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Promo strategies
Improve How Your Email Coupons Feel, Look, and Engage
Mike Sedzielewski
Mike Sedzielewski
September 26, 2017
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Improve How Your Email Coupons Feel, Look, and Engage

The worldwide usage of promotional emails has made people very demanding for more personalized and valuable content. Sending emails for the masses is no longer enough, subscribers need well-targeted and personalized messages worth their attention.

To help you implement a sophisticated form of modern email marketing and achieve your business goals, I’ve decided to share with you how personalized coupons can revive your email marketing strategy. Why coupons? It was already proven that a combination of email and incentives works for business and increases emails’ efficiency. After all, emails that contain coupon codes have on average a 34% higher open rate. Also, who doesn’t like coupons?

  • 60% of consumers enjoy receiving digital coupons. 
  • Over 90% of all consumers used coupons in the past.
  • For 89% of consumers, price is the main factor in the purchase decisions.

But, before we jump into email coupons, let’s answer the import question:

Is email marketing dead?

It isn't. Actually, email marketing is as good as ever, and today’s stats make it a must for marketers and modern promotion infrastructure.

Coupon Emails – Email marketing statistics

According to a recent study, email marketing brings the highest growth in ROI when compared to other marketing mediums. However, worldwide usage has made this kind of marketing, both essential and more challenging at the same time. E-commerce researchers claim that emails’ effectiveness is reflected in the quality of content sent out to the customer’s mailbox. With this in mind, we have created this guide to demonstrate how to build effective email campaigns enhanced by personalized coupons.

How email coupons can improve your email marketing efforts?

One of the best ways to engage consumers and drive sales is through coupons and emails. Remember that coupons are more than just a one-time deal – they have the potential to create ongoing customer loyalty.

Marketers around the world use countless different practices and tools. They are different for various business models and scales. Although there is no silver bullet rule, it is hard to find something more universal and proven for convincing and measurable marketing than coupons. This is because they:

  • Help marketers actually measure ROI – emailable coupons help attribute revenue to particular channels.
  • Engage customers – coupons and special offers constitute nearly 50% of preferred email types.
What emails customers want to receive?

10 examples of email coupons in email marketing

According to the Qubit analysis, e-commerce experiments such as creating a sense of urgency, recommending products, or sending abandoned cart offers have the most significant chance to uplift your RPV (Return per Visitor). No matter which of them you use, each of them can be reinforced with an appropriate coupon incentive wrapped in a tailored email message:

  • Sense of urgency – expiring coupon or limited usage (for first 50 shoppers).
  • Recommending products – up-selling promotion (get 10% off Apple products if you buy an Apple Watch this weekend.)
  • Abandoned cart – re-engaging shoppers who left your store without finishing the purchase (get 5% off your next purchase if you complete the order today).

Whatever email tactics you use to achieve marketing goals, virtually all of them have one thing in common – they can be easily achieved with coupons. The power of coupons lies in their flexibility, multi-level personalization, and monitoring capabilities.

Let’s take a look at ten email campaigns you can enrich with coupons to evoke higher customer engagement.

Newsletter and follow up emails

Acquire customers with your sign-up form and keep them engaged down the road. Create tailored incentives based on customer preferences and send them periodically to build long-term relationships. Coupons are the top reason why people subscribe to email lists in the first place.

Abandoned carts

If your offer wasn’t convincing enough, try sending an email with a discount on chosen items. The message needs to be sent right after visitors leave your site, and primarily, it has to fit the customer’s cart. Check out our newest post on real examples of cart abandoned email strategies.

Levi's abandoned cart coupon

Rewards for loyal customers

Reward them and make them aware of how appreciated they are. Be personal and use all tracked details to choose the most customized type of discount, products, or timeframe.

Promoting new products and services

The recommendation of new products can be tricky. Trying to keep customers informed about every update can easily turn into spam. Split customers into segments, and don’t forget about incentive targeting. If you aim at the wrong group, no matter how good the email and incentive are, it can only harm your brand.

Cross- and up-selling

Use coupons to make the most from each purchase. Once your customer gets into spending mode, send him/her an automatic email with discounts on related products or items from their wish lists. 

Seasonal deals

By defining a particular timeframe, you can cut buyer hesitation and boost conversion rates. There are a plethora of both global and local events you can tap into to offer a seasonal deal.

Referral programs

Use coupon emails to drive sales and brand awareness around referral programs. Ensure appropriate rewards (e.g., a coupon or gift card) for the referrers endorsement and monitor the entire process to avoid fraud.

First-time shoppers

Once you catch new customers, try to turn them into regulars. Start building long-term relationships by sending automatic, customized emails with coupons right after a new client joins your audience.

