Attaching Marketing Goals to Your Special Offers: Why it Pays to Be Strategic

Attaching Marketing Goals to Your Special Offers: Why it Pays to Be Strategic

Discounts are the marketer’s version of “If you build it, they will come.” Are you offering free shipping, or a great BOGO deal? Of course customers will come flocking to your site like animals to an ark, and they’ll be thrilled to claim that deal as theirs!

The reality can be somewhat different, though: In order for your offers to realize their potential, you need to be strategic about their planning and execution. What exactly are you hoping to accomplish by offering a free week of cooking classes at your restaurant? Is it sales in the form of restaurant bookings? Brand awareness? New email subscribers to add to your list?

In this post, we’re going to take a look at why it’s so important to attach marketing goals to your special offers, and how you can be strategic about implementing the right tactics and then measuring results.

Why Goals? A Coupon’s a Coupon, Right?

Trust me, I hear you on this. It’s easy to say, “I want more sales from a coupon.” slap it together, and then publish it, without thinking twice.

But how do you want the coupon to help you get more sales? Do you want direct sales right this instant? Or are you using a free trial to get new leads to leave their email address and to simultaneously try the product, pushing them further along the buying cycle? This is still a sale, even if it might take a little longer to see the payoff, and the actual goal for this would be lead generation instead of just “sales.”

There are several common goals businesses are trying to reach when publishing online coupons. Five of the most popular include:

• Brand awareness. The goal is to introduce as many people to your brand as possible, while giving them a good incentive to learn more through the promise of a great deal. They may also hope that users share that deal with friends.

• Lead generation. The goal is to connect with new users who aren’t yet familiar with your brand and then get them to leave their contact information in exchange for a freebie, free trial, or discount. This lets you stay in touch with them while showing them the value of what you do.  

• Email list building. The new GDPR updates have had marketers spinning in the last few weeks, but getting users to opt-in to your email list in exchange for coupons is perfectly valid. Email lists help you both nurture leads closer to conversion and re-engage past customers.

• Direct sales. This one is pretty self-explanatory. The coupon is designed to get more sales right away, whether it’s a discount code or an offer for a free product with a purchase.  

• Customer re-engagement. Sometimes re-engagement campaigns and immediate sale campaigns overlap, but the goal is to bring long-lost customers back into the fold by sweetening the deal a bit.

Do I Really Need to Choose One Goal?

While there is some natural overlap between goals, saying “I want to do all five of the things listed above” is a cop-out. What’s more, it’ll rob your campaign of effectiveness.

For every special offer and coupon you create, you need to have one focal goal. If you don’t, the coupon tactic will backfire.

Let’s say you want to build a client base. You should create a coupon specifically designed for the purposes of lead generation. This means you shouldn’t just have a generic coupon code, but instead create an offer that will appeal to users who haven’t converted before.

Free trials or free services (like a free oil change, or a free guitar lesson) are going to be a lot more effective than offering “10% off” regular car maintenance or on the purchase of a new guitar. Those would work on existing clients, but not those who you’re trying to lure in.

Choosing one specific goal for each individual campaign will also allow you to measure more effectively. You can set up the correct key performance indicator (KPI) metrics for each individual campaign, evaluating its efficiency accurately.

For brand awareness, you might be shooting for impressions and clicks; lead generation, you want the emails, and for sales you want to see purchases that came from the coupon code.

Ok, I’ve Picked a Goal. Now What?

Once you’ve chosen your specific goal, you want to create an offer that will appeal to the users you’re trying to connect with in order to motivate the action you want to see taken — using examples like the ones from the previous section.

You’ll also want to tailor everything else about your offer to this audience and their current relationship with you. Consider this when writing copy for your coupon.

For example, users at the beginning stages of the sales funnel who don’t trust you yet, will appreciate key phrases like “no strings attached” or “no purchase necessary” or “no credit card required for a trial.” Phrases like those are beneficial to include so prospects don’t feel like a bait and switch is about to happen.

You may need to take this concept into consideration when demonstrating the value of your coupon, too. There isn’t a ton of room for details in most digital coupons, but even a “Free Kickboxing Lesson with Experienced MMA Fighters” sounds better than “Free Kickboxing Lesson” to users who may be unfamiliar with your gym.

Final Thoughts

Running special offers and coupon codes is an excellent marketing tactic, but in order for it to be truly successful, it needs to be directly tied in with a marketing strategy. This means attaching it to a singular, definitive, measurable goal and understanding exactly what impact you want it to have on your business. If you don’t, you risk leaving a lot of money on the table by hindering your campaigns and not even knowing it. 


Do you know which goals you want to optimize for with your next special offer?

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Ana Gotter

Ana Gotter is a regular contributor to the ShortStack blog. She also writes for sites including Social Media Examiner, Business 2 Community and Adspresso. Find her at

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