Women love social media. They socialize, they review, and they blog. But a new study suggests women aren't influenced by brands present in those spaces. According to the "Women & Brands Online: 'The Digital Disconnect' Emerges", from ad:tech Chicago and Q Interactive's "Women Channel", 83% of women feel "neutral" or "negative" when they see a brand on a social networking site. Those same female Internet users polled were much more likely to say online purchase decisions were affected by coupons and discounts (41.6%).
So we know women are engaged in social media and they like coupons. We also know women with children like to use Facebook (60 percent), MySpace (42 percent) and Twitter (16.5 percent) more than average adults, according to a new Retail Advertising and Marketing Association survey conducted by BIGresearch. Retailers trying to influence moms need to pay close attention to these studies and the power of the Internet coupon in social media.
According to Scarborough Research, internet coupon usage has grown 83% since 2005. Newspapers and other print sources are still the top generators, but the Internet coupon is gaining ground quickly. Most attribute that growth to the economic downturn, forcing many to consider coupons the new currency of this economy.
Current studies also have shown coupons have clear and valuable positive effects on consumer purchasing behavior. For example, according to BIGResearch, 35.2 percent of holiday shoppers are most influenced by a coupon.
Printable coupons offered via the Internet allow marketers to encourage consumer purchases in more creative and efficient ways. Rather than the limits of a print, online coupons are delivered across a network of websites, reaching more consumers than the traditional offline counterparts.
So how does a business use online coupons and social media to attract and keep customers? First, you must create an effective campaign. You must ask yourself, as a business do you want to collect information, reward customer loyalty or bring in new business. If you're collecting information, you need to offer a good incentive to ask customers to share information. The better the offer, the more information a consumer will share. Coupons can also be used as a reward for providing information or taking a desired action, or as a gift to make up for a poor consumer experience. These tactics work because coupons have a real and perceived value. Finally, coupons ask consumers to try a brand they might not necessarily have considered, hence, bringing in new customers.
It's imperative that you can support the offer. Keep in mind, the Web is viral, so the offer will travel quickly! Consider placing a minimum on the offer to protect your margins. Aside from your standard e-mail marketing, Web site marketing, Facebook and Twitter, you can contact coupon distribution sites and various blogs to spread the coupon. In addition you can post them on free online business websites such as Adwido.com to get even more eyeballs.
It is worth repeating that the distribution medium is a critical factor in achieving the best results. A coupon that the consumer doesn't know they have when they make a purchasing decision is not going to drive these desirable effects. That's one reason why printable online coupons continue to be a proven, effective tactic.
Coupon campaigns are proven to help businesses gain new consumers, increase brand loyalty and help leverage online socialization. Give online coupons a try. You have little to lose with this measurable promotional tactic and proven capacity to drive sales.
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Laura Thornquist is an online marketing/PR specialist for Adwido.com, a commercial internet and video marketing company dedicated to small-and medium-sized businesses. She is also a former TV news journalist and a hobby savings blogger.
If you would like to learn more, go to Adwido.com to learn more about how you can unleash the power of video marketing on the internet.
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