By Joyce V. Harrison
As a small business, you may not have the marketing clout of a company as big as Target. But you can launch couponing to mobile devices just as this mega-retailer is doing.
According to an article titled “Go Green with Mobile Coupons,” paper coupons currently number 300 billion a year, typically clipped from the Sunday newspaper. Only a total of 15% come from email/text messages and Web sites. But the trend is definitely toward major growth in digital delivery.
Actually sending coupons to a mobile phone is not the hard part. The difficulty lies in choosing which provider to use from the myriad of available choices.
Users Must Opt In
Do remember that opting in by the mobile owner is required. You will need permission from your existing and potential customers. If you have an ecommerce Web site and offer coupons there, they can be distributed to SmartPhone owners who are signed up with that specific provider. Otherwise, you could be in for legal trouble like one company, for instance, whose users agreed to ring tones but not to receiving ads sent for a novel. That equated to SPAM.
Mobile Coupon Services
Let’s start with Google. Its Android phone is a current hot seller. If you sign up at the Google Local Business Center and create a listing, you can go on to the Coupons tab and fill out the coupon details. Then you select a method of distribution that includes mobile. Anytime users pull up your business listing, they see a section that lists your available coupons.
For iPhone users, it’s all about apps and a Mashable.com review covers some popular choices. Coupon Sherpa allows users to create a list of favorite stores. Then this app, priced around $2, searches the Internet for coupons and downloads what’s wanted. The user then shows the iPhone screen to the cashier.
Another iPhone coupon app, free by the way, is Yowza. Self-described as “Made for Merchants,” Yowza claims to “target your deals to shoppers who are near your store and looking to spend money.” As a subscriber, you simply upload your coupon.
An Amazon app, also free, works like the Amazon Web site, offering product comparisons to browsers. If you already sell products on Amazon, this could be an excellent choice for your business.
Some of these services offer codes that track redemptions so you can check what works and what doesn’t. Once you have a database, you can even send text messages with coupon savings during the time of day or season you expect customers to be ready to buy. Even without redemption, sending coupons to a mobile phone is definitely an easy way to keep your business top-of-mind with customers and increase your potential for sales.
About the Author
An independent freelance writer, Joyce Harrison has had a long career in advertising, broadcasting and music. Her Web site is www.joyceonthekeys.com.