Turn a simple coupon book into an engagement tool

Locavore Resource Guide by Edible Louisville

What if a coupon book was more than a coupon book? Could it be a tool to get people involved more deeply in your mission? This example combines coupons with recipes and stories, from Edible Louisville.

Your assignment: include an element of how your organization changes the world for the better in every bit of communication that you create.

That’s a tough assignment. It means you have to:

  1. Know how your organization is changing the world for the better.
  2. Know how to express it even in a few words.
  3. Remember it every time you write or type or speak about your organization.

I gave this assignment to the groups at the AMIBA Conference. At their tables, they started brainstorming and discussing. Here’s one terrific idea they came up with.

An independent business alliance issues “shop local” coupon books. Right now, they mail out pretty much what you expect: a packet of coupons good for savings at local businesses. The alliance helps local people build a stronger local community. To communicate that with customers, they talked about adding in some bonus coupons with actions the customers could take to make a better community. It could be anything as simple as having a picnic in the park or making time to help out a neighbor. (Need action ideas? Here’s a list.) That’s brilliant. It not only communicates that the alliance is building a better community but also that the customer has a role in building that better community.

I found a local coupon book online that has some more engaging elements, though not action items. It’s the Locavore’s Resource Guide and Coupon Book from Edible Louisville, shown above. It has stories and recipes in addition to coupons. So that’s an excellent addition to just the coupons.

Action coupons for a better community could even include a way to “redeem” them. So when a person joins in a street festival or picks up some trash, they could use the hashtag that’s printed on the coupon for Tweeting or Instagram-ing a picture.  That not only gets the person taking action but also sharing it with their friends and community.

That’s just one example of a way to build your engagement with customers through sharing the ways you make the world a better place. What ideas do you have?

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About Becky McCray

Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband own a retail liquor store in Alva, Oklahoma, and a small cattle ranch nearby. Becky is an international speaker on small business.

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