Cost effective voucher marketing for local businesses

As we are coming close to Christmas, many small and medium size business owners will be considering coupons deals as a way to attract new customers to their shops. “Being a marketer of your own business means that you have to continuously learn and adapt to modern marketing methods”, says Alex Papaconstantinou, of UK based voucher site, “Coupon marketing can be pretty intimidating for small businesses. It’s easy to look at the costs of designing, printing, and distributing vouchers and get scared away from one of the best ways of marketing your business.”

Today, access to a plethora of social media platforms means that you can have your digital vouchers published in seconds by pressing a few buttons. But what about the traditional, old-style paper vouchers? Luckily, there are tricks you can use to cut these costs down to almost nothing.

Here are some creative ways you can get your offers out as the holiday season begins.

  1. Piggyback off of other mailings. You don’t always need to distribute your own vouchers. Instead, let your vouchers ride along with mail that would have been sent anyway. You can include a paper voucher with invoices and other mail that your business sends out, such as overdue payment reminders and change of address notifications.
  2. Work with other local businesses. Rather than competing with the businesses around you, try forming a marketing alliance. Not only can you work together to create a coupon book, you can also share mailing lists and run complementary promotions. Coupons that involve visiting multiple businesses (like “half-price movie tickets with a meal purchase”) are a great way to make money for you and your neighbours.
  3. Use your receipts as vouchers. By law, every customer in a retail shop has to get a receipt of payment. The content on these little payment slips is all computer generated. “There is a reason Tesco puts a voucher on every receipt they print” says Alex “and I can’t see why small businesses don’t do it too. By making sure every customer walks out of the door with a voucher you’ll get the potential for a lot more business in the near future”.
  4. Try an online soft sell. Your business is probably active on social media, and you might even have a presence on forums or newsgroups. Try sticking a photo of a voucher somewhere in your profile, signature, or another public place. You’ll provide a little extra incentive for people to spend money at your business with virtually no effort required.
  5. Offer expert advice. Interacting with the community offers lots of opportunities to share coupon deals. Try teaching a class, writing for a local newsletter or paper, or joining a community meeting group. You’ll usually find a natural place to drop a voucher or share some at no cost to you.
  6. Utilize business cards as vouchers. When someone else hands you a business card, what do you do with it? By including a coupon offer on your own business card, you’ll not only ensure that people save it, you may also generate a bit of extra business. Plus, it’s a great way to implement the next trick.
  7. Use happy customers. The happier your customers are, the more likely they are to share good stories about your business with their friends. By giving the customers you like to see vouchers, you’ll make sure that they make lots of new stories to share. The deals you give them will make their experiences even more positive, which will help them persuade their friends to become customers too.

Combined with a digital marketing strategy, printed coupons can be one of the most effective sales tactics a local business can use. By using some of the methods above, you can run an effective voucher campaign to promote your local business without spending a lot of money. Stick with strategies that fit you, your business, and your customers the best. You’ll be able to use coupons as a cheap and effective marketing tool that will help your business grow.


Have a story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected] Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.