Coupon Affiliate Websites: Marketing Tips for Success and Pitfalls to Avoid

By Michael Quoc

Not getting the results you’d like from your digital advertisements? Marketing with coupon affiliate sites might be the strategy you need to attract audiences that convert.

Instead of pay for impressions or ad clicks, affiliate marketing uses the cost per acquisition (CPA) model. So when you partner with a coupon website, you’ll only pay for your coupon placements when someone actually uses the coupon and converts into a paying customer.

It’s an effective way to optimize conversions and ensure ROI from your marketing efforts, as long as you avoid some common pitfalls and follow these tips for success:

Find the Right Sites to Work With

Finding potential coupon affiliate sites to work with is easy if you go through an affiliate marketing platform like Commission Junction, Shareasale, or LinkShare. Search these popular networks and you’ll find there’s an overwhelming number of coupon sites out there who’d love to get commission from your business.

Here’s an overview of the main types of coupon affiliate sites you can work with today:

  • Traditional coupon sites — Sites like Groupon, and other generalized discount sites that promote all available coupons.
  • Curation-driven coupon sites — Sites that feature daily deals, such as Tech Bargains and DealsPlus.
  • Coupon forums — Open source forums where anyone can post coupons, such as Slickdeals.
  • Cash-back coupon sites — These sites pay back customers part of the commission they receive from publishing your discounts. Ebates is a popular example.
  • Browser extensions — Some coupon sites (e.g. Honey) now offer browser extensions that automatically find and apply coupon codes for you when you shop online.
  • Bloggers — There are plenty of niche bloggers that focus on providing ways for their audience to save money through couponing, such as Coupon Mom and Hip2Save.

Any of these kinds of coupon sites could be valuable for your affiliate marketing efforts, as long as you evaluate them thoroughly before working together.

Build a Relationship With Your Coupon Affiliate Sites

Once you do find a few worthwhile coupon affiliate sites to work with, start communicating with them directly to build a closer relationship. Instead of investing in a variety of platforms, get to know two or three that you can really work well with to drive new sales traffic.

Try to get to the point where you can negotiate placements of your promotions on the homepage, in their email newsletter, etc. You can usually negotiate special distribution deals by offering an increased commission. Tactics like this will maximize the value you get out of investing in just a few affiliates to promote your discounts.

Optimize the Coupon Redemption Process

When you offer promo codes to encourage sales, they can be both a help or a hindrance to the conversion process. If you want to have a promo code box as part of your checkout, make sure you eliminate barriers to using it.

Some shoppers will reach your checkout without realizing there are even any promo codes available, and then abandon the process to go search for one. Make this easy for them by having a designated page on your site that displays all your promo codes as well. Include a prominent link to it near your promo code box. That will discourage customers from heading off-site in search of discounts for your brand.

If you want to offer discounts but don’t want to highlight it heavily in your checkout process, you can replace your promo code box with a smaller text link saying “Enter a promo code.” Shoppers who aren’t too concerned with finding promotions are more likely to ignore this link and continue the checkout process.

Whatever changes you make to your checkout process, just make sure you flag it in your analytics software and monitor how it affects customer behavior. If offering promo discounts increases cart abandonment, you have some problems to fix in your coupon redemption process.

Beware of Bad Platforms

The whole point of working with coupon affiliate sites is to attract new customers. But some dishonest affiliates actually try to get in between you and your audience with spammy coupon practices.

The most notable example of this is creating fake coupons for your site and promoting them on Google search with PPC (here’s an example). So when shoppers see your promo code box and search Google for a coupon, they click on an ad that attracts them back to a coupon site that doesn’t have any valid discounts from your brand.

The best thing you can do to keep these dishonest practices in check is regularly search Google for “yourbrand coupons” and see if the results that come up are all accurate.

You can also audit potential coupon affiliate sites before working with them by testing some of their existing codes for popular brands. If you immediately find some that aren’t working, that’s a red flag.

Next use a tool like SimilarWeb to see what percentage of the site’s traffic comes from search engines. It’s normal for a coupon site to have fairly high traffic from Google, but if you find a site with 90+% of traffic from search, you have to wonder if they truly have their own native audience or if they rely solely on search engines for traffic.

Broaden Your Coupon Marketing Strategy

Many marketers today make the mistake of thinking coupon sites are the only way to promote their discounts. While there are some great platforms out there to work with, there are also plenty of other ways to spread the word about your discount without them.

One viable strategy is working with micro-influencers. Micro-influencers are just regular people with a niche blog or presence on social media. They don’t have huge audiences like coupon sites, but their followers are very engaged and take the recommendations of micro-influencers seriously.

Work with a team of micro-influencers to promote your products and associated promo codes to drive new, valuable traffic back to your site to convert. It’s actually quite easy to find micro-influencers ready to share your promotions if you use marketplaces like Dealspotr, Tribegroup, and Shoutcart.

Wrapping Up

Today’s e-commerce world is so competitive that most people are looking for a deal when they shop online. But your promo codes don’t have to be a necessary evil that sacrifice revenue for conversions.

Market your discounts with the help of coupon affiliate sites and influencers, and you can drive greater ROI for your e-commerce store overall. Just take the time to carefully vet potential partners, track their impact on sales, and optimize your coupon marketing process.

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