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Deal Current Network Launches New Management Center for Publishers and Advertisers

We are excited to announce that we are just a couple weeks away from releasing a brand new management center for all of our clients and would like to invite you to one of our preview webinars.

Our new system has a great new design, is mobile responsive like our consumer websites, and has a bunch of improvements to make managing deals and coupons even easier. Even more important, this will give advertisers really easy to use tools for deal redemption and coupon tracking that you can be proud to show off (Screenshots Below).

If you would like to see all that Deal Current has to offer I encourage you to sign up for one of the calls below or share this with your team.

Register for an overview session now by clicking a date below:

Preview of New Navigation and Dashboard

Preview of Reporting Center

Preview of Merchant Voucher Redemption Page

Deals are Still Lucrative for Local Media

Our President Patrick Dillon was recently quoted with other experts on the outlook of the daily deal market on News Net Check.Read the original full post here.

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Despite Groupon’s post-IPO troubles and repeated dismissals of the deals space as dead, local media companies are still turning to daily deals as a viable revenue source. “The deals space has leveled off,” say Patrick Dillon, president and co-founder of Deal Current. “Now, it’s going to start growing again.”

Net News Check,

Almost two years after Groupon’s IPO and amid repeated dismissals of the space as dead, deals soldier on as a viable revenue source for local media companies.

BIA/Kelsey has projected the deals space will reach $5.5 billion in revenue by 2016, up substantially from the $1.8 billion generated in 2011. But industry experts warn that deal vendors, pure plays and media outlets included, need to mature beyond one-off, email-based arrangements to attract loyal customers of their own.

“What we’ve seen is the deals companies say, ‘I can’t keep on going to the endless amount of local businesses and trying to sell deals to a new one,’” says Peter Krasilovsky, VP at BIA/Kelsey. “‘I have to keep my merchant customer base.’”

Questions of whether deals drove loyal customers, sharp discounts and unfriendly revenue shares for merchants prompted many skeptics to warn of the deals space’s downfall after Groupon’s IPO, the largest of any Web company since Google.

Groupon, which has banked over $1 billion in investor funding, saw its share price drop almost 90% in about a year. The Chicago-based company has rebounded, recently reaching a 52-week stock high following a CEO change.

The space has also thinned since late 2010, when Amazon poured $175 million into LivingSocial and rumors circulated that Google would buy Groupon for nearly $6 billion. “At that point, the men were separated from the boys,” says Andrew Moss, founder of BuyWithMe, which had raised $36.8 million to compete as a third pureplay. Shopping website Gilt acquired BuyWithMe in the fall of 2011.

Today, Groupon and LivingSocial remain the two dominant pureplays to compete with local publishers, broadcasters and entrepreneurs. (Groupon also offers an affiliate network, available to media companies, where partners can place Groupon deals on their sites for a commission.)

“The deals space has leveled off,” says Patrick Dillon, president and co-founder of Deal Current, a white-label deals software company that works with The Buffalo News, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and, in some markets, Clear Channel Communications Inc. “Now, it’s going to start growing again.”

One reason industry experts remain bullish on deals is its evolution since 2009. For a few years now, BIA/Kelsey has referred to the deals space as the “promotions marketplace,” Krasilovsky says; others prefer performance marketing or prepaid offers, given the stigma associated with “daily deals.”

Groupon has acquired Savored to bolster its restaurant reservations and SideTour to likely make a play in events hosting. Its e-commerce play, Groupon Goods, now represents 38% of the company’s total sales, according to AllThingsD. (A Groupon spokesperson could not be made available for comment.)

LivingSocial formed a Merchant Solutions division in late 2011 to assist merchant clients with other digital marketing initiatives. Like Groupon, the company has bet heavily on its mobile app full of always-on deals. “If [a merchant] came to us and said, ‘Hey, send me 50 customers a month,’ we really didn’t have that as an option,” CEO Tim O’Shaughnessy recently told The Washington Post. “Now, we do.”

