Coupons were first used in 1887 by the Coco-Cola company to promote their product to pharmacists. In exchange for the names and addresses of customers, the pharmacists would get two free gallons of Coke syrup – and the customers would in turn get a direct mail piece for a free glass of Coke when they visited the pharmacy. In addition to using coupons to promote brand and product, they coupled couponing to the use of Analytics!

 For many years coupon strategies were mostly used by food manufactures like the major cereal brands and distributed by grocery stores. How popular are coupons? According to a report issued in 2015 by NCH Marketing Services, consumers saved more than $3.6 billion the previous year.

 One of the reasons couponing is such a powerful business building tool is that they incorporate all four of the 4 P’s of Marketing – Product  Place  Promotion and  Price. Coupon-based marketing strategies help with brand recognition, direct traffic to retail locations, create excitement with catchy copywriting and urgency with expiration dates, and offer an immediate savings for the consumer.

 Southern Business Research Analytics is recognized for their expertise in developing cross marketing relationships for their clients. One SBRA client is the popular and well-known brand of skin care products and cosmetics VOTRE VU

To demonstrate ways family business owners can use cross promotional coupons - when visiting the VotreVu web site, use the   Promo Code DSVV2016   at checkout and take advantage of a $25 gift certificate, courtesy of the Atlanta-based Family Business Institute and their web organization Family Business Experts!

Thom Reece is the CEO of On-Line Marketing Group, a direct response marketing agency with headquarters in Hawaii. He is the creator of the Online Marketing Resource Center and suggests:


Thom's Twelve Tips For Effective Couponing:


Tip#1...Make A Solid Offer!

•Offer Discounts..."$50.00 Off!", "60% Off!", (percentage discounts are only good when they are high percentages and the value of the product or service is well known.) Dollars Off discounts work best.

•Offer Bonuses..."Buy One/Get One Free!", or "2 Free with Each Case Ordered!", "Free Batteries When You Buy One Super Flashlight", or "Free Drop Cloth with Each Gallon of Super Paint", etc.

•Offer Premiums...Offer premiums for a presentation, for a trial order, for a subscription, for a demonstration, for a new customer referral, for an order amounting to $xxx or larger", etc.

•Offer Free Information..."FREE booklet", "FREE brochure", "FREE estimate", "FREE details", "FREE samples", "FREE trial", "FREE consultation", "FREE quote", etc.


Tip#2....Use Bold, Commanding And Specific Headlines!

•"Save $50.00 on Any Portable TV....This Month Only!"

•"FREE BROCHURE...'Beauty Secrets for Career Woman'!"

•"Free Catalog Saves YOU 70% on Office Supplies!"

•"Rent Two NEW RELEASE Video Movies--Get One FREE!"

•"Buy One Dinner Entree--Get One FREE!"

•"Buy Five Cases of Copier Paper--Get the Sixth Case Absolutely Free!"


Tip#3...Use Line Illustrations Or Photographs.

•Illustrations work best when you show products in-use.

•Illustrations enhance credibility, aid understanding, and create desire.


Tip#4...Use Your Logo In Your Coupon.

•Use of logo: builds company identity and awareness in the marketplace, enhances your image, lends credibility to your offer, and improves response.


Tip #5....Make Effective Use Of White Space.

•Don't clutter. Don't cram.


Tip#5...Sell The Benefits.

•Save time, save money, increase profits, protect your family, improve your standard of living, be happier, improve your health, increase your income, increase your comfort, more convenient.


Tip#7....Appeal To The Self-Interest Of Your Customer.

•Your customer is only interested in what you can do for him or her. Your customer will only buy the benefits-of-use of your product or service. Let me say that again...your customer is only interested in the benefits of use of your product....not the product itself.


Tip#8...Make Effective Use Of The 18 Most Powerful Words In Advertising.

•free, now, new, how to, save, guarantee, money, easy, simple, you, proven, love, results, discovery, fast, amazing, sex, profit.


Tip#9...Always Up-Sell.

•Offer extras when a customer requests information or places an order. Always suggest related items. Point out the added features and benefits of a higher priced item and then show the customer specifically how these features will make his life easier, safer, etc.


Tip#10...Spread Your Specials Around--Consider The Traffic Pattern In A Retail Store.

•Set up product displays so that you force your customer to walk the entire expanse of your store. Your "impulse" buys will increase dramatically when you expose your customer to more products by well planned placement of "sale items".


Tip#11...Capture Your Customers Name, Address, And Telephone Number. Develop An In-House Mailing List For On-Going Direct Marketing Use.

•Your customer list represents your most valuable asset. Your greatest potential for sales and profits lies in the customer database. To ignore this potential is pure folly.


Tip#12...Don't Stop After The Sale.

•Create a planned program of continuous follow-up to your customer list.

•Use ride-alongs, invoice stuffers, new catalogs, new product brochures, special sale flyers, preferred customer sales and discounts, customer appreciation events, more coupons. Keep your customers coming back to YOU!

Copyright 2005 Thom Reece All Rights Reserved.  Thom can be reached by email at:



If you are a family business owner and have questions about developing a coupon-based cross-marketing strategy for your family business, use the ASK THE EXPERT form at the bottom of this page!


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