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Bizcoach Dianne
October 14, 2006, 02:46 PM
Business owners can have tunnel vision sometimes. Coupons have a cost not only in their production but also in their redeeming. Many times business owners don't get what they expect from using coupons. Show them how to track their coupons so that they know which ones draw people to the store, and the average amount that is spent by the customer when redeeming the coupon. Many don't know how to do this. There is a great advantage to you in having those stats, too.

You might also consider letting them select demographics and charge a little more for having their coupons only go to zip codes with certain profiles. Also consider letting them select only the zip codes in their service area. Based on the product/service of the business, that's a pretty wide range of incomes that you mentioned in terms of the liklihood of each household:

redeeming the coupon
redeeming it PLUS making additional purchases at the time
becoming a repeat customer for the business.The above ideas may take more work, but it could make the project more appealing to the business owner. Re-visit your fees for any of these ideas that add to your cost.

You might also think of other ways that a business owner can have an impact on the home owner. If what they put into the bag is something that the homeowner will keep for awhile as reference, that makes the placement in the bag more valuable.

For example, what about having a theme for each time you deliver the bags? Although you don't say how often you plan to make-up and deliver the bags, for the sake of discussion, let's say you do this on a quarterly basis.

Let's say your first theme is the holidays (it could be "healthy living" or "children" or anything with wide appeal that you choose).

Set a standard for participating in your program. This gives you more control and it helps to establish the program as not just a brochure give-away.

To participate, each business must provide one item from a list of selections. You might include on your list:

tip sheets
informative articles
how-to instructions
appointments for free demos
mail-in cards to receive brochures (or anything, the idea being the the business can now generate their own list of warm leads)
free-drawing (the business would provide the announcement and instructions for participating in a drawing that they were having)
other items you add to this listNotice that nothing on the list is a plain brochure.

So, in our holiday bag example, there might be a holiday recipe brochure or party planning guide from the grocery or specialty store, a tip sheet from the florist or nursery on preserving holiday floral arrangements, a coupon from the vet for a free night's stay with a one week reservation for pet boarding, a decorating guide from the craft store, a list of suggested children's toys with safety ratings from the toy store and a coupon for candy from the drug store among the many items in your bag.

Don't overlook the opportunity to contact product companies yourself and ask for give-aways for your bag.

I once contacted several major companies from a variety of industries and asked for items I could include in a gift bag I was giving to participants in a class I was teaching (I told them the class topic and gave a good idea of what I was seeking). I got all sorts of full-color, information-packet booklets, brochures, coupons and other goodies. Boxes of stuff arrived - even though I told them exactly how much I needed, it was easier for them to just send the box rather than count out individual pieces. It was great for me because I had enough for more than one class.

I was an excellent outlet for getting these things directly to their market and they were happy to provide them. Think about it, they already have these things on hand for their own promotional use. Getting coupons into the hands of targeted potential customers is their goal. If you are credible, you are a free and easy distribution channel.

You might consider adding something inexpensive to the bag that you develop to help tie together all the items that were provided. For example, a letter with a personal interesting note about the theme and a list with contact information of all the participating businesses...along with a line about how if they own a business, they can participate next time.

Top it off with a Media Release with a great angle (human interest about some of the contents, human interest about delivering the bags, or a profile on your business and what it took to put the bags together along with happy responses and the benefit to the community, or some other unusual twist - find a great writer, include photos and you will get the coverage). Arrange to have the story hit the papers at the same time you are getting the bags out to the community.

Make your bag anticipated and exciting to receive, add a way for businesses to measure their return on investment - insist on it - and you will have a winner.

Take care,
Business Development Coach Dianne

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