Using Coupon Codes in Your Marketing

Using Coupon Codes in Your Marketing

by: | July 23, 2012

The coupon-clipping crowd has moved online and recruited others. Are you ready for it? Online shoppers are getting savvier about finding deals and saving money. They’re searching no less than an average of about 10 sources of information outside your website to find your product (or a similar one) for the very cheapest. While they’re at it, they’ll be looking at reviews and experiences to make sure they’re not about to make a poor purchasing decision.

This is called the Zero Moment of Truth and is one of the most important considerations in your marketing.

If you’re not offering coupon or promotion codes to your customers, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity to keep your customers and casual shoppers on your site instead of Amazon. Coupons provide multidimensional opportunities for businesses, including leading customers to discover the business itself. For example, customers from other sites could come across your coupon code while researching another product and decide to buy from you instead of your competition. That’s powerful.

For your customers, feeling clever and unique is a powerful motivator. Getting a deal through promotion codes gives your customers that feeling. Remember the last time you bragged about a deal or sales you found? It’s THAT feeling. 

Your customers have plenty of options for their product needs. Make them feel clever, and they’ll be likely to buy from you instead of your competition. They’re probably looking for coupon codes anyway, trust me.

Making Your Coupon Code

Clearly, you should be using promotional codes in your marketing, so here’s how to make them more successful.

Holiday and Event-Specific

Special event or holiday coming up? People get excited and buy more during the holidays and special events, so target your coupon codes around these days and capture the attention of your customers. Or you could always invent your own holiday or special event.

Codes That Make Sense

When you’re setting up your coupon codes, you can make them just about any string of letters and numbers, so have some fun with them, especially if they relate to an event or holiday. And remember, it’s a lot easier to remember and use 100FreeShipping than Kdi38D7c8Ek.

Returning Customers

Your past customers are likely to buy from your business again, so send a coupon code to your recent and past customers, encouraging them to return and do more business with you.

Free Shipping

People like free stuff, so offer free shipping on their purchase with a coupon code. Tie the promotion to a purchase size (two to three items) or amount ($100), and you’ll have customers adding products to their cart just for the savings.

Spreading the Word

Once you’ve made your promotional coupon code, your customers need to find out about it. Here are some tips on how to get the code to as many people as possible.

Send an Email Blast

Send the coupon code in a promotion-specific email blast to your past and present customers and newsletter subscribers. If your customers have already bought from you, they’re likely to buy again.

Post on Social Media

You have active listeners on your social media pages, so remember to add your coupon code to your next Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest updates. Keep in mind people might miss a single post, so stagger updates over the life of your promotion.

Add to Coupon Aggregation Sites

Almost every time I buy something online, I’ll Google “[product] coupon code” and end up on a site like to try to find a promotion that will save me money. Your customers are probably doing the same. Use this to your advantage, and they’ll be less likely to buy from another site. Google “coupon sites” to find others to post your deals on.

Again, this can also be an effective way to find new customers who are searching for deals for your competitors’ products.

Build your List

Offer a coupon code in exchange for “likes” on your Facebook page or for newsletter sign ups.

Physical World

If you’ve got a physical location, post the coupon code somewhere your customers will see it, like by the register or in the window.

Post on Your Homepage

If you’re running a seasonal promotion, post the coupon on your website. This is particularly effective for free shipping and volume discount codes.

Online Advertising

If you’re experienced with advertising online, post the code on your ads.

Your customers are constantly on the lookout for deals like promotion codes. Ask yourself, are they going to find yours or your competitors’? The motivation to save money is powerful, and if you can be your customers’ advocate and harness that motivation, you can be a marketing rockstar.

Coupon codes don’t just help your customers save money, they help bring in new customers, encourage repeat sales, engage your audience, and increase purchase totals.Marketing Zeus

How do you use coupon codes in your business? What’s been your experience with them? Have any other advice? Let me know in the comments!

Posted in: B2C, Banner/Display, Campaign Development, E-Commerce, Engage!, Lead Generation, Optimization, Social Coupons, Social Networks

About the Writer:

Born in England and raised in the U.S., Charles Forster is the marketing director and partner at Vine & Grain, a company that creates management technologies for bars and restaurants. Prior to that position, he ran a graphic design company, Call Me Chaz, in Philadelphia, PA and Orlando, FL. He focused on branding, websites, print, video and marketing for small business clients up and down the east coast. He's a self-prescribed car nut and foodie. He's also the curator for This Is Visceral, a site devoted to poster art.

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