Groupon and Daily Deal Sites Faltering

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In the beginning, Groupon and other daily deal sites were seen as a way to bring in more business. But more importantly, they were seen as a kind of marketing. You know, give customers a deal to encourage them to try out your product or service and they’ll be back for more. Even if they don’t use the savings, the offer builds visibility and brand recognition for your local business in the community. The trouble, some critics say, is that Groupon and sites of its ilk end up costing you in ways you might not expect, and that ultimately there are better ways to promote what you do.

Bargain Basement

A strained relationship. Business owners and customers alike complain the problem with Groupon is that the site ends up souring the relationship between users and the companies that offer the deals. Some business owners feel most Groupon users are simply bargain hunters who are only there for the deals and won’t come back at regular price. Customers say this attitude tends to cause business owners to treat Groupon users poorly, creating a bad impression and discouraging them from returning. Yahoo! Finance

Pros and cons. The downside of Groupon offers is no secret to small business owners, of course. For months, small business bloggers like Martina Iring have been looking at some of the negatives including potential impact on your bottom line and what she calls the “mentality” of some Groupon users. Yet, there’s no denying the power of these offers to bring in a large number of customers, something to which small business owners would ordinarily never object. Here Iring lays out the pros and cons for you to decide. Small Business Bliss

On dangerous ground. In the end, whether Groupon offers are a blessing or a curse for your business is for you to decide, says Will Scott, CEO of Search Influence, an online marketing firm serving small and medium sized businesses. Properly used, Groupon offers can bring in new customers, helping you market your business. But to do this effectively, you must skirt some serious pitfalls to avoid a bad experience that could cost your business big time. Here are five mistakes you can’t afford to make. Search Engine Journal

A Better Approach

Special delivery. In the end, no matter how many customers darken your door for free offers or any other services you plan to promote, the key to ultimate business success is to be able to serve those customers with integrity. Small business consultant Isabelle Mercier Turcotte explains the importance of creating a business that delivers on promises. She also explains how being true to yourself while looking out for your customers’ interests is the best kind of marketing. The Leaper’s Blog

Get attention. There are other ways to get attention and increase your customer base organically besides the use of Groupon and other daily deal sites. If you have an online presence, this begins with an optimization strategy. When that strategy is less than successful, you may have made some simple mistakes. Anna Mackey, Director of Client Services at a California-based search engine marketing firm, gives us a look at six errors that could be hurting your online marketing efforts right now. McKremie

Act locally. Though the Internet is global, there are times when local optimization is also important to your business. As an alternative to Groupon-type special offers, for example, local SEO can be one of the best options to bring customers to your door. The trick, says SEO expert Stuart McHenry, is to focus on ranking your Website for local search terms, not just for search terms related to your product or service. Consider these tips. Nikki Pilkington

Welcome home. Whether your primary business is online or in a brick and mortar location, the quality of your Website and particularly your call to action pages is critical. Web designer Larry James shares a great guest post about the mistakes made after a visitor arrives on your site. These mistakes can cost your business if your site fails to convert visitors into the paying customers you need. Durham Web Designer

Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 16 years. A professional journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional media and online media, he attended Waynesburg University and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has held roles of reporter, editor and publisher, having founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press.