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4 Coupon Code Mistakes Small Online Businesses Should Avoid

Vouchers, coupons and promo codes are a great tool for any online business. They may seem relatively minor in the grand scheme of your business’ operations, but they have  a way of not just luring in new customers, but also getting new and returning customers, to spend more on the business platform and instils a sense of loyalty in existing customers.

Coupons are one of the most effective marketing and sales strategies a company can implement, however, if used incorrectly, coupon codes can be ineffective, and detrimental to your business’ financial status, brand value and existing customer relationships. So, what mistakes should you avoid and how do you make sure your coupons profitable to your business?

Neglecting customer acquisition cost (CAC)
The primary mistake made by small online businesses is to not understand the cost of customer acquisition and how it drives coupon campaigns. Basically, the customer acquisition cost is the amount of money you need to spend in order to gain a customer. It is important that you make proper calculations and consider what CAC is right for your business so you don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Take note of what you stand to gain – and lose – by offering coupons and only go ahead if it is profitable.

Offering unlimited discounts
No matter how financially stable your business is, you do not want to offer discounts that have no time-frame for when they can be used. If you must offer store-wide discounts, ensure they have a cost or time-limit attached to their use, that way, shoppers do not easily take advantage of your discount and buy much more at discounts than you had anticipated, leading to a lot of sales but low revenue. Also, ensure you attach restrictions and expiry dates to all coupons and codes.

Offering random or insignificant discounts
When giving discounts, ensure they are for a specific purpose and are worthwhile. Strive to make your coupon deal one of the greatest on the market. Do not operate under the notion that any coupon is better than no coupon. Random or worthless deals that are not good enough will work towards cheapening your brand image and make you look greedy or too cheap to offer up a real deal.  Ensure your deals are attractive enough too, that customers are very receptive to the coupon.

Not having a tracking strategy or scheme
What is the point in giving out coupons if you cannot track them? How do you measure its success and how do you collect customer data? It is very important that you implement a tracking strategy which will help you measure how effective a promotion has been, know what costs were incurred, and how much loss or profit was made. Whether you are dealing with physical coupons or digital coupons, the data collected can prove very helpful when planning for your business in the future.


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Nkem Ndem is a dynamic freelance writer and editor who can be reached for online writing(web content and blog) and editing, screenwriting, ghost writing, copy proofreading and reviews. She has since worked with Jumia, SpiceTV Africa, and Bella Naija. Check out her Instagram: @kem_dem, twitter: @ndemv and snapchat: @ndemv

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