How to Use Coupons in your Direct Mail

Using coupons in your direct mail campaign helps generate a response and can encourage customer loyalty while retaining your existing customers.

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Direct mail coupons may sound like something of the past, or you might be thinking it attracts only “coupon clippers” but it’s simply not true.  Using coupons in your direct mail campaigns is a great way to grow your customer base, retain current customers and promote your business with any new product or service.  Now you might be wondering how to effectively use a coupon in your campaign, which we are going to show you how!

To start, let’s look at:

Personalizing Coupons 

This can mean personalizing to your repeat customers by addressing the direct mail coupon to the consumer by name making them feel seen that only “they” are receiving this special coupon, or personalizing coupons can be a reflection of your company.  This would include full branding with use of your brand colours and logo so the customer knows exactly what and who you are keeping your business at the forefront of their mind when making a purchase and associating great deals when they think of you.  

Clear And Simple Coupons To Understand

Nothing is more frustrating when trying to use a coupon/discount offer and not knowing exactly how and where it can be used.  You will want to ensure the customer process is as seamless as possible to avoid any confusion and risk having the customer walk away.  There can be negative impacts if a customer is not able to use what they had initially found valuable and goes directly to your competitor.  The best thing to do is to make the instructions on the coupon clear with what exactly the customer will receive and how they go about receiving it.  When creating the coupon, ask yourself, “Do they need to go to physical a store to use the coupon, will they need a code, if we use a QR code - do we have the resources needed to create a separate landing page, can it be used online, do they need to have a minimum purchase in order to use it?”  Once you can answer these questions yourself with a clear resolution, then you are on your way to creating a successful offer!

What Are The Valueoptions

Next, you and your team should ask, “what would our customers find the most value in?”  Think of when you receive coupons, are there certain ones that appeal to you more than others and are there certain discounts that suit your business?  Here are some examples of different discounted coupons you can offer:

  • Percentage Off –  this is when you have a certain percent off of the entire purchase. This is usually used for a larger ticket item.
  • Dollar-Off  – you can have a certain dollar amount off a purchase. (Consider having a minimum purchase before taxes to use the coupon). This is usually used for a smaller ticket item.
  • Free with Purchase – customers will receive something free with a specific purchase.
  • Coupon Code – use coupon codes when you want to direct consumers to make an online purchase. (Easy to track redemptions and gain insight data into your customers)
  • BOGO – Stands for ‘Buy One Get One’ where the customer must purchase a specified item to receive another item.
  • New Customers Only – when looking to increase your clientele, offer coupons that can only be used by new customers.

Defining The Terms & Conditions 

For any customer that would like to use your direct mail coupons, the terms and conditions, or the “fine print” as some may know it as needs to be very clear.  Not only is this for the customer on how the discounted coupon will work, but it also protects your business as well.  Some examples of what should be included are:

  • Expiry Date - this is when the offer must be used by the customer or within a certain time frame. (It also encourages customers to act sooner rather than later).
  • Limited Time Offer - similar to expiry date, this gives the customer a little more flexibility or helps your business clear out a product that may no longer be available down the road.
  • Location Specific - if you have a store or a new location that needs a boost, you can create campaign offers that are specific to one location only.
  • No Cash Value - this covers your business if someone were trying to redeem for the dollar value and receive cash instead of the product or service.
  • Limit Per Person - you can stipulate on your coupon that only one person per household can use the offer.  
  • Not Valid With Any Other Offer - use this condition to discourage stacking products or services.
  • Not Valid On Certain Brands - if you were a clothing store, you would use this condition if you needed to clear out certain brands and not allow the offer to be used on higher priced brands.


Direct Mail coupons are a great tool to use for your marketing campaigns as long as they aren’t overused.  They help keep your existing customers and attract new ones while also allowing you to test out what works and doesn’t work.  If you’re ready to start showcasing your coupons on your next campaign, contact us today to get started!


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