How to Get Started Creating and Offering Mobile Coupons

By Jason Hawkins on May 17, 2017

Mobile coupons are a great way to get people interested in your business and shopping with benefits, whether that be online or in your store location. As with any other marketing strategy, mobile coupons might not be a great fit for every business, but increasingly more and more businesses are finding cleaver ways to use these kind of offers for their customers.

So what is the difference between the traditional concept of a coupon and a mobile coupon? Mobile coupons are all about easy convenient access to discounts, anywhere a customer might be, and you probably guessed it—right from their mobile device. Another bonus about mobile coupons is that they are incredibly easy to create, manage, and redeemed through your websites (or alternative platforms, if you so choose).

5 Steps to Getting Started with Mobile Coupons

Step #1: Create a Strategy

As with any new task in marketing or advertising your business, the first thing you need to do is implant a strategy and make a plan-of-action. In terms of developing a strategy for mobile coupons, the first thing you are going to decide is where exactly you want to start. Do you have certain products or services that you are ready to promote? Or are some of your products/services easier to discount as an incentive than others? The awesome thing about implementing a strategy for mobile coupons is that you can change your offers (and their durations, discounts, etc.) over time, but to get started you will need to pick one place to start. Here are some questions to help guide implementing a strategy:

  • What do you want to discount or promote?
  • What are you feasibly willing to offer (remember that offering your customers discount should not equate to you losing money)?
  • Is there a certain time frame (month of the year, day, week, holiday) that would be optimum for that promotion?
  • What kind of campaigns can you design around your promotions so your coupons do not stand alone?
  • How can you drive an impulsive purchase (or in other words, how do you get people to act on your offer quickly)?

One thing to keep in mind is that every promotion is going to have a different approach (i.e, a different marketing strategy) once you’ve identified some of these key components. Every mobile coupon that you design is going to look a little different. Once you’ve thought your strategy out, you are in a much better position to hit the ground running with offering mobile coupons. Below is a great example from LA Fitness that I received through mobile. It’s big, it creates urgency, and it fits well on a phone:

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Note: Mobile coupons often also work well on desktop. In the case of email mobile coupons, think of it like a responsive website. You may design them with big letters and easily clickable links for mobile, but that doesn’t mean they won’t work on a desktop.

Step #2 Pick a Delivery Method

Once you’ve fleshed out your strategy you are going to have to pick a method for coupon delivery. The appealing aspect of mobile coupons is that they are easy to use and somewhat instantaneous—people are able to use them and interact with your brand immediately. This means that once people come across your coupon it can be activated and in their hands right away. Some coupon delivery methods include short messaging service (SMS) also known as texting, and email.

Regardless of how you chose to deliver, note that there will be standards and rules very similar to email mailing lists where people muse “opt-in” and can choose to “opt-out” at any point of time. The best tip here is really thinking about your demographic, college students may prefer an SMS coupon, while an older audience may prefer that it is available via email. Do a little research about your audience when it comes to mobile coupon consumption before you decide! Below is a text message mobile coupon from Macy’s that shows how a SMS message might work. The only thing Macy’s didn’t do, however, is create a clear way to opt-out. This message causes confusion when it says “Reply HELP=help.”

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Note: Always be weary of spam SMS mobile coupons. A client of ours received the following from GoDaddy, which already looked suspicious because it says boost sales by “1000%”. When you click the link, you aren’t taken to GoDaddy. If you see something that looks strange, ignore it, and if you’re creating mobile coupons for your business, make sure not to make outlandish promises (as with any advertising).

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Step #3 Consider Automation or a Coupon Platform

There are a lot of platforms out there that can really help with your mobile coupon efforts. As an SEO agency our job is not to sell you on any particular one, but rather, show you what is out there and let you know that they exist to make your life easier.

A short search will show you the plethora of tools and options that are available for mobile coupons. These platforms can help you build, automate, deliver, and customize your coupons based on the strategy you’ve designed. Some platforms work with SMS while others work well with email marketing and other delivery methods (again, this is why it is important to establish your plan and how you want to deliver them first). There are web-based and app-based coupons as well, so once you know how you want to approach your first coupon, there are several sites to help you along the way. A few platforms (in no particular order) that you might consider looking into include: Trumpia, EasyPromos, PlaceCast, Sweeppea, and Street Savings—just to name a few! If you’re a nonprofit, we highly recommend MobileCause.

Also note that you can create mobile coupons available on your own website, Google Maps, Yelp, and Foursquare. Below is an example of a Yelp mobile coupon you can earn when you “check-in”:


Step #4 Make Sure You Are Considering the Customer (and Your Business)

Before you launch your first mobile campaign, you want to make sure that you can fulfill your promises to the customer, but also that it is going to be a campaign that benefits your business. For example, lets say you are thinking about offering a buy one get one half off special on a product, but you do not have the stock at the time you release the coupon to deliver, or you actually will not be turning a profit by offering that deal. Your coupons should reflect your and your customer’s best interest. If coupons are intended to earn return customers, then you want to make sure you are able to deliver on your promise, and you also want to be sure that the benefit is going to be worth the time and effort!

Step #5 Analyze and Strategize

As with any marketing effort, mobile coupons are something you should measure. There is no sense in repeating efforts that have not been successful, so you need to learn with each campaign and each push for new business. Once a coupon campaign expires you will want to look at how it preformed and make changes to help improvements along the way. Chances are that with each passing coupon you release things will get more successful and drive more business if you learn from what you did well and what you may still need to changer improve upon.

Have you ever tried mobile coupons for your business or have you ever been impressed with another brand’s coupons? Let us know in the comments section below, we would love to hear from you!

About The Author

Jason Hawkins
Jason Hawkins /

Jason Hawkins is the CEO & Co-Founder of The Miami SEO Company. He has over ten years of experience in search engine optimization, conversion rate optimization and lead generation. His core responsibilities include identifying ways to increase value of services rendered, training staff on advanced SEO topics, and A/B testing internal processes to consistently improve client return on investment.