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Woo customers with online coupons
Small businesses can entice local customers with online coupons and discounts just like the big box stores do.
Online companies, such as Wildfire and Woobox, offer entrepreneurs the opportunity to connect online coupons to their businesses’ Facebook and Twitter accounts. Woobox, for example, allows users to create free coupons, QR codes and discounts that have a customer limit and an expiration date. Business owners can email the URL address for the coupon to an existing e-mail listserv, allowing customers to access the coupon, print it and take it to the store. Also, the coupon can be posted on the business’s Facebook page, where customers can “like” or refer friends to the page to receive a discount.
While this software sounds complicated and expensive, it is relatively easy to set up. Start with something small. Gain confidence in the software and your ability to manage coupons and discounts before jumping into a buy-one-get-one free deal. You want to attract customers with the coupons and discounts, not annoy them because you ran out of merchandise or were not adequately prepared to handle the demand.
Let’s take my favorite local veterinarian as an example. This veterinarian’s office has a Facebook page, which they use to communicate with their clientele. The veterinarian could use the online software provided by Woobox (http://woobox.com) to create a 10 percent discount on a spay or neuter procedure. If they were trying to build their fan base on Facebook, they could make the coupon available only to clients who get five friends to “like” the page.
Software like Woobox also works for entrepreneurs like my friends down at the farmers’ market. They can place a coupon or discount on their Facebook page (or e-mail it to me), and I can print it to take it with me or scan it on my smartphone. Of course, if they limited the number of coupons that could be printed, I’d have to get to the farmer’s market even earlier to beat everybody else there with a coupon.
To get started with Woobox, you will need to visit the website and login using your Facebook username and password. Once you do, it will ask you if you will allow the Woobox app. Left-click allow. Next, you will need to enter your business information, such as name, address, e-mail and phone. By default, your account settings are set to “free.”
In the upper right-hand column, left-click Promotions and then left-click Add Offer. Select the type of offer you wish to create. Enter the information for the online offer and then left-click Add Coupon. Left-click Offers in the upper right-hand corner, and the coupon has been created. Either copy or paste the URL address for the coupon into an e-mail or post to Facebook. Use the Install Facebook tab to create a section on your page for coupons.
Attracting customers through online discounts and coupons is an easy way to build customer loyalty.