At first glance, coupons seem like a simple and straightforward promotional device.
You come up with a discount for a product or service, slap it on a print ad, and distribute it to thousands of local customer prospects. What could go wrong?
It turns out, plenty. These days, coupon campaigns have become increasingly complex and sophisticated marketing tools. But even basic coupon campaigns are susceptible to tons of missteps – like these common business coupon mistakes that you should avoid at all costs.
- Confusing or complicated offers. A coupon is a communication device. If it fails to clearly describe the terms of the offer, you could be headed for trouble, especially when customers think the coupon entitles them to more savings than you intended to give them.
- Misprints. Coupons should be proofed and signed off on just like any other promotional vehicle that bears your company's name. Misprints on advertisements can be embarrassing, but misprints on coupons can be expensive.
- Sizing. Although it's cheaper to print diminutive coupons in the local paper, they'll cost you in the long run. Business coupons don't do much good unless they are used. If your coupon is too small, they will either be unnoticed or lost before they make it to your cash register.
- Poor designs. Design matters when it comes to coupons. Whether you plan to distribute your coupon through a print medium or a coupon pack it has to be attractive and crisp, capable of quickly grabbing the shopper's attention by detailing the savings in large, colorful letters and numbers.
- Bad deals. Some business owners want the benefits of coupons without the cost. If you aren't prepared to offer your customers genuine savings on products they want to buy, then coupons are not appropriate marketing tools for your business. Bogus coupons are a waste of time and have the potential to create ill will with consumers.
- No expiration date. Does your coupon have an expiration date? If not, you might be redeeming coupons much longer than you intended. Think long and hard about how long you want to extend an offer before printing it on a coupon. The average expiration date in the coupon industry is now 2 – 3 months.
- Not used strategically. The most common coupon mistake among small business owners is that they fail to employ a strategic approach to business coupon promotions and coupon campaigns. Coupons, like other promotional tools, are most effective when they implemented as part of a larger marketing strategy.