Small Business Marketing News

Online Coupon Marketing Depends On Planning

Written by Jenna Weiner
Published: 2/28/2011

Groupon has proved to be a blessing and a curse for many small businesses. However, experts say it's all in the planning.

While the effectiveness of group purchasing and coupon sites such as Groupon have been debated recently in small business news, other entrepreneurial experts are urging owners to remember that couponing, like any marketing strategy, has its pros and cons.

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Coupon sites offer small business owners the chance to reach a huge audience of local consumers by being featured as the only "deal of the day." Furthermore, there is no upfront cost to launch a coupon promotion because you only pay the coupon service a percentage of the total amount of what you sell.

"Your goal for a successful online coupon offer should be the same as for any promotion. You not only want to attract new customers to your shop, you want them to come back again and again - and pay full price for your cupcakes when they do," writes Jacqueline Taylor for the Houston Chronicle.

However, owners need to make sure when they offer a coupon, they will be able to keep up with the demand - or risk generating negative buzz - and deal with the potential hit that day to their profit margins.

As a recent article in The New York Times observed, it's all about planning. ABC Language Exchange offered a deal to place people in any language, at any level for half-price and, subsequently, were unable to deal with the 380 people who began calling.

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