1 - Have a clear goal for your promotion. What type of product are you creating the coupon for? Is it something that clients would consider buying if there were no promotion? You want the promotion to entice them to come back. What does the product do for your business? You don’t want to discount a high end product to the point where you would be losing money but at the same time you want the product to reflect the overall quality of your business. Be careful about what you are offering. While “FREE” always catches people’s attention, it might not be the attention you want. The word ‘free’ sometimes seems too good to be true and makes people wonder if there is a hidden incentive or specific reason why the product is free (i.e. is there something wrong with the product). It also can deflect attention because people get caught up in getting that specific product because it is free that they don’t take the time to look around to see what else you have to offer. In most cases, it is better to do a conditional or discount promotion rather than offering something simply for free.
2 - Seek out partnership opportunities. Networking has endless opportunities and that includes the realm of promotions. Doing a joint promotion with businesses nearby or with similar, complimentary products can be a business booster for everyone involved. For example: If your business rents out equipment for events you might consider doing a joint promotion with a local venue or an event planner. If they rent your equipment they get a discount on renting the venue and vise-versa. Contests such as a business card drop can encourage networking. Have a bowl for people to drop their business card into and once a month draw one for a small free gift. People might not remember dropping their card but following up with a small gift will no doubt refresh their memory. Networking is a great way to promote each other’s businesses and also establishes strong business relationships.
3 - Make it easy. You don’t have to have a fancy system in place to track coupons. Consider adding tracking codes to coupons to find out where people are getting the coupons and taking advantage of the offer. It is a way to analyze your marketing strategies and evaluate which ones are working better than others. For example: If you notice more coupons coming in from the internet rather than the local paper it might be possible that more people track your business through the internet. Knowing this is helpful in deciding where and how much energy and resources to put into each area of marketing. Knowing where to expose yourself is just as useful as knowing how to promote your business. Adding tracking codes can be as easy as putting a different phone number than your regular business line or adding a letter or color for each location to keep track of where the coupons are coming from.
4 - Have fun with your promotions. Coupons can help bring in business during slow times. If your business can take advantage of any holiday or local event, by all means give it a try. With Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day coming up be creative in your promotion and have fun with it.
If you still have concerns about whether coupons will work for your business, look around at other similar, local businesses and see how their promotions are working for them. Take advantage and learn from other business successes and failures. And remember to always put an expiration date, otherwise you will be honoring the coupon for the life of your business. Best of luck with your creative coupon strategies!
Information for this column was compiled from entrepreneur.com
- April Pagan