Implementing a Successful Coupon Strategy

August 17, 2010
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

Hey! Time for another quick and dirty 20 minute session.  This time Travis Cox is up to talk about coupon strategies. Let’s not waste time.

A year ago they implemented a new coupon strategy at his company, ICON Health & Fitness.  Here’s a look at how they did it and what worked.

Why have a coupon program? They started with coupons a year and a half ago and it went really well. They saw a lot of sales and inquiries. However, they saw their sales being dominated by coupons. To manage it, they became more exclusive with who they gave their coupons to.   In their paid search results they also had a ton of people using their brand. It dominated the SERPs. What was happening was that they were promoting old coupons.  By being more exclusive, again, helped them clean things up.

Why have a coupon program:

  • It’s one of the advantages you have selling online [You can’t have coupons offline? Lisa confused]
  • It increases conversions: Converts customers who are on the fence. Appeals to the “deal seekers” who only purchase if they get some type of deal
  • Allows you to always have some type of sale, without throwing away margin.

Implementing a successful coupon program

  • No codes – use dynamic links. Codes get posted everywhere.
  • Be exclusive
  • Monitor phone operators
  • Let affiliates bid on coupon-related branded keywords
  • Monitor coupon sales: Figure how much of a percentage of sales you want coming from coupons (advantages of being exclusive). You don’t want them to dominate sales.

Why Be Exclusive

  • Cleans up natural and paid search
  • Helps conversions
  • Easier to manage and control
  • Sales aren’t dominated by coupon sales
  • Coupons are typically only found by those actively seeking them

Problems and concerns to be aware of when going exclusive

  • Upset affiliates – they want the coupons and they might get angry about it. To manage this they’ll periodically give coupons to good affiliates.
  • The use of old, outdated coupons.
  • Phone operators offering them to everyone
  • The amount of coupon sales. Make sure the number doesn’t dominate your sales. Pick a benchmark and know where you want to be. He aims for no more than 10 percent.

What types of offers work best? Discounts like $50 off a $150 order.  The dollar amount works better than percentages.  The $50 offer works because it looks better.

How did you clean up all the affiliates advertising coupons in the SERPs? They found everyone promoting coupons that didn’t work and gave them a time-table for when they had to remove the mention. If they didn’t remove it, they would be removed from the program.  He hardly lets any new affiliates on board that are heavily coupon-related.

Did you see a decline in affiliate sales after you cleaned it up? No, it increased. Conversions and sales went up. And users like it because you’re not promoting offers that don’t exist anymore.  They have a better brand experience.


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