Helping Small Businesses Grow

Coupon Incentives Are Small Business Marketing Magic

Posted by admin | On: Jul 24 2012

Coupons and incentives that motivate prospective customers to try your product or service have always been one of the most successful small business marketing strategies.

Now with the proven success of Groupon, LivingSocial and a myriad of other online coupon promotional applications delivering these purchasing inducements across a wide variety of media, the marketplace is even more conditioned to the world of incentive marketing.

This is added evidence that small business owners need to consider a couponing or incentive marketing strategy as a valuable technique you can employ to introduce new customers into your buying stream.

In fact, I recently read about a prominent social media promotions company named Wildfire Interactive that conducted a survey that suggests that if you are concerned about how to monetize your Facebook Fan Page marketing strategy that you might want to start offering coupon incentives.

In their broad based random sampling of approximately 10,000 Facebook marketing campaigns the results suggested that the highest response rates favored those promoting sweepstakes, sampling, giveaways and of course coupons.

But before we go any further let’s back up a minute, break this down, and analyze this small business marketing strategy in an effort to understand a little more about the power of incentives.

Let’s start by looking at the definition of the word incentive.

DEFINITION: One dictionary states, “Something that incites or has a tendency to incite determination or action.” Another dictionary says it this way, ” Something, such as the expectation of reward, that induces action or motivates effort.”

Now think about it for a moment from the other side of the fence. You are a buyer and consumer right?

Do you appreciate it when you are offered an incentive discount, added bonus to your purchase or your money back in a risk free guarantee when you buy? I sure do and a lot of others do to.

Does it help incentivize you to make a purchase you may not have been willing to try without the inducement?

Especially if it is with a company you are not familiar with?

Smart companies have known and used this practice for a very long time and certainly long before Groupon came onto the online scene. Coupons ranging from the $1.00 off of Tide or, to the many added bonuses offered to you by prominent Internet marketers if you’ll purchase from them for the first time.

Remember, they realize that their company is an unknown and unproven resource to first time buyers and accept they have to work hard to induce you to buy from them in order to prove their value to you so they will be able to sell to you again and again.

Companies ranging from Proctor and Gamble to Dell Computer are pretty sophisticated in their strategic marketing incentives including couponing and small business product and service providers can learn something from such successful companies.

For years, coupons have been delivered to prospective customers in a variety of media like newspapers, Val-Pak, flyers, direct mail, telemarketing, email, websites and now in mobile text marketing.

Expect to see online couponing at individual websites grow significantly.

An important tip to consider is that as you craft your incentive marketing proposition be sure that the incentive you offer is compelling enough or, it may not leverage that prospect to make a buying decision.

Additionally, a substandard offer may only serve to drive your prospect to favor a direct competitor who offers a more attractive incentive to draw them into their buying continuum.

Another incentive development tip is to clearly educate, and articulate, your incentive-based advantage to your prospect so you are certain he or she fully understands the incentive and its impact upon their possible buying decision.

When you are developing your incentive marketing strategy for your website, make sure to consider introducing it and promoting it as a coupon on your website.

One way I have seen it presented is on a website page you call “Specials” which offers a coupon discount or added bonus that clearly incentivizes a visiting prospect to choose to purchase from you over your competitors.

Another incentive strategy that is being used very successfully is a mobile marketing text message incentive campaign. Here’s the text marketing platform I recommend to my clients

A word about smartphones. Businesses should be alert that smartphones are exploding with coupon app’s that allow consumers and business buyers to locate deals and promotions in their local areas.

This means that as a local business you should make sure you have a Google, Yahoo and Bing “Local Places Page” that gives you the opportunity to offer a monthly coupon / promotion as an inducement to prospects.

Regardless of the medium that you use to deliver coupons or purchasing incentives, they are a remarkably effective marketing tool. Particularly in times when people are concerned with the economy, their pocket books and saving money.

Remember that the main purpose of an incentive based purchasing promotion is to give your small business an opportunity to introduce a prospect into your buying stream so you can build a long term purchasing relationship with a new customer. This particularly makes sense if you understand the lifetime value of a customer and are focused on keeping them as a returning customer for a period of time.

One Final Word About Incentives. Without incentives it’s likely fewer people will be attracted to your products and services. It makes sense to give them an extra reason and push to investigate what you have to offer so you can show them what great quality, excellent service and superior benefits you can deliver.

Kevin M. Clark is a past Entrepreneur Of The Year Award Winner and is the author of “Kevin M. Clark’s Guide to Marketing Your Business Online. Go to and claim your Free copy of this highly acclaimed new book and unleash some of Kevin’s most powerful marketing strategies. But hurry, this offer is available for a limited time. Feel free to forward this to your friends.

Have a profitable day!

Kevin M. Clark


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