The Groupon daily deal ‘fix’ email.

With addicted like behaviour millions of people are every day feverishly checking their inbox to get their fix of the latest offers.

There is clearly a huge appetite for daily deals and the question is how to take advantage of this opportunity. Let’s look at what makes the Groupon daily ‘fix‘ work.

Groupon, the world’s fastest-growing company ever, has in under two years grown to sending over 50 million emails per day. Its proving lucurative with Groupon taking a big slice of revenue it drives.

Any venture generating such huge growth attracts plenty of others wanting to get in on the action. In the case of daily deals some big names too. Such as Amazon backed LivingSocial, Google Offers, Facebook Places Deals and other smaller brands such as kgbdeals, discountvouchers.co.uk, SecretSales.

They all have in common a proposition of limited time daily discount deals. Consumers have shown they are very happy to get those deals through daily emails. Should brands now be thinking about cutting out the middle man and launching their own daily deals programmes?

So what makes daily deal programmes work?

  • The consumer desire to feel they have got a steal.
  • A different deal every day.
  • A deep discount.
  • Urgency created by very limited time availability.
  • Fear of regret at not taking a deal, “if only I’d said yes”.
  • Relevance of deal to the customer.
  • Payment or reward for recommending deals to friends.

First step is to build the list of addicts. Permission and expectation of receiving a daily email is crucial. Place a quick and easy to use sign-up form in a prominent position on your home page. A simple box for the email address and a reason to subscribe. Be clear on the benefit offered. Set the expectation of receiving a daily email and as always, provide transparency about email addresses sharing and privacy policies. Consumers are much more comfortable and likely to subscribe when they know their email address will not be shared.

Then create your deals creative. Let’s breakdown the elements of the Groupon email design from the example below.

Groupon Pony deal email

The email’s subject line, “Four One-Hour Pony Riding Lessons for £25″ clearly explains the offer. As readers filter emails by subject line, clarity of the main deal is vital here. A generic subject line like, “Your daily deals upto 65% off”, will not ensure the right people read the email. The email body copy above the fold has consistency with the subject line, re-enforcing and expanding on the deal details, in big bold letters.

The cost is clearly stated as well as the saving in percentage and pound terms. Customers know 65% is impressive so the percent value carries weight but as few people can work out how much 65% of £72 is, the pound discount is also needed to explain what a great deal it is. The urgency is clearly stated with the expiry date of the deal. The message is simple; act now.

The large ‘View now’ call to action button makes it obvious what you do next. The objective is just to get you to the landing page where there is further deal information. The email call to action is not ‘Buy Now!’ as the reader may not yet be at the point of having decided. The place for ‘Buy Now!’ is the landing page.

The Pony image messages what the offer is about. The images off email version needs some improvement as the ‘View now’ call to action is not visible because the button is purely image based.

Groupon CityDeals make deals relevant to you based on your location, they ask for city at time of sign up in one simple drop down box. This is not onerous during sign up and there is a clear reason why the consumer should provide the information.

Whilst location is a good criteria for relevance on many Groupon deals, it is also still quite crude. I’ve had these three deals offered in the last three days:

  • Pony riding lessons
  • Nine Holes of PGA professional golf tuition
  • Medi-lipo weight management treatment

None of these are remotely relevant to me. With growing competition of daily deal providers, the customer experience needs improvement to avoid customer churn.

Deals clicked on or bought are the most obvious behaviour based relevance criteria to use for personalised deals. This is also limited. What if I’ve not yet purchased and can anyone predict that as I love Thai food I could be tempted to a skiing session, though golf is not my thing?

Asking customers for their interests through a preference centre is a must to improve relevance in most email programmes. In addition to preference centre a more pervasive experience could be achieved by using a ‘do not like‘ button. I’ve illustrated the concept by adding this into some unused whitespace on a Groupon email, creating the mockup below.

Ask for what you don't like

Just above the button in the mockup is the text ‘Tell us if you don’t want more deals like this in future’.

The idea is simple, next time I get a Medi-lipo offer I hit the ‘do not like’ button to say not more lipo deals please, it’s not relevant to me.

Expect to see more innovation in the daily deals space. Groupon aren’t standing still. They are launching a mobile app which focuses on two buttons, “I’m Hungry” and “I’m Bored”. It wants to answer those questions with time and location relevance at the point when you ask the question.

There are also social opportunities to improve customer experience by adding social aspects to the deal pages.

Now is the time to consider your own daily email programmes. The daily fix email is not yet a done deal.

This entry was posted in Content, Creative, Newsletters and tagged , , on by .
Tim Watson

About Tim Watson

Tim Watson has over 8 years experience in B2B and B2C Digital Marketing, helping blue chip brands with successful email marketing.

He is an elected member of the UK DMA Email Council, supporting the email marketing industry. Tim Chairs the Legal and Best Practice hub of the Email Council, authoring and reviewing DMA whitepapers and best practice documentation. He is also a frequent speaker and blogger on emerging email marketing trends.

Tim works as an independent email marketing consultant providing strategic support to email marketing teams.

