Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Coupon Usage Up 27%

Guest Post by Gwen Bauer of Open Me Marketing.

Gwen started Open Me Marketing with her husband Derrick, 3 years ago. Armed with a degree in Art History and Graphic Design, Gwen worked at several advertising agencies, including DraftFCB and Seven Worldwide. She started Open Me with her husband to follow her dream of helping small businesses flourish while using her graphic design skills. They most recently added Print Me Coupon to their marketing mix to capture the online market. Any business can create a coupon by going to http://www.printmecoupon.com/ The monthly fee is $20 a month. The business can get the first month free by typing FreeMonth in the promo code. Here's Gwen's perspective on effective coupon marketing:

"Bandwagon or no bandwagon, I have always used coupons. Ten years ago when I started dating my husband, I carried around the Entertainment Book. When we would get ready to go out, I said, "OK, we can only eat where we have a coupon from. So you can pick from X,Y,Z places." As much as it annoyed him 10 years ago, he is now a coupon addict as well. It is fun! We like the fact that we can save a little and put the saving somewhere else. Whether it be for a drink or dessert or towards a bill or vacation.

Coupon usage is up 27% since the recession!!! Yes, the recession has brought us much heartache and devastation but make the best of what you have and start using coupons to help you achieve a little financial relief. The growing popularity of coupons comes from people looking to save money. Once only found in the Sunday newspaper, consumers can find deals on shopper-friendly sites such as http://www.printmecoupon.com/, in their mail box such as your neighborhood saving booklet "Open Me" for your Chicagoland peps, on their phones, on blogs, manufactures websites-everywhere now in days.

Who knows how long it will be "cool" to use coupons but we have heard lots of people say they will stick to their new ways of saving for a while!

How to do coupon marketing well?

1. Vehicle

No matter what form or advertising you do, your vehicle must benefit your business. Weather you pick the newspaper, local direct mail savings booklet, Internet or mobile advertising, make sure your vehicle is reliable, known where you are advertising and is going to get your message delivered. If your message does not get delivered, it does not matter how good your coupon is, no one will reply.

2. Offer

The stronger and appealing the offer, the better the response you are going to get. I have to tell my clients this all the time. Everyone wants a lot of people to respond to their coupon. Ok, then, give the consumer a reason to try your business. What is going to make you change your current habit? How can I get you to try my burger over your favorite one? Something free right? If I gave you a free burger would you come try mine one night? And what happens if you love my new burger? You'll come back for another right? And then I make my money. Offers give consumer a reason to try something new or stray away from what they are used to doing. We all need a little motivation-coupons are motivators!

Strongest offers include something free. ie. Free Entree, Buy One Get One Free or Free Manicure. Secondary offers are usually 1/2 off. ie. 1/2 Off Entree, Buy One Get One 1/2 Off OR 1/2 Off a Hair Cut. "Add On" offers are offers that give away an item or service a consumer would normally "add on" to their order. ie. Free appetizer or Free highlights or Free Waxing.

In the end, you want a strong offer that is geared towards what you do best and are known for. So if you are a restaurant that specializes in pizza, don't have an offer for hot dogs. If you are a nail salon don't have an offer for a haircut. Keep the offers to what you do best, after all, that is what makes your place differentiate from your competitors.

3. Market

Target the market that you do business in or want to. If you have one customer that travels 60 miles away to come to your establishment, that does not mean the majority of people will. Consumer usually travel 3-10 miles to do business. In the city, it is a lot shorter distance. Spend your advertising dollars wisely and target the market that you will best likely get business from.

If you'd like to discuss coupon marketing with Gwen Directly contact her at gbauer@openmemarketing.com
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