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  • Sudipto Paul

7 Best Practices For Driving Sales With Automated Email Marketing Coupons

Updated: Apr 20, 2022

Adding coupons to your automated customer email marketing chain is a great idea. Not only does it encourage existing customers to return but also helps to incentivize new ones to engage with your brand. Email marketing coupons also give you additional reasons to contact your customer, providing valuable information, for instance, that their coupon is expiring. Do you know 82% of customers are likely to continue buying from a retailer that remains consistent in offering deals?

With email being one of the primary channels of sending coupons, it's essential to be aware of the best practices for adding promotions and coupons to your email marketing chain. Sending discount emails and building a loyalty program will be of more help than bombarding customers with coupons.

Discount coupons are often sent to customers to encourage them to try a new product or get customer feedback on a product. However, what works are coupons created based on specific segments. According to Campaign Monitor, 84% of customers prefer receiving personalized and informative coupon emails.


7 Best Practices That Will Help To Optimize Your Automated Email Marketing Coupons For Growth

No matter what business domain you operate in, coupons help you to gain a competitive edge. To be able to get benefits from discount coupon codes sent via email, you need to adhere to the best practices of email marketing coupons.

1. Reward with a discount code for email Opt-In

First, create an email opt-in list, to allow people to join your mailing list and/or permit them to receive emails from you. When you are asking someone for their email address for marketing purposes, think of it as you're executing a transaction. You offer value, they give you their emails for you to provide future value and market to them, and for them to buy from you.

Consumers receive 269 billion emails every day, and the number is expected to grow to about 320 billion in 2021. What this means is people get a lot of emails every day, and them giving away their addresses for free without getting any value back in return is simply a really difficult or almost impossible thing to do. That value could be anything. A community. News updates. But the best bet for you to offer products and/or services for sale is to offer discounts.

Use email coupons to drive opt-in.

An example is you being a makeup artist, and offering a 15% discount off the subscriber's first order, as an incentive for opting into your mailing list. Another example is you selling books and offering 10% off the subscriber's first order for a book you sell. It isn't limited to B2C businesses, though. It can also be done in B2B businesses.

What remains at the heart of this is the Principle of Reciprocity. According to this principle, human beings tend to give back upon receiving something. It works best when there is no expectation of return.

2. Enticing Customers With Event-based Email

Have you ever gotten a birthday email marketing campaign on your birthday, or perhaps a Thanksgiving email marketing campaign on Thanksgiving, or the week of Thanksgiving? Or a great offer from a retailer like Amazon, a few hours after you are searching on their website? There is a very good chance that these are event-based emails, and they are very effective.

How does it work? A regular email campaign works like this. The marketing composes the email, selects the group of recipients, and schedules the email for sending. It is a bit different for event-based emails. The email campaign is not sent to a preselected group. However, an email trigger is defined. This means that an email will be sent after an action is taken by the customer.

Entice customers with event-based emails. Source:

This means that it is driven by data. Data like customers' birth date, website visits, or just opting in (welcoming you). The email is sent when all the conditions of the trigger are met. In order to be able to do this, it is crucial that you choose the right email marketing service. A similarity to how this works is a vending machine. Like filling the vending machine and putting products in the right slots, the marketer prepares the email campaigns and sets up the triggers.

You can entice your customers to buy from you, hence making sales, by maximizing this practice. Be it welcoming them and offering discounts, or campaign to them on celebratory days, or whatever you feel can work.

3. Creating Urgency With Expiring Coupon Email

Triggered email marketing coupons enable you to create a sense of urgency and are a great nudge for your customers to act. If your emails compel users to act, if they create a sense of the need to buy or act now, then you are more likely to convert subscribers into paying customers. What remains at the heart of this is the fact that people value things more when they are limited in number.

It is supported by human psychology, and not just a market tactic. Think about it, when you feel you need to do something urgently, you move or make decisions instantly or quickly. These urgent situations can be really helpful when a subscriber reads your email.

Drive urgency with expiring coupon email. Source:

But how do you create a sense of urgency through email marketing coupons? Well, it is basically about how you present information to your subscribers.

Here are a few ways how to do that.

  • Fix A Deadline: Whether you are offering a hot deal, giving away tickets to an event, or getting bookings, you will likely get more conversions if you set a deadline. Don't make the deadline too long, and reward subscribers for taking advantage of the offer within the allotted time. For example, an extra 15% off for subscribers if they make a purchase of your handmade sneakers within 12 hours.

  • Solve An Unpleasant Problem: People facing problems, especially unpleasant ones, want them solved fast. So if you can offer a solution to a common problem, a subscriber's need to find resolution kicks in and the subscriber starts to get a feeling of urgency. Here is an example. You are solving the issue of financial illiteracy for entrepreneurs. So say you offer a 2-day program to teach the basic finance an entrepreneur needs to know. So here is what your email reads. "Financial illiteracy can cost you your company. Ignorance will kill your years of hard work. Stop being ignorant about finance and come for our 2-day program for basic finance. Book here, at an extra 10% off for the first twelve hours. Offer ends in 24 hours and date is......” Reading this will likely make a financially illiterate entrepreneur feel a sense of urgency to book your event.

  • Sell Something Scarce: Scarcity allows for urgency, and even allows you to charge high for what you are selling. Probably a hot item back in stock, a luxury item, or a limited quantity of an old-school video game now rebranded.