  • http://twitter.com/mailblaze Spiro Malamoglou

    Thanks for the post Tim, you’re right, there is still much improvement that can be made in the Groupon emails. By including an email preference center where subscribers can state their interests, thereby offering data that can instantly make emails more targeted.

    • http://twitter.com/tawatson Tim Watson

      Glad you agree!

      Today I got a deal offer for “full set of acrylic or gel extensions wtih Manicure”. Yesterday wasn’t any better. I’d so like to be able to feedback to Groupon and let them know those things that aren’t of interest in a million years.

      Perhaps one of the other copycats will get there first.

  • http://twitter.com/TomLambie Tom Lambie

    Nice article, and I agree. I keep getting deal offers that are of absolutely no interest to me whatsoever too.

    Of all the ‘daily deals’ start-ups, Groupon is the one I want to succeed (simply because they denied Google’s generous buyout offer!), but like you say- they need to buck up their ideas or someone’s going to beat them to it.

    Admittedly, I reported a few website errors to them a couple of months back via the contact form on their site- I received a response the same day saying thanks very much- I thought that was a nice touch.

    It’s such a shame the site’s starting off very slowly here in the UK- I moved from Peterborough to Blackpool just recently. When I was in Peterborough, the closest place listed on Groupon was Cambridge- close enough I suppose. However now, the closest (listed) places to me are Manchester and Leeds- simply too far out for me. I’m getting deals on 2 for 1 spa treatments in Leeds- it’s a good hour or so on the train!

    If I wasn’t thinking about using Groupon to sell (business use), I’d probably have un-subscribed by now.

    Let’s hope they get their fingers out sharpish, because it’s now a 3-horse race (LivingSocial, Groupon, & Facebook), and the one that moves quickest will win. There’s no 2nd or 3rd prizes in this race either in my opinion.

    • http://twitter.com/tawatson Tim Watson

      Hello Tom – thanks for sharing your thoughts and the positive feedback. Will be interesting to see whether its a market that will have one big player, an eBay or Facebook of daily deals.

  • http://blog.marketingxd.com/ Pete Austin, MarketingXD

    OK, member of the jury. You’re a marketer; see if you can out-think the DMA’s finest. Why do you think Groupon has not impoved its targetting? Sorry Tim – Pete
    http://blog.marketingxd.com/post/4156954531/groupons-advertising-is-poor-and-thats-a-good-thing

  • Anne at CDA

    Really interesting Tim. I’ve also been interested in how Groupon have matured their email From lines as the brand has become increasingly recognised. These From lines have progressed from being benefit led to relying solely on the brand name. You can read more in my blog post http://www.cdacontentlab.com/

    There’s strong evidence that we’re placing increasing reliance on snap recognition of From lines when deciding what to open in inboxes that have become increasingly crowded.

    I think the Groupon From line study demonstrates an attention to detail in their email programme, which I firmly believe contributes to their runaway success. It’s not just that the deals are good but they frame (and continue to refine) everything around the delivery to maximise engagement and conversion.

  • Anne at CDA

    Really interesting Tim. I’ve also been interested in how Groupon have matured their email From lines as the brand has become increasingly recognised. These From lines have progressed from being benefit led to relying solely on the brand name. You can read more in my blog post http://www.cdacontentlab.com/

    There’s strong evidence that we’re placing increasing reliance on snap recognition of From lines when deciding what to open in inboxes that have become increasingly crowded.

    I think the Groupon From line study demonstrates an attention to detail in their email programme, which I firmly believe contributes to their runaway success. It’s not just that the deals are good but they frame (and continue to refine) everything around the delivery to maximise engagement and conversion.

    • http://twitter.com/tawatson Tim Watson

      Thanks for sharing that Anne. Nice to see that Groupon have been learning and trying different ‘from’ name approaches. I hope they were testing the results and not that they just changed it without proof.

      The Groupon.co.uk website carries the main branding as ‘Groupon’, with the sub-brand of MyCityDeal. On that basis the main brand in from and email banner should be Groupon too.

      The from needs to quickly connect with the reader and if just the word Groupon does that, there is no need to have more.

    • http://twitter.com/tawatson Tim Watson

      Thanks for sharing that Anne. Nice to see that Groupon have been learning and trying different ‘from’ name approaches. I hope they were testing the results and not that they just changed it without proof.

      The Groupon.co.uk website carries the main branding as ‘Groupon’, with the sub-brand of MyCityDeal. On that basis the main brand in from and email banner should be Groupon too.

      The from needs to quickly connect with the reader and if just the word Groupon does that, there is no need to have more.

  • Email List Dude

    We are definitely seeing daily deal sites pop up each day. We can see these folks using prospect email lists to prospect to a larger audience and helping them achieve a larger contact database. I like the idea mentioned about using behavioral triggers to send people the offers they would really like to see.

    It seems as if Groupon can pull this off because they have a brand and a larger contact email list of recipients. Smaller daily deal companies will have a harder time because to break down the data into smaller buckets would probably not be effective. Time will tell. This business is all about the growing a list of recipients that want to receive the daily deal and getting the right vendors offers. Definitely one of the hottest things going.