At local media companies, most minus the personnel or financial resources of a Groupon or LivingSocial, similar pressures to evolve are on.

“I’m still bullish on deals for local media,” Krasilovsky says. “But it’s not the savior, as a standalone, that we might have thought it was a few years ago.”

Local media companies leverage their content, market reach and sales staff to curate offers for a local audience, usually partnering with a white-label technology company like Second Street that provides the platform. These deals often complement the media company’s other digital marketing services.

Shawn Wilcox, VP and director of sales at the ABC/NBC affiliate in Traverse City, Mich., stresses that his company is not a deals player, but rather a multimedia service provider. His sales reps are selling more than deals.

“Our sales team [consists of] truly digital-ready consultants as sellers,” Wilcox says. “Their job is to go out and speak to any individual client about what their marketing opportunities and needs are and then to custom tailor a solution. Sometimes that includes deals, sometimes it doesn’t.”

Deals, or prepaid offers, can be more than one-time arrangements, Krasilovsky says; pureplays have added inventory via always-on mobile deals or deals supermarkets. For local media companies, deals can be bundled with ads, website management and other digital marketing services as they move toward quasi-agency roles.

In August, U-T San Diego launched its own loyalty service, U-T Rewards, to complement its deals play and drive repeat business for the SMB.

“When you do business with the local media company, in my case, you might get promotional commercials, you might get an interview in the morning news, in print,” Wilcox says. “You’re going to get something tangible out of it.”

Moss, whose BuyWithMe had early relationships with The Boston Globe, an ABC affiliate in San Diego and Entercom Communications Corp. in multiple markets, says local media companies should consider additional e-commerce plays. He points to Thrillist, a men’s lifestyle media company whose men’s shopping site JackThreads closed its millionth order about a year ago.

“[Publishers] have to decide whether they want to try to leverage their content and audience they have that likes their content to be transactional,” Moss says. “That’s the choice that they should be thinking about. It shouldn’t just be, ‘Let’s do that, but let’s be daily deals.’ They should think about the best way to be transactional.”

Second Street’s biggest line of business is its contests, a platform they license to more than 2,000 media partners, Coen says. A media company, for example, can run a weekly NFL picks contest on which they can sell a sponsorship to a sports bar.

“Email, contests, ballot and deals are really very interrelated from a promotions perspective,” Coen says. “What you really find is the key to success with deals is your email database. The way to grow your email database is to run promotions, which can be contests or even deals.”

The benefit: a diverse, interactive content mix to drive a loyal consumer audience — and a merchant who wants to reach said audience.

For local media companies, deals can be that way in the door, both with discount-hungry consumers — digital marketer Constant Contact reported last year that, over a period of six months, four out of five deal subscribers purchased a voucher — and SMBs in search of new customers and ad pay relative to the business it drives.

Wilcox says his ABC-NBC duopoly, which partners with Second Street in Nielsen’s 119th-largest DMA, has signed up over 75,000 to its email database and grosses annual revenue over $2 million. Wilcox says some local merchants, satisfied with the outcome of a deal, then purchase additional forms of advertising.

“When you do deals successfully, you have people calling you,” Wilcox says. “We have clients who do deals every month, every quarter, have signed up for annual campaigns [and] pour more dollars back into other TV and digital products.”

“People who says that deals are dead, mainly they’re saying that the broad, daily deals model as a replacement for other types of advertising,” Krasilovsky adds. “That hasn’t panned out. But deals are an important element in the overall mix. They’re still there and still making quite a bit of money.”

Deal Current Network Launches New Responsive Platform

The last 45 days have been an exciting time for the tech team at Deal Current Network with two major updates

  • On April 1, we released a brand new responsive coupon and deal software platform. This allows clients to launch a new savings site in minutes with deals, coupons, or third party plug-ins.
  • Today we released a new website showcasing our fully responsive platform and performance based coupon network

Here is a screenshot of the homepage and please let us know what you think.

