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Benefits of coupon websites for business
Targeted local advertising
Coupon websites have customer databases that can be sorted according to customer location. Your offer will go out to subscribers in your area, advertising your business to a large local audience. Local customers are more likely than others to visit your business, and more likely to become repeat customers.
Coupon offers are sent to thousands of subscribers, and are visible to everybody who visits a coupon website. Some sites even provide accompanying television advertising. Few small businesses could afford to achieve this mass exposure in any other way.
Coupon websites are sometimes known as 'social coupon websites' because of the role that customers play in spreading information about good deals. Many deals go 'viral', as customers post details and links on social media such as Twitter and Facebook.
Bargain sites have sprung up (e.g. OzBargain) that are driven entirely by customers finding and posting good coupon deals from other places. When Gap clothing store in the United States posted a '$50 of clothing for $25' deal on Groupon, promotion by customers through social media saw 445,000 coupons sold in 1 day.
Increased brand awareness
With its advertising reach and word-of-mouth publicity, a coupon promotion can dramatically increase awareness of your business, both locally and elsewhere.
Increasing brand awareness this way can be especially helpful if your business is new, or if you don't have a strong street presence (e.g. you're a mechanic tucked away at the back of an industrial estate, or an online or home-based provider).
Coupon marketing is generally very effective at attracting new customers, who will certainly boost your sales (though not necessarily your profits). Once a new customer visits your business, you have an opportunity to turn them into a repeat customer. Their repeat custom is worth far more to you than their first visit.
Learn more about how to keep new customers and other tips for successful coupon marketing.
Up-sell and cross-sell
A carefully planned coupon offer should incorporate opportunities for you to up-sell (offer a higher-priced product in the same category) or cross-sell (offer related products or services).
For example, if a coupon offers a $10 discount on the lowest-priced headphones in your electronics store, you can encourage coupon customers to use the discount on more expensive, better-quality headphones. This allows the customer to get the same discount but spend more, increasing your profit.
Or, if you're a beauty salon offering discount massages, each customer who rings to make a booking could also be offered a pedicure or manicure. If they accept, your profit on the extra service may cover the financial loss of the discount.
Coupon websites operate quickly compared to traditional marketing. An offer can be sent immediately to the inboxes of thousands of subscribers.
Subscribers can purchase a coupon as soon as they read about your offer, and may visit your business soon afterwards. You can also drive sales by requiring quick redemption of coupons.
For example, if you're a sporting goods store wanting to clear out football club merchandise at the end of the season, you can stipulate that all vouchers must be redeemed within a fortnight. For this reason, coupon websites are particularly good for clearing excess and superseded stock.
No upfront advertising costs
Unlike many forms of advertising, coupon websites don't require you to pay anything to run your offer and get your name in front of thousands of people. But remember you do need to be able to cover the cost of honouring all the coupons sold.
While many coupon offers run at a financial loss for the business concerned, marketing experts say that it is possible to run a profitable coupon offer if you have the right business. If you have a low or fixed-cost structure, you may be able to increase customer numbers without significantly increasing your costs.
For example, if a tour operator already owns a van and pays a driver and guide, costs won't alter dramatically if 4 coupon customers join a half-day tour that already has 8 full-fee passengers. And the $40 paid by each coupon customer (for a tour that usually costs $80) still delivers some profit for the operator, even after the coupon site takes its 50% share. Another way to turn a profit on a coupon is to link a discount to a spend of a certain value (e.g. 'Save $20 when you spend $100').
Learn more about tips for effective coupon marketing.
Coupon offers are easy to track, so you can count the number of people who redeem a particular offer. Your financial systems should then allow you to calculate how much money each coupon customer has spent, including the value of the coupon and any extra purchases. In the longer term, a good customer database should let you track how many coupon customers visit your business again.
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