In an effort to save more money with the products and services we use on a regular basis, I've thought a good way to do this is to get “cozy” with them. And, I don't mean anything kinky here.
Most brands today are looking to get closer to their customers. They want to know what makes them tick, their buying tendencies and frequency and what can make their product/service better.
And with all of the media channels in existence today, it's a lot easier for them to make that connection with you.
Pros and cons of connecting with companies
Of course it's easy to balk at this notion. Many of us are very guarded at giving out our phone numbers, email addresses or even zip codes when asked. And, with good reason. We hear about identity theft all over the news and other crimes against consumers when our personal information is accessed.
I think it's good to be cautious.
At the same time, realize that many companies have adopted privacy and other consumer protection policies that are in your favor. Many state upfront they will never use your contact information other than for a stated purpose (for example, when you sign-up for their product enewsletter). Most of them can be trusted to use it for this sole purpose. If they go against their own policy – they can get into a heap o' trouble.
I'm of the opinion that if by giving them my personal information (or opinions in a survey) will help to make the product/service better, so be it.
Ways to connect and save more money
- [caption id="attachment_4800" align="alignright" width="162"] Free food from Qdoba![/caption]
Surveys. It's no surprise in today's competitive marketplace that businesses are looking to get the edge over their rivals. One of the most popular ways they utilize are surveys. Just the other day I went to a local Qdoba store (I think I'm starting to like these guys more than Chipotle!). On the receipt I was given a web address to fill out a short survey and then a coupon code offer for free chips and salsa on my next visit. I mean, how can you not like free! This whole survey didn't take more than 2 minutes of my time.
- Mailing lists. I mainly mean email here (but many businesses still send out coupons and mailers through snail mail). Most good companies today have an email list that you can get on via their website. It doesn't take long to locate them as they are typically near the top of the homepage or in their footer. Lately, I have been trying to get on all the email lists of products/services that I routinely use as I know they are going to be including coupons and other deals only available to those on their list. And if you don't like all these emails going to your main address, feel free to grab a junk account via Gmail or another provider that you can use exclusively for company lists. The other day I got a 10% off coupon for signing up for one of the products I use almost every day. (HINT: If you aren't on Redbox's email list – get on ‘er now. We haven't paid for a movie in almost 4 months as they routinely send out a free rental code almost every week!)
[caption id="attachment_4801" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Coupons and other offers are frequent via company newsletters[/caption]
- Social media channels. Though I'm not a big fan of businesses using Facebook (I think it's a little too cozy as they can see your likes, friends, updates, etc) – I am pretty fond of keeping track of brands via Twitter and other social media outlets. Twitter used to be a haven for companies giving out products and deals when it first started – but has since quieted a bit. Though just a quick search on Twitter for the words, “coupon code” and you're bound to find a discount for something! Foursquare is another channel you may want to use when you visit an establishment as some offer rewards for so many “check-ins” or visits.
- Become an advocate. Since social media has become such a phenomenon the last few years – a lot of brands are listening to what customers are saying. If you are particularly fond (or not too fond) of a product/service, let your voice be heard via Twitter (make sure that company has an account first – otherwise it will be like the tree falling in the forest – will anyone hear you?). Your being vocal about a brand you enjoy is free advertising and sometimes will be met with a reward. ;)
- Chat 'em up! One of my favorite ways of cozying up to brands comes from Kyle at Rather-Be-Shopping.com. Today many retailers have a “chat” feature on their site. Before you go to check-out, hit the chat button and ask if they have any discounts you can apply to your order. You'll likely be surprised at what they can offer.
Are there any ways you cozy up to companies you consistently purchase from to save more money?
Aaron, I didn’t know that you could often get deals by signing up for their websites – great info, thanks!
Often, companies have a ‘club, you can join to get rebates and discounts. Sherwin Williams offers a huge discount on paint. Lowe’s offers better than sale prices on appliances. red Lobster send email coupons.
Google the store name, and ‘discount’ or ‘coupon’, and get discount codes too.
But only buy when you need something, not because you have the coupon.
Thanks for the tips NNL!
We have two restaurants that we frequent and signed up for their reward program. About once a week we get a coupon for a buy one entrée get one free which we use for breakfast. The other restaurant swipes our loyalty card every time we eat there. We get points converted into $$ which we can save up as much as we want and then redeem for free meals. We usually get this 2-3 times per year. This same restaurant offers gift cards and if you get one for $50 they give you an extra $10 for free to use right away. Last December, we got a gift card for ourselves and got the $10 card, plus they gave us an extra $10 card due to our loyalty card and they put that amount of points on the card! All together, we got about $75 worth of meals for $50. This same place also has a web site where you can take a survey and get a coupon code for $4 off a meal, but you can’t use it in addition to other coupons which they frequently put in out newspaper. Just one coupon at a time…..soooo unreasonable. :)
Great idea Kathy. Forgot about the reward / loyalty programs. Sounds like you got quite a deal!
Thanks Laurie for mentioning my post! This is a great list, it is amazing to me how many ways there are to save money with the advent of technology and the Internet.
Ah.. who you callin Laurie! :) For sure!
Haha! I saw the cartoon of the gal at the top and assumed it was Laurie! Sorry about that Aaron.
Haha – I figured as much :)
Well, it was awesome writing, Aaron, so I can see how he thought it might have been me. ;-)
When I was in the eighth grade, we did an exercise where we all sent letters to a cereal company of our choice just saying if we liked or didn’t like the product. 80% of us got coupons back for free product! It’s amazing what you can get just by “cozying up” to retailers. :)
I have had a similar experience. Some years ago I wanted to write an article on pet care and wrote to a number of well-known pet care companies asking for advice on common problems and how to avoid them. Not only did I get some really helpful letters back but I also ended up with free ebooks, vouchers and pet food without directly asking for it :-)
I cozy up to stores that I love, especially clothing ones. I am not a big clothing shopper, so I’m not tempted by the mailers. Plus, occasionally they send out word on a flash sale at random times at night, so it helps be in the know when I desperately need a new pair of pants!
I also like a lot of brands on FB for discount codes. Broadway in Chicago, for example, has discounts for ticketmaster tickets listed once a week. And if you request a discount code on their page, someone (at least another fan) will pipe in with one!
Clothing can be such a “high-mark-up” item – so great to be cozy with em. Like the idea of “listening” for others to chime in about other discount codes on FB