Deal Current Network Coupon Software and Deal Platform

Launching a Daily Deal Program for your TV Station

We wanted to share some great thoughts from a daily deal publishing partner of ours.  Our friend Sean Monzet is the Director of Integrated Media at NBC 7 San Diego, an Owner Operated market of NBC Universal. Sean has successfully implemented a daily deal and coupon program at the NBC station called The Goods.  He sat down for five minutes and wrote down a list of things he learned over the years. We hope his advice can help push your program in the right direction.

  • Don’t underestimate the importance of a strong, active email list. Always be focused on growing your email list via contests, events, etc.
  • As general rule, don’t depend on TV spots to sell vouchers. TV does work if a well-known brand is featured but will not move the needle for lesser known merchants.
  • TV can and should be leveraged to get top tier merchants to sign on with your program—that is the advantage you have over Groupon, Living Social, and other programs that don’t have access to TV audience
  • Recommend 1 dedicated seller for your deal program…do not depend on traditional TV Acct Execs to source deals…they will come in sporadically
  • Provide 2-3 new sales leads to your business development team on weekly basis. They will not be thinking of selling your daily deal program as much as you would like them to be, make it as easy as possible for them to identify strong targets.
  • Loop in your stations social media lead on your program and get him/her to post deals to the station’s Facebook and Twitter

    Sean Monzet, Dir. of Integrated Media, NBC 7 San Diego

    pages. Be sure to tag/hyperlink merchants social accounts in your posts.

  • Leverage your stations “A” programming to bring in top tier merchants: Super Bowl, Olympics,US Open, Oscars, etc. If you have avail inventory try to reserve a :15 spot for your deal program in these programs—the revenue achieved through your deal should exceed what a :15 would have brought in through standard spot sale.
  • Position your deal program as an “audience reward” program. This will help you get buy in from news, producers and promotions to get you more promo time

3 Tips for Running an Online Coupon Business

A majority of publishers are adopting coupons and seeing great results. Actions by consumers on coupons grew 42% from 2400 in December to over 3400 in January. The number of coupons grew from 417 in December to 516 in January.

If you are considering adding digital coupons to your site, but haven’t yet then you should read this article from Emarketers.

eMarketer estimates that 92.5 million people in the US redeemed a digital coupon in 2012. By 2014, US adult digital coupon users will surpass 100 million.

We don’t believe that coupons are replacing deals, but we 100% believe that offering deals and coupons will lead to a bigger opportunity.

As a result, we are going to be sharing a lot of market knowledge and to start here are three tips to running a successful coupon program.

1) Make Sure You Get a Great Image From an Advertiser

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We see so many merchants use bad photos, out dated photos, cheap stock art in advertisements and wonder why they don’t get a response

Here is a great example of an image that is awesome from, Cafe Ventana, a St. Louis bistro. They have a great picture and their logo placement is clean and clear.

 

2) Use Great Tags, Not Just the Business Name

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Remember consumers aren’t typically looking for a specific business, but a business type.

So use tags that help a customer find what they are looking for in a certain category or neighborhood.

We recommend at a minimum: City, Neighborhood, Zip Code, Specific Services or Food Type.

 

3) Create Incentives to Sign-Up & Advertising Packages

When you first launch your coupon program, give new advertisers an incentive to try online coupons:

  • $29 a month for the first 3 months, then $49 a month
  • Get 3 months free, when you sign up for 12 months

Create packages to entice advertisers to run more than one coupon at a time to increase your revenue faster. In our system, you would just divide the monthly spend and enter that for each coupon.

  • $99 per month for one coupon
  • $179 per month for two coupons ($89.50 a month)
  • $249 per month for three coupons ($83 a month)

Bundle coupons with additional advertising to increase performance and your average sale.

  • $99 per month for one coupon
  • $199 per month for a coupon and 20,000 impressions promoting the offer
  • $499 per month, 30,000 impressions, and a 15 second radio or TV ad (if applicable)

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