Can You Start a New Local Business With Groupon?
My SearchEngineLand post on 9 Ways To Start a New Local Business Using Facebook, Twitter, Groupon & Google lays out how a new local business could effectively launch with a minimal marketing budget. From the post:
A group-buying promotion can be a fantastic way to get a local business of the ground. A successful promotion could expose your brand to a large number of potential customers. The ability for a new business to get significant trial and early cash flow could be reason enough to do one. While you’ll have to make an investment in inventory and service capacity, I would assume that have already done so to get your biz started.
Thanks to Perry Evans of Closely for inspiring this post during his remarks at the C3 Conference.
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We have a customer who has built a network of teeth whitening clinics in 13 (and growing) cities using this exact approach. He launches each new clinic via a deal-a-day offer. His most successful launch was in DC where he sold over 1,400 in a 3 day period.
His ‘fine print’ requires that appointments be scheduled online, saving him a ton of time fielding phone calls and emails. A week after the DC launch he had over 380 appointments booked on his schedule, but had only taken 4 phone calls. Not bad.
Impressive results Bill. Did he do any marketing of the deal himself or did he just rely on the deal-a-day provider to do so?
I am pretty certain it was just deal-a-day. The numbers I quoted above are exclusively from the deal-a-day offering in DC.
I think he occasionally runs follow-up deals, as necessary. He also requires his clients to provide an email address when scheduling (since some deal-a-day sites don’t share) which allows him to send automated follow-up emails and promotional emails to encourage repeat business.
The last part is crucial to successfully building a company via Groupon (however, I don’t believe Groupon to be an end-all-be-all solution to biz development). It would be devastating to see tremendous response to a Groupon buy, only to be understaffed when the flocks of consumers show up to redeem their offers. Make sure you have staff prepared, or take the necessary measure with the offer itself (for example, include long-term expiration dates so consumers are not “rushed” to redeem). Also, this is a perfect opportunity to increase revenue through add-on sales. You are hitting a market that you probably wouldn’t normally target, so take the chance of selling something more.
Cory, I have been thinking recently that there is a big business in just consulting with SMBs to help them with their Groupon promotions.