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July 27, 2023

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Best Coupon Marketing Strategies 2023: How To Increase Sales By Offering Discounts To Customers

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I think we all agree that coupons increase sales, and unsurprisingly, they are very popular. But of course, like anything else in this world, coupon marketing has its subtleties. Not all coupon strategies are equal. The result can vary considerably based on the coupon type, message, amount, and timing.

What's Inside?

The strategies introduced in this article are famous and implemented on different websites for a long time. So there are various free and paid tools for implementing each technique. as I'm a WordPress and Woocommerce lover, I introduce my favorite WordPress plugin for each method. If you own a Woocommerce website, your job would be pretty straightforward. You can easily implement any technique I describe here in WordPress. 

Let's start with five general must-do tips for any coupon offer. We can then move to more specific tips and tricks.

Five Must-Dos On Offering Coupon Codes

Set a clear goal

any good marketing action needs a specific purpose, and offering coupon codes is no exception. You might be tempted to say, "how can it be anything other than to sell more?". Of course, we care about sales in the long run, but it isn't and shouldn't be the only goal. Generally, you can have two different goals when offering a coupon, to increase sales or acquire new customers. It would be best if you chose your plan before going any further. Any other action from sizing the coupon to designing the graphics should follow your initial purpose. 

Size coupons according to your goal

when you are offering coupons only to acquire new customers, you don't care much about the profit. Therefore you can provide a more significant amount of discounts only to catch the non-customer eyes. Of course, you should be very careful with your channels and rules because you don't want to reduce your revenue on existing customers. On the other hand, when you are offering coupons to increase sales, you want to stick with a reasonable offer that is both attractive and not too much that the increased sale cancels out with the profit gained from each sale. It's worth emphasizing that it can happen easily, and you can end up with less revenue if you don't size your coupons correctly.

Offer specific coupons

generally, specific coupons are much better than general 10% on everything coupons as they can bring more revenue by targeting specific customer segments. For example, you don't want to offer a coupon on an essential everyday item that sells very well. On the other hand, you want to provide a good discount on things that don't sell very well. 

Use attractive visuals

humans are very visual creatures by nature. We naturally judge things based on their shapes and colors. So whatever the goal is, you can make it more enticing to the user by using good images. You don't need to be a professional graphist. You don't even need to install anything on your computer. With the help of online services like Figma and Canva, you can easily design beautiful banners for your promotions. You can also use free stock photos websites like Pixabay that require no attribution.

Add time and quantity restraint

Never create a coupon without time and amount restraint. Your coupons should always be available at a definite time. You can also put a maximum amount or maximum coupon quantity. Otherwise, you run the risk of selling too many items of a good selling category and a reduced gross profit. 

Recommended: Advanced Coupons for WooComerce Coupons

a snapshot of the Advanced Coupons for WooComerce Coupons plugin

While WooCommerce supports coupons by default, you usually want to extend it through a plugin. Advanced Coupons is an excellent coupon management plugin for WooCommerce. It allows you to set various limitations on coupons, including what we just discussed.

Now that we know the basics of coupon strategy, from setting the goal to sizing and timing, we can move to more specific coupon marketing techniques.

Six Techniques For Offering Coupons

Create a sense of urgency in the customer's mind

Urgency and scarcity make things more attractive. 

In 1975, researchers Worchel, Lee, and Adewole placed cookies in two identical jars. One jar contained ten cookies, while the other held only two. Surprisingly people valued cookies in the jar with only two more, considering them higher quality[1]. 

By creating scarcity, be it in the time of the offer or the numbers left, or through other means, which we will discuss, you develop a sense of urgency in customers' minds that makes your offers more attractive and gives customers less time for thought. Here I discuss three main ways to leverage that.

Create limited-time offers

 Limited-Time Offers to create a sense of urgency naturally, and it's the best way to make your customers act and not hesitate much. Your offers should be generally short to reinforce the urgency further and not let customers change their minds. They also shouldn't be too short that the customers won't have time to make their decision and lose the deal. You have to put some time figuring out the time that works for you.

On the other hand, your offer should be about what users need and want to buy it some days. Fo creates an offer with limited time and dedication for every user; you can use a free plugin named MC Woocommerce Wishlist plugin when users add a product to their wishlist; this plugin starts sending some automatic follow up emails with dedicated coupon codes depending on their wishlist and convince a user to buy those products.

Using countdown timers to flag deadlines

Using a countdown timer is an excellent way to reinforce the created urgency and not let customers postpone their purchase. 

For example, a case study showed an email reminder with integrated countdown time sent just 4 hours before the Black Friday deal ended, leading to a 400% higher conversion rate [2].

Offer a limited number of coupons

Communicating the sacred number of coupons or the remaining number of a product in stock combined with the deadlines creates an ultimate sense of urgency. The customer doesn't know if the coupons will last till the end of the offer. You can even go one step further and display the number of remaining coupons or products dynamically. Seeing that some items are sold out and are unavailable increases the fear of missing out dramatically, reinforcing the urgency to buy the remaining items.

Leverage visuals

You should also pay attention to the visuals, from the email template to the banners and popups used. Your message should stand out, attract attention and communicate the scarcity. You can also leverage attention-grabbing colors like yellow and red to attract customers. The color red is known for evoking feelings of urgency and excitement. 

