5 Top Types of Email Coupons for Website Traffic and Sales

Coupons have always been a popular and effective way to bring customers into stores and increase sales. I’ve watched them evolve into a digital option for the past 20+ years, as ecommerce and online delivery transformed to better utilize them. Today, with the right tools you can send a digital coupon even more easily than paper ones, and still reach both online and offline shoppers where they are most. It can even be strategically automated and there’s a delivery solution for most budgets.

An effective coupon strategy is a powerful sales tool and it’s never been easier to utilize them as such. You can set up email campaigns for multiple situations, such as signing up for a newsletter or abandoning a shopping cart before checking out. Coupons and coupon codes can be offered in your website, email, social media or third-party coupon apps. It’s all designed to increase website traffic and ultimately, online sales.

Canadians are internet savvy and they know how to use it to save money. When they’re looking for something specific, the first thing they’ll do is search online for a coupon or discount. When they’re counting every penny, an email coupon can be very tempting too.

With the Canadian economy in turmoil, consumers are even more budget-conscious. Statistics Canada has been tracking changes in spending habits over the past few months. The data speaks for itself: 50% of Canadians sought sales & promotions.

“The global Digital Coupons market size was valued at USD 6337.99 million in 2022 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 18.78% during the forecast period, reaching USD 17798.06 million by 2028,” writes Industry Research Co.

Can Canadian Small Businesses Afford Discounts?

Strategic discounting is the key to getting back more than you lose from reduced prices (and slashed profit margins). If it’s done right, digital discounts can:

  • Make the sale
  • Increase order size
  • Turn buyers into repeat customers (the holy grail of retail)
  • Increase the number and quality of leads for more sales in the future

All of which increases the return on ‘investment’ (discount).

5 Types of Email Coupons That Boost Website Traffic & Sales

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I’ve found some types of online coupons generate better traffic & sales results than others. Following are the types I’ve had the most success with. Only proper testing and experimenting will reveal which works best for you and your business. As you proceed, keep in mind the effectiveness of coupons relies on their strategic use. Producing and posting them alone won’t allow this marketing tactic to reach its full potential.

1. Standard Coupon

The typical coupon format is just as popular today as it ever was. They can offer a percentage off all products, some products or just one product. Alternatively, this type of coupon can be for a certain amount, such as $5 off a specific product or on their next purchase. You can make it virtual with a coupon code or make it printable for use in-store…or both.

2. Subscription Coupon

An email list is a critical weapon in the Canadian marketer’s arsenal. Growing that email list is of utmost importance to increasing website traffic and online sales. A very effective tactic is offering a discount coupon in exchange for signing up. The most common use of this tactic is a popup offer of X% off their purchase if they sign up.

Capturing a consumer’s email address is priceless, and it can pay off for you time and time again. You can generate the first sale and many sales thereafter by sending engaging, useful content and even more coupons.

Customize mailing lists for personalized campaigns that specifically target the recipients’ interests. Offer special discounts and ongoing, exclusive deals to subscribers so they stay on your list.

Integrate sales funnels for maximum profits. Thrive Themes Funnels offers lots of funnel functionality for small businesses on a tight budget, and the Systeme suite of tools has a free level.

TIP: Familiarize yourself with CASL to ensure legal compliance with anti-spam laws in Canada.

3. BOGO (Buy One, Get One Free) Coupon

Just like it says, this coupon offers the lucky email recipient two products for the price of one. That can cost the merchant their profit margin, but it’s a very effective ‘loss leader’ that really brings them into your website.

4. Free Gift With Purchase Coupon

A small, free gift with purchase can be very effective, but you have to do it with great care to ensure profitability. Consider the cost of the item, plus how much it will add to shipping costs. You can use excess or stagnate inventory or company swag as a free gift. It can be a standard offer across the board, or the value of the gift can increase with the order value (as some charities do to increase donations).

Don’t forget the option to offer digital products here, which can be combined with services, physical products or other digital products as a great bonus gift. Distribution is easier and more economical and the digital product itself can be used to increase traffic. For example, you could choose to deliver the digital product through email (gaining a subscriber) and include links to your site within the digital product. Ebooks and mini courses work very well as free gifts.

5. Free Shipping Coupon

If you don’t normally provide free shipping, limited time offers can create a sense of urgency that converts. It can also knock people off the fence if the cost of shipping was holding them back.

TIP: Provide Coupon Codes to Affiliates & Influencers

Affiliate marketers and influencers can feature gifts, promote sales and offer special coupons from their favourite merchants. They can also send the coupons out to their email list. An affiliate program offers them a share of each online sale they bring to you. Everybody wins!

If your business doesn’t have an affiliate program, learn how to start one in our article, How to Start an Affiliate Program for a Canadian Business.

If you’re looking for Canadian influencers who compliment your niche, check out Popular Canadian Blogs for Blogger Outreach and Influencer Marketing.

How to Design & Deliver Coupons

You can use your favourite graphic design software to create coupons for multiple purposes. However, most of us use the easy design options provided by an ecommerce platform or email marketing software. Some even facilitate social media sharing as well.

Ecommerce Platforms like Canada’s Shopify provide tools and integrations that facilitate the creation and distribution of digital or printable coupons.

Email Marketing Software can include design tools too, such as the popular Brevo. When coupons are created within your email software, it’s even easier to send them out.

TIP: Don’t forget the expiry date! Not only does it allow you to retain control of when coupons are used, but it also creates a sense of urgency for the recipient to use it.

Are you using online coupons to increase your website traffic and online sales? Please comment below or discuss it in the Online Business Canada Facebook group.

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Digital Business & Marketing Manager at Online Business Canada | Website | + posts

Melody McKinnon is an internet entrepreneur with 25 years of experience in a wide range of online business models, backed by a formal business education and enhanced by training and mentorship. She has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available from all major ebook retailers.

Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on CanadianDigitalMedia.com, CanadiansInternet.com, CanadianFamily.net, and AllNaturalPetCare.com, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.

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