Resources Hub » Blog » How to Drive Sales with Email Coupons [+ Examples]

In email marketing, there are dozens of tricks you can use to improve performance.

Every digital marketer or small business owner has tips and tricks on how to boost your open rates, increase your click rates, and reduce your unsubscribe rates, but what about driving sales?

The goal of email marketing is more than just improving email performance.

You want to improve your ROI and encourage customer retention. Email coupons and promo codes are one way you can do both.

When used properly, email coupons can lead to bigger and quicker purchases. They can even prompt customers to make future purchases or refer their friends and family. And, with the right tools, you can set them up for success.

How email coupons and promo codes can drive sales

Everyone loves saving money. Whether it’s a semi-annual sale or an email coupon, email subscribers love finding out they can save money on their favorite products. In fact, email coupons and promo codes are one of the most effective ways to drive sales for your business.

Here’s why you need to consider email coupons and promo codes to boost your revenue

  • In 2017, consumers redeemed $47 billion in digital coupons. That number could increase to $91 billion by 2022.
  • Over half of all consumers prefer that all coupons were digital, and 63% would use them more often if they were available.
  • Eighty-two percent of consumers use their digital coupons within a week or less. Almost a third of consumers use them within 24 hours.
  • By 2022, digital coupon use is expected to increase by 94%. Mobile coupons will account for 80% of those digital coupons.

If those weren’t enough, 53% of consumers—that’s over half of all consumers—spend more than two hours each week looking for the best deals. Another quarter of them spend more than four hours a week comparing prices.

Imagine if you could just deliver deals to their inbox, saving them valuable time.

Email coupons and promo codes are often a motivating factor in purchase decisions. If someone has been on the fence for a while, a 20% discount may be all that’s necessary to get them over the hurdle.

5 examples of email coupons that can grow your business

Discounts are just one type of email coupon you can offer. There are a lot of different ways to approach email coupons and promo codes in email marketing.

1. A gift card reward following a purchase on your site.

There’s no better group of people to market to than people who’ve already purchased your products. Your returning customers are some of your most valuable. In fact, nurtured leads make purchases that are 47% larger than their non-nurtured counterparts.

Sleep Country Canada sends out a lucrative email offer to customers who purchase their Lifestyle Base product:

 Gift cards are a great way to drive traffic back to your store.

Source: Really Good Emails

Instead of offering a discount, Sleep Country Canada includes a gift card for a flat amount. Returning customers can use this to purchase products in their store, a great way to increase your ROI for that customer. Consider making gift cards transferable as well. This can lead to new customers.

2. Account credit for the first time someone uses your service

The first time someone buys a product from you or uses one of your services is special. All of the work you’ve put into your business is paying off, and you want to thank people for investing in your company. Offering account or store credit shows appreciation and encourages them to return.

One of the great things about account credits is that you can set an expiration date, similar to email coupons and promo codes, or you can allow your customers to use them at any time, indefinitely. An expiration date imparts a sense of urgency, but giving people flexibility shows that you value the long-term relationship.

3. Email coupons that offer dollar-amount discounts.

Sometimes the best method is the traditional method: an old-fashioned coupon that takes a specific dollar amount off your product or total purchase. These can be as simple as “$5 off your purchase,” or have minimums like “$20 off a $50 purchase.” They usually have expiration dates.

Blue Apron, a subscription-based meal service, offers an email coupon for $30 off someone’s first meal delivery:

 Discounts for subscription-based services can lead to long-term revenue.

Source: Really Good Emails

Email coupons like this are simple to use and understand, which makes people more likely to use them. In the case of subscription-based services, coupons are an effective way to get people signed up on a recurring payment schedule.

4. Coupons or vouchers that offer a fixed price for an item

If you’re trying to promote a specific product and you want to offer it exclusively to email followers, you can use email coupons or vouchers that have a fixed price for the product. By offering it to email subscribers only, you control how frequently they use it.

PizzaExpress, a British restaurant, uses its email coupon campaign to drive people into their brick-and-mortar stores over the weekend:

 Coupons that offer a fixed price can encourage people to use them.

Source: Really Good Emails

They include several vouchers in their email—two of them offer specific meals for a set price, and one offers a percentage discount. Variety means more people can use your email coupons.

5. Percentage discounts for upgrading services or subscriptions

If your company offers services with different levels of features, you can offer a discount to your customers if they upgrade. Subscription-based services reel people in, and they don’t want to let go of their favorite services.

If your services are recurring, it’s good practice to include a note about the price of future payments in the fine print.

Tips for offering email coupons to your subscribers

You don’t just want to throw together a quick email campaign in hopes that it’ll drive sales. An effective email campaign with email coupons and promo codes is going to take a little bit of time to put together.

You need to understand how the discount will affect your bottom line, how much it costs to offer the discount (consider the discount plus time invested in the campaign), and how likely it is that your subscribers will find it interesting.

Fortunately, you can put together an effective campaign with email coupons and promo codes using a few simple tips:

  • Use A/B testing to validate interest: If you want to know whether your customers would prefer a flat dollar discount or a percentage discount, use A/B testing to measure the results of two different campaigns. You can also test things like your subject line and CTA to improve open and click rates.
  • Offer discounts on a schedule: An effective way to forecast how email coupons will impact your bottom line is to plan your discounts on a schedule. Whether that means offering the same coupon every two weeks or sending promo codes during major holidays, a schedule gives you control.
  • Try email automation to boost opens: One of the best email marketing tools for small businesses is email automation. The right email platform will help you optimize your send days and times, segment your lists, and personalize email coupon campaigns, all of which boost open rates.

The most important thing to remember is that you want the coupons to drive sales. That means you need to invest time in measuring your results and making your campaigns more efficient.

Wrap up

Email coupons and promo codes have a lot to offer digital marketers and small business owners. Coupon use is expected to almost double in the next few years, which means every business needs to take email coupons seriously.

Before you put together your next email campaign, consider these practical tips for using email coupons and promo codes to drive sales:

  • Acknowledge that your subscribers may want something different. If the standard email discount isn’t working, think about other ways you can save your customers money.
  • Follow email marketing best practices to improve your campaign performance. This includes writing compelling subject lines, segmenting your lists, and personalizing your campaigns.
  • Use email automation to get the most out of your promotional campaigns. Find ways to trigger email coupons and promo codes from your website, social media, and other emails.

An effective marketing campaign that offers email coupons can drive sales without costing a fortune in ad spend. You can do this with an effective email marketing platform.

Looking for the right email marketing tool to help you drive sales? Campaign Monitor is packed with features that increase efficiency and improve email performance.

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This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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