Print marketing can be used for a variety of purposes.

Branding – maybe you are a new business and want to get your name out there and pull people through the doors.

Top of Mind Awareness – People know who you are or about your product but you don’t want them to forget when they are ready to make their purchase or refer a friend. It is about maintaining visibility.

Call To Action – You want buyers. You have a product or service and you want your customer to act now.

Your Call To Action NEEDS an expiration date.

By adding an expiration date you set the clock.

You create a sense of urgency. You have your customer’s attention. They want your product and they have been given a great deal. Without that expiration date, unless the product or service offered is an immediate need, they may choose to wait. Give them a deadline and you force them to act.


Shorter versus longer expiration dates

Coupons with a longer expiration date can be kept by the consumer until it’s useful for them.  They are great for the service industry, especially for recurring needs or more expense purchases.

If you run a HVAC or roofing company, you will have customers with immediate needs – things Expiration datesc reate that sense of urgency. Give them a deadline and you force them to act.break and need to be fixed – now. At that moment in time the customer is not looking for a coupon. They are calling the first name or names of those they can remember (branding and Top Of Mind) and focused more on WHEN it can get done.

Outside of the ‘crisis’ shopper, there is the “I know I am going to need it sooner or later” customer. They have time to research and find who they would consider performing the work. They have time to make a decision and most likely, need the time. Creating an offer requiring immediate action is likely to have limited benefit. A good offer lasting 3 or even 6 months will be saved and pinned to the refrigerator. The bonus here – even if the coupon is not redeemed, you’ve created a significant amount of Top Of Mind awareness.

Who knows? If the coupon or offer happened to expire BEFORE your service was needed, they may still call!

Shorter expiration dates work well for retail stores and less expensive purchases. Many retail purchases are want driven. Create the desire, offer a great incentive and limit the time to act. If that timeframe is too long, desire could fade or you allow an opportunity for a competitor to offer a better deal.

The most activity on a coupon is immediately after the Drop. Limiting your expiration dates can be a good thing for a flash sale.

Hold the Course

Once you have set that time frame, hold the course and stick to your dates.  If you continually extend the time your offer is valid, you negate any sense of urgency you have created. You effectively tell your customers the date is a suggestion. You create an environment where they know they can get the deal when they want it and are ready to buy – and that day may never come.

Sticking to your dates also allows you to be the hero.

If the coupon has expired you can build a positive image by honoring that coupon longer if you choose (great if it is still bringing in buyers) or choose to honor it on a case by case basis – perfect for a new client or as a thank you for your best customers.


Let us know your experiences as an advertiser.

What have you found to be most effective for you?

Are you setting expiration dates?

Are you holding the course with those dates?

We may feature your story in follow up.


Share The Love