Effectively Drive Key Customer Behaviors With Braze Promotion Codes

Ashley Christiano By Ashley Christiano Jun 14, 2021

Over the past year, most of us have made an impulse buy or ten. For me, it's mostly been lip gloss (because that makes sense under a mask, right?) and yoga pants. But when my impulse buys made closing my dresser challenging, I decided that I should probably slow down. But if you hit me with the right incentive, I still find myself clicking "Add to Cart" with only a minor twinge of guilt. Looking to inspire the same "Well, why not?" feelings in your customer base? That's where promotion codes come in.

There are many reasons to use promotion codes: To turn cautious browsers into first-time buyers; to win back lapsed customers; to pique interest in a podcast or subway ad; to reward loyal shoppers on their birthday; and much more. But while the promotion code use cases may vary, there are really only two main types of codes—generic and unique. A generic code, as you may have guessed, can be used by anybody (think MOTHERSDAY or WELCOMEBACK20). They tend to be easier to implement, but are harder to target to specific audiences and can be more easily abused. Unique codes, like the ones supported by Braze Promotion Codes, make it possible to personalize promo codes for each and every individual recipient, cutting down on misuse and allowing you to tailor and track discounts for each recipient.

Braze Promotion Codes empower brands to reward and incentivize key customer behaviors and other moments that matter through email, push notifications, Content Cards, and more. This lightweight feature is embedded directly into our larger orchestration and composition feature and allows brands to easily test out the impact of customizable and unique promotion codes, supporting more effective customer engagement.

Getting Started With Braze Promotion Codes

With Braze Promotion Codes, you can ensure that your customer experiences are cohesive and effective, thanks to the seamless connection it supports between your promotion codes and the messages that contain them. This feature fits smoothly into the Braze platform’s comprehensive orchestration layer, allowing you to drive retention and revenue in a measurable way. Let’s take a look under the hood and explore the functionality, setup, and a few example use cases to add context.

At a high level, this feature allows you to:

  1. Upload your unique promo codes

  2. Deploy your unique codes through the channel(s) of your choice

  3. Manage thresholds and expiration dates to keep your codes active and relevant

1. Create and Upload Your Unique Codes

The Braze Promotion Codes feature is built to easily ingest a CSV of up to 20 million unique codes when creating a new Promotion Code List. To be clear, while each list can include 20 million active codes, there is no limit on the total number of Promotion Codes Lists your organization can have with Braze! So you can have different lists for different holidays, lifecycle stages, loyalty tiers, etc.

To upload a CSV, just follow four easy steps:

1. First, name your Promotion Code List and give it a description. If you’re not the only Braze user in your company, this will help others know the purpose of the list, and any salient details about the deal, audience, or intended expiration of the promotion.

2. Create a “code snippet.” This is essentially a metadata code (similar to a personalization tag) that you will insert into a message body when you’re ready to share your promotion to your customers. This should be unique, but recognizable. If we’re sticking to our Mother’s Day theme, it might be something like “mothersday_2021_US.”

    3. Next you upload your CSV! The codes you’re ingesting into Braze will already have been created by you or somebody on your team. Think of Braze as the orchestration layer—but the actual creation and redemption of the codes is handled by your own back end system.

    4. Once the list has finished uploading, click “Save.” Once you do that, you’ll see a new row appear in the Import History below. Since you can add more than one CSV file to your list over the course of the promotion’s lifecycle, this will help you track what was uploaded when and by who, supporting a more transparent understanding of your organization’s usage of the feature.

    2. Deploy Your Unique Codes Through the Channel(s) of Your Choice

    Now that your unique codes are uploaded, let’s review how you deploy them in a message—and how Braze marks a code as “used” on our end. Again, this is pretty simple, but let’s take it step-by-step.

    1. Copy that code snippet you made when you originally created your Promotion Code List.

      2. Next, navigate to the campaign or Canvas you’re building out to send this deal to your customers. Following along with our Mother’s Day theme, let’s say you’re sending an email and a push notification to a target audience of customers who filled out a survey and explicitly shared that they are moms. This survey was then passed back to Braze, and their mom status stored as a custom attribute within our platform. So now you’ve got your target audience and you’re building out your messages. You simply paste that code snippet wherever you want your unique code to show up within the message. Here’s what it looks like in composition vs. delivery.

      3. Repeat that step for your push notifications. When a code snippet is used in a cross-channel campaign or Canvas step, the same unique code will be sent to each user across all relevant channels. So if a given mom receives both that email and the push notification, the unique code she gets will be the same on each!

      When the message containing a promotion code snippet gets sent to a recipient, the unique code will get marked as “sent” on the Braze backend, to ensure no code gets deployed to multiple users. So if you uploaded 1 million codes to start with, and your cross-channel campaign gets sent to 200,000 individual recipients, your list will mark 200,000 unique codes as “sent”, leaving 800,000 more active codes to use. You’ll be able to see how many active codes are available in your Promotion Code List directly in the Braze dashboard.

      3. Manage Thresholds and Expiration Dates

      Few promotional offers are meant to last forever—but even a short-lived promotion could run through the allotted codes if the audience it's being sent to is large enough. To help our customers manage the length of their campaigns, the Braze platform has a few built-in options that make it easy to manage thresholds and expiration dates for promo codes.

      1. Expiration Dates: Set up an expiration date and time and rest easy knowing that you can edit them repeatedly as needed. Each Promotion Code List has a corresponding expiration date and time that gets set upon creation. This expiration date will apply to all codes added to this list. Upon expiration, the codes will be deleted from the Braze system and any messages calling that list’s code snippet will not be sent.

      2. Threshold Alerts: Set up customizable threshold alerts to stay in the loop if you’re running low on available Promotion Codes in any list, or when your list is close to expiration. How does that play out in real life? Imagine you have a recurring winback campaign that runs once a month and is sent to any customer who hasn’t opened the app or visited your site in more than two weeks. That winback campaign references a Promotion Code List that you created and originally filled with 20 million codes. Since this campaign might run for more than a year, you set yourself a threshold alert of 1 million codes. So as soon as this list of codes falls below 1 million active codes, you’ll get an email. You can then decide to upload more codes, if needed.

      If your list runs out of active codes or passes the expiration date, any message referencing that Promotion Code List will stop sending. This means there’s no risk of sending out an awkward message showing the code snippet but no usable code! (Whew!)

      Final Thoughts

      Promotion codes are a great way to incentivize and reward high value actions (HVAs) important to the success of your business and the satisfaction of your customers. And our Promotion Codes feature helps you ease the way forward for your marketers and customers alike.

      sweetgreen, the fast-casual restaurant chain famous for its salads and grain bowls, wanted to encourage customers to order food for delivery through the sweetgreen app instead of third-party delivery services. So they partnered with Braze, using our native Promotion Codes feature to easily deliver unique order discount codes through SMS.

      Read more about their campaign and how and why they leveraged Braze Promotion Codes to drive more than 10K SMS subscribers and a 10% conversion rate.

      Ashley Christiano

      Ashley Christiano

      Ashley Christiano is a Principal Customer Marketing Manager, Global SMB based out of Los Angeles. When she’s not helping customers get more out of Braze, she’s probably sorting her books by color, writing horoscopes, or hanging out with her cat Gracie and dog Louise.

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