How do I use coupon codes online

This is how you use voucher marketing correctly

Who does not know it: Ten euros discount on your next purchase for the newsletter registration. With these or similar offers, many online retailers are currently trying to build up their recipient pool and to retain buyers in the long term. Voucher campaigns have established themselves as an effective instrument here. But vouchers can do much more.

What are the goals of voucher marketing?

For example, a retailer can increase the value of his shopping cart by linking the voucher to a minimum order value. To convince a customer of a product for the first time, vouchers can work wonders in new customer acquisition and as part of a growth strategy. The personalized reactivation of existing customers who have not bought anything for a long time can also be the goal of voucher marketing. A classic example of this are birthday vouchers. Vouchers can also be a real help when it comes to clearing stocks or selling remaining stock. Incidentally, price reductions in Germany were strictly regulated in the Discount Act until July 2001. It was only lifted when industry associations said at a hearing that it was incompatible with online trading conditions.

Vouchers are very popular

According to a study by Deutschlandvoucher (2017), vouchers are a reason to be happy for 89 percent of users in Germany and provide real added value. Women between the ages of 16 and 34 are particularly fond of vouchers. In a survey by Dialego (2018), twelve percent of those questioned said that they "definitely" prefer a product or service provider if a voucher exists. Almost a third answered “more or less yes”, while only twelve percent answered “more or less no”. The software service provider Newsletter2Go also asked users about the use of vouchers (2018). 39 percent of those surveyed stated that they had used a voucher from a newsletter at least once in the last three months. A more recent study, which was carried out with the help of coupons.de, even comes to the conclusion that 67 percent of those surveyed use a voucher at least once a month to shop in an online shop. So that vouchers really offer added value from the customer's point of view and are a reason to be happy, there are a few things to consider.

What do customers pay attention to with vouchers?

In the Deutschland Voucher survey, over half of those questioned stated that a voucher should result in real savings. So the voucher has to be a real courtesy. Percentage vouchers usually work worse than those with a fixed discount value, even if the percentage voucher means a higher price reduction. The reason is probably that the real savings with percentage discounts are not immediately apparent. If there are restrictions on certain categories, however, such a voucher can work better, for example if a 15 percent discount is granted on bed linen. In addition, such vouchers are of course dynamic, i.e. the discount increases with the price.

The duration of the voucher also plays a role. This must not be too short in order to offer the interested party a fair opportunity to redeem the voucher. Too long a term is, in turn, counterproductive, as vouchers usually aim to shorten the purchase decision and to accelerate the decision. While the term should be well chosen, a certain level of awareness helps not to be classified as a dubious sender. The environments in which vouchers are placed naturally also influence the credibility of the voucher sender.

No-gos are too high a minimum order value and small-print conditions. If you set a trap for the customer with the voucher, they'll notice and damage their trust in the brand. To make it as easy as possible for the user, the voucher should already be active in the order form when the customer comes to you via a corresponding link. All of these factors should be well thought out and fit with the company and the campaign. In order for vouchers to put a smile on the face not only of the customer, but also of the seller, they should follow a defined and well-calculated strategy.

Use vouchers profitably

It comes as no surprise that vouchers are a hit from the customer's point of view. In order for them to be profitable for the trader, too, he must pay attention to a few things. Most importantly, coupons are used as a strategic online marketing tool. The design of the voucher strategy depends heavily on whether the voucher is to be given to specific addressees or to a large number of customers. In the case of targeted voucher campaigns, the recipient should get the feeling of exclusivity, for example through a personal address. The voucher should run for a maximum of one week and focus on a specific customer group and product level or group.

In the case of a broad voucher campaign, the restrictions should be as low as possible, visibility should be public and the discount should be granted in general, for example on the entire range. This type of voucher campaign should only be used two to three times a year. Whether targeted or widely diversified, the following planning steps are essential for both strategies:

  1. The provider has to think carefully about which goals he would like to achieve and how far he is willing to accommodate the customer in the form of a discount. The investment versus income calculation also applies to all other marketing activities and should therefore be “basic”.
  2. The strategy also includes considerations about the target group. Who should receive your voucher and how? Keep wastage as low as possible and place the vouchers where you really want them.
  3. Don't overdo it: Vouchers should remain an exclusive offer. When vouchers become the norm, you invite your regular customers to wait for the next voucher and stop making normal purchases.

Coupons in affiliate marketing

Vouchers or coupons play a role in online marketing, especially in affiliate marketing. Established voucher sites such as Sparwelt, Gutscheine.de or Groupon sometimes generate proud affiliate sales. One reason for this is the catalytic function of vouchers in affiliate marketing: They first convince the publisher to stand up for a merchant and present the offer to his audience in an eye-catching manner. For the time being, large ranges can be established free of charge. The effort to offer a voucher is much lower for publishers compared to complex product reviews. At the same time, vouchers are one of the most successful items in affiliate marketing from a publisher's point of view. This combination of effort and income is extremely attractive - and, if used correctly, it is also lucrative for both parties, publisher and merchant.

In addition to affiliate marketing, a voucher strategy should also take into account other disciplines of online marketing. For example, your own domain can be optimized for search terms relating to vouchers in connection with your own brand in order to direct visitors directly to the website. After all, according to the Coupons.de study, 80 percent of users are looking for vouchers for a specific shop.

Used correctly, vouchers are worth their weight in gold

Voucher marketing, especially in connection with affiliate marketing, is sometimes seen as the "black sheep" in online marketing because it takes away sales from the seller that they might have made anyway. But that is far too short-sighted. Because even if the accusation applies to some of the voucher sales, voucher marketing also generates considerable incremental sales. This means sales that would not have been achieved without affiliate marketing.

If you have a clear view of your goal and know what the voucher is worth to you, you can benefit from vouchers as a sales booster in various ways. It is always fundamental to include vouchers in a strategy. There should always be a plan to retain new customers acquired through vouchers in the long term. Used correctly, vouchers can create a triple win situation: the customer is happy about a discount, the affiliate about a brokered purchase and the merchant about achieving his set marketing goals.

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Dirk Lajosbanyai is co-founder and managing director of ad agents GmbH. Since 2006 he has led the online marketing of well-known companies to success with 100 employees. In the field of affiliate marketing, he is one of the first movers and proven experts.