small business, small business marketing, coupon, coupon marketing, online marketing, local marketing

We are all looking for new ways to promote our business. In this struggling economy you will try anything to differentiate from competitors. Making it easy for consumer to find you. Marketing seems to be good strategy to get that differentiation. But it might cost you fortune and with free online tools it is another competition. In this jungle of marketing it is really hard to find that one tool that works as hard as you for your business without spending a lot. Yes there are lots of social media available. But everyone is on that band wagon and is difficult to differentiate. I was bouncing from article to blog post to find something new. When I started my research, I was mostly focusing on facebook, twitter, flicker etc, which everyone wants to be part of or already is.

Most of the tools I came across were same old tools that have been popular and by now already over used. As my search continued I found some interesting tools that have taken the marketing world by storm in short frame of time.  Groupon, foursquare, yelp etc. Groupon!!! I know my initial reaction was exactly the same ” What is groupon?”

Spent some time on website and the concept seemed interesting. So here is what groupon is. Groupon is part of The Point, a platform for group action which started in Nov 08. It is all about power of group buying by offering great deals in the community.

Example: Every day they feature a coupon depending on location with amazing deals. Then they have minimum number to be reached for the coupon to be effective. Lets say 100. Unless 100 people join, the coupon isn’t effective. You can invite your friends and family to reach that number. There is the key. They are not only using refer a friend or word of mouth but also all the social networking sites. If there is a deal you like and you tell your friends, you post it on facebook, twitter and so on. That is genius and along with that as you are buying it in group you are guaranteed the best price. No sign up necessary, but you do have to submit your email address to view the coupon. If you like it click on “Buy” and if the minimum number is reached they will charge your credit card and send you the link to print the coupon. Easy !!!

Why is it effective marketing tool?

First and most important as mentioned above, your consumer will do the marketing for you, from word of mouth to social networking sites.
Secondly, with most of the social networking sites measuring the result is some what difficult. With groupon it is easy. You can measure the effectiveness and success by the number of coupons redeemed and bought, number of people signed up and sales.
Consumer feel rewarded and help you create viral buzz.

Why is it attractive to small business?

It is wining situation for everyone involved. Consumer get the best deal, advertiser increases the sales and makes money which is also sales increase for groupon.

Groupon doesn’t charge upfront fees. This makes it more affordable for small business.

Coupons are listed according to city. This helps local business gain more exposure and visibility. It also provides its advertiser with demographic information through its website.

It is risk free, effective and guarantees customer as certain numbers must be reached before the coupon is issued.

This gives your business huge exposure and increase the repeated consumer. Specially if your business is new.

To understand why it works lets first find out how it works.

You will contact the groupon representative. Who will help you design coupon tailored to you business need.
No payment necessary in the front end. They will take a portion of what you sale through groupon.
They will design your groupon coupon, basically after you agree they will take care of everything for you.

Now lets look into some success stories:

Stone Korean Kitchen saw increase in sales and traffic to their facebook and yelp pages after using groupon. They have increased number of repeated customers and they were packed for 2 months after groupon. Here are some more examples.

It might be too early to make any speculation about groupon. But looking at the success and buzz it has created in short time it is safe to say it is best, affordable tool to gain visibility and exposure locally.

Contact group if you have your queries to get your business featured in groupon.

You can also add your coupon or special promotion in  google. There are may free online tools out there, do some research and make the most out of it. Find the one that best suits your business need. If you have any experience or suggestions please leave comment.