2009 begins in the shadow of global economic recession. The Consumer Confidence Index hovers at 38, a new low in United States, and those consumers that are shopping want deals. So could 2009 be the year of the ecommerce coupon?
According to a Dec. 10, 2008 comScore report, coupon use grew 63 percent for the one week period beginning Dec. 1, 2008 compared to the first week of December 2007 as a source of referral for ecommerce sales. Coupons represented 1.8 percent of all sources of referral for ecommerce sales, comScore said. Similarly Google Insights for Search tracked a 51 percent growth in searches for the keyword “coupon” in December 2008 compared to December 2007.
Since January of 2004, Google searches for the keyword “coupon” have grown 257 percent, according to Google Insights for Search. With so much consumer interest in coupons and corresponding keyword phrases like “coupons,” “coupon code,” “free coupons,” “discount coupons,” etc., smart online retailers will use this potential trend to increase site traffic and boost sales in 2009.
Use Coupon Offers to Increase Site Traffic in 2009
There are at least six ways Internet storekeepers can use this trend to boost site traffic, including coupon code landing pages (SEO), coupon or special offer newsletters, coupon or discount RSS feeds, pay-per-click advertising, promotions on coupon or deal of the day sites and coupon codes in more traditional media.
Coupon Code Landing Pages
Consider creating a coupon code landing page for your store. The page will describe all of your current promotions, say a buy-one-get-one free offer or a free shipping offer. And you should link to this landing page from every other page on your site transferring a significant about of PageRank ranking power. All of those internal links will act like votes of importance when Google, Yahoo!, MSN’s Live Search or other search engines index your store. As search engines index and rank your coupon code landing page, your site should begin to show up on relevant coupon related searches, increasing your site traffic.
Coupon or Special Offer Newsletters
Retailers should begin offering coupon or special offer newsletters. Invite visitors to your site to register for the newsletter while they are visiting category pages and, if possible, during the checkout process. You may even want to use a list rental firm to help start the newsletter. But once you have a list, send out a weekly coupon code. The newsletter proactively reaches customers already familiar with and interested in the products you sell. Watch your site traffic and your sales leap each time you send out a newsletter.
Coupon or Discount RSS Feeds
RSS feeds are one of the best ways to track news, information and even deals. Offer site visitors a coupon or discount RSS feed. Interested customers will add the feed to their favorite aggregator or email client and will soon be receiving your special offers. As with the coupon newsletter, your site should experience a relative spike in traffic each time you introduce a new offer to your RSS feed subscribers.
Mention Coupons in PPC Ads
For many online stores, PPC is the marketing workhorse that drives traffic. To take advantage of the coupon trend, add coupon codes right in your PPC ads or consider adding a campaign around coupon offers. You’ll be paying for each click, but you will boost your site’s traffic.
Promotions on Coupon or Deal Sites
There are already dozens of websites that allow retailers to advertise coupon codes either for free or for a fee. Post your coupon codes on these sites and penny-pinching shoppers will flood our site. Below is a list of several of the coupon or deal sites—in no particular order—you should try. Also, look for regional or niche sites that might have special reach.
Coupon Codes in Traditional Media
Some online merchants may want to step outside of the Internet box and place coupon codes in traditional media, including print advertising. Try running traditional coupons in magazines, newspapers or even on billboards if your budget will support it. These traditional ads can drive a lot of traffic.