DTC Promo Codes: How to Use Them and Measure Success

Customers are the backbone of every brand. 

Getting to know the people who buy from you helps improve marketing efforts, develop better products, and create a base of loyal customers - it’s a no brainer. 

But how do you attract them in the first place? Discounts and promo codes. 

Enticing new buyers with money off is one of the most common ways to get new customers and retain existing ones. Research shows that a shopper’s oxytocin levels increase by 38% when presented with a coupon. This is the hormone that creates happiness so, in your customer’s eyes, your brand creates happiness. 

It’s not hard to find a discount code for a brand - it’s almost a rite of passage for merchants to offer coupon codes when customers sign up. Casper offers $100 off, Ugmonk offers 15% off, and Winc gives a whopping 50% off first orders. 

But, while this is great for both customers and merchants, there is one recurring struggle on the brand side: measuring the success of these discount codes. 

How can you determine whether a sale was a one-hit wonder? How can you track whether your discount codes lead to a higher LTV per customer or a higher repurchase rate? And, most importantly, how can you assess whether using promo codes is contributing to your overall growth? 

Using Promo Codes to Measure Influencer Marketing Campaigns

Influencer marketing is one of the savviest ways to get your products out there - after all, influencers have already built up trust and a loyal following, which is automatically transferred to your product.

But one study shows that 33% of brands don’t measure the ROI of their influencer marketing campaigns. If you fall into this percentage, how do you know if your campaigns are working? Sure, you might be getting more followers and more likes, but how is influencer marketing helping your sales and customer retention strategy? Are these influencers improving the lifetime value of your customers? Are they driving growth?

This can be answered with two simple clicks in Peel. It’s essential to track the impact of specific promotions using specific discount codes so you can understand what’s working and what’s not. Implementing different discount codes for different influencers can help you see where the results are coming from. 

Think about it: one influencer might be bringing in consistently jaw-dropping results, while another brings in a dribble of sales. Knowing the value of each influencer or instagram marketing campaign is key, and promo codes enable you to do this. 

As well as the monetary impact influencers have on your sales, you can also dig into how they are helping your brand in the long run. 

One influencer might be great at getting immediate sales but very few return customers, while another might attract fewer buyers off the bat, but the majority of those go on to become fully engaged customers who come back again and again. 

Danielle Wellington partners with lifestyle influencers who share personalized promo codes with their audience. 

Using Promo Codes for Attribution Tracking 

Digital marketing has made it possible to track pretty much every metric going. But what about campaigns run in traditional ways, like billboard ads and TV commercials? 

Pre-pandemic, it was very common to see out-of-home advertisements on the subway. Of course, it’s almost impossible to determine whether they trigger a sale. A shopper might have seen a billboard ad and made a purchase, or they might have found out about a product in another way, like via email, social media, or a podcast episode. 

Brooklinen struggled during their first run of subway ads. Without knowing where the sales were coming from, they didn’t know if the ads were a success or not. To fix this, they added promo codes to their subway ads that offered customers free shipping or a discount.

When customers used these discount codes on the website, it was a safe bet that they’d seen the ads. 

Similarly, Mack Weldon provides promo codes through its radio and podcast ads to see how many customers hear about the brand via those channels. They’ve experimented with offers like free shipping, 10% off, and 20% off to see which incentivizes customers the most. 

All the first purchase data attributed to offline campaigns can be explored in Peel. 

From simple order counts and sales measurements over time, to AOV, LTV, repurchase rate, and repeat orders rate. These metrics help you understand if the first impression a new customer has of your brand (i.e. your tongue-in-cheek billboard ad) leads to long term customer loyalty. 

You can track the LTV of a customer that originally purchased with a promo code, or determine the customer retention rate of a specific cohort of promo code users.

Using Promo Codes to Identify Top Marketing Channels (and the Right Messaging)

No two marketing channels are the same. 

Identifying which platforms your customers value the most can help you level up your marketing efforts by showing up where you customers spend most of their time.

With promo codes, you can track which channels customers are making purchases through. For example, you might have one campaign running on Facebook with its own designated promo code and another running on Instagram Stories. Tracking where the most sales come from helps you determine which channels are your most successful.

Missy Empire ran a 30% off sale using a designated promo code for their Instagram Story viewers. 

This works for messaging too. You can run two separate campaigns on your chosen channel with different iterations of copy and visuals to see which one performs best and do more of the same in the future. 

Top Tips for Using DTC Promo Codes to Measure Success:
  • Track across channels: try out different ad copy on different channels to see what resonates with your customers
  • Run A/B tests: figure out which discounts and promotions your customers are most inclined to buy into
  • Segment and personalize codes: send customers personalized promo codes based on their past purchases or interests
  • Experiment with time frames: run promo campaigns at different times of the year to see what works best 
  • Track at all times: constantly monitor the success of your promo codes using Peel’s powerful selection of insights and metrics 

The good news: all of this can be measured in Peel. Are your promo codes gaining new customers? Are your customers returning for a second purchase? The key is to track the value of your promotions. Peel unlocks important metrics, such as LTV, repeat purchase rates, new orders and customers returning rate to level up your promo campaigns and make more sales.