Recommended: Finale Lite – Sales Countdown Timer & Discount for WooCommerce

The finale is an excellent extension plugin for WooCommerce. 

It allows you to display count down and show left stocks through stunning graphics.

a snapshot of the Finale Lite plugin

Encourage customers to spend more.

It is much easier to convince a customer that's buying $100 to buy $125 than to sell a $25 product to a person that hasn't decided to purchase anything. This should be your primary strategy when offering coupons.

Offer indirect discounts

By indirect discount, I mean offering free shipping or gifts to customers instead of a discount on their cart. When combined with a minimum price, this can be an excellent way to sell more.

Offer price-minimum coupons

Price-minimum coupons are the best way to encourage customers to buy more. You can pick an amount above the average cart values and offer a discount or free shipping to cards with higher amounts. For example, if an average customer spends $70 on your website, you can offer a coupon or free shipping when the card total exceeds $100. you can even use quantity rather than the minimum price and provide coupons for buying x number of items—for example, three shirts instead of one or two.

Offer coupons on poor-selling items

Not all items sell well, and you don't want to keep old goods in your inventory forever. By offering coupons on poor-selling items, you sell them with smaller individual profit but a higher gross profit. Generally, it would be best if you experiment with different amounts of coupons, say 10%, %15, and 20%. You want to offer the least amount of coupons that maximize your profit. 30% sells much better than 15%, but you might be reducing your gross profit despite the higher sales. Finding the golden amount is not easy, and you have to run some experiments, maybe get some ideas or compare competitor prices.

Offer tailored coupons

We like things that are made for us much more. A 10% coupon on all gaming equipment attracts a gamer much more than a general 10% coupon on everything. Here are two specific tips for leveraging that.

Offer coupons based on previous customer activities

previous customer activities, like purchase history and wishlists, which can give an indispensable insight into what the customers like. Of course, you don't need to decide manually, and by using MC Wishlist, you can recommend more personal coupons to your customers.

Gift birthday coupons

Birthday coupons are excellent as they are the most personal offer to a person. Besides sales, offering a birthday coupon is a perfect way to boost customers' loyalty.

Recommended: AutomateWoo

a snapshot of the AutomateWoo plugin

AutomateWoo is a powerful marketing automation tool for WooCommerce.

Its power is much beyond what we are discussing in this article and allows you to automate different aspects of Woocommerce. What we are interested in here is its ability to generate and email coupons based on user activities or at certain events like a birthday. It also supports abandoned cart coupons, referral coupons, wishlist coupons, and more.

Use gamification

Gamification is adding games in nongame environments, like a website or online community. The goal of gamification is to engage users, here customers, of course. The importance of gamification here is that the user does something for the reward. While it brings you extra customers, for example, by rewarding users when sharing your products, it also makes the coupon more valuable to the user. The customer does something for it, so it doesn't come free. And there is no need to tell that we value things that result from our work more, Mycred plugin is a free plugin that can help you to create a useful gamification

Reward customers with coupons for previous purchases

by offering coupons to customers for their purchases. You can increase sales even further. Customers spend more to get a coupon which will make them purchase more as a result, and this cycle can continue indefinitely, leading to loyal customers.

Offer unexpected coupons (wheel of fortunes) variable rewards

 As discussed in the best seller book Hooked by Nir Eyal, variable rewards can create strong habits in the brain. By offering unexpected coupons to users when they visit your website or social media account, you can build unconscious visiting habits. This can indeed increase sales and customer loyalty. 

Unexpected short-lived coupons combined with good visuals can also be perfect for increasing sales. A good three hours deal can tempt anyone to make a purchase. You can also place games like wheels of fortunes to make them more attractive to the user.

a snapshot of the WordPress Popups for Marketing by OptinMonster plugin

Recommended: WordPress Popups for Marketing and Email Newsletters, Lead Generation and Conversions by OptinMonster

WordPress Popups by OptinMonster lets you create discount popups in various forms, including the Wheel of Fortune. You can display popups based on different settings. 

Use coupons to make customers return

Customers drift from the intended journey for various reasons. The price is, of course, one of the most significant factors. Here are two tips for dealing with such customers.

Give last minute offers

you can offer a coupon just before a customer leaves your website. You read right, just before closing the tabs. Such coupons, especially with 5 hours or less time, can be very effective in converting unsure customers.

Offer Abandoned carts coupons.

I bet you have heard about abandoned carts. Customers leave their cart quite frequently for various reasons. Whatever their reason or lack of reason is, coupons can help. 

Recommended: Exit Intent Coupons for WooCommerce

a snapshot of the Exit Intent Coupons for WooCommerce plugin

This plugin does exactly what its name suggests, offer a coupon to leaving customers. It works by tracking mouse position. When the plugin identifies an exit intent, it displays a coupon as a popup.

Use coupons to acquire new customers.

I talked about how acquiring new customers can be a reasonable goal for offering coupons. Here are two well-proven ways of acquiring new customers with the help of coupons.

Offer coupons for sharing product pages

you can reward your customers with coupons when they share your product, and someone makes a purchase. You can also offer a voucher to the buyer so that both of them are encouraged.

Offer coupons to the first-time buyer

offering coupons to first-time buyers is an excellent way of acquiring new customers. Many non-customers that visit your website only need a slight push to become a customer, and an eye-catching limited coupon like 15% on the first purchase for the next 5 hours can do the trick.

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