5 Coupon Marketing Mistakes You Must Avoid

Coupon marketing sounds like such a basic, straightforward concept, right? You come up with a discount for a service or product, print it out and hand them out to thousands of local customers – what’s the worst that could happen? Turns out, even the smallest mistakes in coupon campaign could spell disaster for your company.

Clipping discount coupons

Here are 5 coupon marketing mistakes you should steer clear from:

Bad coupon designs

Although you may be tempted to design plain and small coupons to save costs, it won’t do you any good in the long run. Small coupons will get lost easily or just remain unnoticed.

Put some thought and effort into your coupons’ design. Attractive and eye catching coupons will bring in new customers by grabbing the shoppers’ attention. Make sure the print is large and clear, especially for the product, discount percentage and any terms and conditions you wish to include.

Finally, make sure all the coupons are meticulously proofread and checked. Misprints on coupons or vouchers can lead to catastrophic losses for small businesses.

Unlimited discounts

Always make sure there is a time limit or expiry date on your coupons. Shoppers usually take advantage of unlimited offers and buy much more than you expect. While this will increase sales, it will also cause your business to lose revenue and sometimes irreversible losses.

Many businesses offer huge discounts which can make them lose revenue as well. Discounts should not exceed 30% if you want to balance revenue and customer satisfaction. Also, too many offers can end up with your business running out of inventory, and replenishing your stock can also lead to major losses, especially if you are trying to get rid of a certain product. To avoid this, make sure all coupons come with conditions and a time limit.

Note: Coupons are usually valid for up to 3 months in most businesses.

Bad deals or insignificant discounts

While many businesses make the mistake of giving away too much, others don’t give enough to their customers. Make sure the product and discount will be worthwhile.

Customers want genuine discounts for products that they can use and rely on. Worthless deals will tarnish your brand image and create ill-will among loyal customers. Substantial discounts and attractive deals are the key to securing lifelong commitment from consumers, no matter what product you are trying to sell.

Coupon clipping
photo credit: JRidgewayPhotography / Flickr

Confusing or overly complicated offers

A coupon is more than just an advertising tool. It also acts as a communication device between customer and the business. If your coupon uses vague language or unclear wording, then customers won’t understand what the coupon is offering them. It is important to make sure discount percentages and any terms and conditions are mentioned clearly on the coupons or vouchers.

You can visit some couponing sites like piucodicisconto.com or retailmenot.com to get an idea about how other brands use coupons to make offers.

Failing to convey a clear communication can cause trouble down the road, especially if the customers think that they are entitled to more savings than the coupons mean. Also, this can blow out of proportion quickly and become a full-fledged PR nightmare.

Having no long term strategy

It is vital to keep track of the coupons that have been distributed and those that have been redeemed. Your business should also calculate any losses or profit made to see if the coupon promotion was an effective marketing strategy.

Take surveys to see if your customers are satisfied with the discounts and if the new customers will come back again. The data collected can be helpful the next time you want to distribute coupons. It is also important to understand that coupons alone won’t put your business on the map or save it from ruin. They are mostly effective when combined with other, larger marketing tools.


To sum it up, coupon marketing is not very different from regular advertising. Coupons give businesses a way to grow their customer base, while getting rid of unwanted or excess inventory. In the end, they simply aim to attract new customers and regain customers interested in your business.

If you can avoid these small (but significant) mistakes, marketing through coupons can take your business a long way and create a lasting impression.