The Crunch: In 2008, Collin Morgan’s passion for couponing and sharing savings tips with family and friends led her to start a blog, but she never imagined it would grow into Hip2Save — a thriving online business that draws millions of visitors to its savings community every month. In an industry that has seen many highs and lows, Hip2Save has sustained its growth by creating trustworthy content and adapting its resources to consumer shopping trends. By offering readers access to print and digital coupons, store sales alerts, and mobile compatibility, Hip2Save enables today’s busy, multi-channel shoppers to save both time and money, while feeling connected to a fun, collaborative community. Building on a passion for savings, Hip2Save strives to be a brand that helps consumers better themselves in all aspects of their lives.
Some entrepreneurs create their small businesses with deliberate foresight and intentionality. Others wake up one day and realize that pursuing a personal passion — and sharing it with others — has turned their hobby into a business.
This was the case for Collin Morgan and Hip2Save, her popular coupon, deals, and savings tips website that draws nearly 3 million unique visitors and thousands of social media followers each month.
“I didn’t start with the intention of creating a business,” Collin said. “In fact, it still blows my mind.”
Before launching Hip2Save in 2008, Collin was a stay-at-home mom looking for ways to save her family money, and one thing she turned to was couponing. “When you have young kids, you’re hyper-focused on how to save because you’re buying so much,” she said.
Collin’s first experience with couponing reflects that of many consumers — wasted time going after limited savings on products that weren’t on sale or that she didn’t really need. As she learned how to use coupons more efficiently, Collin began sharing her tips with everyone she could. “When you have a lightbulb moment, you get excited — whatever it’s about. I was so excited about finally getting this concept that I pestered my family, emailing them deals and savings. My sister finally called and offered to create an outlet for this new interest of mine,” she said.
Collin’s sister helped her set up a basic blog to share her couponing knowledge and finds with family and friends. At a time when there were few free online resources dedicated to helping consumers save money, the Hip2Save community quickly grew by word of mouth. “Part of it was also timing. I got into blogging at a really good time,” Collin said. “You can still be successful with a blog, but it’s harder now that the market is so saturated.”
Less than a year after starting the blog, Collin was spending all her spare time on the site and realized it was time to take the next step. “It was rewarding, but I wanted to make sure my family was also getting some revenue in return. That’s when I started researching how to monetize a blog,” she said.
Today, the Hip2Save team still relies on word-of-mouth advertising to grow its community of coupon-savvy readers and Hip2Save Insiders, sharing coupons, deals, freebies, and tips around the clock and inspiring others with its values: confidence, empowerment, community, authenticity, and honesty.
But the beginning of it all was passion.
“With couponing, I slowly saw my debt disappear and my confidence grow. It’s cool to see yourself change when you find something you’re passionate about that’s yours. As a stay-at-home mom, it’s hard to find things like that,” Collin said. “Hip2Save started from a passion for what I was doing, and I think that’s why it’s successful.”
What Solidified Hip2Save’s 10-Year Legacy in the Coupon Industry
Over the past decade, Hip2Save has weathered many changes in the coupon industry, including the extreme couponing craze that followed the similarly named 2010 hit reality show. Interest in coupon savings drove traffic to coupon sites, which quickly increased in number. But, when manufacturers and retailers responded with new restrictions to discourage stockpiling and recoup profit loss, consumer enthusiasm for couponing — and savings sites — quickly began to wane.
While Hip2Save benefited from the initial upsurge in couponing activity, its loyal followers and its commitment to quality content have kept the business thriving even as other coupon sites have dropped off.
“Through the years, we’ve seen many blogs come and go. A lot of sites rely heavily on social media, but, even if Facebook disappeared tomorrow, we’d be fine because people come directly to our site,” Collin said. “We’ve also been picky about what we post. We’ve built a strong community of loyal readers who trust our content, and that trust is so important to us that we make sure to hold our site to a high standard.”
While thriving in the midst of industry highs and lows, Collin said she is proud of Hip2Save’s milestones in growth and recognition. In 2011, Hip2Save began a partnership with media outlet Today.com when a producer reached out to Collin after Hip2Save drove the most traffic to one of Today’s Steals and Deals items.
“That was a big moment because it was exciting to see our site get that kind of notice. We partnered with them for a few years, and we got all their on-air traffic because people had to come to our site to take advantage of those awesome deals,” Collin said.
