In the past, the only way consumers had access to coupons was by clipping them out of the newspaper or a mailer. Today, while these types of print coupons are still used in households across the country, more, and more consumers are doing their “coupon clipping” online.
Coupons are still widely used. In fact, according to a recent study, 85% of Americans use coupons. What’s more, the majority of the growth is due to digital and mobile-friendly offers, suggesting that cross-platform coupon integration is a must for your business.
The Basics of Coupon Integration
To get started, let’s look at some best practices that you can use to integrate your coupons across print, social, and digital platforms. These practices will impact how you approach the written copy, design, and tracking of your coupons — as well as how you might alter those elements slightly while moving from one channel to another.
Copy: The three C’s of marketing can be applied when it comes to writing copy for your coupons. Your copy, in other words, must be Clear, Compelling, and Consistent. Utilizing consistent verbiage, attention-grabbing calls-to-action, and clear value statements are important for design, but it’s even more important when you’re integrating across multiple platforms.
With that said, a few copy tweaks might be necessary based on your medium and audience. Strong copy requires a strong call-to-action. Keeping your CTAs consistent and to the point is a best practice regardless of your medium. Be clear about what you’re asking the consumer to do and provide actionable next steps. For example, Click here to get 10% off your next purchase! or Redeem today to receive 10% off your next purchase!
Think about how your copy might need to change to adapt to print vs. digital or social. Does your audience change any from one channel to the next? For instance, your social offers may be targeting younger, socially active females, where your print offers may be targeting younger, stay at home moms. Identifying who you’re marketing to, per channel, and how that affects your advertising is key to integrating your coupons effectively.
Design: Design consistency is also a best practice when it comes to integrating your marketing. You want customers to be able to look at your coupons in any format—print, social, or digital—and immediately connect them with your business. Incorporating your logo, choosing a color scheme, and a consistent typeface for your coupons is important to appropriately represent your brand. Just like with copy, you should be able to easily adapt your basic design template to suit multiple coupon channels. The structure and creative elements of the coupon should remain the same but the coupon creative itself may need to be adjust to meet the different specs of different outlets.
Leave spots in your design for cross-promotional elements. For instance, your email newsletter could include a hashtag or social share buttons for purchasers to use to tell their friends about the excellent deal they got. You can also use your print coupons in a similar fashion by driving traffic to a specific URL. This not only helps increase visits to your site but it can also help advertisers to track where these visits came from.
On digital and social channels, you also need to be sure your coupon designs are optimized for mobile devices. Mobile usage is consistently increasing and coupons that consumers can easily access on their devices are likely to receive the most engagement.
Tracking: The final best practice for integrating coupons across multiple channels is to track how customers are actually using your coupons. You can make use of specific tracking codes for digital, social, and print in order to track the engagement and redemptions of your offers per channel. Once the expiration date has elapsed, analyze the information to determine which channel is delivering the most results. Are your print placements paying off, or are most of your redemptions coming from social media? Use this information to determine where to emphasize your focus and/or how to adjust campaigns in different channels to improve future performance.
Implementing and Integrating Coupons Across Social, Print, and Digital
To understand how you might integrate your coupons across digital, social, and print channels, let’s take a look at a basic business scenario. A national grocery store chain is offering a promotion where redeeming a coupon can earn shoppers 10% off honey-baked hams in December. The question is, how would this grocery store need to change their coupons between print, social, and digital channels to keep the same integrity, but integrate their message effectively?
First, the grocery store chain might think about how their offer’s copy would need to be adjusted to integrate into each platform. For example, print coupons may be targeted toward decision makers of the household, while social coupons may target younger families that are planning for family and friends during the holidays.
The grocery store chain might also modify the design and typeface slightly to create more engagement on digital and social channels. Most coupons typically include some fine print, providing information about redemption, purchase requirements, and limitations. These fine print selections (as well as barcodes) are essential for coupons but don’t always lend themselves well to eye-catching design. As a result, the grocery store might create simpler, more aesthetically pleasing coupon ads for social and digital promotion. They can then incorporate a “Click here to claim your offer!” call-to-action that directs shoppers to access the actual barcoded coupon.
Integrating your coupons effectively across social, print, and digital channels does not need to be hard. By optimizing your copy and creative for the appropriate medium, identify your audience, and having a method of tracking your performance you’ll be on your way to a successful coupon campaign regardless of the medium you’re advertising on.