  • Use Urgent Language: Use the words that make subscribers get a feeling of urgency. Words like a limited edition, these won't last long, limited number available, don't miss this, etc.

4. Getting Repeated Business With Loyalty Program Email

So do you run a makeup service in a small shop, and have a lot of one-off customers but a few regulars? Or do you have an online store on social media, and mostly sell to one-off people, and a 1 in 10 people regular customer? Well, even if you have a lot of regulars, this is still one of the best practices to drive your sales through email marketing.

First, if you are not putting your customers on an email list, start doing that. Also, start following up with new customers. This is incredibly important. However, in those follow-ups, don't pitch your product or service. Instead, approach them as a friend trying to help. Show them data, give them research, and explain why they made a good and smart decision to buy from you, or use your service. What this does is it shows your customer you have their best interests in mind, and simultaneously alleviates "buyer's remorse".

Next, get customers to continue buying using loyalty programs. For instance, for every $100 spent purchasing from your online store, they get 10% which is $10 free of a product of their choice.

Get repeat business with a loyalty program email.

5. Coupon In The Cart Abandonment Reminder Email

The global cart abandonment rate stands at 77% today. This means there is a huge opportunity for recovering business. While setting up automated emails, it is crucial to include coupons in order to be able to make the sales. You can have massive results through abandoned cart coupons but there are times when this does more harm than good.

Use the coupon in the abandoned cart email. Source:

Coupons are a great option to help recover abandoned carts reason being they have the potential to pay for themselves. Theoretically, it helps people to surmount the most important barrier to becoming a long-term customer - making the first purchase. Getting someone to buy from you after they have done it once is theoretically much easier. With this in mind, offering coupons in an abandoned cart gives you a chance to convert the customer the first time, which then allows you to convert them more than once.

The bad thing about coupons? Promotions can attract a customer that only buys on promotion, and stops buying when the promotion ends. If you rely on this, it could lead to you losing a lot of money. Hence, coupons on cart abandonment should be used strategically.

6 Appealing Copy And Visuals Based On Buyers "Persona"

What is a buyer persona? A buyer persona is the profile of your ideal customer(s) or target audience. They are people who would want to buy your product, which means they have a clear need for what you sell or the value you offer, in their search for a solution. They are also people who would be interested in what you sell/the value you offer, don't have a clear need for it, but would be interested in your offer all the same based on their demographics.

The purpose of the buyer persona is to allow your marketing message to be more targeted to your ideal customers. You can have a lot of buyer personas as you need. Meaning your business can cater to hundreds, even thousands of buyer personas. Small businesses typically have 2-3 target personas though.

An example using the ideal age of your buyer persona. You want to appeal to a large number of teenage boys through your comics. Because of the age range, and what you find out through a few interviews with some of them what they like, you decide to make an action series, to get more sales amongst your target market. This is you appealing to your buyer persona. And in the same way, you need to use an appealing copy and visuals based on your buyer persona.

7. Coupon Segmentation And Coupon Fatigue

People really love coupons. Like they really do. RetailMeNot reports that 96% of Americans use coupons. And coupons are incredibly effective in new customer acquisitions, getting people to give you their emails, driving more sales and hence more revenues, even allowing them to buy from new brands they would not normally have bought from.

However, even with the great benefits that coupons bring, sending them out too often can devalue your business. If customers can always count on say 25% off coupon on your store, is there any reason why they would ever pay the full price of your site again?

Coupon fatigue is real. Everywhere and every time we see "limited time offer" and "special offer". Finding the right balance is crucial. A balance between stinginess and over-sending coupons. The way out? Email segmentation.

What is email segmentation? It means segmenting your email list. Breaking it into smaller groups based on what people have in common. Trust me, consumers would want more emails if they are personalized. Customers feel that receiving discount offers based on what they have already purchased is important. Like a clique. Exclusivity!

Making things exclusive and/or only available for a limited makes us want them more. The feeling that only so many people can get something we view as worth having. This is one of Robert Cialdini's famous persuasion techniques - scarcity. For instance, making an offer available only to VIP customers instantly makes it so much more appealing. I mean everyone wants to be VIP. So, practicing coupon segmentation can help you to prevent coupon fatigue.

Bonus Point: How NOT to send email marketing coupons

Keep in mind to not overwhelm your customers with email marketing coupons. If you will keep sending them regularly, eg. every week, chances are your customers will quickly become bored with your offers and will stop purchasing at a full price. Heavy couponing will also jeopardize your goal of creating urgency - why should your customer buy today, if they know they will receive an offer the next day? Keep it surprising.

Remember, to keep the special deals special, save them for special occasions. Too many gifts make the giver look desperate.

Source: Emails from

We love - a contact lens store in Germany, however, we wouldn't advise following their email marketing coupons strategy. Sometimes, less is more! When you tell your customers it's the last chance to use your promo code, show them that you mean it!

Final Thoughts

Despite mobile hype, email marketing is still one of the most important communication channels. Therefore, it is essential to send personalized and contextual coupons that compel the buyers to make a purchase. While coupon fatigue can be real, you need to create opt-in opportunities for your customers. In addition, it is important that you continue enticing your customers with a loyalty program, cart abandonment reminder email, and event-based email, to make your email marketing coupons one of the key growth drivers for your business.

This article has been written with the help of Sudipto Paul from CoreFactors - our Partners for Integrated Sales & Marketing solution.


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