Coupon Hints & Tips
The ValPons Advantage
Who Uses Coupon Websites?
- Customers who use coupon websites – Coupon websites have become one of the fastest growing areas in online sales, with an estimated 69% of global sales completed via mobile devices. ValPons isn’t changing the way people use coupon sites, we’re just making ours more diverse, affordable, effective, and better than other sites.
- Businesses who use coupon websites – Coupon sites began with an emphasis on local businesses, but many now feature coupons from large operations and chain stores. ValPons supports local businesses by focusing on them first and foremost. Virtually every type of business can be found on a coupon website somewhere. Large sites feature a wide variety of products, services, and events. There are some specialized sites that focus on travel, groceries or other offers in specified categories. ValPons has created both; a large site that encompasses a wider range than most, and smaller more specific sites when consumers wish to narrow their search.
What are Some of the Benefits of Coupon Websites for Businesses?
- Targeted Local Advertising – Coupon websites have customer databases that can be sorted according to a customer’s location. Not only will your offer go out to users in your area, but you’ll be advertising your business to a larger local audience as well. Local consumers are more likely to do business with and visit your local business, making them more likely to become a repeat customer as well. ValPons promotes and supports local and smaller businesses through robust location-oriented search capabilities and mapping services.
- Mass Exposure – Coupon offers are sent to thousands of specific subscribers who have chosen to receive them and they are visible to everybody who visits a specific product or service category on the coupon site. ValPons markets our site and increases your exposure through various other forms of media at no extra cost to the business subscriber or the consumer. Many small businesses could not afford to achieve the mass exposure in any other way by themselves.
- Word-of-Mouth Recommendations – Coupon websites are also commonly referred to as “social websites” because of the role that consumers, who become customers, play in spreading information about the valuable coupons and great money-saving offers they find there. Many good deals go “viral” as consumers post the details about offers they find and share links on their social media websites. ValPons’ unique listing pages also allow the businesses to do the same with their friends and family by integrating their social media sties with consumers. For example, when Gap clothing store posted a $50 clothing item for $25 on a site, promotion by consumers through social media saw 445,000 coupons sold in one day.
- Increased Brand Awareness – With the reach of advertising with digital marketing and word-of-mouth publicity, a coupon promotion can drastically increase the awareness of your business, both locally and nationally. Increasing your brand’s awareness can be especially helpful if you’re a new business or if you don’t have a storefront location. ValPons helps your tucked-away business become visible to more consumers than ever before and puts your billboard on the digital street most traveled.
- New Customers – Direct digital advertising and coupon marketing is generally very effective at attracting customers, new and old alike. It will certainly boost your bottom line and increase your sales. Once a consumer becomes a new customer and gives your business a try, you’ll have the opportunity to make them a repeat customer. A repeat customer is worth far more to you on their second visit. ValPons’ platform is specifically made to drive consumers shopping for the products and services your business provides and keep them coming back time and again.
- Up-sell and Cross-sell – Carefully plan your coupon offer so that it incorporates opportunities for you to up-sell (offer a higher priced product or service in the same category) or cross-sell (offer related products or services) the customer. This allows the customer to still receive the same discount or offer, but also to spend more on other products or services, increasing your profit. ValPons allows businesses to add multiple locations at a discounted rate as an incentive to promote and increase awareness. This allows businesses to sell even more products and services in a win-win scenario for everyone.
- Speedy Promotion – Some coupon websites operate quickly compared to other forms of traditional advertising. ValPons allows businesses to make an offer today and change it or take it away tomorrow if they choose. Offers can appear and be sent out immediately to thousands of subscribers’ inboxes at no cost with ValPons. ValPons allows unlimited editing capabilities that occur in real time with no printing, postage, production or waiting on delivery of your great offer.
- No or Minimal Upfront Advertising Cost – ValPons doesn’t require you to pay anything to get started or to run your offers. This allows you to get your name in front of thousands of active shoppers seeking the very products and services your business provides without upfront fees. As long as you’re able to cover the cost of honoring your offer and new business is rolling in, you can maintain and build your business through your digital marketing with ValPons’ unlimited listing pages for as low as $10 per month. If you’re ever not completely satisfied with your results, you can simply opt-out or cancel your subscription at any time before your next monthly billing occurs.