Coupon reminders

Create a dynamic segment of customers who haven’t purchased anything recently and send them a reminder message. Creative messaging and subtle coupons might convince a customer to revisit your site without feeling intrusive. Plus, having a dynamic segment guarantees that if a client decides to utilize the coupon, he/she will automatically drop out of this segment and won’t be discounted in the next iteration.

Nordstrom rack reengagement campaign

Exclusive discounts

Launch a coupon campaign dedicated only to a particular group of customers and create a feeling that they get something far more valuable than regular customers. 

How to place coupons in emails?

So far, you’ve seen why and how coupons make your email campaigns more convincing and measurable. But there are still two essential features to cover – automation and scalability. Without them, achieving high personalization is very hard or almost impossible. Take this email to Anna, for example. How many personalized features can you see?

Example of a personalized coupon email

There's one surefire way to get this level of automation and scalability for your coupon emails – it starts with “s” and yup, you guessed it – software. Sophisticated email personalization and automation start with software tools that can be easily integrated with your existing infrastructure (CRM, email service providers). You can, of course, import and segment customers, generate unique codes, and include them in emails manually with spreadsheets, but this takes ages, impedes experiments, and doesn’t scale at all. So, let’s understand the role of coupon software and why it’s necessary for automation and scalability of your email coupons. 

Coupon emails – personalization and segmentation

Modern email platforms offer a comprehensive set of templates and personalization features. The way data is gathered and stored enables you to use it in subsequent message customization and achieve numerous workflows.

For example, you can start each message with a customer’s name simply by adding a merge tag to a predefined email template (in Voucherify, we use variables). Including the receiver’s personal information is one way but campaign personalization is also about matching content to a particular target. Creating lists and segments divides the audience into target groups to push out various emails adjusted to different expectations.

Segmentation can be:

  • Behavioral
  • Demographic
  • Based on any custom factor that describes a customer’s profile

But no matter what features define a segment, most of them change with time. This is why, instead of static, unchangeable segments, it is better to ensure dynamic segmentation which works by allowing you to capture changes in a customer’s activity and generate an instant, automatic response. Furthermore, when CRM data is updated in the segments automatically, marketers can be sure that coupons will find the desired target at any time.

A sound coupon management system should combine the power of both personalization and dynamic segmentation, meaning that email should be appropriately composed and have a contextual discount. It should also be aware of changes in customer segments and be capable of automatically triggering an email with an incentive in the right context and time. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Jane hasn’t completed an order this week, send her a re-engaging coupon.
  • Tom moved to NY, send him a welcome gift card.
  • Harry placed the 10th order and should now be included in monthly deal campaigns.

In general, automatic coupon emails enable you to generate a tailored series of messages enriched with a coupon as a matching response to predefined circumstances. 

Of course, we are just scratching the surface here. There are plenty of scenarios that can be managed with coupon email automation. 

What about the discount coupon itself?

The coupon customization starts with the discount value and expiry date, but the tweaking capabilities go far beyond that. Coupon management software needs to keep up with your scale and be flexible enough to design multiple, diversified incentives for particular segments and occasions.

This includes:

  • Limiting the number of redemptions.
  • Building product-specific coupons.
  • Restricting coupon usage to a group of customers.
  • Changing discount value depending on cart structure.

Likewise, the format the coupon is delivered in should match the device:

  • Text codes – online shop coupon box.
  • QR codes – redemption with QR scanner.
  • Barcodes – redemptions with PoS scanners.

How to monitor a coupon email campaign?

Whatever marketing practices you choose, monitoring and tracking is simply a must. There is a lot of patience in testing solutions. The good news is that the effectiveness of emails and coupons, contrary to a majority of direct marketing channels, can be easily tracked. 

Coupon emails from the perspective of an email provider

Choose a service provider who supports you with complimentary analytics of email data and provides:

  • Open rate – it tells you how well you meet expectations and build relationships with customers.
  • Unsubscribes – it shows how your followers value your content. If these metrics are high, more efforts should be aimed at the quality of the message.
  • Click through rate – it presents how you target your sales. Low CTR reflects a disregard for targeting.

Coupon emails from the perspective of a coupon provider

Tracking coupons is vital in building a well-targeted marketing campaign and relevant segmentation. According to BigCommerce, coupons campaigns (especially those with unique codes) give you precise customer and ROI tracking capabilities at every stage of the customer lifecycle, you can:

  • Ask for customer information before making the coupon available.
  • Make specific coupons exclusive to individual channels.
  • Track which channel customers use to download coupons.
  • Place specific tracking codes on each coupon to better identify personal buying habits.
  • Control view limits and set dynamic expiration dates.

