Your coupon ad works as an important part of the marketing process and it’s more than just having the right placement and audience. If you aren’t implementing coupon design best practices, your brand could be missing out on valuable exposure that will lead to the redemptions and conversions you are looking for.
Best Practices for Coupon Design
An important fact to note: 70% of consumers still look for coupons in traditional printed media. Plus, a study conducted by GfK research found that coupons published in traditional print are eight times more likely to get redeemed than coupons published online.
With this in mind, it is imperative to create a coupon ad design that stands out from your competition. What is the key selling point of your product or service? When you begin developing your campaign, remember to keep your creative and design consistent with your brand’s color scheme and logo as well as these fundamental design best practices in mind:
- Remember to utilize O.H.I.O.: Offer, Headline, Illustration, Other. When designing your coupon, these four elements are vital to forming the visual bridge that reinforces value, but remember that you don’t need to make identical coupons. Elements can be arranged differently to be most effective for your needs.
- Headlines are imperative. People are very likely to only skim the headlines of the ads they receive, so your header is valuable in ensuring they stop to pay attention. Put the best benefit in the headline, answering the consumer’s question “what’s in it for me?” It should generate the idea of a need or desire in the audience.
- While humor can be useful, ensure your value statements are clear and serious. Clever, cute, and corny statements do not result in conversions.
- Only use high quality stock images that grab the consumer’s attention. People-oriented images are also generally more visually appealing and create more consumer interest. Photos are preferred over illustrations because audiences like seeing real people, the real product in action, or real emotions attached to your brand.
- Implement one font face
- Coupon Sizing: Will consumers be able to read your coupon at a glance? Is the copy legible? Does it draw the viewer’s eye to a focal point or call-to-action? When it comes to ad copy, features are good, but consumer benefits are better. Keep the body of the copy simple. A brief list of beneficial bullet points is more reader-friendly than a paragraph of copy.
- Be sure that all of your information is presented clearly and straightforward. If your copy is confusing, your customers are much less likely to try using them.
- Never assume that your audience already knows how something works or what normal prices are. Be sure to give them context, and they’ll understand the value your coupon offers.
- Make sure to take full advantage of your Unique Selling Proposition. This not only captures attention, but it differentiates you from your competition.
- Use vibrant colors that mesh with your branding scheme. Remember, even though the O.H.I.O. elements are formulaic, they don’t have to be boring!
- Remember to take advantage of both sides of your advertising insert when applicable. The information on the second side should be supplementary to what’s on the first side, not identical. If you feel a map is appropriate, this is the side to put it on. If you feel like the front side of your coupon is too cramped to include your full address or social media handles, they can be on the second side as well. It’s also a great place to elaborate on the unique value of the coupon or of your business.
- When considering your ad design, make it as personal to the audience segment you’re aiming for with your mass targeting as possible. That also plays to understanding your mass targeting audience. For instance, wealthy consumers hunt for savings, but that doesn’t mean your coupon offer should depend on a ticket price above what your customers normally spend unless you’re only targeting wealthy customers.
Your Coupons Should Have a Clear Call-To-Action
What are you trying to accomplish with your coupon campaign? If you’re trying to measure the response to a new product or service, a consumer should be able to look at your coupon and realize the immediate benefit of what you’re offering and the solution it provides to their problem.
Of course, the biggest question is always that of clarity. Can consumers automatically see the value in redeeming your offer? Ensure that the copywriting of your coupon gives consumers the key selling points of your special offer.
Dates, Restrictions and Fine Print
Restrictions and expiration dates are an essential part of the coupon’s fine print. By determining a deadline for the redemption of your coupon, you can accurately calculate the effectiveness of your direct mail campaign.
When you’re designing a coupon, be sure to clarify how and when a consumer can take advantage of this offer. By giving the consumer clear and concise directions, your coupon gives the potential buyer confidence in moving forward with your offer. Play with the way these are displayed — the expiration date can also transfer a sense of urgency, increasing the likelihood of it being used.
Utilize Your Social Media Channels
Your coupon ad design can also incorporate your social media addresses within the design. An infographic compiled by GoGulf claims that 67% of Twitter users are more likely to purchase something from a business that they follow.
Invesp says that 56% of Facebook users follow businesses because they are interested in learning more about products and services. Letting potential customers know that your business is active in social media can prove to be a compliment to your direct marketing ad campaign.
Coupons Should Reflect Your Brand
Your offer should accurately depict the nature of your business. The color and font of your coupon should match your company’s existing branding. Be sure to include your logo, a street address, your website address and your social media addresses in order to maximize the likelihood of a coupon conversion.
When you’re designing a coupon, try to create an emotional reaction from the consumer by providing them with imagery that directly relates to your service. A plumbing business may want their direct marketing campaign to use stock photography of a frustrated homeowner. A restaurant may incorporate high resolution photos of their finest dishes. Evaluate the emotional response of your coupon ad design. Does the coupon immediately convey a solution to a problem? Emotion can be a strong player in the motivation for taking advantage of an offer, and conveying the wrong emotion will lessen its appeal with your audience.
In each of these examples, the media included with the coupon evokes an emotional reaction from the consumer. For the plumbing company, the consumer may relate to the frustration of having a plumbing problem in their home. For the restaurant example, a consumer may say “Wow, that looks delicious!” Offering the right emotional stimulus increases the likelihood the consumer will recall the coupon when they have a parallel experience.
Tying It All Together
By mastering the best practices for coupon design, your brand can make the most out of its direct marketing campaign. Remember, according to Forrester, coupons offer more than just a good deal to your customers. They represent boosted brand awareness with a sales lift of almost 60% for unused coupons, drive brand preference when a quarter of all adults would switch brands for a good deal, reduce the customer’s decision fatigue by offering them an easy answer, and increase shopping frequency by about 47%.
Coupon design continues to be a determining factor in the success of direct mail campaigns and is vital to how great the benefit offered to your company is. By utilizing a little creativity while adhering to the ad design best practices, you can ensure that your direct marketing campaign provides a sizable return on your investment.