- Profit – While many coupon offers incur a financial loss or decreased profit margin for the business concerned, marketing experts say that is possible to run a profitable coupon campaign for certain types of businesses. If businesses have a low or fixed-cost structure, they should be able to increase their number of customers without significantly increasing their cost. Another way to turn a profit on a coupon offer is to link a discount to a spend of a certain value, like saving $20 when you spend $100 or more. ValPons has made digital marketing available to every business. Making your business money and saving customers money is why we’re here and what we’re all about.
- Measurable Results – Valuable coupon offers are easy to track businesses can count the number of people who use or redeem a particular offer. This also gives businesses the opportunity to see what works with consumers and to change their offer as needed. Their POS or financial systems should then allow them to see and calculate how much revenue each coupon customer has spent along with any extra purchases. This also allows businesses to track how many of the coupon customers become repeat customers.
When and How to Use Coupons to Promote Your Business...
There is no doubt that we are a nation of consumers who want to save money when we make purchases. Who doesn’t like a bargain and who doesn’t want to save money when they buy a product or service?
How do we make coupons work for your business without under-selling your value and compromising your bottom line? That is the question many businesses ask us here at ValPons. Are coupons a good fit for your business?
First, consider the following points to figure out what will work for you and your company. You’ll learn how to put together a great offer that will attract the customers you want.
- Look at your profit margin to decide the level of discount you can handle. Also decide how long you will run your offer and what changes, if any, you need to implement to support it.
- Consider limiting your offer to help cope with the potential demand. You may wish to limit the redemption period and days of the week or times of the day it can be used. Make sure to be very clear on any limits or exclusions.
- Use a “one offer per customer” policy clause so the customer can’t reuse the same coupon repeatedly.
- One-off coupons have a place, but aim to promote repeat business and future visits. For example, “buy one, get one free on your next purchase.”
- Use your offer to shift excess inventory or to promote under-utilized products and services.
- If you desire, focus on gaining new customers in your market area that are not currently doing business with you. You may also focus on gaining customers outside your current market area or demographic.
- Marketing your coupon can occur through multiple channels including your social media outlets, your company website, and other creative forms of advertising.
- Keep track of your ROI. Ask customers where they found your coupon and use web-analytics to monitor the use and success of your coupon offer by using codes and web banner click-throughs.
Coupons are another form of marketing…
Coupons, themselves, are not magic money, but they do drive customers to do business with you and your company. Concentrate on using coupon offers to build awareness of your products and services to the markets you serve. Use offers to open up new market areas and to bring in new customers. From there you should attempt to up-sell and cross-sell your customers to generate repeat business clientele.
Coupons Tend to Work Best for Location-Based, Product and Service-Oriented Businesses...
Making your location available to local consumers when they’re searching for your products or services is a win-win situation for both you and the customer. Customers realize how quick and easy saving money locally can be.
Can your Business Scale to Meet the Potential Demand that the Coupons may Trigger?
Whether you operate your business from a warehouse or you’re a location-based business that depends on customers coming into your storefront, you must make sure that your staff is trained and that your operations can scale quickly and seamlessly to deal with the new foot traffic or increase in service calls.
Make Sure you can Afford the Discount for the Duration of its Validity.
Who Primarily Makes Purchases on Coupon Sites?
Studies show that group-purchasing sites are dominated by a lucrative market of young, educated females that are above-average income earners.
What Will it Cost Me?
Social or group buying sites typically charge 50% of your already discounted offer and limit the offers to under $1,000. ValPons sees a problem here because consumers are limited to smaller purchase discount offers and many businesses that have large ticket items aren’t allowed to participate. We’ve made it so every business can easily afford to take part and every consumer can shop our site for savings, no matter what product or service they are looking for.
Are Social Coupons Right for You?
If your business can scale to handle a flood of customers, your primary market is young educated women, and you can afford to offer a product or service at less than 25% of its retail price, then social or group-buying coupons may be right for you and your business. ValPons makes any business’ offer a great one. Even a free consultation can make the difference of whether or not a consumer becomes a customer.
Do Coupons Work?
Small business owners often wonder if coupons really work. Some business owners get frustrated when they feel they need to offer coupons in order for a person to try their product or service. They ask themselves, “Why do I need to discount my products or services when it’s already tough enough?”
