Did you know that 94 percent of shoppers say they use coupons if they have them? It doesn't matter what their income is either, customers want discount offers.

That's why business coupons play such an important role in both digital and physical marketing. Whether you offer an instant discount or cash back, coupons can help draw customers to your products.

The following guide will give marketing tips for coupons and explain their benefits for businesses.

Business Coupons Via Email

Use a social media marketing strategy to get the most out of business coupons in today’s online world. For instance, require customers to give out their email addresses before they can receive coupons.

After a while, long-term marketing strategies grow by creating a base for email marketing. It can create repeat customers, announce new products, and link shoppers to other marketing campaigns.

You can obtain customer email addresses even if you go with physical coupons. Simply have customers give their name and email address at checkout to use the coupon.

Social Media Coupons

Consider using social media sites like Facebook or Instagram to circulate your business coupons. You can also deliver discounts and coupons through your personal business page via Facebook.

Shoppers can redeem the coupon they find on social media sites online or in the store. Keep in mind that a business page can also promote new products and events, and help engage with shoppers.

If you engage with repeat shoppers with discounts and company news, you can create healthier relationships. Coupons and discounts make a very positive impression and let shoppers know that your brand cares.

Key Benefits

When preparing a coupon system, consider how you want to improve your bottom line using the strategy. For instance, a customer using a coupon might purchase other products at their regular price.

Coupons can introduce new shoppers to your brand and products. Using social media and emailing can then convert them into long-term customers.

If a previous customer hasn't been to a store in a while, a coupon might make them come back. For instance, you can create a database and only send coupons to customers that haven't been in a few months.

Physical Coupons

Paper coupons help encourage repeat shopping, so you'll often find them handed out in stores or through coupon catalogs. If you're an online retailer, you can still use physical coupons to promote your social media accounts.

Sometimes physical coupons make more of an impression in today's digital world. Check out pgprint.com for physical coupon examples.

Online Coupon Codes

A lot of online businesses use sites with built-in coupon code functionality. It allows customers to obtain and redeem coupons right on the website.

Square is a very popular web platform for shopping online and uses an easy interface to handle coupon codes. Different platforms use different methods, but it's never been easier to set up an online coupon system.

How Customers Find Online Coupons

Customers use numerous sites that gather coupon codes from different retailers. Examples include Slickdeals, RetailsMeNot, and DealsPlus.

The websites work with retailers to promote and offer their coupons to new shoppers. Some shoppers even install browser extensions like Wikibuy to find coupons when they're ready to check out online.

Coupon Platforms

You can offer coupons and offers using a mixture of platforms to appeal to different shoppers. For example, some businesses still print their coupons in newspapers to reach older shoppers.

Consider offering a mixture of online printable coupons, manufacturer coupons, app coupons, online codes, and rebates. The more diverse your coupon offerings, the more shoppers you'll attract.

Visual Appeal

If your coupons have an interesting visual appeal, it helps your business stand out from the competition. For instance, new printing technology can add special effects to coupons.

Of course, adding special effects to your coupons adds to the cost. But if it helps shoppers remember to use them and visit your store, it's worth the investment.

Using Technology

Electronic coupons give you the opportunity to use technology to boost their effect. For example, you can include a pop-up ad or recorded message to get more advertisement power out of your online coupon.

Try using QR codes to help shoppers quickly access their coupons. It's a 2-D barcode that lets shoppers transfer information to their cellphones faster than typing it in.

QR codes also help companies send follow-up emails and texts after a shopper redeems the coupon.

Coupons for Rewards

Businesses often use rewards programs to create loyalty with their shoppers. It also gives shoppers the incentive to keep visiting a store to earn rewards. One old-school example of this is the punch card offered at some restaurants.

You can even offer coupons via rewards programs to create a stronger incentive. Coupons usually help boost a brand's online following because many shoppers track their rewards online.

Risks to Consider

Small businesses must use caution so that the cost of coupons doesn't hurt their cash flow. Sometimes discounts reduce margins below decent levels which makes it hard to survive.

Remember that if a coupon becomes too popular with shoppers, you might not be able to honor all of them.

Alternative Discount Ideas

Coupons don't always have to include a discount offer. You can use alternatives like offering free services instead of taking a percentage out of purchases.

Small hotels often provide free parking or Wi-Fi to draw in customers. Spas often run specials that include an extra service that might appeal to customers.

