How to Use Coupon Codes to Promote your business

If you are an run an online ecommerce program, it’s very likely that you have come up against the coupon code dilemma. You offer a deal that allows customers to use a coupon code for a free item, free shipping, or to get a discount. However, what do you do when the promotion ends? If you leave the box open, studies have shown that customers will pause in the transaction and go search for a code, sometimes leading to cart abandonment and lost sales. However, you can use this coupon code to your advantage. In this post, I’ll discuss some some of those opportunities.

Loyalty programs

Loyalty programs were all the rage when ecommerce first started but, due to complex implementations and lack of customer sophistication, they never really caught on. Having a formal loyalty program may be too complicated, but maintaining an email mailing list isn’t. If you have an email list, ideally you should be mailing out once a week. For many businesses, though, that’s just not a reality. If you do have an email list, a bi-weekly or monthly email is doable and should really be the bare minimum. When you send out your email, make sure to include a coupon code. These codes don’t need to be big $10 off shipping or 5% off orders over $150. If you have an idea of how much it costs you to acquire a new customer, give away something below that. If you want to be clever, allow customers to signup to the email list right in the cart in a pop-up window, and give them the discount coupon on the spot.

Facebook

One restaurant in Arizona used their Facebook page to give their fans access to discount coupons and has been very successful with it. This can be hugely successful tactic if you understand the concept of edgerank. In most cases, people aren’t going to see your messages by visiting your page; instead, they are going to see it in their newsfeed. Edgerank calculates one person’s interest in another person or fan page by the interaction.  If they visit, click, like, read, or interact with another person or fan page, that person’s or page’s updates are more likely to appear in their news stream. So incentivize people to become fans of you on Facebook by displaying coupon codes only to your fans. Once edgerank establishes a bond, the content marketing aspect of your Facebook strategy will be much more effective.

Twitter

I’m at the point in my life where 99% of my music purchases are done through iTunes or Amazon. I honestly can’t remember the last physical CD I bought. I’m always on the lookout for specials or deals on new/interesting music, so one of the accounts I follow on Twitter is the amazonmp3 account. This account tweets out promotions on a regular basis to get customers used to buying music from Amazon and their new service. Interestingly enough, this was really big deal when Lady Gaga released her new album “Born This Way” tk for 99 cents. Lady Gaga became a huge part of Amazon’s war with iTunes for digital music customers. Why not use your Twitter account to tweet out limited time promotional codes?

So what are the takeaways from this post on how to use coupon codes to promote your business

  • Understand that coupon code boxes create a sense of frustration and even dissatisfaction for customers who feel they are missing out on savings.
  • Use the coupon code box to gain access to new or existing customer’s email addresses.
  • Use your email marketing to drive repeat business with coupon codes.
  • If possible, try to make it possible for new customers to get a coupon code immediately.
  • Give your Facebook fans access to coupon offers. This is a huge bonus in the edgerank algorithm and helps with your content marketing.
  • Use Twitter to promote limited time coupon codes.
  • Offering a discount and keeping an existing customer happy is almost always cheaper in the long run than acquiring a new customer.

photo credit: Photospin

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