Social Coupon Insights
Social media marketing. Social media support. Social networking. Social sales and advertising. Social television. Social learning. What’s next? Well according to industry insiders and major social media marketing consultants…a new twist on something a bit older and even familiar. Social Coupons and discounts. With nearly 2 out of every 3 social media users reporting an interest in receiving special coupons, discount codes and other promotions business owners are flocking to daily deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial…the top two daily deal sites. It’s big business, even mega-sites like Amazon have jumped in on the craze by purchasing Woot, another daily-deal site known less for destinations and fine dining than products.
A Deal is a Deal
Whatever the deal, consumers can’t seem to get enough. Groupon boasts well over 85 million users and over 30 million unique visitors as of July of last year (2011). LivingSocial, the next largest social coupon site, has nearly 45 million users and 10 million unique visitors in the same month. Of course, there are literally hundreds or even thousands of other small niche social coupon sites including many based upon user interest, location or other specific indications. So, why would a small business benefit from using a social coupon site? Keep reading to find out.
A Big Deal
Social coupons represent a major boon for small business owners; rather than having to print and send out untold coupons that may or may not reach their final destination, it’s now possible to attract large numbers of new users by offering new client discounts or short term promotions. Research has found that almost 70% of deal buyers return to the business after using the initial coupons.
Additionally, it’s easier to track new customers thanks to sophisticated software that provides unique identifiers to each buyer of a given deal. Reaching an entirely new audience and enhancing exposure is equally important to small business owners especially during tough economic times. Roughly 3 out of every 4 coupon buyers are new clients not only providing great revenue but also word of mouth marketing opportunities for those that know how to maximize their social media exposure. For instance, rather than simply offering a social coupon, be sure to link to your small business social media page, offer a newsletter or other incentives to create ongoing communication between new users and their social connections.
Finally, it is expected that small business owners see a quick jump in the amount of new business but the long term prospects are equally impressive with 53% of coupon users becoming regulars…far surpassing that of traditional print coupons.
So, what’s hot when it comes to social coupons? Well it probably come as no surprise that more than 1 out of every 4 offers are for food and drinks. Restaurants were early adopters to the social coupon phenomena but may not actually be the best fit! Roughly 1 out of 5 deals are for beauty and spa, 7% for health or fitness products and the remaining can cover nearly anything imaginable; from eye surgery and dental work to vacations and product offerings. The list is endless.
From the consumer perspective, nearly three out of four want gardening and landscaping offers…a seriously unmet need with dramatic potential interest! One out of three list home repair and renovation as major areas of interest and just under 30% are open to food offers. Travel destinations, products and services are all additional areas of interest. Many users simply enjoy signing in to see what is interesting in the hope of finding some new product or service that sounds exciting to try for the first time.
Good Fit or Fiasco
While social coupons can be a great way to attract new clients, increase recognition and enhance sales there are some caveats to keep in mind. It’s a good idea to work closely with your social media marketing consultant or agency to plan for a social coupon campaign well in advance; not only to assure maximize exposure but also to build long term relationships with new clients.
Good fit involves demographics. Other concerns to keep in mind include whether or not the right audience will be reached; again, it’s imperative to collaborate closely with the social coupon site and your regular marketing team.
Fiasco. Earlier we mentioned that restaurants were one of the first to take advantage of the social coupon phenomena…sometimes with less than impressive results. Not because the coupons didn’t work but because they worked too well! Deep discounts to new users often resulted in more business than they were able to handle especially during peak periods of time. The increased traffic and discounted prices often impacted service in a negative manner actually causing negative word of mouth advertising in the long run. This same approach applies to many other small business owners; make sure you are able to handle a BIG boost in traffic or limit the number of coupons. It’s important to maintain an acceptable level of service even during peak periods of time. While placing restrictions on usage is an option, it may discourage people from visiting or experiencing the best your business has to offer. This is especially true of restaurants, night clubs or other places where peak hours enhance the overall experience. Be sure to take all aspects of the social coupon into account including the need to hire additional staff, increase inventory, extend delivery periods or other commonly encountered issues.