In these trying and unprecedented times, thousands of small businesses across the country are struggling to make ends meet. Social distancing requirements have forced many shops to close their doors as the world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, according to a special report from MetLife and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index:
- One in four small businesses have already temporarily shut down as a result of COVID-19.
40 percent of those who have not shut down yet say they will temporarily shut down within the next two weeks (as of April 3,
43 percent of small business owners think they have less than six months before they’ll have to close their doors for good.
Almost half of small business owners believe the U.S. economy won’t recover and return to normal for at least six months to a year.
While many small businesses have gone dark as their owners and employees come to grips with the new reality they face, some startups are using this unusual new business environment as a chance to experiment. To help you do just that, Coupon Chief created an infographic with various coupon marketing strategies small businesses can use to continue promoting their services, even if their doors are closed.
Keep reading to learn how your small business, from the food and service industry to consumer goods, can use coupon marketing to encourage sales and boost revenue at any time of year –– not just in a global pandemic. Be sure to check out the infographic at the bottom of the article!
The Benefits of Using Discounts to Promote Your Brand
While it may seem counter-intuitive to lower your prices in the current business economy, using discounts and coupons to promote your small business could make a positive difference in your bottom line. Here’s a few reasons why you should consider coupon marketing as a strategy to leverage sales right now.
Reducing Abandoned Shopping Carts
Some studies suggest online shopping cart abandonment rates are as high as 81 percent on average. And while more consumers than ever are stuck at home with nothing better to do than to shop online, that rate could be even higher.However, a strategically-timed coupon delivered via email or text message is a simple way to remind online shoppers about the items in their cart and encourage them to complete the purchase. For example, you could offer them 10 percent off their order to sweeten the deal and make the transaction seem like a much better deal.
Boosting Brand Loyalty
For many small businesses, especially those in close-knit communities, brand loyalty is everything. Having customers who would choose your business and its services over a competitor is a valuable thing, after all. According to consumer research, 84 percent of shoppers say they’re more likely to be loyal to brands that offer rewards programs and other ways to save. Encourage your customers to continue to choose your business (even if your doors are closed) by sending out discounts on gift cards, online orders, and other pandemic-appropriate purchases. For example, local restaurants can offer discounts on gift cards to encourage gift card sales, get people back in the door once they’re able to reopen, and remind customers that you’re still thinking about them.
Collecting Valuable Consumer Data
Using digital coupons provides the perfect opportunity to collect important data on your customers, including email addresses you can add to your mailing list. Consider attaching an offer to pop-up lead forms when customers enter your website. While your usual lead form may simply ask for an email address or phone number, an incentivized lead form (also called a lead magnet) offers customers a discount for entering their information. This is a win-win for your small business and your customers. You benefit from the data they provide and they get a coupon to sweeten the deal on their purchase. Now that you know just how valuable coupon marketing could be for your small business, check out a few of the strategies listed below to begin adding this technique to your marketing repertoire immediately.
3 Ways to Incentivize Customers
It’s no secret that with thousands of businesses closed and millions out of work, people everywhere are looking for ways to stretch a dollar farther and save money wherever possible. Because of this, a few well-placed coupons will be even more valuable to your customers than ever before. Here are a few ways to use coupon marketing in your small business strategy:
“Hurry! Sale ends soon!” We’ve all seen these emails come through our inbox, advertising a great deal that’s about to end. These offers, called limited-time offers or flash sales, leverage basic principles of consumer psychology to get people to buy. The most important factor of a limited-time deal is a sense of urgency for consumers. If shoppers feel like they’re about to miss out on an offer, they’re more likely to make a purchase. This boosts conversion rates for your small business and still gives customers the valuable discounts they crave.
Like we mentioned earlier, a staggering 84 percent of shoppers say they’re more likely to be loyal to brands who offer rewards programs. Whether your small business is a local coffee shop or a pet supplies store, a rewards program could have significant benefits for your bottom line. Consider adding a “VIP club” or other exclusive rewards program customers can sign up for. They’ll love the feeling of exclusivity and the bonus of a sweet deal, and your small business will reap the rewards.
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Finally, consider using more than one type of coupon or deal to target your customers. Here are just a few options to try:
Giveaways and contests
Free gifts or samples with minimum purchase
Rewards for referring friends
Abandoned cart discounts
Now that you know how coupon marketing could benefit and work for your small business, check out the infographic created by Coupon Chief for a visual recap.