December 12, 2013

Your 5 Questions About Social Coupon Campaigns Answered

Your 5 Questions About Social Coupon Campaigns AnsweredWhen did couponing become an extreme sport? There are television shows (yes, shows, plural) about super extreme mega buy-em-all couponers!

That said, we do know that couponing is a critical type of social media campaign. They’ve come a long way from the days when your mother spent Sunday afternoon clipping, sorting and filing.

So, you’ve got questions and we’ve got answers – let’s put them together and see what comes of it:

1Are Coupons Really That Important?

In a word: abso-freakin-lutly! According to the infographic, How Big is the Coupon Industry, 47% of women and 33% of men use social media as their primary source for coupons. That means that, as popular as coupons are today, people are finding them through social media.

In fact, according to a Nielson study of online consumers, coupons and other special offers are the primary reason people follow a brand, company or celebrity. Your social media followers are just waiting for you to offer them something – are you meeting their expectations?

Coupons aren’t just a nice discount for your customers – by running a social coupon campaign you can increase sales by generating a sense of excitement about your brand.

2Is Social Really the Best Place for a Coupon Campaign?

Do you get the impression we’re just asking questions we can answer ‘yes’ to? The fact of the matter is, though, that social is the ideal place for a coupon campaign. Beyond the benefits of reaching an audience that’s already interested in your brand, the social channel is inherently designed for sharing.

Case Study:

Original Joes, a small Western Canada restaurant chain, offered a coupon good for a free one pound order of chicken wings redeemable at any location for anyone who endorsed their Facebook page. This offer was good for three weeks and increased the company’s likes from 1,300 to 10,000 (7,000 coupons were distributed).

By running a coupon campaign in social media your following can increase as current followers share your offer with their network. If your campaign extends across all of your social channels (and your website too), your campaign will also serve to keep your brand top of mind. In addition, you’re giving your customers and audience a sense of value from following your social presence – they’re being rewarded, and get something out of it beyond links to hilarious cat videos.

Lastly, social coupons just make sense from a green perspective (the save-the-earth kind and the color-of-money kind). No one ever cut down a tree, paid a printer or bought a stamp to issue a digital coupon.

3Is A Coupon Campaign Right For My Business?

Yes. Carry on…

… Ok, so maybe this calls for a bit more detail. Obviously, if you sell some sort of consumer product, it’s easy to create a coupon campaign. If you’re a service industry, or maybe sell a product that’s not conducive to couponing (“3% off your next Mercedes purchase!”), it’s not as obvious. That’s where your ancillary services come in to play. If you’re having trouble seeing a coupon for your business, consider these options:

• A coupon for a free estimate/evaluation
• A coupon for a free gift along with their purchase
• A coupon for free shipping
• A coupon for an ongoing service (like regularly scheduled maintenance)

4So, How Do I Create a Coupon Campaign?

We’ll admit it’s easier said than done… but just barely. Creating a couponing campaign is really just about making the right business decisions and then letting your marketing skills come to fruition. Use these 5 simple steps to get your coupon campaign clipping (see what we did there?):

1) Set a discount that aligns with your marketing budget - Be sure to take your profit margin into account.
2) Set a timeframe to create a sense of urgency – When your sales are thriving, there’s no need to give a discount coupon. Instead, time your coupon campaign for periods of low traffic/sales.
3) Set your system to accept the coupon code – It almost (almost) goes without saying, but you need to set up your shopping cart/POV system to accept the coupon.
4) Show off your products on your social media sites – If your Facebook page doesn’t have your store built into it, make sure you show photos (and even videos!) of your products so people know what their coupon can get them.
5) Schedule a series of posts – Not everyone will see your post the first time around, or the second, or the third. To keep your campaign in the forefront of your followers attention, schedule several posts a day on Twitter and 1-3 posts about it on Facebook over the duration of your campaign.

Rignite Insight: Consider giving an incentive for people to share the campaign. For example, offer a steeper discount if the post gets shared 100 times.

5What Kinds of Creative Coupon Campaigns Could I Run?

Man, do we love this kind of question. Of course we have ideas – we’re overflowing with them. Consider these ideas to give your coupon campaign a twist:

• Feature a daily deal — Nothing drives traffic like your audience knowing there will be something new every day. Let your customers enter a code or just mention Twitter/Facebook at checkout to receive a discount on that specific item and watch the sales happen.

• Run a participation-based coupon — Encourage social sharing by creating an offer that starts at 5% and increases by 5% for every 10 shares (up to 25%). Not only will you get the benefits of the coupon campaign, but the additional social sharing will help build your audience.

• Offer giveaways that drive people to your brick-and-mortar store — By running a promotion that people have to go to your store to pick up, you can offer something tangible for free and drive traffic to your store.

Case Study: Edible Arrangements, a franchised producer of delicious fruit-based “floral” arrangements, offered their Facebook fans a voucher for free chocolate dipped strawberries. Here’s the kicker: Fans had to go to an Edible Arrangements location to redeem their voucher. The hugely successful campaign generated 170,000 new fans on the Edible Arrangements Facebook page, created a significant increase in year over year sales and drove new customers to the franchisee locations – giving them a chance to show off their products.

• Create a theme day and time – Take a day of the week and make it yours. Choose, say Wednesdays at Noon (“Hump Day Lunch Giveaway”), and run a brand-specific trivia contest. Offer a free gift to the first person to respond correctly.

So there you go – 5 questions about social coupon campaigns answered. Coupons are important (read: critical) to your social presence and there is no business that can’t offer a coupon of some kind. So now we have a question for you: What’s stopping you from starting a couponing campaign of your own?

Have more questions about running social coupon campaigns? Fire away at us in the comments section below.

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About the Author
Glen Kosaka

Glen Kosaka is the CEO and Founder of Rignite. He’s the guiding force behind Rignite’s mission to help businesses grow through social media.