Daily Deals: How do you make your offer stand out?

Emily Keye

Daily Deal Shopping CartGroupon, Living Social, BuyWithMe, WagJag – these are just a few of the burgeoning number of daily deal sites providing great deals on restaurants, shops, excursions and entertainment to consumers around the globe. A recent study by Rice University revealed that consumer demand for deals is still on the rise, which is great news for consumers and daily deal providers. But it also points to a challenge faced by providers. How do you differentiate your service to merchants and consumers with new competitors rapidly entering this hot market? How do you make your deals stand out?

I work with a number of daily deal clients. In strategy discussions with them, we always discuss ways to improve campaign results through best practices. For many daily deal companies targeting solely by geography/city has worked well up until this point. But given the number of companies in the daily deal marketplace, companies need to be smarter and more thoughtful in presenting their deal offerings. To help with their offerings, here are three ways that daily deal companies can drive higher levels of engagement and revenue through:

  • Segmentation – Sending out untargeted email blasts to deal subscribers is a big mistake when it comes to the daily deal industry. Receiving too many irrelevant offers is a chief complaint from many daily deal subscribers. Ask your subscribers key information beyond their location such as gender, age and interests through a manage preferences center. You can also gain information on their interests through click behavior, or you can conduct periodic surveys of your subscribers to gather more detailed profile information over time, continually improving your targeting by providing content tailored to their interests. Using these tactics you will be able to build a profile for each subscriber so you can segment your lists and provide members with deals targeted to their specific interests. Remember, the quality of the list is as important as its size.
  • Deliverability – Reaching the inbox is essential in the daily deal industry. Each undelivered email and bounceback represents a lost sales opportunity. Ensure that your messages reach subscribers’ inboxes by working with a seasoned email marketing provider that has established relationships with ISPs and has transparent polices for sharing deliverability rates so you can benchmark campaign performance. Your ESP should have established partnerships with email authentication and reputation management services. Excellent deliverability is also established when marketers first begin their relationship with subscribers. Make sure to ask for explicit opt-in permission from day one and set expectations of what you will send and the frequency of your messages. Remember, engagement is beginning to play a bigger role in inbox deliverability so make sure those daily deals are always relevant to the subscriber you’re sending to.
  • Timing – Email timing is also extremely important for daily deal companies. If people don’t open emails on time, they miss out on expiring deals and the company and merchant both miss out on a sale. When is the best time to send an email? Answering that question can be a challenge since optimal send times are a moving target based on many variables. Test your email messages to see when your subscribers are opening them. Your email service provider should offer send-time optimization capabilities for automatically monitoring and sending messages at the time a subscriber is most likely to open it. Timing is everything, so test, analyze and optimize. Given the timing competition around daily deals sends, also work on targeting inactive or unengaged subscribers by automating “win-back” messages. Test this message at different times during the day, typically later in the day, to avoid competing against other daily deal messages. Make sure the subject lines of these messages stand out in the inbox.
  • Re-engagement– Can’t get a subscriber to open or click through your messages? Offer alternative ways to send them deals, try social media or mobile marketing as alternatives to your daily email send. After multiple “win-back” attempts, it may make sense to stop sending to them or drastically reduce their frequency. They can begin to effect your inbox deliverability. Also, find ways to encourage referrals, give incentives for current subscribers to get their friends/family to subscribe/purchase. Always include SWYN (share with your network) options in your email messages.
  • Test, test, test – Test your subject lines, creative, CTAs. Do people respond better to a % off or a $ off amount. Test to see how subscribers respond and make changes based on your findings.
  • Event Driven Marketing – Ask for birthday, anniversary information to help improve segmentation. You may have a male subscriber that 11 months out of the year does not want to see nail salon deals, until his wife’s birthday. Gender and age segmentation for deals is great, but think about alternatives to get them to buy deals for presents for family and friends. Send a reminder of their spouse’s birthday or anniversary with relevant deals.

These are important first steps for helping the daily deal market evolve from email “blasts” based solely on geographical data to more sophisticated campaigns using segmentation, analytics and automation capabilities. And we’re just getting started! We’d love to hear your thoughts on these approaches and other ideas for improving the performance of daily deal offers.

Emily Keye
Marketing Strategist at Bronto