There all sorts of strategic ways businesses can use promo codes to drive revenue. Promo codes can decrease cart abandonment, make your retargeting campaigns more effective, nurture brand advocates, help you track performance on your marketing channels, and more.
But there’s one benefit of using promo codes that many marketers don’t pay attention to: building links.
In this quick beginner’s guide, you’ll learn how to create your own promo codes and promote them to build links that drive traffic and improve SEO.
Why Do Links Matter?
If you’re already an SEO guru just looking for a new strategy to improve your backlinks, you can skip this part. If you’re new to the game and not quite sure why you should care about building links from promo codes, here’s a crash course:
Google uses hundreds of factors to determine how to rank websites in search results. It’s not just about how relevant your content is to what the person was searching for, Google also wants to make sure it displays popular, trustworthy domains.
And it turns out, links are one of the most important factors Google uses to determine your website’s domain authority. Get a lot of links pointing at your site from other credible, high authority domains, and Google will put your pages higher in search results.
Of course, search engines are just one way to get traffic back to your website. Links on other webpages, social media, online forums, in mobile apps, and more all create new opportunities to get site traffic.
Promo and discount codes are just one way to build links for your site, but if you run an ecommerce business they’re a strategy you shouldn’t miss out on.
How To Create Your Promo Codes
Again, if you already have promo codes and are just looking for some new ways to market them, move on to the Promo code link building strategies section. If you’re starting from the beginning, here are your options to create promo codes for your ecommerce site:
Use Your Ecommerce Platform
If you use an ecommerce platform like WooCommerce, BigCommerce, or Shopify, they already have native features that can help you create promo codes. You can create customized discount codes for:
- Percentage or $ off your entire store (Applied at checkout)
- Percentage or $ off a certain product
- Percentage or $ off a category of products (e.g. all Bohemian skirts)
- Free shipping
You can also create “exclusive” discounts specific to a certain audience. This is a valuable option if you plan to promote the code on an affiliate network or influencer marketing platform and want their audience to feel special.
If the main goal of your promo code strategy is to build links, then short term promotions won’t be a valuable option. As soon as your coupon code becomes invalid, websites will likely remove your promo and your website link.
Shareable Discount Links?
If you use Shopify, you also have the option to create shareable discount links. These are links that point back to your homepage and automatically apply a discount code to your visitors’ cart. They improve user experience by eliminating the need for users to copy and paste a code from one site to yours.
That said, you can always display sharable discount links alongside your regular promo codes to appeal to everyone’s expectations.
There are also some great third-party tools out there that give you more creative control over your promo codes and offer advanced features to track them. For example:
● Snipcart — Create limited time offers, shipping specific discounts, and discounts customized by visitor on-site behavior.
● Voucherify — Specify rules and limits for your promotions and review rich dashboards of reporting and analytics.
You may also want to use a third party tool for specific platforms that you sell on, such as Amazon.
Most third-party tools will integrate right into your ecommerce platform, so you won’t have to miss a beat when using promo codes at your store.
Promo Code Link Building Strategies
Once you know how you’re going to make your coupon codes, you’re ready to create your offers and start promoting them to build links. Here are some of the different strategies you can use:
Working With Affiliates
If you work with affiliate marketers to promote products from your ecommerce store, you can incorporate promo codes into your strategy to help build links and drive sales.
You can do this with your ecommerce platform using native promo code features or a third-party app. Enlistly for Shopify, for example, is an app that helps you manage affiliate relationships, assign custom discount codes for each, and see detailed reports of your affiliate referral traffic.
If you sell on Amazon, they announced last year that Amazon Associates can now monetize promo codes & coupon codes as affiliate links. Brands create the codes that Amazon affiliates can look up and post to their sites.
These links are, of course, temporary, but it’s still a great way to get fresh traffic to your Amazon products.
Submitting to couponing sites is probably the most popular strategy ecommerce businesses use with promo codes. Discounting your products on couponing sites might seem like a necessary evil in order to keep up with the competition, but it actually has a secondary benefit: building links and improving site traffic.
Here are a few of the top sites you can submit your promo codes to:
- Retailmenot — A top bargain hunting website.
- Savings.com — A large coupon code website.
- Groupon — A group deal and promo code site.
- Coupons.com — A printable coupon database, also with promo codes.
- Slickdeals.net — A forum-based deal community.
Whenever you submit a promo code to a new platform, read the fine print and make sure your promotion will include a link back to your site.
Working With Social Media Influencers
Working with social media influencers is another great way to reach a new audience and get more links from your promo codes. Influencers are like affiliates, except you pay them a sponsorship fee to feature and recommend your product on their blog. At the end of their post, you can include a promo code and link back to your site.
Instead of turning to your affiliate network, you can use a tool like Buzzsumo (or another similar influencer search tool) to find the right influencers to feature your promo codes. Say you sell baking accessories on your ecommerce site. Just search Buzzsumo for a relevant keyword like “baking cakes.” Buzzsumo will come back with popular posts related to that keyword. Click on the domains to investigate the blogger as a potential influencer:
Coupon website Dealspotr combines your promo code offerings with your influencer marketing efforts on the Dealspotr Marketplace. There, you can feature an exclusive promo code, and create an influencer marketing campaign around that code. Micro-influencers in your niche will apply to promote that code — and in turn, your brand — to their followers.
Building Social Buzz
Sharing promo codes on social media is another great way to get more reach for your business and get new links.
The links from your social media posts are “no follow,” in search engine speak — Google doesn’t use them to help calculate your rank in search results. But they can still help you generate a lot more traffic from social media, and help your SEO in other ways.
There’s been a lot of evidence over the years that Google uses “social signals” (likes, comments, shares, etc.) to help determine page rank. And even if they don’t help directly, social signals help generate more buzz about your brand, increasing your opportunities to build dofollow links back to your site anyway.
You can create a regular promotion campaign, such as a weekly or monthly deal that you promote and share across your social platforms.
If you want to get more reach for your promo codes on social media, consider working with influencers to recommend your products to their audience. Here’s an example of an Instagram influencer recommending a product and offering a promo code:
The more social buzz you build, the better your chances to build links and attract traffic.
Promo codes can do a lot to help businesses expand their reach online and drive sales. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that posting to coupon sites is the only way to achieve this.
Develop strategic relationships with your affiliates, blogging influencers, and social media influencers, and you can build more links with your promo codes. Over time, this will help improve your brand reach, SEO, direct traffic, and sales.