/05/16/interesting-more-effective-and-creative-use-of-coupon-promotion/

    Comment by TA — May 16, 2008 @ 9:50 am

  2. I’ve begun researching the use of online coupon codes; some things I’ve read suggested that coupon users actually tended to have a lower average order size.

    As I just started to look into this, I’m very curious to know how you’re statement “customers who use coupons tend to buy more or higher value goods” relates to what I’ve read. Seems contradictory, but maybe I’m not understanding?

    Comment by Ali — June 11, 2008 @ 2:48 pm

  3. Hi Ali,

    That comment was through my own observations and talking to other merchants. Let’s say you’re offering 20% off on product A – often what will happen is that the customer will buy product B as well with their “savings”. If product B is worth more than the saving, then the order size is bigger. Also, let’s say you have Product X at $240 and Product Y at $300 – if you offer a 10% discount coupon on Product Y, those who have have gravitated to X may switch to the more expensive item as they only need to spend a little more to get the “better” product – even though it may cost you the same or only slightly more. It’s horses for courses I guess, depends a lot on your margins and how you structure your pricing.

    Comment by Michael Bloch — June 12, 2008 @ 4:46 am

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