Running a business is about having tools to make your life easier and please your current and future customers. The most useful tool I’ve created lets me give away 10 Feedback Army responses to anyone I choose.
What? Yes, it’s a simple coupon system. I send anyone I like a unique URL. When they click it, a cookie is set in their browser. This cookie lets them redeem 10 free Feedback Army responses. I also receive an email to let me know when a code is redeemed.
Simple enough. You should have something like this too. I’ve found many uses for this tool, here are a few:
1. Measure the Effectiveness of Marketing Campaigns
One the nice things about a free coupon is it’s trackable. Last year I tried a cold calling campaign for Feedback Army. It was a good opportunity to work on my salesmanship and find out what people thought of my product. My goal for each call was to end by giving the callee a free coupon. That was it. With the coupon system, I was able to measure how many of these calls resulted in people trying the service. Note to self: cold calling sucks.
2. Solicit Feedback from Bloggers
When Feedback Army was new, I used to write to bloggers regularly to get their feedback on the service. Sometimes this would turn into coverage. Having promoted another service, I’ve learned that giving something away in a cold contact is much stronger than “dropping a note” to make someone aware of my product. By sending the coupons out to bloggers, I usually saw a good follow-through where they would try my service and comment on it.Now I find myself on the other side of the table with ambitious upstarts contacting me about their services. Being on the receiving end of cold email marketing, I can verify that my instinct was right. Give something away if you want to get someone’s attention. If your service is freemium, find a way to give away the premium. .
3. Reward Favors
I screw up or sometimes my technology screws up. It happens. Recently, my samples page was wiped to oblivion with none of listed sites showing their feedback. Someone took the time to email me and let me know (in a respectful tone!) that this had happened. After a few email exchanges with this person, I decided to reward them with a coupon. I can’t do this for everyone that contacts me, but when I can I do. Who knows, maybe they or someone they know will become a regular customer?
4. Defuse Scary Customer Service Situations
Part of running a business is providing good customer service. Feedback Army is a good service but there are opportunities for things to go wrong. I rely on customers to click the Return to Merchant link when they checkout from PayPal. If they don’t, I have to 1) spot their PayPal payment and 2) post their job manually. This is a rare thing and that’s why I haven’t updated my system to deal with it. One time I had a call from a customer asking where their feedback was. This was two weeks after they had paid. Doh! When I screw up, I find giving away something free goes much further than a simple “I’m sorry” with a pleasant tone.
So there you have it. A simple coupon system has many uses. You can measure your marketing, get people to promote your service, and even use it to offer stellar customer service. The common theme in all these things is the coupon is a chance to make someone feel special.
What uses do you have for making people feel special?