A survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of CouponCabin (the mobile app) earlier this spring revealed that coupons are not just popular in general, but that 40% of mobile users have redeemed special deals via their smartphones. We all know that coupons are a must-have in affiliate marketing for merchants, and with reason: discount offers help increase click to sale conversions. But saturation is a concern to some, especially with the advent of daily deal sites. If you are a retail merchant that is thinking of creating a coupon offer to give to your affiliates, here are a few considerations to help you ramp up the performance of those offers and increase the performance of your coupons.
The Harris Interactive study showed that smartphone users relied on mobile apps to take advantage of discounts. Moreover, the offers that actually converted were related to things like daily deals, grocery coupons, and free samples. Affiliates that are working with merchants are not only going to need offers that are part of their everyday wants and needs, but they will also be looking for more accessible ways to redeem those offers.
One of the appeals of daily deal sites is the exclusive membership factor. Sites of this nature set up their deals in a way that requires you to register and provide simple bits of information about yourself (e.g. name and email) to gain exclusive access to their offers. With this in mind, it works in your favor to make your coupon offers exclusive to your best affiliates. We know what you’re thinking: coupons should be offered to all affiliates. Sure, offering coupons to affiliates can help with increasing conversions, but if you can afford to do it, it makes good sense to offer a unique deal to your top performers that are already seasoned and have traffic to begin with. The higher the quality of that traffic, the better that traffic will actually convert and including a coupon offer on top of that traffic will be a great complement.
Aside from exclusivity, most merchants will offer a generic code to their affiliates with an accompanying expiration date. However, most affiliates will tell you that they would prefer that the actual codes be exclusive too. We have agreed with this in the past and we still agree with this today; give affiliates codes that are co-branded or relevant to their website or brand.
Once affiliates agree to promote the discount offer you are giving them, they will probably want to use different channels to promote it. Just as blending social media and SEO is a great method of promotion, so is blending coupon offers with both social media and SEO. For example, say a PPC affiliate is interested in promoting a coupon offer and uses the following headline for their ad: Get 50% off [insert barbecue brand name here] with coupon code 50OFF. Rather than using the coupon code itself in the ad, affiliates (and even merchants promoting their own unique discounts) can tailor the content to include the details of the discount offer to garner better conversions: Buy and save 50% on your barbecue purchase until June 30, 2012.
As coupons continue to be in major demand, merchants and affiliates will need to come up with creative ways to promote these offers. Any experience with coupon codes in ecommerce? Please comment below.
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