The coupon phenomenon – from coupon to loyal customer

How often have you used a coupon to get a deal from a business, and then continue to go back, without a coupon?

It’s ironic, but clearly if I stumble across a restaurant or retailer, and go in and make a purchase without a coupon, I’m often much more willing to go back, as long as I had a good experience. If however, the first time I interacted with that business was because of the offer on a coupon I redeemed, I’m less likely to go back without a coupon.

I don’t think there is any official research on this, but I’m open to responses on this post. This line of thinking gets to my next point, how do you convert a bargain shopper into a loyal customer?

First and foremost, coupon or not, if you don’t provide a great experience for the customer, there’s not much of a chance that any marketing program, no matter how good is going to get that customer back in.  Let’s just say this first time, coupon customer did have a great experience, how do you overcome the coupon mindset to keep them coming back. Giving them a coupon each time just isn’t realistic, or is it?

I’m a strong believer in rewarding the loyal customers and integrating a loyalty program. Locally, Duffy’s Restaurants promote their MVP cards and reward loyal diners with a $10 credit, for every $100 spent. That customer that may have been lured in to try Duffy’s with a coupon, and had a great experience will be very receptive to ongoing discounts as part of a loyalty program.

Other than collecting an email address, loyalty programs are the golden chalice of customer retention. The only downfall of these programs are poor execution, or poor communication and understanding the value of being part of the program. If you have a CVS card you can probably relate. I mean, what do you really get with that card? Who knows…all I know is even if I don’t have the card, the clerk scans a code and I get a discount or something.

The other issue is how many loyalty cards is one person realistically going to carry with them? There are some new options but none have really caught on. An app in development by www.newtopalmbeach.com has shown some exciting promise. The app will organize all of the local loyalty programs into one app, so you just have to download it once, and you will get rewarded each time you frequent these establishments.

No matter how you choose to execute your loyalty program, it remains a key component to move your small margin coupon shoppers into an ongoing steady source of revenue and referrals for your business.

Everything old is new again…really new!

Some of you may remember a face to face marketing company that would basically drive up to the homes of new residents, in their station wagon, and deliver a basket of house-warming gifts from paid advertisers….Brilliant!

Logistically, we can see how this business model would have a tough time surviving today, but the marketing strategy of being the first business to welcome a new resident remains highly coveted, yet poorly executed.

Enter ‘New To Palm Beach’ (.com of course!). This is the first time in a long time that a tradigital marketing program offers advertisers this ability to specifically target new residents to Palm Beach County. Using direct mail, New To Palm Beach (N2PB) will send an average of 10,000 new residents each month, a coupon book filled with exclusive offers from a limited number of advertisers.

These coupons will arrive in a custom envelope and includes a free fridge magnet inside. As consumers flip through the book and redeem the offers that most appeal to their needs, they will be asked to visit the website to register for more offers. Redemption rates from these coupons are estimated in the 20% range based on the presentation and appeal to the target market (as well as statistics from similar programs), where a typical stand-alone ‘direct mail’ piece averages only 1% to 3%.

At www.newtopalmbeach.com consumers will have the ability to print additional coupons, access the blog with features of local businesses (written by Aaron Wormus – ‘A Guy On Clematis’), as well as to sign up to receive updates from the community events calendar. This website, along with its social media network including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will keep loyal customers engaged and returning to redeem additional offers and to get the scoop on the latest in Palm Beach County.

The beauty of the website will be in its ability to collect ‘hyper-local’ information, and offer email marketing down to the zip-code level. This type of information will allow even a one location ‘cleaners’ on the corner of Jog and Hypoluxo to target an email offer, with very little waste and a high probability of conversion.
So while N2PB uses the mail and an ‘electronic wagon’ to welcome new residents, the focus remains on being the first to reach this lucrative market, which has yet to establish their buying patterns.

If you are a business owner and would like additional information on how to get involved, please visit N2PB.com. And to keep things interesting, all residents who register online will have a chance to enter and win a new iPad mini!

5 Reasons why your coupons aren’t working (and why you still keep doing them!)

It seems logical that since ‘everybody’ wants to save money, offering a coupon can entice someone to ‘give you a try’, which turns into increased sales, and new customers.  The age old tradition of coupons seems to be bigger than ever. With the likes of Living Social and Groupon, coupons have reached an all-time high, yet there are many mixed results, let’s review some of the most common reasons why many coupon efforts fail, and how you can make improvements.

1. Nobody knows you – When you offer a coupon and you’re a relatively new company, offering a relatively new product or service, ‘couponing’ your way into the mainstream is not the most effective strategy. First, the perception of a coupon from a company that no one has ever heard of is that the product or service isn’t selling, so they had to discount it. Now you’re giving away your goods because nobody wants them, bad way to start!

2. No perceived value – Picking up on the ‘couponing’ mentality, if the consumer has no perceived value of your offer, it means nothing to them. This effect can come from the first point that nobody knows you, hence they don’t realize the value of your product or service, or your ‘15% Off’ does not entice them because they don’t know what the real savings is.

3. Competing on Price – Everybody wants a good deal, but when you create a business model based on your coupons you are sliding down a very slippery slope. Now you are training your customers (who may be willing to pay full price for the great value, service that you provide), to wait until you have an offer to come in.

4. Promoting ‘cheap’ instead of rewarding ‘loyalty’ – As coupons have the general effect of rewarding the ‘cheap’ to bring in new customers, it often does not create the loyalty you’re looking for. I believe all discounts should be tied into a loyalty program, rewarding consumers for being consistent patrons. This also builds a sense of partnership with your consumers as, they feel appreciated since not everyone who comes in with a coupon can get the same reward they do – hence they earned it.

5. No data – You print a coupon, you get the 1 or 2% conversion, bring in a bunch of customers who just wanted the deal, use the coupon, save the money, cut into your margins (many times coupons are loss leaders), and you never see them again until the next coupon. The worst part of this is that you don’t even know who these people are. You did not collect an email, ‘Liked’ us on Facebook, etc. All coupon offers should have an opportunity to be redeemed online, on your website of landing page, with a simple name and email opt-in so that you can build your database and not start from scratch every time you publish a new coupon.

These are the main reasons why your crazy cycle of coupon marketing is not working, yet you keep doing it.  On the occasional chance that it does work, it does not build up momentum from one offer to the next.

Let us show you a ‘Tradigital’ strategy can increase the results of your couponing by 35% or more, while building your own audience of engaged consumers on your website, email marketing and social media channels.