How to Use Coupon Codes in Your Text Message Marketing to Increase Sales

woman with shopping bags texting in the mall

For consumers, there’s just something about the word “SALE” that grabs our attention. Even if we’re not planning to make a purchase, just knowing that something is on sale makes us want to take a closer look. We often buy everyday items without giving it much thought. But when one of those items is discounted, we feel better about buying it because we got a good deal.

For businesses, the word “SALE” is an opportunity to turn a potential buyer into a likely one. There’s a lot of competition out there so the sooner you can catch a consumer’s eye, the more likely you are to turn them into a customer—your customer.

Using text message marketing to deliver discount codes, coupon codes, BOGO offers, and the like is one of the most direct and cost-effective ways to gain market share. Sure, you could send printed mailers and promotional emails, but they have their limitations. Who wants to carry around a printed coupon (some of those postcards are huge) or pull up the email inbox on their phone to search for that marketing email you received last week, or was it the week before?

Deliver discounts into the hands of consumers with text alerts

Using text messages to send coupon codes is fast becoming a preferred method for consumers and businesses. From a customer standpoint, a discount code is easy to locate on their phone’s texting app and it’s easy to redeem depending how a business structures its checkout process.

For online orders, consumers enter the discount code during checkout. For in-store purchase, consumers simply show the code on their phone’s screen to the cashier to snag the savings. There are a few ways that shoppers can opt in to receiving savings by text message; one of the easiest is by inviting them to text a Keyword to your text phone line. More on that below.

Consumers (especially millennials) respond to coupon codes

If you’re wondering whether sending coupons by text is the way to go, consider this: a recent survey by RetailMeNot.com found that 67% of consumers have made a purchase they weren’t originally planning to make solely based on finding a coupon or discount. And 4 in 5 consumers feel encouraged to make a first-time purchase with a brand that is new to them if they found an offer. Further, 69% of millennials say they cannot complete a purchase without first searching for a deal or offer. If you could capture those consumers upfront by having them sign up for savings via text, your bottom line could get a real boost.

 

young woman texting from shopping mall

 

A text marketing coupon sent at the right time with the right offer can be very effective. Imagine a shopper being on the fence, weighing whether they really need the item they’re considering. By placing that immediate discount offer in their hands, you’re giving them that extra little nudge they need to go ahead and make the purchase.

Now more than ever, retailers and e-tailers are using text promo codes, discount codes and other coupon codes to reach customers and encourage them to shop. Buying an item online is one way to support a business, as is buying a discounted gift card for a retail store, restaurant, salon, spa or other service-focused company that can be redeemed later.

What types of text offers should you be promoting?

You know your customers best and what types of incentives drive more sales. But if you’re unsure where to start, below are some proven marketing promotions that get results. Play around with what works for your customer base and go from there.

Mixing up the offers you promote will have a better result than running the same deals week after week or month after month. To create urgency and to prompt consumers to buy sooner rather than later, make some deals more limited in the length of time the offer is valid. Just make sure the expiration date is very clear in your text marketing message, so customers aren’t disappointed when they realize the offer they’d been planning on redeeming has ended.

Percentage value savings

Offering a percentage off a single item or a percentage off a minimum order amount is a nice incentive. But the success of the text promotion is usually in direct proportion to the perceived value in the consumer’s mind. The higher the percentage off, the more likely it is that a shopper will make it a priority to visit your store or website and take advantage of it. You could offer savings of 10% or 15% but deals taking 20% or 25% off tend to move the needle more.

Dollar value savings

Offering $5 off orders of $25 or more or $10 off orders of $50 or more makes it easy for the customer to grasp the savings quickly. It’s the same as offering 20% off an order of the same size, but some shoppers respond better to a dollar-off savings than percentage-off savings even though they’re equal.

BOGO offers

Promoting a BOGO offer, where one item is sold at the regular price and a second item of equal or lesser value is free, is usually seen around the holidays when consumers are more budget conscious. However, it can also be a popular promotion when seasons change, and a store changes out a lot of its merchandise. BOGO sales help clear out the last of the previous season’s merchandise and encourage shoppers to come in and buy new items for the coming season.

Choosing a keyword for customers to use when signing up

It’s best to choose a keyword that is short, easy to type and makes sense. The words “DEALS,” “OFFERS” or “DISCOUNTS” work well for any type of business. Some brands may want to make the keyword more unique. A coffee house may decide that the word “PERKS” is more fitting, more fun and more memorable. After a customer has signed up for the program, the actual coupon code or discount code will be a sequence of numbers.

In the example below, when the keyword “DEALS” is texted to the business phone number it prompts an automatic reply with the discount code, the discount offer, the expiration date and the option to opt out of the promo program. That’s a lot of information is a single text.

 

text conversation with coupon code

How to promote or advertise that you offer text alert coupon codes

In-store displays

Create easy-to-read signage that you post in exterior-facing store widows for passersby in cars and those on foot to see. Also include interior-facing signage so consumers can sign up while they’re shopping to take advantage of the savings that day. Adding smaller signs near checkout lanes may encourage those waiting to sign up to get a discount too.

E-mail marketing

If your customers are already receiving email communications from you, simply ask them to text a keyword to your phone number. You can make it a unique keyword so you can tell how many people signed up after seeing an email or use one keyword for all text marketing coupon code signups.

On your website

The easiest way to sign up customers using your website is to create a web page describing what offers they can expect to receive. Include a form with fields for them to enter their name and their mobile number. Make it very clear that they are opting in to receive discount offers from your business by text marketing message.

Text message

Just because someone has texted your business in the past doesn’t mean they want to receive texts with coupon codes. They must explicitly opt in to marketing text messages. As mentioned previously, once they enter the keyword you provided in your marketing materials (email, website, in-store signage) they’re giving consent to receive offers and promotions. That is until they choose to use a STOP command to revoke consent and opt out. For more information on adhering to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, download our easy-to-read e-book on TCPA Compliance.

Using text templates and scheduled messages to save time

With Zipwhip’s business texting software, users can create text templates for different offers and use the templates again and again. Templates eliminate the need to start from scratch every time a new promotional text is sent. When it’s time to send a new message, simply select a template and update the changing details, such as the expiration date. Planning ahead gives others time to review the text to ensure it’s free of typos and contains accurate information.

texting software text template example

How often should a business send a promotional discount?

Depending on what a company sells and how frequently customers shop, a business should plan their promotions with that rhythm in mind. That doesn’t mean a customer expects to redeem a coupon code on every visit. Sending offers occasionally will make them appreciate when a new discount comes around. Where’s the fun in getting the same offer every other week?

To mix things up, you can offer a discount code if they increase the size of their order to meet a higher dollar threshold. That way they’re buying their regular items at the regular price but they’re getting a special offer on that little something extra they put in their cart.

Businesses may want to segment their customer lists and send offers to different customers based on their buying patterns. If that information isn’t easy to gather or a business would rather offer the same incentives to everyone in their database, sending a coupon code once every two to four weeks is a good starting point. If you find that consumers are opting out of your program, consider reducing the frequency or adjusting your text marketing offers.

Get more out of your marketing efforts with Zipwhip

Texting is one of the easiest and most effective tools a business can adopt to improve customer engagement, increase sales and streamline staff productivity. Learn more by downloading our comprehensive e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Texting Your Customers. It provides a thorough understanding of how to reach your customers the right way with business texting.

And, did you know that a company can enhance its communication channels by text-enabling its existing business phone number? Find out more about how business texting can help build stronger customer relationships.

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