5 Tactics for Using Email to Optimize Online Coupon Distribution
5 tactics for unique coupon distribution
With a strategic foundation in place, it becomes much easier to identify the tactical components of your coupon program. Here are five tactical tips, each geared toward using email to more effectively distribute unique coupon codes for online redemption:
1. Give a discount at sign-up. Email best practices recommend that marketers take advantage of the first 30 days of the relationship when engagement is highest. Why not go one better and take advantage of the first 30 minutes by sending a unique discount code in the subscriber's welcome letter? Whether you choose to promote the discount on the web sign-up form to increase acquisition or you let it come as a pleasant surprise in the welcome message, this is a fantastic way to provide immediate value. Furthermore, it's the perfect context — a thank-you for signing up, which minimizes the risk of creating an expectation for every email.
2. Consider distributing unique coupon codes in triggered emails. Welcome messages aren't the only triggered emails that can offer effective coupon distribution opportunities. Triggered emails are deployed when a consumer takes a certain action (e.g., signs up for your email program, abandons a shopping cart). Often, you can map your discount strategy according to similar criteria. If so, it may make sense to send a coupon code at that same time.
3. Make online redemption quick and easy. Don't expect your customer to transcribe a multicharacter coupon code onto a piece of paper and type it into a field on the payment page. Improve conversion rates and ensure ease of use by inserting unique codes directly into the body of the email, making them easy to copy and paste.
4. Leverage email's top capabilities — targeting and testing. Targeting and testing are two capabilities that make email so effective at increasing revenue. Tap into both to increase the value of your couponing program. Do tests show that customers who spend more than $100 per visit (on average) respond more often to a percentage off discount, while those who spend less than $100 like a flat dollar amount savings? Test it and apply your learning to a targeted discount strategy.
5. Mobile email means mobile offers. According to BlueHornet's February 2013 research, email-enabled mobile device usage is up 8 percent over last year. Nearly 85 percent of respondents now own such a device, and 43 percent report reading email most often on their mobile device. This means that email is becoming a mobile marketing channel. As a first step toward optimizing for mobile, make sure that your coupon emails are easy to view and engage with on small screens. As your program advances, consider ways to distribute offers that are valuable to subscribers who are on the go.
When it comes to distributing offers or coupon codes via email, marketers don't need to sacrifice strategy to maintain convenience, reach and speed of execution. By foregoing generic codes for unique ones and by setting goals for online redemption, email marketers can position their programs to take full advantage of the digital marketing technologies that dominate today's email marketing landscape.
Susan Tull is the vice president of marketing for BlueHornet Networks, an email marketing service provider.