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Coupon Lady: Coupon connection

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Where can I get coupons? Contact the manufacturer!

The majority of redeemed coupons come from inserts in the Sunday paper. Nielsen statistics show that 87 percent of redeemed coupons come from newspapers. Even though newspapers are the main source of coupons, they are not the only source. A smart shopper will find that coupons can come from many sources. By doing a little research and using some basic investigation, you can find many coupons not available anywhere else. All you need to do is to know where to look.

One of the best ways to get high-value coupons is to contact the manufacturer directly. This can be done in many different ways. I have personally contacted companies by mail, telephone, e-mail, Facebook and Web page. The trick to getting coupons is using the proper technique. You can ask for coupons straight away, but most couponers will say that a person is much more likely to get the "good stuff" if they offer feedback on the product. Offering feedback is pretty simple. Tell what you like about the product. A few topics of feedback could include taste, appearance or package design. If you don't like something about the product, tell them that in a nice way and then offer a solution to the problem.

For example, I recently contacted a company that sells peanut butter. I told them that I preferred the taste of their product and loved that they kept their jars of peanut butter at an 18-ounce size, while other brands now have 16-ounce jars. I told them that I appreciated this because my grandmother gave me several recipes that call for 18-ounce jars of peanut butter and by using their product I don't have to measure extra out of a second jar with their product. I also explained that I do not receive coupons for their brand in my local newspaper inserts but I have received their competitor's coupons. I told them that I wished they would consider expanding their marketing to include my region. Several weeks later I received a letter in the mail from them thanking me for my feedback. The letter also included several coupons for their peanut butter. Score!

So, how do you contact the manufacturer? First of all, you pick a product. Go right now to your pantry and pull out an item. It can be anything. Turn the product to the back or the side and start looking for the product information.

I just picked a low sugar chocolate drink mix I give to my kids on occasion. On the back of my product I am able to quickly find the address of the corporation. I can use this address to contact the company by mail. If you do not have Internet or long distance phone capabilities, this is the contact method you would need to use.

You will also find that many companies offer 1-800 numbers on the back of their products, which is a free call even if you do not have long distance service. This number is usually a direct line to their customer service department. This department is often given access to coupons and promotional items. Bloggers frequently speak of T-shirts, hats, mugs, caps, pens, stickers, backpacks and totes given in the name of advertising. My drink mix has a 1-800 number and also includes the hours of operation and offers the Web site address.

If you send an e-mail, please treat it like a business letter. It needs to have a heading, return address, body, closing, and a signature. If you are using a computer to write the letter, please take advantage of the spell-check options and do not use shorthand. Your e-mail will be much more appreciated if it is concise and clear.

Facebook is one of the fastest growing methods of coupon distribution for manufacturers. Just over a week ago, I let my Facebook fans know about two freebies offered by different companies on Facebook. A laundry softener and a shampoo manufacturer each gave 500,000 free products to its Facebook fans. To have access to these freebies, you do have to "like" them and have an account with Facebook.

I have recently set a goal for myself to contact at least three companies each week, and I challenge you to do the same.

Let's fill those binders with coupons.


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