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Best Practices for Coupon Distribution
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Best Practices for Coupon Distribution

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This webinar, presented by BlueHornet's VP of Strategic Services, Kara Trivunovic addresses both the strategic and tactical issues marketers should consider to create a coupon program that makes ...

This webinar, presented by BlueHornet's VP of Strategic Services, Kara Trivunovic addresses both the strategic and tactical issues marketers should consider to create a coupon program that makes subscribers happy and increases sales.

Topics Include:
• Online vs. in-store redemptions
• The value of unique coupon codes vs. generic codes,
• Immediate incentives for new subscribers,
• A|B testing and segmentation, and much more

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  • Thank you all for joining us today. My name is Kara Trivunovic – and while I may be a new addition to the Blue Hornet family, I am no stranger to email and direct response marketing. I’ve been in the email space for the better part of the last 14 years and have brought that experience here to serve as the VP of Strategic Services.
  • Today we are going to talk about couponing. We are going to look at couponing options, strategic approaches to leveraging them and finally some considerations for distribution and redemption.
  • Coupons and discounts are the number one reason consumers sign up for email from brands they do business with. So much so that we have trained our customers to await the arrival of the promotion in the inbox before they actually make a purchase.
  • But offering customers 15% off “today only” isn’t as easy as just writing the copy. There are backend infrastructure considerations and redemption management that can pose challenges to marketers. Coupons, promotions, offers and discounts are the premise of nearly every marketing message received by consumers today. As we look at coupons specifically there are multiple ways in which they can be leveraged. Online. Offline. Single use. Multi-use. Viral. Regardless of the intended venue for redemption – email is an ideal mode to distribution.
  • Kara, let’s discuss. We need to define each of these terms and you and I should clarify what our solution can/can’t do re: # of uses.
  • As you look to develop and build out your program, the first thing you need to ask yourself is if the purpose of the coupon is to drive site traffic and revenue, in-store foot traffic and revenue or both. Clearly if the goal is to drive online traffic and conversion – delivering a coupon that is only redeemable in-store doesn’t align.
  • If however, you are looking to drive traffic in-store – you need to determine if the subscriber base is willing to redeem in store and if you have the infrastructure to support the conversion. While the likelihood of coupon redemption in-store via a mobile device is unique to a brand’s customers - our 2013 Consumer Views of Email Marketing report indicated that nearly 75% of 1,000 US respondents would redeem a mobile coupon in a store. So chances are good – if that is your goal.
  • Online redemption online is the most accessible way for most marketers to leverage coupons successfully however. Not only is it simplified from a tracking standpoint, but it also removes added steps for the consumer to take – making it completely direct response.
  • The other element to take in to consideration is the purpose of the coupon. Are you rewarding a single customer for valuable behavior? Are you trying to bring awareness of a new product to masses or something in between? Depending on how much exposure you want your coupon code to get you need to discern if it is a single use or multi-use code. Multi-use codes can go viral very quickly and depending on the purpose of the effort may minimize the effectiveness of the campaign. So for the purposes of the rest of our conversation – we are going to focus specifically on single-use codes – redeemable online.
  • So for the purposes of the rest of our conversation – we are going to focus specifically on single-use codes – redeemable online.
  • Throughout the course of the relationship with your customer, there are endless opportunities to coupon. Three such opportunities include: at Welcome, behaviorally driven and rewards.
  • Lets start at the beginning. When a customer subscribes to your program, they are highly engaged with the brand and the program. The goal for most any marketer is to drive that first purchase during the first 30-days of the subscription – but why not try to capitalize on it sooner? When you send the subscription confirmation – you may consider including a little unexpected “gift” for the customer – discount on the first purchase. The expectation here is not that you promote it in exchange for the subscription – rather provide it unexpectedly to the customer. Because it is unexpected, it is an element that you can test over time to determine first, if it an effective tactic in driving the first purchase and second, what that offer needs to be to incent the behavior you look to influence. For example, Pac Sun recently….
  • Kara, I might need Mike to change this header graphic to say behavioral instead of triggered??There are behavioral triggers that occur over the lifecycle of the customer that can be positively influenced by leveraging coupon codes. For example – you may want to test the application of a single-use, time-sensitive coupon code to incent an abandon cart. It is important to note here that not every abandon cart situation is the same – so the recommendation here isn’t to blindly apply coupons to drive the abandon cart conversion, but having a fundamental understanding of how your customers engage with your abandon cart can help you discern this appropriately.Abandon isn’t the only behavior that can benefit from a coupon code – what about subscribers who are nearly unengaged – let’s say that you have a customer that hasn’t purchased in the last 10 months, but has been engaged with your email communications (they are opening and clicking). Sending a one-time use, time-sensitive coupon code could reengage the customer via and early win-back program. Again, this is something to test in to you – but presents an opportunity to drive the desired behavior.
  • Customers love to feel appreciated – it should be unexpected and valuable. There are a number of ways that you can identify highly valuable customers that can “earn” rewards. You may want to drive repeat purchase behavior by incenting the third purchase over a defined period of time or if a customer spends more than a predefined dollar amount. The objective in a program like this is to incent highly desirable behavior. 
  • It takes more than a great strategy to make a promotional coupon program successful. If you fail on execution, the entire program may be in jeopardy. While there are a number of moving parts to implanting a successful program the key considerations here are ease of redemption and testing.
  • The ability to convert and/or leverage the coupon code provided, it needs to be as simple as possible. Customers are not going to go to any great lengths to memorize or physically write down complex coupon codes. In this situation the best advice is to keep it simple. Dynamically inserting a unique coupon code directly in to the email is the best practice here. Insert it has HTML copy so the recipient can actually copy and paste the code from the email to the site. Better yet, if you can support it, append the coupon code as a dynamic parameter in the conversion URL so the code is passed directly to the site.
  • You also need to take device in to consideration when you talk about ease of execution. If your customer is on a mobile device the coupon codes needs to be easy to locate and use. Leveraging elements of responsive design allows for device detection and rendering of content that is specific to the device type. An approach like this presents the most ideal situation for the customer in any given environment. Additionally, you can choose to serve different content that is more relevant to a customer on-the-go.
  • Test. Test. Test. This mantra applies to every aspect of your program, but in determining the most effective coupon value, it is critical. Coupons are not going to drive every behavior in the way you anticipate. Did the coupon drive the behavior you had hoped for? Did it drive incremental behavior, or did it only exasperate the inevitable? The only way you can answer these questions is to define effective tests to answer them. You can also learn what it takes to drive the behavior. Is it $5 off, 15% off, BOGO? In order to maintain the highest ROI possible on the order, you need to determine just how much you need to give to get the response you are looking for. Testing in to this element will give you the empirical data you need to support the program in an on-going capacity. Be sure that you test one element of the campaign at a time, and it is always recommended that you hold a control group. 
  • You can begin using unique coupon codes in your email today via a new feature Blue Hornet is showcasing at IRCE in Chicago – request a demo today. 

Best Practices for Coupon Distribution Best Practices for Coupon Distribution Presentation Transcript