“I saw a coupon for $40 off on a music lesson, first time clients only. As my child has been asking me about piano lessons for a while now, and incentivized by the coupon offer, I decided to call and sign my daughter up for some piano lessons.”
The truth is, we live in a time and place where coupons and offers are a must for small businesses. The reality is that for most, it takes a good offer to get a person to come in for the first time, and then it takes both a good product and good service to keep the customer coming back. These also prevent the customer from leaving to a competitor.
Coupons Encourage Customers to Try...
The goal of any offer or coupon is to encourage the consumer to try the product or service. Although we would want the consumer to try our product or service simply because our ad looks amazing, the truth is that the customer needs an incentive for them to depart from their current habits in order to try something new. If your “redemption rate” is not high, then your offer may not be good enough. So the question is, how much should you discount your product or service? The answer is found by calculating your ROI. ValPons almost completely eliminates the normal ROI equation by being so affordable and effective for the advertiser. ValPons offers unlimited listing pages for less than $10 a month, which allows businesses to post every product or service they offer to interested shoppers for less than .35 cents per day. ValPons does the marketing for the businesses in a sense that they are continually soliciting consumers to join the ValPons coupon community and to save money when they buy. ValPons also sends out information to its users regarding certain products and services available on their site through emails and text messages to consumers who have opted in to receive communications regarding deals on items they’re interested in purchasing. The value of a customer is measurable both in the short and long terms. Every business loses a certain percentage of their clientele every year, so continuing to create new customers constantly is a must if your business is going to survive and thrive.
Track Your Calls and Keep Count of Customers…
A key component in every ROI equation is the “cost-per-call” in relationship to the amount you are spending on the marketing avenue to receive that call. This calculation should be used for every marketing tactic you use, whether it is direct mail, TV, radio, newspaper, Google Ads, Yelp or coupon offers. Each marketing tactic has a different “cost-per-call” and it’s crucial that you know this information for all of your marketing activities. This helps you understand what is working and what is not. It also allows you to make wise decisions regarding your marketing budget allocation.
The only way to find your “cost-per-call” is to effectively track your customer calls. Many businesses ask their customers how they heard about them, but this method doesn’t always yield reliable data. A better question to ask your customers is how they found your business. You may wish to use a vendor that specializes in call tracking through the use of another or additional phone number. One such vendor is Grasshopper. Some of these vendors are free or very inexpensive. If you give them a try, we assure you will be surprised at the effectiveness or lack thereof of your various marketing tactics.
The If's and But's...
Many businesses seem to forget that the purpose of a coupon or great offer is to entice people to purchase their goods and services! Some offers seem like the owners don’t really want people to redeem them and this is called the If’s and But’s of coupon advertising, the disclaimers. Some offers read “come try us out”…but only if…and only when…, but not with…” It’s like saying “Get $40 off on a piano lesson, but only if it’s your first time and only if you sign up for a full month of lessons, as well as pay a registration fee.” Basically, they want you to sign up for $200 to give you $40. Imagine if Walmart wanted you to sign up for $200 worth of peanut butter if you wanted to try their samples at the store! So why couldn’t they just offer $40 off the first music lesson? If their product or service is worth it, then I’ll become a customer, right? If what they are saying is that they are afraid that I will try their product or service and leave, then what they are really saying is that their product or service is not good enough for me to remain a repeat customer!
A few months ago, we received a coupon offer for 1/2 off to an Indian restaurant. We’d never eaten at one before, but we decided to try it. The food was amazing, the service was excellent, and when it came time to pay, we gave the server our coupon. She not only gave us the discount, but told us to keep the coupon to use it again another time. Now, this restaurant has become one of our favorites and we frequent there about once or twice a month!
The Lifetime Value of a Customer...
The key for any business owner to feel good about a coupon or great offer is to know how much a customer is worth. The typical customer is not just worth the amount he or she consumes or uses on the transaction that resulted from the coupon, but more importantly, about whether or not the customer will likely come back. A customer may be worth two or three times the initial amount they spend, even more if they frequently keep coming back. There’s also the word-of-mouth effect that each happy customer spreads as they tell their friends and family about their great experience. The word-of-mouth travels fast as many businesses know and understand. The true value of a lifetime customer is priceless these days and can make or break many businesses with good or bad reviews.
