by Dominick A. Miserandino

Okay, this applies more so to eCommerce sites, but I’ve found all too often this is a big issue. Marketers and store owners will judge a blog’s success based upon the success of the coupon code.

For example, they will approach three sites and give Site A, Site B and Site C different coupon codes. The sites are given Coupon Code A, Coupon Code B and Coupon Code C, respectively. Then, in this example, they find Coupon Code B is the most successful and they would assume the successful coupon code means that Site B is the most successful site.

It couldn’t be further from the truth.

In fact, if anybody on your team is using coupon codes to track performance, let them go! Yes, tracking based on code itself to determine the blog’s success would be one factor that would make me highly concerned about the abilities of that marketing team.

First, let’s look into why a coupon code will be successful.

The most successful coupon code is due to either:

1) being the coupon code with the biggest discount, or

2) being the first coupon code out there at that discount level.

It is almost NEVER based on the traffic of the blog at which you placed it. There are exceptions, but they are so few and far between that I’d stick with this rule.

Okay, what determines the “most successful coupon code”?

1) Generally, when you see a site with a coupon code out there, what do you do? You google to find the best coupon code available. Nearly everybody does it. A user sees a coupon code for 9% off and will immediately search to see, “Is this the best coupon code?” I’m sure you’ve done it yourself. People will spend 20 minutes googling just to find that 10% coupon code!

2) The bloggers who get coupon codes will naturally brag and share said codes to the coupon code sites. So they might have a blog read by one person, but heck, if they get it listed on a big coupon code site, that’s where the traffic originates. Does it mean whichever blog you placed the coupon code with was more or less important? No, they just happened to get it listed on RetailMeNot or a similar site.

What should we do?

1) Track your sales based on traffic. Why? I had a case study where I purposely put a client’s coupon code on two blogs… a site that had zero traffic and one major coupon code site. Within a week, it was the client’s biggest sale and they were ready to buy ads on the site with no traffic. Their CMO of 20 years determined that the coupon code’s success meant that the blog was high volume. Of course, the reality was that I made the site myself on a free blogger platform and there was no chance that the high sales came from there.

2) Traffic is nearly everything and the coupon codes can just muddle the picture. If your goal is to see which sites are sending you sales, look at that! Look at the sites.

What good are coupon codes?

By no means am I against coupon codes. Not at all! They are extremely good marketing tools, but like any marketing tool, they need to be used correctly.

Coupon codes should be used to determine conversions and the best discounts that affect your customer base.

For example:

1) Does your 10% coupon code get the traffic you’re looking for or does the 11% coupon code practically double the results of the 10% one. Is it worth the cost of an extra 1% discount to increase your traffic?

2) Maybe you can put a coupon code out on your biggest products, let’s say: hats, shoes and scarfs. You can use the coupon codes to determine which item makes the public more excited. If a 10% discount on scarfs causes sales to jump by 30%, then that might be the product to push.

One minor point to always consider… using coupon codes can also have a negative effect. You’ll find some customers wait to order only when there is a coupon code available and don’t order the regular priced items.

And finally, another option is to make your own coupon codes and submit them to coupon code sites yourself. Why go through the step of a blogger?

If you ever do need any guidance, just click “contact us” and give us a call.