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Profitable Coupon Strategies for Small Businesses

This post was written by jd on September 3, 2010
Posted Under: Business,Local Writers & Contributors

Lisa J. Lehr

by Lisa J. Lehr

Coupons are an especially effective strategy for brick-and-mortar, local-clientele businesses. They can work for online businesses as well, but too many potential buyers will decide not to print the coupon because it requires too much ink, because too many clicks are involved and they bail out along the way, or for any of a number of reasons associated with the short attention span Internet use is so famous for.

But coupons that are already printed and right in front of the customer’s face are tempting. So how do you leverage the power of coupons? Here are a few ideas.

Have a stack of them on your counter or in some high-traffic, prominent location at your business. You can mail them, but that can be costly, and without doing some market research, you’ll be mailing them to everyone rather than just your target market.

Swap coupons with another, complementary business. By complementary, we mean businesses that attract the same type of clientele. Pizza and ice cream go well together, as do pizza and video rentals; massage and fitness go together, as do massage and manicure; fitness and fast food aren’t as good a fit, and pairing pizza with manicure isn’t particularly obvious either. Choose your partner business carefully.

Here’s another strategy: a “50-50” coupon offering. Because of the time constraints of the deal, it works best if you have a website with an opt-in and a list of subscribers so you can send the offer to a large number of people at once. This is done as a broadcast, as explained in an earlier article: “Have you heard about the tool that can bring in 90% of your sales?”

So you send a limited offer to your list, say once a week or once a month. Depending on the size of your list, let’s say 100 coupons are available, and when they’re gone, they’re gone. People hurry to your website and those lucky 100 download the coupon. Yes, they will have to print it—but they will be motivated to do so.

The coupon is worth double its face value. For example, the coupon costs $25, and they can purchase $50 worth of goods or services with it. The catch is that they must pay for it immediately–they don’t simply print it and risk losing it or forgetting about it.

You get your $25 right away. The customer is motivated to make a purchase with you because he or she has essentially put down a $25 deposit. Depending on what your product or service is, the average customer may very well spend above and beyond the $50. If you’re a restaurant, for example, where a group of four will spend $100 on a nice dinner, they’re getting a bargain because they’ve saved $25. You’ve made a profit, and you’ve gained four loyal customers. Everybody wins!

The small business owner who capitalizes on simple strategies like these will be the one who survives in any economy.

Lisa J. Lehr is a writer and copywriter living in Grass Valley. She can help you promote your business with a full range of online and offline marketing pieces. A member of Empire Toastmasters, she’s available to speak to your business or professional group. Visit her website www.justrightcopy.com for more information, opt in for the message series, and receive a free Marketing Guide.

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