The Fear of the Coupon Shopper…
Is your product or service a commodity? Probably not. So, if you’re afraid of getting only the coupon shopper to redeem your offer, then you are not presenting a good and sustainable value proposition. What is it that makes your business better than your competitors? Hopefully your answer is more than just “I’m cheaper.” The reality is that there are coupon shoppers out there and there are industries that are more prone to coupon shoppers than others. But for the most part, people use coupons to try products and services out. If yours are good, then they’ll stay!
Is My Brand Cheapened by Coupons?
Direct response marketing is NOT the same as Branding. Branding and Brand awareness is achieved over a long period of time, but a coupon has the goal of bringing a person in to do business with your company today. The coupon offer has almost nothing to do with your branding other than the use of your logo, slogan, and look, etc. Every business can benefit from having incentives for people to try out their products or services, even high-end brands that have several outlets or dealers who promote them. Companies such as Nordstroms, Neiman Marcus, Giorgio Armani, and Mercedes-Benz offer coupons. It coupons are good enough for the high-end brands, then they’re good enough for you and your business!
Be Where Your Customers Are...
Coupons are shown online as well as offline, so you should always think about your target market and where they are most likely to see your coupon offer. It’s also important to consider whether your target market is interested in buying when they see your offer so that you get the best chance of getting the right people to try your product or service at the right time.
Coupons & Great Offers Work!
At the end of the day, what truly matters is that people are actually using and redeeming your coupons, trying your products and/or services and becoming regular customers. Always remember to do your homework, calculate your “cost-per-call” and make sure you completely understand the value of a customer before you begin your marketing campaign.
Attracting New Customers…
Attract new customers with direct digital advertising by being there at the moment customers are choosing a product or service they need or want. Cross-selling and Up-selling customers with offers inside of offers can increase your bottom line and boost new sales. For instance, a consumer saves money on a product like fertilizer for their yard and also receives an offer for a discount on lawn mowing services. Keeping the customer happy and offering them incentives to use your wide variety of other products and services keeps them coming back for more and spreading the word-of-mouth advertising that every business enjoys, needs and wants!
QR Codes on Coupons can Lead to Long Term Customer Relationships...
When used intelligently, Quick Response codes (more commonly known as “QR codes”) can foster a long-term, two-way, one-to-one relationship with your customers. First, what is a QR code and how can you generate a free QR code? When someone snaps a picture of a QR code using the camera on their smart phone, their phone will launch the web link you embedded in the QR code. You can generate QR codes fast and free only by searching “free QR code generator.” This allows the consumer to jump from your coupon directly to your webpage, where you can offer more information and perhaps get them to subscribe to your e-newsletter, etc.
QR codes are small and they can easily be integrated into the design layout of your coupon. We do not recommend using a QR code to embed a link to your home page. Rather than expecting an interested consumer to search your site for relevant information, you should link them directly to your offer or create a web destination tailored specifically to that coupon customer. Not everyone knows what to do with a QR code, so consider including instructions and a reason to use the QR code. For example, “Snap a photo of the QR code with your phone to access even more discounted products and services!”
Coupon Design Considerations…
When designing a coupon offer, there are some required elements and the following optional elements:
- Show Your Product or Service – Use photography or illustrations because a picture is worth a thousand words. Possibilities include: (A) show your product’s packaging for easy identification purposes, (B) show or explain the benefits or outcome of using your product or service, (C) show an emotion and/or human aspect of your product or service. A smile goes a long way when it comes to making an impression about your products or services.
- The Other Side or Unlimited Sides – If your coupon will appear in a booklet or double-sided offer, or you’ve got unlimited space, make sure the back of the coupon or extended pages of the coupon contain secondary but information information that won’t be missed and is very important to the consumer. Don’t repeat the same offer over and over again and duplicate the coupon several times. Instead, explain the features and benefits of your products and services.
Successful Coupon Strategy Secrets...
How to differentiate your business from your competitors is not only a question you need to ask yourself, but it’s a necessary one when competing in today’s aggressive modern marketplace. As consumers become more savvy, it’s not only the smart thing for you to do, but a necessity to becoming and staying successful. That’s why giving discounts and valuable coupon incentives is the smart, simple strategy that keeps customers, new and old, coming back to purchase from you, allowing your business to survive and thrive.
