Are You Delivering?


McDonald's mobile phone coupon 03
(Photo credit:

People do everything on their smartphones and other mobile devices. Online shopping has been slow to take off on mobiles, but people have used them in all kinds of other unexpected ways. For example, they compare online prices while shopping offline. They look for the best deal in town as they head out to go shopping. And they use mobile coupons to get great deals whether online or off.


Study after study has shown that mobile coupons influence purchase decisions. Mobile coupons are great because they're easy; you don't need to access them from a PC and print them out. You just show your phone's screen at an offline location and redeem them.

According to a study by Mercator Advisory Group, more than 50% of respondents said they'd like to receive mobile coupons, but only around 10% said they have. They're practically begging for coupons and most companies still haven't gotten on the ball.

How to Use Mobile Coupons Effectively


Foursquare "special nearby" (Photo credit: gumption)

There are lots of ways you can use mobile coupons. A coupon is a great incentive or freebie for signing up to your email list. Give them something they can use as soon as they sign up.


Coupons have always been used offline to introduce a service. Just think of the $5 oil change. You go for the cheap oil change and you discover a garage with great service. Mobile coupons work the same way. Use them to introduce your business or offer a free trial membership. 

If you're not sure you want to give away something for free (after all, they might take the freebie and run), you can offer a 2-for-1 deal or another type of extension. They buy a product and service but get added value out of the deal.

You can also give away the coupon as a reward for extending a product or service. When they purchase additional products or services, they get a valuable freebie to use at their next visit. 

Delivering the Goods

In SMS marketing, coupons have always been delivered through short codes. These are 5-digit numbers that they call and it automatically sends them the deal. You can put this 5-digit number all over your promotional materials. In addition to coupons, you can use short codes to sign them up to your list.

Now there's an even better option in QR codes. These are pixelated square black-and-white codes that can be scanned by a mobile device. With QR codes, your customers don't even have to enter the code themselves. It removes one more step to getting the deal. It's free to generate QR codes and you can plaster them everywhere.

One more simple delivery method is to make your coupons available online. Lots of mobile users search for coupons through Google and other web search services. Create a site and optimize it for keywords like '(offer) coupons' or '(offer) deals.' Do some keyword research and you'll see that these get lots of monthly searches. 

Customize Your Coupons

There are now customization options you can use to make the experience more personal. When they sign up, give them a choice of categories and ask what types of deals they'd like to receive. For example, they can choose deals on sporting goods or coupons for dining out. They'll then get just the coupons they requested, and this keeps it relevant for them.

Are mobile coupons the next big thing? No, they're already the big thing. Mobile coupons work right now to boost your sales and your customers are begging for them.





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