By Corissa St. Laurent
A lot of consumers have a new daily routine: Going online and checking out the local group deals and discounts for the best offers on restaurants, spas and entertainment. In many instances, social plans are sparked by the now-familiar phrase, “Let’s go there, I have a coupon.”
For small businesses, daily deals often offer the promise of new customers. Yet what happens more often than they’d like is that these new customers don’t return, regardless of having received exemplary service. Or worse, the consumer’s purchase doesn’t make up for the cost of the marketing campaign.
While the concept of daily deals maximized through social media awareness is brilliant, its execution is flawed. One of the biggest obstacles daily deals create for small business owners is an inability to engage new customers and foster longer-term customer relationships. Without access and permission to contact the customer, there’s very little opportunity to follow up and continue the dialog ... unless you change how the campaigns are run.
Here are four ways small business owners can make daily deals work in their favor while continuing to grow their customer base.
1. Reach out to existing customers: If you’re regularly engaging with your customers using Facebook or email marketing, create a deal that’s delivered in one of these mediums to thank them for their loyalty and entice them to return to your business. Offer greater rewards to those existing customers who bring in new customers via one of your daily deals to encourage sharing.
2. Customize the offers: Since you’re already engaging your customers regularly, you have the ability to segment your lists based on interests, previous purchases, and email open rates. Based on this information, you can identify the customers most likely to respond to a certain offer. By creating different deals tied to specific customer interests, you grow closer to your audience, boost response rates and improve the likelihood of them sharing your offer with their friends.
3. Create exclusive deals for new customers: Create compelling offers for new customers and build in an incentive for them to return to your business and share the offer.
4. Follow up: For existing customers that you’re regularly engaging, you have the ability to reconnect with them via email or Facebook to gauge their responses to your latest deal. For new customers that come in through a daily deal, ask permission to contact them. In both of these scenarios, you’re earning the right to continue the dialog and building closer connections to your customers.
Corissa St. Laurent is Regional Development Director, New England, for Constant Contact. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Published in Cape & Plymouth Business July 2012
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