Why coupons and offers? While lowering your prices, no matter how slight, may not seem like the best business practice, you may be pleasantly surprised at how successful a discount and coupon campaign can be. Increasing sales is the overall goal for you and your business as it is for every business. There’s also many other benefits to incorporating the strategy outside of just the numbers. We’ve taken some time to put together the pros of using valuable coupons and great offers. Here are some of our recommended secrets to success:
- Boost Customer Loyalty – Customers love getting a good deal when they buy something and they respond extremely well to discounts or coupon incentives. While a nominal discount might not seem enticing from your perspective, from the eyes of your customers it can make all the difference in how they perceive their experience with your company. Customers return to companies that give back and coupon offers are a great way to build the customer loyalty and repeat business you’re looking for.
- Increase Your Average Order Value (AOV) – While a discount is intended to lower prices, implementing a percentage off purchases over a certain dollar amount may actually increase your customer’s average order value or spend. If a customer has to spend a little more in order to receive a discount, they’re more likely to invest a bit more to redeem the deal and take advantage of the offer. When customers are required to reach a purchase minimum in order to earn a percentage off or receive the savings, the incentive, in turn, increases your AOV so it’s a win-win for everyone!
- Increase Your Conversion Rate and Overall Sales – Many businesses see the traffic, but have a hard time capturing the customer’s purchase. A valuable coupon or a great offer can be the little push customers need to make a real-time purchase. Incentivizing purchases on-site could ultimately assist and help convert a visitor into a customer, as sometimes a small gesture goes a long way. Over 50% of shoppers who used a coupon offer said that if they hadn’t received the discount, they would not have made the purchase. So you see, even if you have visitors, converting them into a sale may not occur without proper incentive to seal and make the deal.
- Helping Businesses Stay Competitive – It always helps if you’re doing something your competitor might not be doing or hasn’t done yet for their customers by offering a discount. By creating a differential point with customers, you can show them that you care, give back a little, and at the same time give yourself, and your company, a competitive edge. Remember, when businesses are only out to get sales, customers are always the first to notice. A good discount, even a little one, goes a long way.
- Attracting New & Old Customers – Discounts and coupons are an amazing way to attract not only new customers, but also to bring back previous purchasers. Offers incentivize new visitors and give them a reason to buy from you, while also giving previous customers a reason to do business with you again. It’s a win-win strategy that makes everyone happy.
Coupon Offers Secrets to Success…
The biggest side effect of using coupons is (accidentally) convincing customers not to pay full price for products and services. This may happen when businesses provide coupons too often and put themselves in a position where customers know they can get something for less if they hold out and try to negotiate. For this reason, you want to avoid overuse and tread lightly when implementing a coupon strategy for the first time. You can take the following steps and set yourself up for success, instead of failure, by using these strategy suggestions:
- Position your coupons as temporary and create urgency to purchase – By convincing your customers and potential ones that your coupon offers are temporary, you create an urgency to do business and buy now. If they believe the coupon offer will be there later, then they won’t purchase now and will expect a discount to be available every time they visit.
- Define the Length of Time a Coupon Discount will be Valid – Having a clearly defined length of time, such as a one-month promo offer, can create the urgency to motivate customers to buy now. In addition, the defined promo period will remind the late-to-the-show shoppers to buy now when a discount goes live. Otherwise, you may run out of stock or be too busy and the offer will expire.
- Use the Minimum Purchase Requirement Strategy – If you’re still not sure about using a promo with your coupon strategy, then at least establish a minimum purchase that feels right for your business. Begin by defining the value and what it means for you. Then, move forward with designing and rolling out your offer to your potential customers. Remember to always track the response and monitor the difference in performance so you know exactly what impact your offer had on your AOV.
Coupon promo strategies can be very fruitful for any and all types of businesses. Consumers, who are potential customers, are shopping and searching, at any given moment, for the products and services they need. Assuming they find your site, maximizing their visit by offering them an incentive is crucial. Remember even if they don’t purchase from you right away, it gives consumers and potential customers a great reason to come back to visit your site again.