Leveraging promo codes in your marketing plan

We are excited to add promo codes as one of the sales and marketing features newly available on our platform.* We’ve put together a guide for best practices for using these codes so that our customers can maximize their sales and profitability.  Before implementing promo codes, you will need to spend some time analyzing your customers, email list, and sales history to determine where promo codes will be most effective. Here are some common ways markets can use promo codes:

  1. Encourage customers to place their first order. Many food hubs have thousands of customers on their weekly email list, but receive orders from just a fraction of them. Help customers get over their first order jitters with a promo code to try your products. Consider creating an email with an included promo code to newly registered customers on a weekly or bi-weekly basis specifically aimed at encouraging them to place their first order.
  2. Better yet, encourage customers to place regular orders. Providing a promo code after the customer places 10 orders encourages repeat business and a long term relationship.
  3. Bring customers back that used to order regularly. Do you have customers that have mysteriously stopped placing orders after ordering every week? Reach out to them to see why and offer a promo code in exchange for their feedback.
  4. Encourage customers to place larger orders or try new products. The most efficient way to increase sales is to sell more to customers that are already ordering from you.  Experiment with offering codes such as $5 off for orders over a certain size or a free product for orders over a certain size.
  5. Encourage customers to tell their friends and business associates. Almost universally, the most effective way to get more customers is through your current customers. Offer referral codes after their referred customers place their first order.

Here are some best practices to help you implement promo codes successfully:

  • Be careful that you don’t overuse promo codes as you may train customers to wait for a deal before placing an order.
  • Make promo codes urgent and scarce to encourage immediate action. Be sure to make them valid for a limited time and consider allowing a code to be used a specific number of times (e.g. for the first 50 orders).
  • Get the word out! Use partner organizations and producers to help you let customers know about your offer. Some companies offer an incentive to partner organizations based on the sales that result from their network.
  • Use different codes in different marketing channels and events as a way to measure their effectiveness. For example, if you table at an event, create a specific code for that event. The promo codes will help you determine whether you want to table at the event in the future. We also recommend using different codes for various social media channels. This will help you determine where to focus your social media efforts.
  • Promo codes aren’t just for selling to consumers. If your market sells to wholesale buyers, you can use it to encourage chefs to place their first order, to encourage them to try a new product, or to help them buy more product.
  • Measure, measure, measure. Measure your sales, marketing, and profitability results before and after the promo.
    • Do you have new, “regular“ customers that you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise?
    • How has average order size changed? And how does that impact profitability?
    • Has demand for a featured product increased?
    • How has the open rate changed on your weekly emails? How about engagement on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter?

Not quite sure how to get started? We have a moderated discussion on Promo Codes on our Customer Forum.

* Please note this feature is available for Standard, Premium, or Enterprise packages using LFM’s new shopping template. If you use the Starter Package, you may purchase an add-on that will include this feature. Please contact us if you wish to update your site template to take advantage of Promo codes and the other new features available on the new shopping template.