Coupon advertising isn’t just a way to appease deal hunters. It’s an essential way to draw in new customers and retain them. With over 3 Billion coupons redeemed in the U.S. last year, and with Television advertising being one of the most expensive customer acquisition mediums available, it's no wonder why small businesses turn to Direct Mail to help them find new customers and keep them.
The Goals of Coupon Advertising:
- To acquire more customers—Use an attractive offer to get new customers through your door, or to visit your website. This is one of the biggest reasons businesses use coupons today and since direct mail is more affordable, it's used by small businesses who simply can't afford a full-service marketing agency. The offer is critical and you should make sure it's largely visible on your ad. Offer something broad-based that can be used by multiple people, at any time of the day or week.
- To get existing customers to buy more or more often—Offering occasional discounts can encourage your existing customers to keep coming back. One benefit is that existing customers can often be motivated by smaller discounts than a new customer can. So you should certainly have both types of discounts featured on your ad—A "Buy One, Get One Free" coupon is great for a first time customer whereas a "10% Off" coupon might attract a repeat customer.
- Target specific customers—To boost sales, you might target a specific customer, product or event. Examples include hairstyling coupons for prom night or entertainment centers for the Super Bowl. Using research data, you can target a select group of households based on income, or how they spend on your type of product or service.
- To stay competitive—Sometimes coupon advertising is simply obligatory. ECommerce businesses may need coupons to stay competitive with Amazon. But for businesses like pizza shops, customers may simply expect to find coupons in the local paper or a package of coupons, like the ones you'll find in Money Mailer.
How to Write a Coupon:
Writing the coupon itself is a very simple process. Whether your coupon will be printed, emailed or distributed to online, the coupon should contain 4 parts: The Title, Body, Terms and Expiration. Here’s how you should write each part:
- Coupon Title—Your title should be short and simple and you should try to use just two words: “[Your Discount] OFF.” For example, “$10 OFF” or “25% OFF.” Why so short? Whether customers find your coupon in the mailbox, email inbox, or on a coupon website, they’re likely shuffling through a lot of other offers. You need to write your coupon in a way that makes it stand out. Titles like “Check out our exclusive offers” or, “Save loads on lawn care” may seem like a good option. But without specific numbers, customers are more likely to gloss over it.
- Coupon Body—This is where you explain exactly what customers get by redeeming the coupon. Like the title, keep it as simple and straightforward as possible. “Save 20% on all products store-wide.” Or “Save $10 when you spend $50 or more.”
- Terms & Conditions—If there are any exclusions that apply to your coupon, this is the “fine print” where you mention them. Common terms are “Offer valid for US customers only” or “Limit 1 per customer” or “Not valid with any other offers.”
- Expiration Date—Besides the title, the expiration date may be the most important part of your coupon. Neglecting to include one can get you into a heap of trouble. Likewise, not displaying it clear enough can result in a lot of angry customers. An average expiration date for print coupons is around 7 weeks, or just under 2 months.