What’s the Secret Code?

Very recently, I ran into a local restaurant and said, “Hey! Do you have any coupons to contribute to a gift bag that will be going to the families at HFFA’s Kids Triathalon?”  The business owner was excited to comply. But before he handed over the coupons, I made sure we coded each coupon.

Yes, the two of us sat in a booth with a Sharpie and simply put an asterisk on the back of each coupon.  That’s because I told him it was essential that we measured the response rate of that effort.  When he had coupons for any other event, I told him he needed to code those as well.  That way, it would be easy for him to create a spreadsheet noting how many coupons he passed out at an event and how many were redeemed.  And, based on the ongoing results, he would be able to determine where his areas of focus could continue.

In the long run, coding your coupons will help you save on print costs, it will help you concentrate your focus on the most responsive areas and it will show you what areas have your strongest audiences. You can also make determinations as to the effectiveness of your offer:  Do you need to strengthen the deal? Are people perceiving your coupon as a genuine bargain? Or, are you giving up too much?  Are people coming in for a “freebie” and then never coming back?  Some recent complaints from businesses that have been participating in Groupon or LivingSocial are that the giveaways are costing too much and not guaranteeing return business. Be aware, start coding and make the judgments yourself.

My first post promised you “short and sweet”.  I merely want to give you food for thought. It takes a little extra effort to see what works for YOUR business. If you have suggestions, please share with us.


Author: jillswain

Former Mayor Chamber of Commerce Exec. Director Advertising consultant Mom and spouse (30 years and counting!) Rec league girls' volleyball coach Champion of all things Huntersville, North Carolina

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