For ecommerce and other online businesses, digital coupon marketing may be an intriguing idea, but getting started can seem intimidating. While there is nothing new or revolutionary about offering coupons and discounts to your customers, creating a digital coupon marketing strategy can be a whole new arena.
Digital coupons can be a great marketing feature for any small business, as it helps draw in new customers and reward existing ones. However, it can also hurt your reputation if it isn’t implemented correctly. Finding the balance will help elevate your business, bring in new customers, and entice existing ones.
We’ve laid out 6 tried and true digital coupon strategies to implement, so you can find the best ones for you. Once you understand all your options, you’ll be prepared to develop your own successful digital coupon marketing campaign.
What Is Digital Coupon Marketing?
Digital coupon marketing is the online marketing tactic of offering discounts, deals, and vouchers through digital means. Similar to traditional coupons, the idea is to draw in customers to boost sales – often during events or new product launches – or to sell underperforming products.
Unlike traditional coupon marketing, which relies solely on physical cards and vouchers, digital coupon marketing uses a variety of digital platforms to share discounts and deals. It’s often used by online stores and can be more targeted than traditional coupon marketing.
How Do Digital Coupons Work?
Digital coupons usually come in the form of a code that the customer can add to an order at checkout to get a special deal. This may include a discount off their purchase, free shipping, an add-on product, or bonus loyalty points.
Coupon codes can be public, for anyone to use – this type is often associated with holidays or special events (like BACKTOSCHOOL). Alternatively, they can be personalized codes that are only available for a single use, sent to a specific customer (like AUG7823).
Digital coupon marketing uses online platforms like social media, website pop-ups, SMS messaging, mobile apps, or email marketing to distribute deals to customers. With targeted marketing, you choose who sees your coupon codes and how many people can use the same code, which helps keep it within a tight budget.
The Pros and Cons of Digital Coupon Marketing
- New customers are more willing to try out stores with discounts and deals
- Coupons help you compete with other businesses, especially around holidays and events
- If you have underperforming products, you can use discounts to incentivize customers to buy them
- You can target specific customers with segmentation and personalization
- Digital coupons are easy to implement and track
- Predictable coupon modeling might lead to customers waiting for deals and discounts
- Offering too many coupons and discounts can undercut your brand perception by making your business appear low quality or cheap
- Sending out too many public coupons and discounts may hurt your bottom line
- Targeted coupons for specific users (like new customers) may alienate your existing customers
- A one-time coupon doesn’t promise that a customer will return
6 Digital Coupon Marketing Strategies
1. Create New Customer-Specific Coupons
A great digital coupon strategy is to target new customers. You’ve probably encountered these tactics yourself when you visit a website for the first time and a pop-up appears offering you money off your first purchase.
These usually work by having a customer sign up for a mailing list in exchange for 10-15% off their first purchase. You get a way to market to them further and they get an incentive to stick around and shop!
You can create pop-ups in most website builders or with speciality add-ons. These work by automatically displaying a pop-up when your customer scrolls, goes to close the tab, or has been on the site for a certain amount of time.
2. Provide Loyalty Discounts
Another strategy is to reward existing customers and encourage them to shop with a discount. If you already have a loyalty program or are looking to start one, adding digital coupons as a reward is a great way to boost customer engagement.
You can work to segment your loyal customers based on the products they buy, how often they shop, or demographics. This data can help you create tailored coupons to make the biggest impact and see the highest level of engagement.
Tailored coupons make loyal customers feel valued and appreciated. You can use digital coupons as:
- A reward for hitting certain milestones (like a certain amount spent)
- Remarketing for customers that haven’t shopped in a while
- An exclusive treat like for a customer’s birthday or shopping anniversary
- A way to say thanks every once in a while
3. Use Limited-Time Offers
A tried and true marketing technique is using a sense of urgency to get customers to act fast. With digital coupon marketing, this means setting clear expiration dates – and making them soon!
The amount of time you give may vary from coupon to coupon, but it’s generally a good idea to aim for a timeframe between a few hours and a few days. Too little time to make a decision and customers will feel rushed, but too much time and they’re likely to forget about the deal.
Creating a sense of urgency with flash deals and limited-time offers leads customers to make a purchase on the spot, instead of saving a product in their cart and then forgetting to come back later.
4. Reward Referrals
A great strategy for coupon marketing is to reward referrals by offering coupons for both the newly referred customer and the referral. This works as a valuable win-win strategy. First, it encourages loyal customers to spread the news about your business with their friends and get something in return. Second, it helps entice the referred customer to engage quickly.
You can offer referral discounts specifically through email marketing to individuals or look to influencer marketing for larger scale referral-based digital coupon marketing.
HelloFresh, the subscription-based meal delivery service, is famous for this sort of digital coupon system. They often offer free boxes if you refer a friend, while also offering your friend a hefty discount (upwards of 40% in some cases) for signing up.
5. Be Creative with Your Coupon Campaigns
Because customers are constantly being served coupons, you’ll need to find a way to stand out and engage with your customers in a fun and exciting way.
Providing special coupons is a great way to grab customers’ attention and draw them back to your business. This could be as simple as creating event coupon campaigns like for Black Friday or back-to-school specials that go out publicly.
Your campaign could also be more targeted. You can use technology to automate coupon campaigns for shoppers who abandoned their carts or use gamification to engage with customers. For example, you could have a coupon wheel that they can spin to win a random discount amount.
6. Rely On Several Distribution Channels
If you send a discount code out via email marketing, you might get a good level of engagement, but customer’s inboxes are flooded with these emails every day.
Instead, work to find different channels to distribute coupons. If your business has an app, you can send push notifications for limited time discounts and deals. If you’re active on socials, you can share coupons through your posts or stories.
The perfect tactic will depend on your marketing goals. If you want to reach new customers, social media is a great way to get your business in front of new people, but if you want to reward loyal customers, personalized text messages or app notifications may work best. Whatever you do, try to vary the means of communication with your customers, to keep them engaged.
The Benefits of Using Pay.com as Your Payment Service Provider
Digital coupon marketing is a great way to get customers to your shop, but to get them to follow through with the purchase, you need an easy payment system that offers a variety of payment methods for their convenience. Pay.com provides that and more.
As a full payment service provider, Pay.com makes it simple to integrate a customized checkout page directly onto your site, where customers can use coupon codes and complete their transactions. With Level 1 PCI DSS compliance (the highest level), your customers will know their payment details are secure.
Getting started with Pay.com is a piece of cake. Simply sign up for an account, fill out the onboarding information and you’ll be approved in no time. With a flat-fee structure and an easy-to-use interface, Pay.com is the simplest way to accept payments online.
The Bottom Line: Is Digital Coupon Marketing Right for Your Business?
Digital coupon marketing is becoming more popular with ecommerce sites because of its ability to help retain existing customers and draw in new ones. It’s a great strategy to increase engagement for almost any type of ecommerce or online service-based businesses.
There are many strategies you can employ when setting up a digital coupon system, but you might have to trial several methods before finding one that works for you. Don’t overuse coupons as they may diminish your brand image, but also work to keep coupon options limited and unique – to keep customers coming back for more.
No matter what coupon marketing strategy you decide on, Pay.com can make the checkout process a breeze for you and your customers. You can choose to accept a variety of payment methods, whether it’s credit cards, debit cards, digital wallets like Apple Pay, or local payment methods. Click here to get started now!