Couponmaker's E-Mail Campaign Drives Consumers to Make Deals

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An e-mail campaign distributed last month by online couponer saw an 11 percent viewer rate, and 25 percent of those viewers entered information to the interactive interface.

Couponmaker, Santa Ana, CA, allows consumers to obtain coupons by entering their ZIP code and the dollar amount they would like to spend. The e-mail interface features four retailers each in four categories, including food, home decor and nutrition.

Users enter their ZIP code and the amount of money they would like to spend in one of the categories. They then are driven to a page that features the nearest address of the selected retailer, an offer based on the request and an upsell offer listed below the requested offer.

The coupon can be printed from the consumer's computer and used at the retail location.

In addition, the e-mail can be left in the recipient's inbox and used to obtain other coupons later.

"Because of the unique nature of this e-mail, it has a longevity component to it," said Kurt Lohse, CEO of Couponmaker. "They keep coming back to it because they can keep making custom coupons indefinitely."

Couponmaker distributed the e-mails in the second week of June. It rented eight opt-in lists from a variety of sources, including, totaling 2.9 million names.

Couponmaker selected segments of the list that suited the retailers, Lohse said. For instance, people who expressed interest in health and vitamins were selected for GNC's list; LensCrafters sought people who noted that they wore eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Couponmaker, which launched about two years ago, teamed late last year with Big Bang, Manhattan Beach, CA, a provider of integrated marketing services. Big Bang, which provided about one-third of the 2.9 million names, has been providing e-mail and banner services as well as other marketing services for Couponmaker.

Paul Angles, chairman/CEO of Big Bang, said the company has placed targeted ads on chat site, for example. When visitors register at ezboard, he said, an opt-in field allows Big Bang to place cookies on their computers and send banners and e-mails while they chat.

Ezboard gets 300 million pages views per month. However, information on how much Couponmaker traffic came from ezboard was unavailable.

Meanwhile, Couponmaker has 54 retailers on its site, totaling about 6,400 retail locations across the country, Lohse said.

Couponmaker charges varying fees. Local retailers pay an annual fee of $225 or a $49.95 setup fee and $19.95 per month. Most national retailers, including GNC and LensCrafters, are charged transactional fees of 25 cents to $2, depending on the number of transactions a retailer has in a month, Lohse said.

The Couponmaker business model is touted as a way for retailers to offer coupons based on consumers' requests, without sacrificing their anonymity.

"The problem with mass direct marketing and advertising is that you inevitably hit the wrong person at the wrong time with the wrong offer," Lohse said. "And the reason that phenomenon takes place is because [a retailer] can't possibly know when somebody's ready to buy the things you're trying to sell."

Lohse said Couponmaker plans to launch the second round of its e-mail campaign in the second week of August.

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