As a small business owner, you never want to be complacent with your current customer base. The truth is, people move, change and new competition is quick to pick up any slack. Whether you’re a start-up, recently established business or a well-known fixture in your community, coupons can be a relatively simple complement to your overall marketing strategy, if approached properly.
If you’ve decided to give coupons a try, here are seven easy steps to coupon success.
1. Determine What You Trying to Accomplish
The message you craft for your coupon strategy and your method of getting your coupon in the hands of the right customers will depend on how you answer this question.
Your objective might be one of the following:
- Building your customer base
- Encouraging prospective customers to choose you over the competition
- Encouraging existing customers to buy more
- Increasing loyalty among existing customers
- Unloading product or drumming up business during a slow period
2. Only Choose One Goal at a Time
It’s key to only focus on one objective at once. There may be an overlap in objectives, such as introducing your business to prospective customers and encouraging brand switching, but that’s ok. You will have a greater degree of success if you focus on one goal at a time.
3. Ask Yourself What Your Customers Want
Think about it. If you were your customer, what would you want? Ask your employees and the people around you that you trust what they would want from your business? You may be surprised by what they tell you.
4. Be Creative with Your Offering
You don’t have to be gimmicky to be creative. A new pet store may offer a one-time coupon for a free treat for your pet. Or a local meat-shop might offer a Valentine’s Day candlelight dinner special and throw in a small tealight candle, which can be bought in bulk for next to nothing.
5. Get Your Coupon in the Right Hands
This depends on who you’re targeting, such as local papers, coupon books, social media, tourism centres or schools. Be creative in your approach, and get to know the other small businesses in your community.
For example, if you’re a new coffee shop, build a relationship with the bookstore up the street where they could give out your coupons to their best customers. Connect with a realtor who could give out discount coupons for your house cleaning service. Give the yoga studio around the corner a limited number of coupons for your salad bar, so they can give them out to their clients.
6. Match Your Coupon to Your Brand
Make sure your coupon design matches your brand. It must be eye-catching, easy to read and include all of the pertinent details about your offer. It’s worth the investment to have it designed professionally. Also, make sure you proofread it, and give it to someone else to proofread it, too.
7. Is it Working?
Are you getting the best bang for your budget? Keep track of where your coupons are coming from and how many are used. And take the time to test what works for your business, and don’t be afraid to negotiate with local publications like newspapers, magazines and flyers to make sure you’re getting the best placement and price possible, as your business is important to them.
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