Voice of the Restaurant Industry
With the current state of the economy, coupons have become a staple in the wallets of America’s consumers. A study conducted by Valassis found that roughly 80 percent of consumers use coupons regularly and, as of 2011, marketers circulated around 305 billion coupons.
Coupons are an effective way to attract new or returning diners and build popularity for a restaurant. There are numerous ways a restaurant can advertise and distribute coupons. They can be publicized via radio and television commercials, but these methods can be slightly expensive. There are a few more cost-effective ways that include placing advertisements in newspapers and magazines or on the internet; they can also be distributed to customers via mail, flyers, email, and text messages.
Creating and designing coupons can be relatively simple. Darren Waddell from merchantcircle.com lists several websites where a restaurant can easily generate coupons online. There are national coupon sites such as Redplum and coupons.com that are devised for large-scale restaurants. Smaller restaurants, on the other hand, are advised to use local websites such as Craigslist or local.com.
Coupons should always be uniquely designed keeping in mind the interest of the targeted consumer. Businessknowhow.com outlines helpful guidelines for effective couponing. Restaurants are advised to use bold and specific headlines and always have your restaurant logo somewhere on the coupon. Never cram or clutter the information, and pictures are always an excellent addition.
After coupons are completed, restaurants are responsible for distributing them to the public. The internet provides a variety of options for coupon circulation. They can effortlessly be mass emailed, blogged, posted to a social networking site, or added as a banner to a website. Furthermore, any coupon that is emailed or posted on a social network- Twitter, Facebook, etc.- are provided with a link making them sharable and easily forwarded to a friend. Restaurants can also purchase a paid banner ad promoting the discount on advertising networks such as AdReady, iPromote, or Jivox.
New coupons should be frequently made and issued on a regular basis. Always remember that coupons are more than just drawing in new customers, they have the potential to establish customer loyalty. According to Darren Waddell and industry estimates, keeping an existing customer is nine times cheaper than trying to attract a new one. That being said, he advises restaurants to think about offering loyalty promotions specifically for customers who sign up to receive promotional email or text messages, like them or Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.