Coupons are one of the age old marketing hooks that often work to move sales, and increase engagement with a store or brand. In our modern day where purchases are made online through great research, and there’s almost nothing that can’t be compared – one wonders “do coupons make much of a difference?” and even “Is coupon marketing dead altogether?” Arguably, there are definitely a lot of ways in which coupons are greatly ineffective in a modern marketplace – and can even hurt the reputation of your brand. Conversely, when you use coupon marketing the right way, it can be very effective at growing your sales, and improving your brand image. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best ways to use coupons and coupon marketing effectively, and prove that “coupon marketing is absolutely not dead!”


Buzz, Not Blah

One of the things that turns consumers off about coupons is the “blah” factor. This is the all too common feeling associated with most coupon advertisements, where you get nothing accept raw discount and price numbers thrown in your face – sometimes by the page-full. This kind of messaging is ultimately negative, forcing the conversation into the purchasing arena without spending any time to establish your product’s value statement beforehand. Without the presence of a coupon, we’d never be so bold as to just yell “buy, buy, buy!” at our customers before selling them on our value whatsoever. So, to create real buzz and interest for your coupons and products, try talking about a product that’s brand new – or selling it like it’s new, and then offering a coupon discount later on in the messaging. This will actually make the coupon seem like an attractive opportunity – and not the focus in itself.

Mediums Matter

We’ve already alluded to the wrong way to present your coupons, mainly mass coupon ads in newspapers or online discount pages. These kinds of mediums not only annoy and disgust buyers with their “cheap-o” price driven marketing; but they can hurt the lasting image of your brand by casting you as a company that always focuses on low prices – without addressing quality first. Instead, distribute your coupons creatively, making them feel special to the people who receive them. For example, customize every business card you give your employees – creating a small coupon code on the back of each card with a message saying “we’re gonna hook you up here – just because you know Mary…” This kind of approach is fun, engaging – and again, puts the coupon last, behind the initial conversation about quality and customer service. Give it a try – you’ll likely generate some serious word of mouth surrounding your products and people.

Referrals as a Vehicle

Another way to incentivize coupon spending is to create a word of mouth marketing system, like a referral program. This is something where you give your existing customers a credit for each person they refer to your business, and the new customer a discount off their first purchase. It makes people feel like the coupons they get are exclusive, and it lets the referring customer/friend feel like they are giving gifts away, just by talking about your business. Everybody wins – and the coupons serve as great ways to track where your new customers are coming from, and what their buying habits are. It’s important that coupon based referral programs feel organic – and don’t get associated as another program forcing people to buy – and something that’s pushed too hard by a company onto its customers.