The Washington Post

Which coupon service should a small business use?

On Small Business has a new feature in which young entrepreneurs will answer common questions about small business owners’ social media needs. The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of young entrepreneurs.

Which coupon service should a small business use?

Aaron Schwartz, founder and CEO of Modify Watches in Berkeley, Calif.:


For Modify, the exposure to these brands’ audiences has been incredible. We have a high repurchase rate from customers — Modify introduces new interchangeable designs every month and our fans love refreshing their look — so gaining access to individuals in different locations is beneficial. These partner sites help introduce us to new audiences and build long-term loyalty. However, the major downside to any discounting service is that losing margin can be painful.

We have been approached by at least two dozen more sites, but we have chosen to partner with these three specifically. Through flexible terms, iterative copywriting and just a positive attitude, our organizations have worked well together.”

Anthony Saladino, co-founder and CEO of Kitchen Cabinet Kings: in Staten Island, N.Y.:

We have not used any outside coupon services like LivingSocial or Groupon; however, we did use an on-site coupon tab from on our homepage. This coupon tab allowed users to sign up for exclusive discounts by submitting their name and e-mail address. Utilizing our e-mail marketing software from Mad Mimi, we created an e-mail that grabbed their attention and provided them with an exclusive discount coupon code.

The results have been phenomenal. E-mail marketing, coupled with a coupon mailing list, has yielded the highest open-rate percentage and click-through percentage of all our previous e-mail marketing campaigns. We have found that the users who sign up for our coupon mailing list are very anxious to make a purchase, and in some cases, have even contacted us between marketing promotions to get their discount coupon early!

Kelly Azevedo, founder of She’s Got Systems:in Woodland, Calif.:

We primarily provide services, so we have not yet used any coupon services for the packages that are available. However, by working with successful launch campaigns in 2012, we know that when advertising with coupon services, it’s still important to have distinct branding that matches the campaign, Web site and e-mails.

Most of the work we do to is to implement an effective system before a coupon campaign begins, such as integrating a sophisticated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform that will automate the flow of information. Many times, you hear how a business was completely overwhelmed by the success of a coupon campaign, but by working to develop systems that anticipate and handle that inflow, our clients are prepared to capitalize on the opportunity.

A one-time buyer using a coupon doesn’t provide maximum leverage, so before any major campaign, we develop the strategy on how this offer fits into the overall sales process. By identifying what coupon users need and the next offer they should receive, we can continue to market with an effective CRM to develop the relationship for repeat business.


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