Here is proof. It's my coupon organizer that fits in my purse and accompanies me everywhere. (I bought it at Staples and have seen them in office supply sections in Wal-Mart and Target).
Coupons serve a few marketing purposes:
- Draw you to a place of business
- Encourage you to buy a certain product
- Encourage you to buy within a certain time frame
- Encourage you to buy more goods or services in advance of needing them
- Simply serve as an advertisement for the product or service
Keeping the above in mind, I've noticed shortcomings in the past year in how companies and businesses use and honor coupons which has led me to develop a few tips for jazzing up your sales with coupons:
- In addition to standard coupon offerings and terms, include your company logo and picture of the product (if applicable) on the coupon. I have a coupon for Kellogg's breakfast cereals that doesn't include a picture of any of their cereals. Keep in mind that your coupon can be used as an advertisement. Don't miss the opportunity for your customers to see your product.
- Use your coupon as an advertisement. If you are a service business then a coupon offering a free consultation or service can pull people in the door. Make sure this coupon lists other services or products you provide.
- Don't forget to include your business address and phone number on the coupon. My daughter recently brought home a coupon for a free burrito from Planet Burrito for receiving good grades. The address for Planet Burrito was no where on the coupon - and neither was the phone number. This makes it too hard for me to figure out where to go.
- Never turn away business because the coupon is expired or not for the exact item or service. Give customers a little slack. There are experts who disagree with me on this and feel that you should never extend a coupon offering or make exceptions. Keep in mind that the goal of a coupon is to increase foot traffic and sales. Here's an example: On January 2nd I went to use a coupon for a free bowling game that expired on January 1st. Imagine how frustrated that made me feel! The bowling alley went ahead and honored the coupon - and that made me feel great! I bought 2 additional games for everyone. Mission accomplished for the bowling alley.
Remember that part of your coupon strategy is to monitor the effectiveness of a coupon campaign. You will want to know what product or service offerings got the most response, which publications best reached your target audience and the ROI of the campaign.