It seems as if it’s a daily question that comes into our support desk.
“How do I start or launch a daily deal site?”
We have been actively writing about daily deals and the deal space as a whole for quite a few years now, but I have yet put together an article directly aimed to map out the steps that are needed in order to effectively start and launch a deal business. We have had the pleasure of watching hundreds of deal sites launch around the globe. Many similar habits and traits are apparent in both the successes and failures of deal sites.
9 Step Plan to Launch a Daily Deal Site
Step 1. Market Research and Analysis
The barrier to entry to get involved in the deal space is practically non-existent. This does not mean that you should just dive right in without doing plenty of market research and due diligence. Knowing detailed information about your particular market demographics, and how many (and which) deal site competitors are in your particular geographic location or niche market is vital information. Have any sites shut down in your area? Why?
To obtain this type of important information, you can use a variety of resources to conduct market research. Your local chamber of commerce, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the SBA provide superb intel and should be explored thoroughly. SizeUp is a cool tool by the Small Business Administration where you can input your business’s industry and city and it maps out your competition.
Step 2. Develop a Differential Advantage
How can you stand out? What makes you different? Better? Why would someone use your service? Developing a differential advantage or hook to your daily deal website is important. Some deal sites use characters, others fight for a greater cause such as charities, non-profits, or schools. Maybe it is your technology or your mobile app that makes you stand out. Whatever it may be, it is important to formulate a differential advantage and not be just another “Groupon.”
Step 3. Draft Business Plan / Executive Summary
As with any business venture, you will want to map out milestones and projections and create your business plan. Deal sites have the potential to grow very fast, and also get acquired quickly, so being properly prepared in case someone knocks on your door and wants to invest money in your business is always a wise plan.
Step 4. Technology
Once you decide that you are a “right fit” for the deal industry, you’ve done your proper market research and developed your differential advantage, it’s time to develop your website and/or mobile application for your deal site.
Do you want to create a site from scratch or use deal software to create your site? Using a deal platform like Daily Deal Builder has a vast amount of pros (and I’m not just saying this because we power daily deal sites). It can save you a great deal of money, time, get you access to knowledge, contracts and training, and allow you to leverage existing relationships. The primary con associated with using a deal software provider is that you might have to dish out part of your business. Many deal software providers will take a percentage of your business when you use their deal platform. There are, of course, certain companies (like ours) that allow you to process your own payments.
Step 5. Build Audience & Subscriber Base
I highly recommend putting a huge focus into building your audience and subscriber base well in advance of your launch. What good is a great deal that you are running on your site if you don’t have any subscribers.
A critical component to the success of your deal or coupon venture is the size and responsiveness of your audience. For the most part, deal sites use daily emails to get in touch with their audience and let them know about their offerings. Companies also use social media outlets like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn to keep their folks up to date on new deals.
Two questions every deal site owner should be asking themselves daily are “What can I do to make my audience more responsive?” and “what can I do to grow my subscriber base?” Folks get tired of receiving too many daily deal emails and getting unsubscribes on every email you send is pretty much inevitable.
Here are some additional articles and videos where we discuss ways to grow your subscriber base:
- 11 Proven Things You Can Do to Grow a List of Raving Fans & Increase Revenue
- (Video) Business Building, Social Media, Contests, the Crowd, and Search Engine Optimization.
- (Video) 20 Sure-Proof Strategies to Grow Your Business, Generate More Revenue, & Help Your Community
- Search Engine Optimization and Raising Conversion Rates
Step 6. Get Ducks in a Row.
This is a rather broad topic, but it includes things like ensuring you have your merchant agreements and contracts ready along with other legal items. You have your press releases created and ready to go. You have hired your sales reps and are essentially ready to pull the trigger and start locking in deals. You have set up and tested everything on your deal site thoroughly, and know and understand the process of purchasing, getting a coupon, refunds, etc. You have formulated your terms of service and about pages and are just generally ready for launch.
Step 7. Lock in Deals
I typically recommend having at least seven very solid and structured deals set up prior to launching your site. This recent recording of one of our Daily Deal Builder training webinars discusses ways to structure and broker deals effectively.
Step 8. Launch
Before your site officially goes live you will want to ensure all systems are go. Ensure your merchant account provider is aware of your launch and projections. Do everything in your power to drive traffic to your website. Run paid traffic campaigns. Convince affiliates or strategic partners to email their subscriber base or audience. Submit your press releases. Get on the news if possible. Make your launch as big of a deal as your resources and capital allow.
Step 9. Grow Strategically
Each of our perspectives of success is different. To some, growing a massive and profitable organization is success. To others, adding a few grand extra to their pocketbooks each month is considered success. To a few, growing your deal site into a public company might be your end goal. Maybe an acquisition is your end plan?
Success is merely defined as setting and accomplishing a goal. The most obvious route to go once you establish your daily deal site in your primary geographic location or niche market is to continue growing your subscriber base and helping more consumers find great deals and help businesses acquire new, loyal customers. Whatever your idea of success, if you stick to great deals and taking care of your merchants, your changes for success are high.
Make moves today,
Marc D. Horne
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