As the Group Buying industry has gone from strength to strength, how should these organisations be leveraging email marketing to their advantage?

Few industries have enjoyed the same media attention and success as the Group Buying industry in the last two years. Ever since GroupON Launched in November 2008 the industry has exploded with clones popping up all over the world wanting to emulate the success. It’s safe to say that the Group Buying landscape is one of the most competitive online industries. A lot has been written about the Group Buying business model and their place in the market but not much has been said about marketing, particularly email marketing which is the cornerstone of the Group Buying consumer marketing strategy.

One thing I’ve learnt from working with Group Buying businesses world over is that no matter what great deals they have enlisted and how many email addresses they’ve got in the database, there is a great danger of such businesses becoming redundant without a rock solid email programme Working for Emarsys I have had first-hand experience of talking to organisations who even after 6 months of operation and sometimes over 100,000 customers on their database, still send the same email to the same people with the same deal every day of the week.

  • Segmentation: We all know we are supposed to do it but how many actually take the time? In an industry as competitive as Group Buying, businesses need to stay ahead of the curve. Divide your customers into categories, starting with the most common ones, based on the types of deals you typically advertise, for example Food, Activities, Dining & Wellness. You can segment based on contact criteria, however there is a danger here of making the sign up process too long or difficult for customers to use. A better option is to use behavioural targeting when your ESP platform builds up profiles based on how your customers interact (open and click) with your emails. You can use this information to segment and create intelligent customer profiles, targeting them based on their interests, without asking your subscribers to fill in numerous data fields on registration.
  • Social Media: According to Nielsen Online, the average person spends 4 hours and 39 minutes a month on Facebook. Why not embed forms within your Facebook page for customers to sign up to your email newsletters?It’s simple to do and we see a lot of our customers generating a huge amount of registrations this way on a monthly basis. Embrace the power of social sharing, and don’t just limit yourself to a simple call to action to follow you on Facebook – enable your subscribers to share individual deals on their social networks, by inserting social sharing links on individual content sections of your emails. It will not only dramatically increase the exposure your brand but allow you to track how many people are clicking on this content outside of your database.
  • Dynamic Content:  This isn’t a new concept but it isn’t exploited to the fullest. Emarsys offer a unique Content Management System which enables our customers to go one step beyond just dynamic content into fully dynamic emails – entirely based on behavioural targeting. From one generic template, depending on the subscribers’ preferences, content populates automatically as it enters their inbox. Using this tool to make simple modifications to email, such as changing the order of the deals that the subscriber receives based on what they have bought previously, can bring a huge uplift in conversion rates.
  • Database maintenance: A mistake a lot of Group Buying companies make is sending their daily deal emails to people who haven’t previously opened or clicked. Not taking into account these engagement metrics unfortunately not only distorts the responsiveness of an initiative but also affects deliverability  into the inbox. If you’re sending emails to people that are your best customers together with those who never interact, it may result in even your best customers not getting the emails as they are blocked by ISPs. Make sure you monitor your results, keep informed of the latest ISP changes and keep your database clean and up-to-date.

Following these steps will ensure you keep your email programme works, improves and increases response rates in this highly competitive market. Know your customers – ensure you’re continually analysing their click and purchase behaviour and reward them by sending offers that they are interested in.