Are your marketing emails letting you down? Try a coupon

By John Egan

Disappointed by the results of your email marketing efforts? If it makes sense for your business, then you might want to try including a coupon in your marketing emails.

Email campaigns with coupons enjoy higher open, click and conversion rates than emails without coupons, according to a study by Remarkety, which provides an email marketing platform for e-commerce businesses. Remarkety says the average conversion rate of an email campaign with a coupon is 10 percent, while it’s roughly 2 percent for an email campaign that lacks a coupon.

“Coupons are extremely effective at coercing customers to finish checking out after abandoning their cart, pushing them to place new orders and winning them back after a period of no purchase,” Remarkety says.

Max Katsarelas, marketing director at Remarkety, says that although his company’s study didn’t look at subject lines, it’s safe to assume that a coupon is mentioned in either the subject line or preheader text. 

“Brands reluctant to discount their products should consider including some kind of coupon at some point in their marketing,” he says. “A coupon to inactive customers who haven’t placed an order after a few months or even a year to win them back is a good example. At this point, those customers are dormant and need a wake-up call.”

Coupons also can be used to reward loyal shoppers, Katsarelas says. For example, brands offer coupons to customers after certain milestones are reached, such as placing more than 10 orders or spending more than $1,000.

Katsarelas cautions that a coupon probably shouldn’t be included in an email soliciting feedback or reviews, as the coupon might be distracting. However, he says, a coupon can be sent as a reward for submitting a review.

Katsarelas offers these tips for making coupons work in email marketing: 

  • Be sure the coupon is easy spot. “The goal is to get someone over to the website where they can start shopping, not searching around in an email to find the coupon mentioned in the subject line,” he says.
  • Make sure the coupon is written in text, not embedded in an image. “This makes it easy to copy and paste when checking out,” he says.
  • Place the coupon just above the call-to-action button.
  • Clearly spell out the value and expiration date of the coupon. “Expiration dates are a nice way to increase urgency. If I know a coupon expires in a few weeks, I may not take action right away. If it expires in a few hours, I am more likely to take advantage ASAP,” he says.


This article is brought to you by the DMA. Click here to register for Email Evolution Conference, March 30 – Apr. 1, 2016, in New Orleans.