Incentivize That! How to Create an Effective Marketing Campaign With Coupons

Gather round Colonists and my Fellow Wannabe Means of Production Creators! Today on Planet Haley we are discussing one of my favorite Granny guilty pleasures: couponing. Since we want to use our money wisely (Debt is slavery. Just don’t do it if you can avoid it, okay kids?) , we’re going to determine which coupons are actually worth the incentive for them and, being the forward-thinking future business owners of ‘Murica that we are, are going to take these observations into consideration when we open our own shops and it is our turn persuade the general public of our value to society and, more importantly, that we are absafuckinglutely worth spending their hard-earned Pheonix Digital Currency Units on ( Yeah, I read the fucking Economist. Why don’t you? Knowing how the other half manages their dragon hoards is a whole different kind of Gnossis; I highly recommend it as a worthwhile course of Independent Study.)

How often do you think the average human in the industrialized first world sees an advertisement containing a coupon or deal in it? Think about the junk mail advertising circulars lagging down your paperboy or the countless spam emails clogging up your digital mailbox?

Now, I want you to think about the times you have actually used those coupons. The first example that pops in my mind was a Buy One, Get One Free Drink one printed like one would do for a business card for Fat Tuesday’s in Key West.  Another example is a buy an entree, get a free appetizer or dessert one for an upscale restaurant nearby that. There were hundred of these little card coupons for almost every business on the island- you could pick them up at party stores, hotels, and paddleboard rental stands on Duval Street. Obviously I never took advantage of all the deals available- what made me choose the ones that I did? The one thing all these deals have in common is that what we were getting to try something for free, as opposed to the coupons I don’t use. There is so much competition out there, if you want to get big fast then you have to give out something free and make sure it gets in the hands of your potential converts (er…we meant customers). A prime example of some shitty coupons that aren’t worth the paper they’re written on are from the Red Lobster and Outback Steakhouse. I have coupons for both of those scrumptious snack factories, but they are both only for $4 off two entrees. At a place with huge portions averaging around $20 a plate, you’re likely to split your meal with someone  else in your party anyways, $4 is simply not enough of an incentive to get my ass in your chairs, especially now that I know your most precious secret (  ). Hey restaurant marketing dudes reading this: I’m going to the other casual dining place down the road with the $5 apps and getting 3 apps instead of two entrees at your place. Despite what the official numbers say, we all know that the economy didn’t recover from the Recession, it changed into something startlingly sinister enough to have a significant section of the population calling for a more socialist solution. Until then, get used to people taking their shopping habits straight out of the Great Depression. #throwbackthursday

Marketing is EXPENSIVE; I work in an office for a promotions firm and I was shocked to find out how much those water bottles colleges give out at college fairs actually cost and, on the flip side, how cheap it actually is to produce some thing like business card magnets. A ton of work goes into these campaigns, from the designer digitizing your artwork into a vector format using a program like CorelDRAW to the UPS guy bringing them straight to your doorstep. Why waste all that time and money on an ineffective campaign, especially if you are a new business and the wrong financial moves with your limited cash could have dire consequences?

Use creative language to make your deals sound more appealing. For example, instead of saying “$1 off” your drinks that are usually around $4-5, say you get 25% off your whole bill. If the promotion applies to my whole bill (and your establishment happens to have music or some other entertainment that doesn’t involve staring at some lamesauce sporting event on the television), I’m more likely to think about making a night out of my visit, staying longer, and therefore purchasing more drinks. The later in the night it gets, the more likely we’re to start ordering rounds of expensive shots (or, equally likely, duping some guys into buying them for us. You probably don’t care which, as long as the money makes it to the drawer), and you can see where things are going after that.

I think a big reason chain stores and restaurants have a hard time getting their corporate claws on precious Millenial money is that most of us have, at some dark period in our lives, usually in conjunction with massive alcohol consumption and sheer desperation-driven insanity, worked in these establishments long enough to have the magic created in the front of the house completely shattered upon unloading a mountain of boxes on the back of a Sysco truck. Simply, we don’t see the value in spending $13 for chicken wings we can get down the street at Kroger’s and throw in the oven our own damn selves. Sure, we all succumb to the temptation of spending money on overpriced chain restaurant chow once in a while but you know what? We’re not perfect and those fucking cheddar biscuits are happy little clouds of pleasure in a dark, insane world.

At least now you know you can easily make those at home, too! Share your favorite restaurant copycat recipe in the comments section.

PLANET HALEY is an independent editorial publication directed towards Millenials with the goal of promoting serious conversations about finance, business, technology, and politics in a 24 hour, digital world with the eventual goal of all our mutual successes. We strongly support a free and open Internet, knowing that it is essential to transmit knowledge, collaborate with like-minded individuals, and spread unique, valuable ideas around the globe to educate and empower the citizens of the world. This article is free to share, just please post a link back to the site so my readership can grow, and maybe donate to my college fund? :3

Money burning a hole in your wallet? You can always give me some of it to say “thank you” for informing or making you smile today: . Your donations also will be assisting with paying for my college education, since student loans suck ass. You can also send me a book about coding or some tasty Spanish cheese here: because I love presents as much as the next person.

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