Marketing mag has previously reported on dissatisfied group buying customers, now it’s time for the counterpoint; sometimes they can be a great promotional tool. But you’ve got to be ready for it.

We’ve heard stories of merchants being overwhelmed by demand and getting pretty stressed about a discount campaign that often aims at best to break even. But Daniel Altshuler, general manager of Sydney’s Helm Bar, says you’ve just got to be prepared for the rush.

“On the day of the deal, be ready with all the stock for the deal and a staff member to answer the phones,” he says. “If you don’t, your customers won’t be satisfied from the beginning. Do everything you can to exceed customer expectations so they become repeat customers.”

Altshuler says the 3000 online coupons he has offered have paid off for his business.

“We could have spent $20,000 running a marketing campaign, with no guarantees that it would bring in any new clients,” he says. “With both the deals we have run we received amazing results we would never have expected.”

Colin Fabig, CEO inbox flooders Living Social and Jump On It, has released a list of tips for making the most of group buying campaigns, and really making the effort worthwhile.

“Small businesses recognise that the hardest part of business is generating leads,” Fabig says. “Daily deals sites carry out this hard work for you – but you need to be prepared for the new business that comes knocking.”

Colin Fabig’s top 10 tips for businesses using daily deals sites

  1. Understand it’s a promotional tool:It’s best not to treat daily deals websites as a revenue stream. Promotions are designed to bring in new customers and generate brand awareness.
  2. Do your homework:Know the date the deal will go live. Daily deals sites can reserve the right to post your deal at any time, but staying in close contact with them can save you from any inconvenient surprises.
  3. Know your deal:Know the full details of the deal – what is being promoted and brief your staff. Don’t rush customers through – what you are seeking is return business.
  4. Read the fine print: Understand your commission on each deal, and how and when it is paid to you.
  5. Man your phones:In the first week, and especially on the first day, ensure your staff are briefed to take calls and make bookings.
  6. Ensure you have the resources:Think about hiring additional staff to take bookings in the first three days, and prepare a script for them. This internal process is just as important as any external marketing.
  7. Don’t let down your existing customers:Ensure you are prepared for the extra business. You need to provide the same high quality service to your existing customers. They will notice if you don’t.
  8. Develop an ongoing strategy:Before the deal goes live, have sales and marketing strategy in place to create loyalty and maximise repeat bookings. Don’t use daily deals in isolation.
  9. Take ownership of the process: Make it work for you on your terms. Only take on what you can handle.
  10. Track the success of your deal:Collect information on purchases new customers make beyond the deal. This will help you determine the success of the deal and whether you should do it again.