For every kind of retail be it online, in-store or even door-to-door, the most important thing is getting your foot in the door. Modern consumers have an extremely wide array of choices when it comes to the products and services they use, so it's imperative to get their attention. Just at this issue is as old as retail, so is one of the obvious solutions, coupons. A recent study shows that for restaurants, coupons are a good way advertise for online and traditional marketing campaigns.

For many consumers, the deciding factor in the items they buy depend on price. Researchers from Valassis found that nearly half of hungry consumers choose where to eat according to price offers or value menus.

According to the Valassis Coupon Intelligence Study, when choosing a restaurant, 32 percent are most motivated to select a location based on "price offers." Given this, it should come as little surprise that coupons and "value menus" were also given significant importance, with each accounting for 29% of what consumers said motivated them to go to a particular restaurant.

Since many restaurants depend on nearby workers for lunch business, the study shows that coupons are an excellent way to reach these at work consumers. According to their data, 48 percent of employed survey respondents said they would visit a restaurant close to or on their way to work more often if they received coupons.

"Consumers expect ready access to deals at home, work and on the go as they look for ways to save money and make dining out affordable," said Curtis Tingle, chief marketing officer, Valassis, according to media reports. "The right deal, at the right time can activate a consumer who may not have been considering a restaurant otherwise, demonstrating the need to offer value at these influential moments along the path to purchase."

An interesting aspect of this study involves dads. Though coupon hunting is often (if erroneously) associated with female shoppers, the study found that dads are heavily influenced by coupons. Nearly half of the dads surveyed (45 percent) said coupons are their most 'motivating factor' in the choice to eat out.

While this study focused on restaurant consumers in particular, the lessons learned are easily applied to other industries. The key takeaways are that discounts are a good way to motivate customers to choose one retailer over another. Also, local shoppers begin searching for places to spend their money before they get there, and many are searching for the places that are offering discounts.

One way to turn this information into action is to use more location-based ads on PPC and social media that offer coupons to people that are nearby a retailer's location. Using this survey's restaurant subject matter as an example, a diner can get more customers if they run coupon ads based on location during lunch or dinner hours. Seeing the coupon may be enough to guide them to the eatery.

Coupons, or just discounts in general, help new business attract customers who are often less inclined to try new places over establishments they already know and trust. And for established brands, offering coupons (and other rewards) is a good way to keep customers and maintain brand loyalty.

For more recent information on studies that can help improve a business's marketing, read this article on the importance of videos in building brand awareness.