Radio and television ads can be expensive and it can be difficult to determine their effectiveness. Creating a marketing campaign using coupon advertising can be a cost effective way to increase business traffic. If a coupon campaign is done properly, the company can get an idea of its effectiveness compared to radio and television ads.
Coupon Advertising Targeting Methods
There are quite a few options when it comes to coupon advertising target methods. The best type of media methods for targeting customers largely depends on the business model. Some of the different types of media methods for coupon market targeting include:
Newspaper inserts – can be quite expensive. Normally larger retail stores use newspaper inserts due to the mass circulation. This method targets the masses and is not a good choice for niche type business.
Bargain classified print – is a much cheaper method than newspaper inserts that targets a large consumer base. Bargain classified print is usually mass mailed and has a large variety of advertisers in each publication. The business usually can pick certain zip codes or geographical areas of their choosing.
Company website – If a company has their own website and caters to a local area, using coupons on the website is extremely cost effective. If the Webmaster is an employee of the company, the cost is virtually zero. There should be a link to coupons or specials that is easy for the user to find.
Direct mail – can be expensive. Besides the print material there’s also the cost of postage to consider. If a company can procure a mailing list for consumers that are more apt to buy their product, direct mail can be a very effective form of coupon advertising. Procuring a mailing list of consumers from an outside source can also add to the cost of direct mail.
The Importance of a Coupon Expiration Date
One reason that an expiration date is printed on coupons is for price protection from inflationary price increases. The most important reason however is not for price protection but to create a sense of urgency. If an expiration date is months away, the consumer is more likely to throw the coupon in a junk drawer and forget about it. By using an expiration date of less than thirty days, the consumer is more likely to use the coupon.
Coupon Marketing Campaign and the Competition
Before creating a coupon campaign, see what the competition is doing. If the competition is using coupon advertising, there are three main points that should be considered.
What advertising media are they using?
What products or services are they advertising?
What is the advertised price of the coupons?
A decision has to be made whether or not a different advertising media should be used, what products or services should be advertised and what prices should be used to beat the competition. Once these decisions are made, it’s important to discuss the coupon campaign details with the company employees that will have direct contact with the customers. Once a campaign has run its course, the effectiveness of the coupon campaign should be analyzed.
How to Implement Successful Promotions
Promotions are part of most small businesses. They range from % off costs to offering a prize to customers and everything in between. Small businesses have specific challenges and their promotions need to be approached differently than those of larger organisations. One of the biggest challenges in small business promotion is working with small budgets.
Small budgets mean more specific promotions
The most important part of any promotion is to figure out the goal of the promotion and then put processes in place to monitor the success of the promotion. Promotions are useful if they achieve their goal. This means that every promotion should have a goal to begin with. It’s important to figure out what the promotion is trying to achieve specifically.
Potential promotion reasons:
Increase brand awareness
Increase brand loyalty
Create a new market or expand an existing one
For example: A cafe introduces a new product; take-home meals. The goal of promotional activity is to increase brand awareness of the new product and the gauge of success is an increase in inquiries online and in store about the new product. Note that the gauge of success is not increased sales as that is not the goal of the promotion. It’s important to be clear on goals and the gauge of success.
Planning a Promotion
A plan for the promotion will assist in ensuring the promotion stays on track. Following is a simplified example of a promotional plan for the aforementioned cafe promotion:
Goal/Objective of the promotion: This should be specific eg. To increase awareness of the new product, ‘Take Home Meals’.
How success will be measured: Measures should be put in place in planning stages to ensure the campaign can be monitored. Eg. An increase in inquiries on website and in store
Target market/s: Choose a specific market. It may help to create a sample profile of your customer. Eg: Current customers and busy meal preparers.
Outline of the promotion and how it will achieve the specified goal: This is an outline of the logistics of the promotion. Eg: An email is sent to the current cafe database outlining the new product and the chance to win a week’s worth of family take away dinners by entering online or filling out a competition entry form at the counter.
Marketing Message: Outline the message that will be included in all marketing material. This will ensure continuity of the campaign, eg: The best solution for busy people. Don’t resort to junk food, take the cafe you love home with you.
Marketing Material: This is the specific material used. This should relate to the target market. Eg: Online form and brochure as well as in store competition forms. Posters and print ads.
Where and how the promotion will be communicated: Be specific about the channels used to get information to the target market. Eg: Current cafe database, ads and editorial in local paper, posters in store.
Timelines and Deadlines: It’s important all promotions have a timeline and a deadline. Putting this on paper will ensure the promotion manager stays on track. Eg: Promotion to coincide with the launch of the product. The promotion will run for one month with prize drawn the following week.
Budget: Every promotion should have a budget. Ensure everything related to the promotion is included in order to get a true idea of the promotions value and success.
Make the next promotion even better
It’s important to also record the results of the promotion as well as any obstacles or unforeseen circumstances. This will assist in future promotional planning. Promotions are great tools for small business as long as they are well thought out and executed.
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