How can you create a profitable coupon blog when there are so many competitors?
Does the couponing niche have space for another player like yourself? What are existing coupon blogs doing that’s making them so much money? So many questions!
We’ve kept our eyes on coupon blogs because they’re a smart way to make money online. People find something they want and search for coupons before checkout. Sites like RetailMeNot, KrazyCouponLady, and CamelCamelCamel, bring in tons of money for sharing cool finds and deals.
What are they doing so well?
We’ll get into that topic and then some in this post.
Profitable Coupon Blog Examples and What Makes Them Great
It’s always a good idea to scope the competition before you dive into a niche. Knowing who you’re up against will dictate how you’ll invest in the project. This includes the content, marketing, and branding.
You’ve got a lot of players in the coupon niche – let’s start with well-known ones and work our way through some of the more obscure (but impactful) coupon sites in this niche.
Example #1: RetailMeNot
RetailMeNot is one of the largest coupon websites with more than 514-million+ yearly visitors. If you were to model your coupon site around any site… RetailMeNot should be the one.
RetailMeNot has a simple but effective home page displaying:
We’d recommend this approach as it’s much like an ecommerce site. Place the trending/hot products up top because they’re the ones in-demand. Then, let visitors explore the site through directories, related promotions, and various categories.
RetailMeNot has the financial backing to capture a ton of long-tail searches. Plus, attract any willing brand to their platform by way of being one of the leading coupon sites in the world.
Example #2: KrazyCouponLady
It’s hard breaking into the coupon niche when you have companies spending millions but KrazyCouponLady made its mark. The main appeal of the site – beyond the deals/coupons – is its vibrant community pushing user generated content.
Most coupon shares are accompanied by a post – this has a neat psychological effect where it intertwines storytelling with the coupon offers.
KCL nails it with their:
- Picks – Curated selection (most likely part of a sponsored campaign, we think)
- Brags – A great way to let users share their hauls while injecting coupon offers
- Directory – All the big brand names in an easy-to-sort listing
Look at the SEO of the site, too, as KCL goes after the high-traffic keywords like “Coffee Coupons” or “Back-to-School Deals”. Anyone building a coupon site should try to at least replicate these curated categories (as per their niche) along with the user-generated, haul content.
Example #3: CouponMom
CouponMom combines the value of couponing with the tight-knit community of mommy blogging. It’s genius if you ask us because it adds a ton of personality to an otherwise mechanical topic.
CouponMom is a bit of an anomaly because the site’s design is terribly dated and clunky. This is a site leveraging its domain authority having it’s mid-2000’s start. We think this gives a lot of opportunities for newcomer’s wanting to combine couponing and mommy blogging.
What we’d do: Update the design, add more personality, and open it to user-generated content.
CouponMom works because it’s a feed – there’s nothing really fancy here. You land on the site, grab your coupon, and you’re on the way. This is very smart with affiliate marketing because you don’t necessarily want people dwelling on the page too long… you want them acting on an offer.
Example #4: Hip2Save
Hip2Save combines a couple things:
- Coupons database
- User-generated content
- Itemization and saves
- Insider community
Anyone can slap a coupon database on their site and call it a day. In fact, that’s what a lot of people do when building coupon sites since these feeds are available through some coupon referral programs.
What makes Hip2Save great is its casual tone and… hip-ness. It poses itself as a lifestyle brand, in a way, even though its managed by Tayloe/Gray marketing agency. They’ve kept the quirky attitude and brand voice.
Hip2Save is a +1 for anyone wanting to create an intimate coupon blog. We mean intimate in the sense that you’re a part of the experience – your finds are the fun experience getting people to try couponing.
Hip2Save heavily leverages its:
- YouTube channel
It has all the hallmarks of a coupon blog with tutorials and guides. What stands out is its level of interactivity – landing on this site is like a playground for couponers. It certainly helps that they use giveaways and promotions in their social and newsletters, too.
How Coupon Blogs Make Money Online – Our Observations
Hip2Save is the coupon blog we like best out of the examples because it combines several notable affiliate marketing strategies. Once noticed, it’s hard to unsee them.
Here’s the what and why of how coupon blogs make money online (using our Hip2Save example):
- Online Deals – Pointing to partnered brands and affiliated online stores
- Restaurant Deals – Smart use of the keyword + cross promotions
- Share – User-generated deals listings giving the site a constant influx of content
The deals section obviously does more for Hip2Save than the others since it’s first in navigation. Take note of that when piecing your coupon site.
The stores act as a directory.
If you look closely you’ll notice a few things:
- Most stores are big brands featuring online shopping affiliate programs
- Most listings include an affiliate link to the store, the product, and its current promotion
We would say rounding up the major stores in your niche, then creating a directory. Join the affiliate programs for each and begin listing these deals by store category. Eventually, you could pitch brands for better offers and promotions.
Who doesn’t like freebies?
Freebies were likely added not only for the keywords but because it makes an easy way to link to affiliated stores. Amazon, for example, does regular giveaways. You still earn the affiliate click if linking to these giveaways.
See “freebies” as an opportunity to place more affiliate links on your site.
Several coupon affiliate programs offer individual and feed-based coupon directories.
This lets you quickly populate a blog with coupons without having to slog through every listing.
You’ll notice some affiliate and favorites:
- Coupons .com
- Red Plum
- Grocery Coupon Network
- Target Coupons
We can already tell you these have partnership programs.
The ‘Rewards’ are about the same as the “freebies” in that you’re leveraging giveaways to add more affiliate links to your site.
Each new giveaway lets you link to the branded domain or deep-link to the product.
Some people may stick to the site to buy something, earning you a commission.
This is probably the most ingenious part of Hip2Save.
- Recipes – Lets you pick up recipe traffic but also easily link coupons for ingredients
- DIY – Lets you share just about any tutorial and link to products used in the craft
It got us thinking how else you could inject affiliate links this way. Unboxing (good discussion about this) and downloadables are two other ways we’ve seen sites flesh-out content and promotions. What would you do?
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
Are you getting any fewer coupon mailers? Do you see any fewer coupons in magazines and newspapers? Not really, they seem to be increasing! The demand is growing for coupons as more-and-more people seek thrifty alternatives and realize how awesome it is to score offline and online deals.
See these coupon site examples as inspiration and learn from what they do well.
Turning a blog into a money-making business takes time and effort. Coupon blogs are the same. Keep at it, keep finding deals, and keep building your community. The earnings will trickle in.