Coupons and exclusive discounts have long been a way to win customers. Everyone likes a deal, especially when that deal feels as though it is only available to a small portion of the buying audience. When executed the right way, discounts can incentivize customers to try out a new business or look at a known business's latest offerings. However, when a discount offer doesn't apply to a shopper's buying interests, email notifications and social media posts can feel spammy.
As personalization becomes more integral to marketing to customers, savvy businesses are looking at ways to apply this approach to coupons and other discounts. Using the latest technology, brands can deliver a deal specifically targeted to a customer's interests. Here are a few ways your business can use personalized discounts to help increase your sales.
1. Know your market.
Before you can directly connect to your customer base, you'll first need to know the customers you're trying to reach. Whether you're striving to get repeat business, marketing to new customers, or a combination of both, you may get the best results if you have a process in place to monitor customer interactions with your website. Using analytics, you can learn more about the types of deals that will best resonate with the customers who end up buying from your site.
One great way to study your market is through the creation of buyer personas. While documenting these personas, your team will study your existing customer base and think about personality traits specific to different types of buyers. Your brand may appeal to working parents and busy professionals, for instance, so you can draw up a persona that describes the typical day in the life of each of those personality types. Once you have these personas in place, you'll be able to hone your marketing strategy to include discount offers that appeal specifically to your target audience.
2. Create segments.
To personalize your offers, however, you'll need to gather data on the people visiting your site every day. This can be done through the form you use to collect email addresses for special offers. As you gather this information, a simple question or two that determines what a customer hopes to gain from using your service or buying your products can make all the difference. You'll then have the basic information you need to segment your marketing efforts.
With segmentation, you're no longer deploying a one-size-fits-all approach to your discount offers. You can create offers specific to customers at different buying stages or with varying interests. The offers wouldn't be specific to each customer, but they may be more likely to resonate if they speak to interests those customers have actually expressed.
For even more potentially effective results, you can attach your discount offer to the ads the customers see later. By inviting them back with a special coupon, you may be able to entice them to take a second look at the products you're selling. You can also retarget with similar items that might be on sale, catching the eye of those for whom price was the main reason they didn't buy. This may also work with customers who completed a purchase through your site, since they may be more likely to take an interest in similar products than someone who has never bought from you.
4. Distribute through partners.
If you limit yourself only to those who have visited your site, you'll miss a considerable chunk of the buying population. You can target customers similar to those who have bought from you, but you still may not have the best results. One way to access a fully-engaged audience who might buy your products is to partner with a business that has a customer base likely to be interested in those products.
Reach out to colleagues and others you know with an offer to distribute their offers through your networks in exchange for a return favor. Both you and the partner business can benefit from this type of arrangement, since you'll each have original content to promote to your audiences. As with any customer acquisition channel, you should carefully measure ROI to determine if this is an approach that works for your brand.
Although coupons are a great way to entice customers, cost savings should not be your only value proposition. Make sure new and returning customers see your brand as one that provides high-quality products or services, as well as the best possible user experience. As a result, you may soon find you're spending less time coming up with personalized discount offers and more time working hard, serving the many customers you have.