Offering a few free things that don’t cost much for your business helps get customers to spend more on your primary products. Choose your free offers carefully and make sure they don't create added labor or effort on your end.

Keep Your Promise

With coupons, you never want to promise your shoppers too much and then underdeliver. You must deliver the discount when shoppers try to redeem the coupon.

Don't get ahead of yourself and only offer what you can back up. For example, don't try to lock down hundreds of new customers if you can only handle 50. Apply a reasonable cap limit to the number of coupons you print and redeem.

If you're too aggressive and don't deliver, it can really hurt the image of your brand. Online reviews are incredibly important to modern businesses, and customers who can't redeem coupons won't hesitate to speak their minds.

Create a Strategy

When it comes to offering coupons, never wing it. It takes a lot of forward-thinking and planning for the coupon strategy to work. Small businesses have to look at every discount closely because they don't have a big margin for error as larger companies do.

If a small business put out a bad deal, it might draw in shoppers but ruin their business financially. Find the needs of your customers and only offer relevant deals.

Calculate your return on coupon investments and what expenses you might come across. Remember, the coupon is only successful if it helps profit margins, not if it hurts them.

Consistent Advertising

Avoid making the common mistake of not advertising your small business consistently. This is especially crucial if you have an active deal open to shoppers.

Manage your expectations and think about the volume and frequency you wish to distribute coupons. For example, a roofing company might have more success sending a few coupons after storms rather than sending thousands once a year.

Creating a Sense of Urgency

If a coupon doesn't expire, shoppers don't feel like they need to take action and they might forget or lose the discount. It doesn't matter how great the deal is, it's not effective if it isn't used. They might wait until payday or find a different purchase instead.

Marketing your coupons with urgency reminds shoppers that they only have so much time to get an amazing deal. The goal is to force a faster response time with your customers.

Live gets busy, and people forget to use discounts they have all the time. Fortunately, urgency also improves the use rates of coupons. Marketing coupons with urgency lets you convert the highest number of people into actual shoppers.

You can build a sense of urgency using basic coupons by merely altering the length of an entire promo campaign. It's even easier to create urgency if you use special promo codes.

For instance, you can designate an hour time limit for individual coupon codes. Once a shopper opens an email, that's when the timer for their coupon starts.

Creating urgency with your coupons makes them seem more valuable to the customers. It indicates that you’ve presented them with the best bargain possible and that they must act fast before it slips away.

These kinds of coupons work well for customers on the fence about making a purchase. For instance, some emailed coupons function to limit customers abandoning their online shopping carts.

Customer Personalization

Sometimes it's not enough to simply offer shoppers coupons and discounts. They often expect personalized bargains and offers so they can get exactly what they want from your store.

A lot of customers only like coupons if they're relevant to past transactions with a business. The problem is that a lot of customers also don't like sharing their personal information with stores.

Be careful if you decide to personalize your coupons so that you don't scare shoppers. You want to give them relevant coupons, but you don't want them to think your business data mines their customers.

Only use information that shoppers have willingly shared with your business such as purchase history and basic account information.  Consider things like birthday coupons and annual anniversary coupons.

You might also notice that it's been a while since a customer has shopped with your business. After a certain amount of time passes, send them a coupon to get them back and let them know you haven't forgotten them.

The main goal of personalized coupons is to offer something that feels exclusive and specific. Single-use promo codes make personalization easier and more detailed.

With single-use coupon codes, you can base the discount amount on past shopping habits. Ensuring that the customer feels thought of means they're more likely to respond. 

Customer and Influencer Engagement

Today, most of the world's population spends some amount of time using social media platforms. So, businesses tend to use influencers to reach new customers.

Shoppers trust other shoppers, and influencers help assure them that you have a product or service worth buying. Peer recommendations often work much better than traditional advertisements.

However, influencers don't always have to be famous on Instagram or YouTube to help your business. Your current customers can often influence potential shoppers more than anyone else.

Uber is a great example of a company that uses its customers to generate new customers. They offer coupons to current customers if they share the service with their friends and family.

With this method, a customer receives a coupon code after they successfully get someone else to use a service. The peer they recruit usually receives the same coupon as well, and the opportunity to recruit more peers.

Utilizing Business Coupons

Now you know the many benefits of business coupons and how to create an effective strategy. Remember this guide and create a mix of physical, online, and personalized coupons to grow your customer base quickly.

Please check out the rest of our blog for more interesting marketing tips and small business advice.