Discounts and deals can be any business’ secret weapon.

Why? Because people love saving money, and they love the retailers that make that possible. So much so that 91 percent of redeemers said they’d revisit a retailer after being offered a coupon, according to Marketing Tech Blog.

However, not all discounts are valuable.

Simply creating a new customer deal isn’t enough to drive sales, loyalty, and brand impressions. You need to test different types, promote them across a variety of platforms, and track everything to optimize and maximize your offerings.

Use these tips to do exactly that, making every deal and discount more effective.

Try different “types” of discounts

Your business should be using a range of discount types to attract a wide variety of customers and hone in on what drives the most sales.

While your business goals will drive the specific discount or promo you choose, CouponBox found that “Sitewide, All Products” was the all-time best coupon for 67 percent of retailers polled. Of those retailers, 42 percent cited “maximizing sales” as the reason.

Other discount and deal types to consider include:

  • BOGO (buy one, get one): A popular discount for many retailers; it’s familiar to customers and encourages them to buy more than they originally intended to.
  • New customers/first-time order: This one’s great for small businesses and startups that need to drive new customers.
  • Minimum order value: Good for boosting checkout totals, these deals will be offers like, “Get free shipping when you spend more than $50.”
  • Specific category or product: Discounting specific items is a great solution to a product surplus or end-of-season sell-out.
  • Customer loyalty: This could be specific to customers who’ve spent a certain amount of money or have signed up for a specific loyalty program—however your business defines “loyalty.”
  • Subscriber or email sign-up offer: Plain and simple. For example, “Get 20% off when you sign up for X.”

Test each one and track your results (see below for more information on this) to determine which is best for your business’s priorities.

Create tailored content around new deals

Distribution is an important part of making your deals and discounts effective—if no one knows about them, how will they be of any use?

The most popular channels for promotion include social media and email marketing, but many businesses forget the distribution value of content.

If you maintain a high-traffic blog, an article is a great way to promote your discount or deal in an interesting and sharable way. For example, you could create a blog post like: “10 Reasons Every Working Parents Needs a Massage + A Huge Discount!”

The post could be fun, including memes or images to attract more views, shares, and engagement. Include the discount as a large CTA or as an “ad” within the content to drive sales. As your post gets traction, more people will see your deal, driving brand impressions and sales.

Here are a few more tailored content ideas:

  • Create a sharable graphic about how much money people spend on products or services similar to yours. Pair it with the announcement of your deal. This is great for everyday products that people buy all the time. Think: toiletries, home goods, and clothes.
  • Offer a discount for downloading your ebook or white paper, which can be focused on the product or service you’re offering a discount on.
  • Publish an interview (via blog post or podcast) with a complementary business and announce your deal or discount at the end. This is a great cross-promotion opportunity: “If you buy X, you’ll get 20% off Y”—one product or service is yours, and the other is from the company you’re interviewing.

In all of these examples, the content is created to support the deal and drive brand impressions. But the content also has enough value on its own to get people really interested, instead of seeing it as a big ad.

Track your results

It’s imperative that you track anything that could lead to a conversion online, and that means your deals and discounts as well.

While much of this tracking happens automatically through your ecommerce software, you gain even more insight by tracking every promotional link you share.

The process of tagging and tracking is relatively easy when you use Google Analytics, especially if it’s already integrated with your site. Use this campaign link builder from Google to get the tracking right, says Adam Thompson, Director of Digital Strategies for 10X Digital Inc.

He continues, “Once that’s set, you can return to the campaigns area of Google Analytics to check orders, revenue, and specific products ordered by people clicking on the links.”

Use this new data to determine which discounts are most effective or what platforms are better for driving clicks and sales. Slowly you’ll be able to fine tune, maximizing the effectiveness of every deal and discount you offer.

Discounts and deals are a great way to build a customer base and improve customer loyalty. Make them more effective with these tips and ideas, all of which can be done by any sized business.

Jessica Thiefels has been writing and editing for more than 10 years and spent the last five years in marketing. She recently stepped down from a senior marketing position to focus on growing her own startup and consulting for small businesses. She's been featured on Forbes and has written for sites such as Lifehack, Inman, Manta, StartupNation and more. When she's not working, she's enjoying sunny San Diego with her husband and friends or traveling somewhere new. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07.

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