One thing’s for sure: when done correctly, couponing can be highly lucrative for your business.
Why is this such a business propellant? It boosts engagement and drives forward customer loyalty.
So let’s first find out whether coupons are right for your company, then we’ll look at some of the best examples of email coupons for all types of businesses.
All brands depend on customer loyalty. High-quality services and products, impeccable customer service, and consistency are all key to building and maintaining this loyalty among customers.
And, according to recent research—return customers will spend approximately 120% more than new ones. So placing focus on loyalty programs is more than worth it. And one way to improve this loyalty is through coupons, which can obviously be highly effective.
But will couponing work for your brand?
Before saying yay or nay, it’s important to consider your overall strategy. For example, if you’re a high-end luxury brand, vast discounts and continuous sales might have a detrimental effect on your brand’s image. So loyalty-based offers may work more in your favor (this is also the case if you’re working with small margins).
However, if you have good profit margins and can afford to offer larger discounts and lots of sales, these may be better for reaching your targets.
Overall, you need to carefully consider what coupons are right for your brand. This will often involve a little trial and error as you test, measure the results, optimize, and try again.
It’s also important to note that email coupons aren’t reserved solely for e-commerce businesses. While they do work exceptionally well for these types of businesses, they can also prove successful for service-based companies (e.g. cleaners, electricians, and hairdressers) and brick-and-mortar stores.
Once you have your goal in mind, you can start creating offers that’ll help you reach these specific targets. Of course you’ll also need to keep your offer messages on-brand.
Here are some great ideas for coupons you can send to bolster customer acquisition and retention.
These are your standard sales that help boost conversions. You might run them at the end of a particular season—if you’re a fashion retailer, for example—or you might run one every month to try and increase your monthly sales.
Not only will these offers help improve your sales, but they’ll help improve loyalty among customers as they come to expect these regular discounts and offers. Therefore, if they’re keen to purchase something, they may wait to buy it from you because they know they’ll get a good discount.
Other seasonal periods to consider include Black Friday, the holiday season, and any usual sale periods within your industry.
A great way to get people to sign up to your mailing list is to offer an incentive. This may be a coupon code for their first order, like free delivery, a specific discount, or a free gift.
Having customers’ email addresses will help strengthen your relationship with them as you’re able to offer relevant content to them at the right time. With segmentation, you can also get to know their preferences so you can send personalized coupons. This will make customers feel loyal as they’ll feel as though your brand has taken the time to get to know them and is offering a humanistic approach to their customer journey.
If you have a brick-and-mortar store or you operate in specific areas, location-based codes can work to your advantage.
For example, you may offer customers 10% off their next in-store purchase if they visit your new store in Tampa, FL. Or, you could run a campaign that gives customers free delivery for a limited time only in a specific area.
This helps build an enticing, rewarding experience for your customers. They’ll feel as though they’re selected personally by you and not just a random number picked up from your subscriber list.
Customers want to feel as though they’re getting something exclusive, something that’s not accessible to absolutely everyone.
Member-only discounts are a fantastic way to induce this feeling of exclusivity, particularly if you’re a premium brand. You can reward customers’ loyalty with elite, closed sales that no one else has access to.
A large number of organizations offer a points or rewards scheme that allows you to work toward a bigger discount or one-off voucher. You can use this for product- or service-based businesses, offering customers the chance to save up for a special deal after spending a certain amount on purchases or ordering a certain number of times.
For example, a hairdresser may offer customers a 25% discount on their sixth haircut.
Having this in place makes customers want to keep coming back to you for more. They know they’re working toward a discount, something they won’t get if they visit a competitor. And as Forrester’s latest study suggests, over three months, customers who are part of loyalty programs spend an average of $42.33 more.
This example from Starbucks shows how simple yet effective rewards schemes can be.
As we’ve already seen, coupons can work well in securing a customer’s first order. For example, after your initial signup offer, you may want to send a series of welcome emails that feature must-have discounts. This could be 30% off their first purchase if they order by a particular deadline.
However, you may also want to build on that ongoing customer relationship by offering a particular discount or offer for customers who regularly purchase from you. Instead of the rewards scheme, this would offer something like free delivery or a discount for repeat custom (within a certain timeframe).
Why not add an extra $5 for every friend they refer to you, too?
If you host events, you can reward those who have attended (whether virtually or in person) via free gifts or discounts. The gift could be a free download of an event guide, for example.
Offer these during or after the event to those on your event mailing list to aid your customer retention. Not only will it keep your brand in front of these customers but it’ll also incentivize them to attend your next event.
For example, a cooking store may offer free cooking classes once a month. Afterward, those who have attended receive a 10% discount for in-store purchases. Or, a technology company may run a free webinar before following up with a half-price offer on their latest study.
Whether you’re an online business, a service-based business, a brick-and-mortar store, or a mixture of these, you can use physical and online interaction to boost customer retention.
As point 3 explained, you can use location-based discounts to drive people into one of your stores. But you could equally point people toward your website from an in-store purchase, offering x-discount on their next purchase online.
Equally, service-based businesses may offer select discounts if people book online through their website.
This email from Topshop encourages customers to head in store to get their new jeans.
An intuitive way to reach out to a larger audience is to partner with an influencer in your industry. These bloggers or celebrities tend to have a great following already, providing maximum exposure for your brand.
Give each influencer an exclusive discount code that they can give to their followers. This will help transform their fans into your loyal customers.
To really build a sense of hype around your offers, why not turn them into a game?
You could do this by adding a banner to your website with a specific competition. For example, TopCashback often runs fun competitions where customers have to find hidden “treasures” around the site.
Image Source: Miles to the Wild
Alternatively, you could feature a pop-up on your site (or host an in-store competition) that allows customers to enter a prize draw by answering a question. The winner receives a one-off voucher.
The majority of businesses will utilize social media in some way or another, and building a following on the most relevant channels can really help drive more business your way.
One way to add an authentic touch to your social networks (and one that instills confidence in customers) is to get existing customers to share their experiences on social media. Offer specific discounts for customers who share their views about your brand and its product/services on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so on.
All of the aforementioned codes revolve around positive experiences. But why not take something negative and turn it into something positive, too?
Attach a code to your support ticket answers or live chat conversations to help sweeten the bad experience your customer had. This may help them feel accommodated for their troubles and valued as a customer.
With nearly 70% of customers agreeing that coupons help generate loyalty, now’s the time to implement a stellar couponing strategy within your email campaigns.
As we’ve seen, this doesn’t necessarily have to incorporate large discounts or offers, but this can simply include incentives that help make your customers feel valued.