This is the data you should keep and monitor in your coupon system to understand how to improve your coupon campaigns in future iterations:

  • Coupon details – find out what type yields the best conversion.
  • Distribution channel – figure out which medium works best with a particular discount and customer segment.
  • Detailed time of distribution and redemption – know what are the preferences of your customers. Understand what send out time gives the best redemptions.
  • Redemption status – react when a redemption has failed and quickly figure out why to reduce the number of dissatisfied customers
  • Customer and order details – as mentioned earlier in this article, importing and syncing CRM data gives you a plethora of personalization opportunities.

Email coupons – a step-by-step guide

  1. Use incentives from the very beginning. An appropriate coupon encourages customers to interact with your brand and builds long-term relationships, resulting in future sales increase.
  2. Choose email and coupon providers who can be easily integrated with your existing infrastructure and meet your marketing needs (support marketers and developers).
  3. Make personalization paramount. Email marketing is about meeting expectations and so knowing your target audience is crucial in order to meet them.
  4. Split customers into target groups, use their spending habits, geo-location, or other custom attributes that allow for more accurate targeting.
  5. Ensure your software tools can automate the entire workflow. Without automation, it would be impossible to keep up with today’s scale and pace.
  6. Respect your receivers. Let them know when, why, and how often emails will be sent. Mention your respect for their privacy and never push out poor, anonymous content.
  7. Throw the myth about expensive coupon email marketing overboard. The times when achieving a high level of personalization and segmentation had to cost a lot are long gone.

Email Coupons – how it’s done in Voucherify?

Firstly, you need to create emailable codes. Voucherify is a promotional management system that gives you access to unique codes, gift cards, cart-level discounts, loyalty and referral campaigns. You can create generations of codes and automatically distribute them to your customers in customized emails, straight from the UI. There are many levels of email personalization provided by Voucherify to create a great email experience for your customers:

Choose custom provider or send emails via Voucherify

Voucherify offers a set of free built-in integrations with email providers such as MailChimp, Intercom, Braze, SendGrid, Mailgun or Mandrill. Moreover, our customers can plug their custom mailboxes into Voucherify and send promotional messages with their email addresses.


Integration with MailChimp provides automatic syncing of your lists and distribution of promo codes. Coupons made in Voucherify dashboard collaborate with standard MailChimp campaigns and advanced automations.


Voucherify works with Intercom tags and creates customized promo codes distributions to your Intercom database. You can set automatic email campaigns or send vouchers straight from a live chat window.


This integration enables you to share Voucherify codes with your Braze users. Distributions based on custom attributes or connected content gives you great flexibility while defining conditions of triggering the email send out.

Design template in a style that goes with your brand

A powerful text editor makes your emails look exactly like your website, knowledge base, etc. Coherent design patterns are crucial to make overall customer experience consistent and smooth.

Personalize message with variables

They can automatically attach to an email a name of your customer, their email address or coupon code. All of it and more with a click only, entirely automated and scalable. On top of that, 360 single customer profile enables you to get a complete data of customer preferences and take your promotions into a highly-personalized level.

Define your target audience by using customer segments

You can connect your CRM, upload a CSV file with customer data, or add them from scratch to Voucherify. If you use MailChimp and Intercom integration, customers’ data are synced automatically to Voucherify. The flexible rules engine allows you for distinguishing particular groups among segments that meet promotion criteria. Automatic changes within these groups will be a trigger for sending out an email with promo code.

Decide on the email automation trigger

Voucherify is equipped with 10+ triggers for email automation. This flexibility allows you to decide precisely when the email coupon should be sent. Is it after the customer enters the predefined segment? Or perhaps you want to send a coupon in response to order status change? Whatever it is, we've got you covered.

Launch automatic distribution

he manual messages are sent to the chosen customers right after you confirm distribution, while the automatic mode enables you to define criteria that trigger message delivery. For example, use email to send codes to every customer who made at least one order.

That's it! You can now relax while Voucherify will take care of distributing codes. The app tracks redemptions and customers' data to manage and maintain campaigns with ease and no worries about coupon fraud.

Fire off your email campaign enhanced with personalized coupons

You can start using this mechanism for building promo campaigns and sending them out from now on. Moreover, thanks to the built-in tracking tools provided by Voucherify you get monitoring, which helps you maintain this system.

In the next step, you can leverage the Voucherify API to do the heavy lifting and get a lot of value instantly. By wiring this API into your platform, you are getting much more than just discount code generation and distribution – you can finally track voucher redemptions, collect customer data, and limit promo access whenever you want. Whether you are a developer or a marketer, Voucherify promotion management software allows you to significantly improve how your coupon emails feel, look, and engage.


Combine coupons with email marketing with a world-leading promotion engine

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