How to Get Potential Customers to Use Your Coupons

by Michelle Hutchinson

Providing coupons or publishing them in ads or mailers can be a great way to introduce prospects to your business and increase your revenue, but how do you get people to use those coupons? Here are four must-haves to make that happen.

Include the name of your business on your coupon. That might sound like a no-brainer, but I just went through a local magazine in which half the coupons within ads lacked the name of the establishment. Here is an example of one.

Coupons in an ad

Name and contact information have been whited out to protect privacy.









Sure, the ad has the name of the company, but once the reader removes the coupons, how likely is she to remember what restaurant provided them? Most people toss their coupons in an envelope or their wallet until they want to use them. The coupons below won’t have the opportunity to be redeemed until the clipper decides to eat out, but by then, she probably won’t recall the ad from she had retrieved them.

Diner coupons

Without the name of the restaurant on the coupons, how likely is the reader to remember where they came from?






Include the business address or website URL on your coupon. An address prevents prospects from having to look up your location, and as a business owner, you should be all about making things as easy as possible for your clients and prospects. If you have a multi-location company, printing all the locations on a coupon could get messy and expensive, so just include the URL of your website. That way, prospects can go online to find the nearest location.

Include a clear expiration date (or provide a coupon that never expires). Do the coupons below expire on November 1, 2013; November 30, 2013; or some other date in November?

Diner coupons with poorly understood expiration dates

How would you interpret the expiration dates on these coupons?







If your potential customer isn’t sure, she might not use the coupon for fear of being embarrassed if it has expired. That could result in a lost visit to your business. Therefore, include a clear month, day, and year, or provide a non-expiring coupon.

Ensure another coupon is not printed back-to-back with yours. Otherwise, potential customers who clip the other coupon first will never see yours.

Here’s an example of a well-designed coupon. Even though it has been clipped from a larger ad, you have no question about the name of the business and its location. There’s no expiration date, so we can use it whenever we’d like.

Tutoring coupon showing name of business and address

Business name and contact information have been whited out to avoid the appearance of endorsement.

Finally, while not needed to get prospects to use your coupon, you should include a code on the coupon, one that differs for each medium in which it is printed. That way, you can track which publication or means of distribution has been most effective.

Do you clip coupons? What features prompt you to use them?

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