Does anyone still shop online these days without looking for a discount code before placing an order? Don’t we all take every opportunity to save money when shopping? For companies, discount codes are an effective way to attract customers, increase sales and raise brand awareness. But how do you actually use discount codes effectively in email marketing? In our latest blog post, we have put together 6 tips for the right use.

What are discount codes and how are they used in email marketing?

A discount or voucher code usually consists of a sequence of letters or numbers or a mix of both (SPRING2024) and contains, for example, a percentage discount, a fixed amount or even free delivery. The code can be copied by the customer from the newsletter, for example, and redeemed during the payment process in the online shop. Another option is to transfer the discount directly to the customer account as soon as the customer clicks on the call-to-action button (e.g. ‘Save now!’) in the newsletter. The discount is then automatically taken into account during the payment process.

The use of discount codes in email marketing offers a number of advantages. They can increase the open and click rate of emails. Customers are often curious about discounts and special offers and are therefore more likely to open emails with vouchers and coupons. They can also increase the conversion rate, as customers are more likely to be motivated to make a purchase by the discount code. Another advantage of coupons is the possibility of retaining and rewarding customers.

6 tips for the correct use of discount codes in email marketing:

1. Know your target group

As always, it is very important to think about the target group in advance. Who should receive the discount code and what type of offer could be of interest to this person.

2. Create attractive offers

Think about which offers you can use to encourage your customers to buy and use them in a targeted manner. Discount codes such as 10% off purchases are the most common type of discount. Other ideas could be free deliveries or additional premium services such as same-day delivery.

3. Cross-channel marketing

Attracting the attention of customers is no longer as easy as it used to be. It is therefore important to market discount codes creatively across all channels. However, it is important to bear in mind that customers are increasingly less likely to differentiate between channels such as email, web, SMS, social media, mobile messenger, etc., and instead expect a consistent experience. For email marketing, this means not only optimising the discount codes for the respective channels (e.g. through responsive designs in email marketing) but also integrating the channels cross-functionally. This means that a discount code that you receive in a podcast, a newsletter or via influencers in social media, for example, may not only work in the shopping app, but also in the web shop or at the PoS.

4. Use different occasions in the lifecycle

The customer lifecycle offers a variety of touchpoints where discount codes can be used successfully.

Here are a few examples:

  • New customer acquisition: New customers receive a discount code with their first purchase, which can also be used directly for this first purchase.
  • Opt-in generation: Subscription to the newsletter can be incentivised with a discount code.
  • Customer loyalty: Regular customers can be retained with discount codes. The type of discount can be based, for example, on the length of the customer relationship, the purchase frequency or the turnover achieved. Loyalty points that can be exchanged for discount codes are also conceivable.
  • Increasing the shopping basket value: Discounts can be linked to the shopping basket value in order to increase it in a targeted manner. ‘€10 free from an order value of €100, €20 free for an order value of €150, etc.’.
  • Shopping basket abandonment: Customers who have cancelled a purchase (e.g. because the price was too high for them) can be motivated to complete the purchase after all with a discount code.
  • Reactivating inactive customers: Customers who have not made a purchase for some time can be reactivated with coupons.
  • Recommendation: A recommendation by email, social media or product review in the shop can be rewarded with a coupon.

5. Individualise discount code

Individualisation is one of the most important success factors in email marketing. This also applies to discount codes. These are particularly effective if they do not simply work according to the ‘available to everyone, 10 per cent off everything’ scheme, but are tailored to the individual customer. In other words, they should be based on the customer’s status, previous discount usage (for example, if the customer has only redeemed vouchers for free shipping but not for percentage discounts) and, in particular, their product preferences (‘20% off the new model of their favourite shoe brand’). You can’t send a discount code in a more individual and personal way than via a personalised e-mail!

6. Success control

As always, the final step is to monitor success. Because only if you regularly check the results can you measure the success of your discount campaigns. To do this, analyse how many customers have redeemed the coupons, how much turnover has increased as a result of the promotions and which offers have been particularly well received. Based on these findings, you can optimise your future promotions and make them even more successful.

Convincing discount codes in email marketing

Discount codes in email marketing can be an effective way to address customers and increase sales. With the right tips and a targeted strategy, you can use discount codes successfully and achieve your marketing goals. Start your own discount campaign today and convince your customers!

Checklist: 11 best practices for interactive emails


In our checklist “11 best practices for interactive emails”, we and our partner Mayoris present eleven best practices for interactive emails in email marketing.

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