6 Things Online Retailers Can Learn from RetailMeNot

Posted by WhatRunsWhere on February 18, 2014
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It’s a well-known fact that the majority of people like to save money with a good deal.  People have been bartering for deals since before money even existed.retailmenot

The option to pay less for a product or service can create a strong incentive to buy. This is why the distribution of coupons has been a widely used advertising tactic for over 200 years.

Although coupons have been successful at drawing in foot traffic for retailers, the cost of printing and distributing them often exceeds the ROI.  Furthermore, unless the coupons get into the hands of a well targeted audience, most end up in the trash.

Then came online coupons.

They are far less expensive to produce and distribute.  Tracking is also much easier and advertisers can collect valuable data such as type of device a customer is using to redeem the coupon, are they being passed along to friends via social sharing, are they a repeat customer, what are the best sites to advertise on, etc.?

Let’s take a look at one of the top coupon websites and see how they are using coupons as a strategy to boost sales.

Since launching in 2009, RetailMeNot has been unstoppable. From 2010 to 2012 they managed to boost their net income from $2.3 million to a staggering $26 million.  They are also ranked as the 149th site in the United States.

Like most successful online businesses, RetailMeNot follows a sound online marketing strategy.  Using our competitive intelligence, we decided to peak into what making this brand so successful.

1.    Allow the Time of Year to Dictate Your Online Ads

It may seem like an obvious choice to take advantage of holiday timing with your online ads, but some marketers think this only includes Christmas.

RetailMeNot takes advantage of every holiday/shopping event, including (but not limited to) Back to school, Black Friday, Christmas, New Years, and Valentines.retailmenot holidays deals

2.    Different Customers—Different Ads

This is not a one ad fits all kind of situation. Different strokes for different folks.

RetailMeNot has at least two types of customers—those who come for the coupons and those who sell their coupons.  Their banner ads need to target both sides. Some ads communicate how much money can be saved with RetailMeNot, while other ads communicate how much money can be made by distributing coupons.

Be sure you have different key messaging to cater to various audiences.retailmenot

3.    Take Some of Your Own Prime Ad Space

One of RetailMeNot’s most prevalent ad placements is on its their own website.  The ad invites visitors to subscribe for their weekly coupon newsletter.

Try advertising your own newsletter, ebook, or deal in prime ad location on your site.retailmenot

4.    If Possible, Advertise on a Site with Similar Purpose

Out of the top ten publishers that RetailMeNot places their ads on, nine of them are also coupon sites.

There are many high traffic publishers in every industry that pull in lots of traffic, only to redirect them off with ads.

A good example of this is Plenty of Fish. It’s a dating site that people can use for free. Once signed up, site visitors are exposed to various ads that have been targeted towards them using the details you gave in your dating profile.

5.    Test Elements in Your Ads and Landing Pages

Be sure to test minor details of your display ads. When looking at RetailMeNot’s ads, you can see that they look to test even little details, such as border use, different percentages for deals, and listing specific brands versus just listing savings.

Check out the details they are testing in some of their top performing display ads…retailmenot

Testing different layouts of your landing page is also very important. The layout, the copy, and the products featured can vastly impact how you convert your leads.

Below are two landing pages that RetailMeNot is currently using (Notice the details they are testing)…retailmenotretailmenot


6.    Find Your Customer’s Mobile Preference

A common question many brands are currently facing is whether to get a mobile website, a branded app, or both.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a definitive answer.

In most cases, brands simply have to test and research what will work for them.

RetailMeNot has both a mobile website and an app. There push on easy to access mobile coupons was certainly a hit using ads such as these…retailmenot

However, what’s interesting is that in the past year they have gone from aggressively pushing their mobile site, to only pushing their App with their ads.  They obviously are finding more benefit out of sending their mobile traffic through their app.

Incentives to shop are huge for online retailers. Offering things such as discounts, free shipping, or some other added value can be just the push a customer needs to buy.

Have any other useful tips for boosting online sales? Feel free to share in the comments.


Topics: Display Ads, Online Marketing, Online Advertising, Mobile Marketing, Strategy


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