Why and How to Use Coupon Codes to Market your Small Business Online

They say, one man’s gain is another man’s loss. So, when a customer makes use of a coupon code, he is gaining by saving a sufficient amount. Does that mean it is the business that ends up on the losing side?

The answer is in the negative.

It’s true that the business will lose a small amount every time someone makes use of a coupon code, but looking at the advantages, the loss is worth every penny, especially for businesses having online stores.

Following are some wonderful benefits of coupon codes for online businesses.

-          Special offers or daily deals websites (e.g. selectaware.com) get tons of traffic on daily basis. By offering discount codes, you can get featured on some of these portals and get instant exposure.

-          Many niche forums and online communities (e.g. web hosting forums) have separate sections for businesses offering special discounts or bargains to their members, getting mentioned at these forums can bring in lots of targeted traffic with a strong likelihood of conversion

-          Sales and price cuts have been a time tested method for new businesses to grab the attention of customers, and gain some footing in the markets with lots of competition

-          Offering discounts or freebies is probably the most effective method for small businesses to tap the power of social media. People will be sharing the deals or discount codes with their contacts, resulting in a lot of free promotion

-          If you are looking to create some buzz for your business in the blogosphere, special offers or discount codes can be of great help. You can get in touch with relevant bloggers, offering special discounts for their readers or subscribers, and many bloggers will be happy to share this offer in some of their posts or newsletter

The Action Plan for Businesses:

Remember that coming up with a special offer is only the beginning, and there’s a lot of work to be done. You need to reach out and attract a good number of customers; otherwise the promotion will fall flat. Here’s how to make the most of discount pricing strategy …

-          Choose the right time for offering a special deal. For example, if you are dealing in gifts or garments, you can choose the Christmas or valentine season to introduce a special offer.

-          Make the most of social media platforms like Facebook, or Twitter. That doesn’t mean you should post a discount code on your own FB page and relax. Instead you need to start working on your plan even before the launch. Get in touch with power users (people with a lot of following) and try to make good connections. Once you have made good contacts, it’s the time to make an offer. Chances are that some of your contacts will share or re-tweet, resulting in a lot of exposure.

-          As earlier suggested, get in touch with relevant bloggers. Again, building some good relationships in advance can produce much better results.

-          Last but not the least, post your bargain deals at special offers or coupon code websites. A simple search at Google will reveal many coupon code websites; you can choose the best ones according to your targeted market and desired location.

-          A word of caution, do not try to trick consumers by pricing the products higher than the average market price, to make sure you are still earning good profits even after the discount is applied. Remember that you are looking to turn these customers into long term clients and any kind of trickery can backfire.

Why Securing an Online Business is more Important than the Offline Business

Many online business owners make one vital mistake when planning for their businesses. They do not invest on protecting it the same degree they would protect a brick and mortar store.

And why would they? There’s no inventory to protect. There are no boundaries to breach or cash to take. So, why should they invest in security of their businesses when they exist in the ever so reliant World Wide Web?

But the bitter truth is that doing business online presents just as many, if not more, dangers as conducting a business in the offline world. There are some risks, which are inherent to all businesses, but, there are some, which are unique to online businesses.

Following are the reasons why you must not take your online business security non-seriously.

Client Information

Not only it is the right thing to do for the sake of people who trust you with personal information, it is also a legal obligation in many countries around the world. We live in the Information Age and information about people, financial records, spending habits, identifying information, etc. is considered gold in business circles.

For example, when your customers are giving you their banking information in the course of business, they expect you to keep that information safe and secure from people who would use it for less noble pursuits. Failing to do this for even one person can land you in the hot water—not to mention a potentially painful settlement. Failing to do so on a large scale can easily ruin the business you’ve worked so hard to build.

Malicious Software

There are all kinds of malware, scripts, or codes on the World Wide Web. And, unfortunately, their target is not limited to personal email or social network accounts of random people. A malware attack on your website can compromise your personal data, mess up your portal, and spoil the trust and credibility. So, it’s an absolute must to protect your equipment, data, and business reputation from the potential destruction caused by computer viruses, malware, spyware, and other forms of cyber-attacks.

Safeguard the Financial Information about Your Business

It’s good to protect your customers, but you must also take the necessary steps to protect the valuable financial information about yourself and your business that may be stored on your computers. Your business literally can’t afford to let this information get into the wrong hands.

Protecting Business Secrets & Data

Most online companies keep a lot of information on their computer servers. There might be some data, analytics, applications, or information that gives you a competitive edge in your community. You don’t have to be a big wig with a secret recipe (e.g. Coca-Cola Classic) to feel the need of protecting your data or information. Even small online businesses have some secrets that they don’t want to share with the rest of the world. There are instances of employees selling some data to competitors or using it for their personal gains, and you need to keep that aspect in mind.

Hackers can do a lot of damage to your business with just minimal effort on their part, if your online business isn’t adequately protected. However, just like thieves and mischief-makers typically try to follow the path of least resistance, you can also deter those with malicious intentions by creating a series of obstacles and safeties. Remember that inventory and infrastructure can be fairly easily replaced in case of an offline business, but that isn’t the case with an online business, which is why it’s so much more important to make sure your online business is as secure as possible from the very beginning.