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Weekly Marketing Trend: Start a Group Buying Email Program

A Lesson in Group Buying Programs
Marketing Pros in Niche Markets Warming up to the Craze

Groupon, a leader in the group buying craze, recently rebuffed a $6 billion buyout offer from Google. This speaks to the relevance and growth potential of an integrated marketing tactic that incorporates email, local advertising and social media. And Groupon is just one of over 500 group-buying sites worldwide. Most of these sites offer easy-to-share discounts and reward subscribers whose friends make a purchase. The deals are almost always announced via daily emails and come with a small window of opportunity. This frequent sense of urgency no doubt feeds into the frenzy. Now Wal-Mart is even testing this model with their email program.

Deal of the Day emails are nothing new, and neither is buying in bulk. So what is it about the trend that has garnered so much attention lately? Group buying sites are popular because deals are either locally-based or fill a niche such as singles nightlife, organic baby products, home décor and travel deals. But despite the popularity, the increase in coupon sites is beginning to water down advertiser messages. Deals are either too generic or not well targeted. The increase in competing Groupon-like services highlights a need for relevancy, smart targeting and customer service best practices. They also mean that businesses need to be more savvy when evaluating the right strategy -- sometimes the service's commission limit potential profits.

What Works:
Some of these sites have variable pricing models while others have minimum purchase thresholds for a deal to “activate.” Some provide paper coupons while others provide mobile bar codes. But regardless of the niche or region, every group buying site utilizes:

   1. Consistent email schedules and
   2. Social media sharing widgets


To join the group buying phenomenon, businesses should look first at their existing email databases. Subscribers who already interact with communications are likely to remain loyal.

Start by creating a “daily deal” email campaign that integrates with social media sharing widgets such as AddThis. Target the most loyal subscribers – those who regularly click links and share messages.

They key is to then execute campaigns at the same time each day. Businesses should also highlight their customer service such as refunds, reliability, response time and transaction confirmations. Customer service offered by group-buying sites has taken a few hits in the media lately, so this can be a competitive edge for many businesses looking to start an email-based group coupon program.

We look forward to seeing yours!

We'd love to help any business looking to implement or test this kind of strategy. If you need assistance or just want to brainstorm we'd be happy to talk.

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