Offer coupons and discount vouchers that can be printed from your site. By partnering with noncompeting businesses, and by offering their coupons to your visitors, you can get people to come back to your site again and again. For example, if you are a fitness facility, partner with a health food supplier and offer their coupons to your visitors. You can change the coupon daily or weekly to encourage repeat visits. People will come back to your site again and again if they know they can find good deals there. You can ask people if they want to be notified by email when you update the coupons on your Web site. This, once again, gives you the opportunity to present them with new information about your business. Offering coupons is a great idea if you have a physical location as well as a Web site. These can be your loss leaders to get customers to come into your business.
You can develop a coupon banner ad that links to your site, where the coupon can be printed. The banner ads should be placed on sites frequented by your target market. You can trade coupons with noncompeting sites that target the same market you do; your coupon on their site links to your site, and their coupon on your site links to their site.
By offering coupons from your Web site, you also cut down your overhead cost because people are printing the coupons on their own printers, thus not using your paper. Remember that you should have terms and conditions on the coupons that are available for printing. For example, you should have an expiration date. Someone could print a coupon, then visit your operation in a year and try to use it. You should try to have the expiration date close to the release of the coupon. This will create some urgency, enticing the visitor to use the coupon more quickly and then come back for more coupons.
We are seeing an increase in the number of coupon-related sites that are appearing on the Internet. CoolSavings.com (http://www.coolsavings.com) is an online coupon network where businesses can advertise and place coupons for
their products and services, as seen in Figure 3.1. Sites like this are a good way to promote your business, for they receive a high amount of traffic. Another
benefit is that the traffic is already in a buying mood. CoolSavings.com has been a household name since it launched its national advertising campaign in the late 1990s. If you offer coupons from your site, it benefits you to be listed on these types of sites. If you are not aiming for a national appeal, you should search to find out if there are coupon networks in the geographic location that you are targeting. There are meta-indexes to sites with coupons or discounts from which you can be linked for greater exposure.
Coupons provide ideal social media and viral marketing opportunities—for example, “Send this coupon to a friend,” tweet the link to the coupon, and make it a post on Facebook.