- Find the right site. Daily deal sites are location-specific, so look for sites that promote businesses in your area. In addition to the big names, there are niche sites targeting specific cities or industries. Search online for sites or visit daily deal aggregator Yipit.com.
- Join in. Subscribe to the daily deal sites you’re considering so you see what types of deals they offer and what kinds of businesses participate.
- Investigate site demographics. Like any marketing venue, daily deal sites maintain data about customer demographics. Ask for information about the typical customer profile to see if the site’s audience matches your target market.
- Learn how it works. Customers sign up for daily email offers to buy vouchers for products or services at discounts of 50 to 90 percent. Vouchers can be purchased for a limited time (typically 24 to 72 hours) and may include a social element (such as requiring a certain number of people to buy). Customers must redeem the voucher within a set time frame.
- Apply to be included. You have to apply for inclusion on daily deal sites. Visit each site you’re interested in, and fill out the application form. For popular sites or those with many businesses like yours, there may be a wait.
- Read the contract. Understand the agreement you’re entering into with a daily deal site, including such factors as when you will get paid and how the deal site is paid.
- Figure out financials. Typically, daily deal sites receive a percentage of the sales—sometimes 50 percent or more. Calculate whether you will earn enough to justify participating, and whether you are financially prepared to fulfill all the vouchers you sell.
- Be prepared. Daily deals can trigger overwhelming demand, so be sure your business has enough staff to keep everyone happy and enough product to fulfill orders. The deal site’s staff can suggest ways to manage demand, such as extending the deadline for using vouchers or capping the number sold.
- Provide stellar service. Many customers who buy your deal will be new to your business. Make a good first impression so you can turn them into repeat customers.
- Follow up. To maximize your deal, encourage new customers to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter. Get email addresses and send them special offers. Give them discounts or vouchers for their next visit. Do whatever you can to keep them coming back.
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Rieva Lesonsky is founder and President of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Before launching her business, she was Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Follow Rieva at Twitter.com/Rieva, read her blog at SmallBizDaily.com, and visit her website SmallBizTrendCast to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for free TrendCast reports.