In February 2012, Constant Contact introduced a service targeting small business: a coupon-based deal marketing model called SaveLocal. This is being marketed as a twist on traditional coupon models that focuses on quality over quantity and developing stronger relationships with existing customers in order to reach new ones.
Within this model, rather than blasting a huge list of potential and existing customers, coupons are sent only to existing customers and an incentive is provided for those customers to share the coupon within their existing social networks. The merchant is allowed to control the amount of the discount (to ensure they don’t lose any money) and they also choose the incentive, which might be anything from an extra bonus discount to a free item or a percentage of a future visit. Furthermore, the customer is rewarded just for sharing the coupon, not based on whether anyone actually buys anything.
There are several potential benefits of this marketing model for small businesses. Primarily, since any new customers have been brought in via a friend or social media contact (who is in essence endorsing the merchant) versus a more impersonal solicitation, they’re much more likely to be local and to turn into a loyal customer. Through this model, the business is also able to access the new customer’s email address and opt-in permission info, allowing them to follow-up, which has also shown to be quite effective.
Furthermore, the small business has more control over the original offer and thus the entire economics of the promotion and bonus—which means there’s less of a chance of lost revenue. While discounts may not be steep enough to attract those seeking huge deals, it’s more likely to attract a steadier customer base.
Constant Contact has long specialized in helping small businesses develop marketing campaigns around customer email lists, as well as launch and manage successful social media networking campaigns. Founded 14 years ago, they are currently based in Waltham, Massachusetts.
Freedman, David H. “A Groupon Alternative Aims to Offer Small Businesses a Better Deal.” New York Times. 3/14/12. (3/15/12.) http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/15/business/smallbusiness/a-groupon-alternative-aims-to-offer-small-businesses-a-better-deal.html?_r=1.
Kulikowski, Laurie. “3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: Mar. 15.” The Street. 3/15/12. (3/15/12.) http://www.thestreet.com/story/11457432/1/3-things-you-should-know-about-small-business-mar-15.html.