Free Marketing Ideas Part 16 – Groupon and Living Social

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Welcome to the latest edition of my new weekly blog series, “Free Marketing Ideas”. Each week I will identify and explain a simple marketing idea that you can employ at low or no cost. Last week’s topic was Create a Loyalty Plan.

This Week’s Topic = Groupon and Living Social

If you have not heard of Groupon or Living Social by now I would be very surprised. But nevertheless, they are competing coupon services that partner with companies to create and publicize deep discounts. They have built up enormous email distribution lists of people who are looking for discounts from companies all over the world.

While the height of their popularity is likely already passed, many companies continue to use Groupon and Living Social successfully.

Getting started is simple, as long as you are willing and able to offer significant discounts. You can contact a sales person responsible for your area, they are usually geographical, and find out if there is interest on their end. As long as you are offering something that people want, and it’s not too expensive, there will be interest.

Then, you will work with them to customize the deal that your company will offer. It is common to discount your product or service by 50% or more.

The rest is up to them. They will write the copy, which you will approve. They will announce the offer to their lists. And they will manage the sales process.

Customers pay through Groupon or Living Social, and then they will pay you in increments. They will also take a percent of the sale for doing all the work and exposing your company to their customers. This is usually about 50%, but can be negotiated lower depending on the popularity of the offer.

And that’s all there is to it. It can be a great way to gain exposure for a product or service, and reach new customers that you cannot afford to reach with your own marketing. And the only cost is the share that Groupon or Living Social will keep as commission. But since it is just a percentage of the money that you are already making, there is no commitment on your part.

Share your thoughts on this idea, and other free marketing ideas in the comments section below and keep the conversation going!

Know What They Expect: Groupon Email Review

Even though the space is very crowded, Groupon owns the daily deal market. They own it by name, they were the first and the biggest. They are the defining brand within the marketplace, like Kleenex or Band-Aid.

Groupon relies, perhaps more heavily than any other company today, on email marketing to maintain and grow their successful business. If tomorrow Congress passes a law outlawing the sending of marketing emails to consumers, I can’t think of an industry that would be hit harder.

But how has Groupon mastered the art of email marketing in order to achieve the fast paced and loyal growth that they’ve seen in the past year+? Let’s take a look at the email below as an example:

The subject line is simple, it tells you what the featured deal is. It’s meant to grab your attention and it does so by showing the discount.

The body of the email is simple, using a design that people are familiar with, displaying an array of deals offered in your neighborhood that day. The copy is easy to read, engaging, and always leads to a strong call to action that takes very little commitment. I just have to click on a button that says “View this deal” to learn more.

For a company like this, who relies on daily emails to consumers, it’s important not to overstep your bounds. It’s easy to frustrate people when you email them daily. But Groupon delivers such high value in their emails that they develop very loyal subscribers.

The best thing that they do, and that other companies can take a cue from, is they keep their emails the same. They have a formula and a layout that they are happy with, and they stick with it. Subscribers know what to expect, and if a deal does not appeal to them, they simply wait for the next one.

It’s part of the branding process, and an important one if a company wants to email the same list that frequently.