For generations, consumers have loved using coupons. But with a smartphone in nearly every American’s hand, today’s mobile marketing coupons aren’t your mother’s newspaper clippings.
Research shows mobile coupon use is expected to climb to 48 percent by 2017, compared to 40.5 percent this year, according to eMarketer. By 2017, nearly half of American companies with 100 or more employees will offer mobile coupons via mobile-friendly websites, apps, email, or texts. Those coupons are aimed at US Internet users who say they access coupons for online and off-line shopping, eMarketer reports.
For content marketers, coupons and incentives can be a relatively easy way to generate buzz, promote customer loyalty, secure new customers, and, critically, drive sales. But even marketing tactics as universally loved as coupons may need a content marketing boost to hit their mark. Simply put, a coupon may not be enough to drive consumers to purchase, especially as mobile coupons become more ubiquitous. Brands must think creatively about using mobile coupons within their content marketing strategies to better capture consumer attention.
Redbox is no stranger to using SMS for marketing purposes, and the brand knows how to spice up its texts to get noticed. One recent campaign seized on consumers’ love of surprise: Users got an SMS message instructing them to click on a link and then “scratch” for a surprise deal. The user rubs her finger across an image of a Redbox machine, revealing a coupon code.
Innovation—even with something so basic as coupons—can go a long way in engaging consumers, especially those constantly barraged with promo emails and texts from myriad brands. If your coupon stands out, it has a better chance of being redeemed.
Consumers love digesting great content from brands on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, but they also expect to find deals on those channels. Ninety-four percent of Twitter users say they follow brands on Twitter for discounts and promos.
Starbucks, for example, uses coupon offers on social media sparingly—but when it does share a coupon, it tends to make a splash. Last fall’s BOGO drink offer, accompanied with a cute and punny photo, earned nearly 20,000 retweets on Twitter. The takeaway: Users don’t want their feeds flooded with coupon offers, but they do love it when brands reward their followers.
Marketers are looking to beacons to help nudge consumers toward purchase by way of a location-triggered mobile marketing coupon. RetailMeNot, the juggernaut of digital offers, has teamed up with Swirl Networks to use beacon marketing technology to engage with 20 million RetailMeNot app users. The partnership will allow RetailMeNot to deliver content and offers to consumers when they shop in brick-and-mortar stores.
Such location-based tactics could help brands increase sales among coupon fans. Studies show that users who use digital coupons heavily spend 114 percent more on groceries and household goods annually. If such digitally connected consumers could get notifications alerting them to additional savings, then they might opt to try new products or make additional purchases.
Loyalty programs are another coupon-like tactic that keeps consumers coming back for more. Not only does Walgreens’s app make it easy for customers to order prescription refills and print photos, it also tracks users’ Balance Rewards points. Members earn points by making purchases, refilling prescriptions, or even engaging in healthy behaviors. That kind of functionality, along with a robust rewards program, helps the company continually engage users.
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