Hip2Save has also grown from a one-woman endeavor to a team of remote workers across the nation. As every hands-on business owner who hired an employee finds out, Collin learned the importance of trusting others — and of letting go.
“Through the years, I’ve realized I have to focus on what I do best and trust the people I’m hiring,” Collin said. “It’s about learning to be okay with passing the torch to someone else. You need to find good people, but, once you do, you need to step back.”
Collin holds occasional retreats so Hip2Save team members can touch base and get to know one another on a deeper level. And, to tackle the communication challenges of managing and collaborating with a remote team, she relies on both high-tech and old-school communication tools.
“I’m on the phone a lot with the team members I work with virtually. It’s important to make sure there are no concerns and everyone’s open about what’s going on,” she said.
Hiring a remote team has allowed Collin to choose from a larger talent pool and give others like herself the opportunity to work from home and share her passion for helping people save money.
“It’s so much more rewarding having people share in that passion and get to provide job opportunities for people who are looking for that flexibility of working from home and still want to feel passionate about what they do,” Collin said.
Online, Mobile, and In-Store Deals Help Consumers Save
Hip2Save started as a savings blog and coupon site when online shopping was still gaining momentum. Even with the rise of digital, coupons remain a core component of shopping online and in-store, and Hip2Save’s newbie guide teaches shoppers how to make the most of them.
“What’s steered our direction is not only helping readers save money, but save time while they’re saving money,” Collin said. “When I first started couponing, I was devoting so much time to clipping coupons and organizing them, and I wasn’t taking that into account in my savings. For that reason, it’s been a prime focus for us to give our readers great content but also make it easy for them to save money, whether online or in stores.”
Hip2Save gives its readers access to in-store savings, digital and printable coupons, and the latest freebies available. The content side offers tips on how to save money with frugality, do-it-yourself projects, and budget-friendly recipes.
Now that conveniences such as digital coupon codes, curbside pickup, and free delivery have made shopping online more appealing, a core part of Hip2Save’s business has been to show readers more ways to save online.
“Back in 2008, most people were focused more on going to the store for groceries and household items, but now you can get both online in half the time and not pay a dime for shipping,” Collin said. “We’ve seen a lot of growth in just that area. Our readers love buying groceries and household items online — they’re items you need, and it’s so convenient.”
Hip2Save features up-to-the-minute online deals and promotional codes from Amazon and other retail stores. A special feature known as HIP List makes it even more convenient by allowing Hip2Save Insiders to tag deals as they browse and retrieve them when they’re ready to shop or print a coupon.
Shopping with or from a mobile device has also become popular, and branded mobile apps make it easier for consumers who use digital coupons to streamline their savings while shopping in-store. Hip2Save has stayed on top of this trend as well, with the Hip2Save mobile app for iPhone, Android, and Kindle, and hot deals text alerts.
Whether members of the Hip2Save community are shopping in-store, online, or a combination of both, they’ll find fun, engaging ways to save.
Evolving to Be The Go-To Brand for Betterment in All Aspects of Life
Collin’s passion for savings has shaped Hip2Save into a vibrant online business and community, and the team continues to work on improving the website while looking for new ways to benefit its readers.
This year, Hip2Save will update its website to improve and personalize each user’s experience. “We’re working on how to simplify navigation and help our readers see the deals and savings they most want to see,” Collin said.
Hip2Save also plans to launch the first of a potential series of umbrella sites focused on other areas of life consumers seek guidance on — from health and wellness to finances.
“We’ve been excited with the growth we’ve seen and helping readers learn how to save money in a way that’s going to help their family. We’re also realizing we want to be the go-to site to help people improve all aspects of their lives,” Collin said.
The new site’s exact coverage area is still under wraps, but Collin told us that it will be related to health and nutrition. “We’ll trickle in some relevant Hip2Save deals, but it will be more of a content site versus a deals site, and we have other ideas to encompass what we’re trying to do.”
Even as Hip2Save expands its focus, it will continue to be a business that’s grounded in Collin’s passion for living fully and sharing tips with others.
“Besides my family, Hip2Save is one of the greatest passions of my life,” Collin said. “The best thing is getting to see the impact I have on readers through the emails I receive. It reminds me of how couponing has impacted my own life. I know they’re just coupons, but they’ve helped me become a better mom, build up my confidence, pay off debt, and pay it forward in a huge way. I wake up every morning knowing I get to help people from all walks of life. It’s not about the coupons, but about what the coupons have done.”