Ask anyone about ‘daily deal’ sites and the first company they think of is Groupon. They’ve rapidly become leader in the “group deals” or “daily deals” niche of email marketing for small businesses. Here are five Groupon-inspired email marketing tips that today’s small businesses can use to give their email marketing a boost.
Groupon has been so successful they’ve even incurred some feedback from businesses who were pummeled by the flood of new customers wanting to cash in Groupon offers. While their surge of popularity appears to be cooling off, their email marketing strategy still works.
1. Always Be Segmenting & Targeting
Remember when you received a daily email from Groupon? I did. From spray-on tans to hair treatments to waxing, their offers sent to me at one point were poorly targeted. (Maybe not the waxing, but I digress…)
I may not have been alone. The cost of poorly targeted emails is lack of engagement, loss of attention and ultimately, decreased response. Not even the greatest email marketing copy in the world can save them from an offer that’s irrelevant to the reader. Their business was built on the engagement of readers. Not just the opens, but the primal excitement of getting a good deal and passing it along to their friends. Thus, the element of a group deal, not a solo deal.
Takeaway: Always learn about your audience. You can do this through surveys and the actions they take with previous emails. Did recipients click on product B? Deliver them relevant messages specific to Product B. Take them out of product A and C’s campaigns.
2. Extend the Reach of the Brand with Sub-Brands
After Groupon passed on the acquisition offer from Google and enraged some people with their Super Bowl TV ad, they expanded their business from region-specific deals to travel and instant deals. They accomplished this through different lead-generation campaigns.
They recently introduced ‘Getaways’ and ‘Now Deals.’ This expands their reach because I know people who would love to get away to a resort, but are fine passing up on the offer to join a gym. Now deals target the people on the go who want a deal based on their physical location. Not only do the deals rake in higher margins; it enables their audience to receive these that are more relevant to them.
Takeaway: Using specific landing pages coupled with highly targeted email campaigns, you can discover new opportunities in your business. For instance, if you offer marketing coaching, consider creating a membership site or digital download product used to attract different types of leads to the business. You might actually stumble into a new profitable business idea!
3. Target Deals When People are in a Buying Mood
I know on Monday morning, I’m not exactly in a mood to buy. I noticed that recently I’ve been receiving emails for Groupons on Friday. It makes sense because I’m thinking of the weekend and recreation.
Takeaway: Consider adjusting the time and date when you typically send your emails. Not only will this adjust when it’s opened, but it will affect when recipients take action on your message. A quick experiment is to track your next email campaign with Google Analytics and discover the time of day most people hit your site from your email message. My point is 8AM may not work as well as 1PM or 4PM.
4. Use a Consistent and Well-Recognized Format
Groupon is all about brand awareness, trust and conversion. They’ve made such an impact on the niche-deals industry, everyone has copied their look and feel. It works. People want to read big headlines, vivid pictures, sub-headlines, details on the offer and compelling copy. This formula they coined took the industry by storm.
Takeaway: Earn the trust of your contacts by using a professional – but not impersonal—look and feel to your emails. If the purpose of the message is to engage in a transaction, address all the questions in the mind of a buyer. Here are a few examples that we’ve created.
5. Always Follow Up With Leads, Even at a Loss
Businesses that use Groupon for attracting customers are missing a big opportunity. Following up. The industry has often stated that with Groupon offers, the business actually takes a loss on these new customers. Right or wrong as the deal-takers may be (such as only tipping on the discount amount, not the full price), the business needs to follow-up and educate people about the value they provide. Data suggests that simply following up increases sales by nearly 400%!
Takeaway: Encourage new customers to sign up on your email list. Then nurture them with a thoughtful variety of polls, educational insights about your business that they didn’t know or even invite them to come back. Read this blog post for seven more lead-generation ideas.
On another note, I’ve received fewer Groupon offers to my email. (Perhaps you have, too?) It’s not because they’re short on deals, it’s because they are becoming more targeted with them. I open up the ones offering discount oil changes, unlimited car washes and automotive tint. This increases my awareness and response.
I don’t think the experience and excitement with daily deal sites or even “flash sales” is exclusive to Groupon. I feel that businesses with a well-planned email marketing strategy coupled with a loyal list of prospects and customers could actually pull these off without a daily deal site’s assistance. (And keep 100% of the revenue for themselves.)
[Image credit: © Groupon, Inc.]