By Rieva Lesonsky
According to a recent forecast by BIA/Kelsey, consumer spending on online daily deals via sites such as Groupon, LivingSocial and Saveology will increase 23 percent in 2013 and reach $5.5 billion in 2016. Whether or not you feel like your small business is suited for daily deal participation, you can’t deny the marketing value of the platform. Statistics for daily deal users show a majority are women with higher household incomes. And the fact is more businesses from a variety of industries successfully offering their services and products on daily deal sites. The tactic is popular for the minimal working capital output required, and the widespread reach daily deal sites bring to your business.
Start by subscribing to different daily deal sites that service your area. Observe what types of businesses are highlighted and what kinds of deals they offer. Usually there are minimum requirements for the deal to be offered; for example, LivingSocial requires companies offer a minimum of 50 percent off the current price of a service or product. You’ll notice the deals aren’t always from a spa or restaurant, although the majority of deals are targeted to female consumers. And rightly so—77 percent of Groupon users are women. Be sure to check each site for customer demographics; if they aren’t listed on the website, the sales representative can give you that information. Groupon users tend to be young (68 percent between 18 and 34 years old), single (49 percent) and highly educated (80 percent have their bachelor or graduate degree).
Information on how to get featured is listed on the company websites and involves filling out an application to be featured. Don’t worry about writing the marketing copy yourself (unless you want to). The deal site will handle that for you. Unlike traditional advertising, there are no upfront fees to pay. The site takes a cut of the deals you sell, usually half or more of the selling price. You get a check for the difference. Simple.
Be prepared to handle the huge number of customers who may buy your product or service (a good problem to have, no?). There have been many small businesses that have been so inundated with new business they weren’t set up to handle the load, which results in angry, dissatisfied customers. That’s not exactly the best first impression to make, so be sure you’re ready to provide great service. Remember, daily deal sites can help bring you the customers in, but it’s up to you to make sure they come back.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at email@example.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports