Should Small Town Business Use Online Coupon Marketing?

by Joanne Steele on August 26, 2010

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On Tuesday I heard a report on National Public Radio about the tremendous success some businesses were having with online coupon marketing.

I wondered if this would be a good option for the small town business community that I work with.

Here are some thoughts about online coupon marketing:

Coupons are a great way to get new customers into your business.

People are looking for great deals nowadays, and coupon usage is at an all time high.

You have an opportunity to turn these new customers into satisfied, then loyal and repeat customers. Coupons just help you get them in the door in the first place.

You don’t have to lose control.

In the NPR episode, the businesses were using major coupon delivery companies like Groupon that have enormous email lists, delivering coupons to hundreds of thousands of potential customers.

It’s possible to create your own coupons and add them to your listings at Google Places and at your own website. You can send them out to your email list and post them on your Facebook page.

You can set expiration dates and percentage of discounts. You can pull the coupon if you get overwhelmed with customers.

You can use coupons to increase business during your slower times and to move overstocked items.

  • Free dessert with dinner Monday through Thursday.
  • Buy one, get a 25% discount when you buy a second one of our popular geegaws.
  • Fall special: Stay two nights and your third weekday night 50% off.

Four things to consider about online coupon marketing:

1. Have a clear purpose for instituting an online coupon marketing program. Increase sales, bring in more customers, move stock, make more money. Knowing your reason for having a coupon will help you design one that will achieve your goal.

2. Make the discount big enough to cause people to pay attention. Less than a 20% discount is probably not worth the time and energy to create the coupon.

3. Pay attention to your online coupon listing, updating it or removing it when it expires.

4. Capture the email addresses of coupon users so that you can use other online marketing resources to turn them into repeat customers.

Tell us about your experiences with online coupon marketing.

Thanks kyz, great photo on Flickr

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