2012: The Year Small Business Took Control of Their Daily Deals

When we launched SaveLocal earlier this year, we had high hopes for what the future of “daily deals” could look like for small businesses.

Fueled by a fundamental belief that business owners, not deal companies, should control the terms of their own deals, we rolled out a product to help businesses take back the control, which they had lost when daily deals came on the scene.

Over the last year we’ve talked to plenty of business owners who shared our frustrations with the current daily deals model and decided to try something new.

Retail shops, art studios, campgrounds, restaurants—the list of businesses who have taken control of their deals goes on and on.

Here are twelve of the most memorable stories we’ve heard from businesses that took control of their daily deals in 2012:

A spa

The Business: Cape Fear Aesthetics 

The Deal: 50% off on a range of medical treatments and spa services

The Goal: Showcase services without paying 50% of the deal’s revenue to a deal provider

The Payoff: $78,000 in revenue; 326 coupons sold

From Botox treatments, to plastic surgery, to massage or skin treatment—Cape Fear Aesthetics do a lot for their customers. And Janet Brown, business administrator at the medical spa, wanted a way to showcase all of those services without breaking the bank.

Although Cape Fear Aesthetic ran discounts that were just as big–or even bigger–than those generally required by prominent online deal providers, the spa could control the terms of the deals completely: the duration, exact pricing, and terms and conditions.

Her decision was a good one. In just two months of running deals with SaveLocal, Cape Fear Aesthetics generated more than $42,050 from three local deals. Since May, that total has gone up to more than $78,000 in revenue for her business. And, because each coupon sold only cost Janet $3, she has been able to keep the vast majority of the profit—paying just $978 in deal costs.

A car wash

The Business: Freedom Car Wash

The Deal: $20 for a $50 monthly membership

The Goal: Create a deal that drives repeat business

The Payoff: $1,940 in revenue, 97 coupons sold, 22 new customers

Traditionally, deals have been thought of as a one-time business opportunity. With the current deal model, businesses sign up to run a deal with a big-name deal provider, the deal provider distributes the deal to its gigantic list of contacts, and businesses see a surge in business.

Sounds great, right? But the problem with the current deal model is that it doesn’t leave much opportunity for businesses looking to stay in touch with customers after that initial visit. And while one day of good business is good, one month or an entire year is even better.

For Chris Giroux, owner of Freedom Car Wash, driving repeat business from a deal was as simple as offering a month-long discount. That way, his business would not only have an entire month of increased traffic but also plenty of opportunities to build relationships and make a memorable impact on repeat visitors.

A farm

The Business: Johnson Farms Plants & Pumpkins

The Deal: $10 for $20 gift certificate

The Goal: Start busy season off right

The Payoff: $2,500 in revenue, 250 coupons sold, 21 new customers

Last April, Jeanne Johnson was looking for a way to kick of the summer season at her family-owned farm. She decided to run her first SaveLocal deal.

“It’s important for us to get people to visit us early in the season,” Jeanne explains. “Normally, the first two weeks of greenhouse sales is like babysitting the plants. This time it was like YIKES!”

Over the course of the first two weeks, Jeanne saw many of the familiar faces she sees each growing season and even some new ones.

“We saw a lot of new faces—many that had found the deal on Facebook,” she recalls. “Our goal was to get people in when our products were at their freshest and that totally served the purpose.”

A bakery

The Business: Joan’s GF Great Bakes

The Deal: $50 for $75 worth of gluten-free baked goods

The Goal: Improve brand loyalty

The Payoff: $3,650 in revenue, 73 coupons sold, improved brand loyalty

Ken Popkin, co-owner of Joan’s GF Great Bakes, was reluctant to run a local deal because of concerns he wouldn’t be able to target his offer to the right people.

Since Joan’s GF Great Bakes is so specialized, Ken wanted to make sure he didn’t spend a lot of money giving a discount to people who were just looking for deals.

“I liked that SaveLocal integrated with my current Constant Contact email list, because then I could send the deal out to customers who already know me—that builds loyalty,” he explains. “I also added it to my social media pages and offered a bonus for people who shared it with friends.”

The deal made $3,650 in revenue. It was shared 17 times on Facebook, 7 times on Twitter, and 7 times through email. It was redeemed by 72 people, 9 of whom were new customers, and all of this happened from July 11 to July 18.

A cleaning company

The Business: Professional Home Cleaning Inc.

The Deal: 50% discount on home cleaning services

The Goal: Reach new clients while also making a profit

The Payoff: $34,000 in revenue; 1,028 coupons sold from 22 SaveLocal deals

Moises Sanchez, owner of Professional Home Cleaning Inc, had run plenty of deals with other deal providers before he switched to SaveLocal.

“The deals we’ve run with other deal providers were great for short-term results but proved to be painful in the long run,” Moises explains. “After that burst of business ends and people use all their deals, we end up paying out of pocket to cover the cost of our own services.”

That’s when Moises decided to change his strategy and began running weekly deals with SaveLocal. From June 13 until November 16, Professional Home Cleaning ran 22 SaveLocal deals. To date, those deals have generated more than $34,000 in revenue and because the cost of each coupon sold is only $3, Moises has only paid $3,084 in cost (compared to $17,000 with another deal provider.)

A restaurant

The Business: Galuppi’s Restaurant, Banquets & Patio Bar

The Deal: $15 for $30 gift certificate

The Goal: More control over the offer

The Payoff: $3,210 in revenue, 214 coupons sold, 36 new customers

Grant Galuppi, the owner of Galuppi’s, a restaurant in Pompano Beach, Florida, didn’t have a dismal experience when he first tried hosting a deal last year. But, then again, it wasn’t stellar, either.

“We offered a 50% discount, but then had to share half of that with the deal provider,” Grant says. “So we wanted to find something else.”

Because he had already been using Constant Contact for his email marketing, Grant was able to send the deal to his list of more than 7,800 contacts.

“There were a lot of people coming in to redeem it, it’s been a great experience,” he says.

A theatre

The Business: Actors Theatre of Phoenix

The Deal: 40% discount on 2012-2013 “flex” pass

The Goal: Turn deal buyers into repeat customers

The Payoff: $6,664 in revenue; 68 coupons sold

Ron May was fed up with the daily deals industry. He had run a number of deals at his local theatre but after offering a steep discount on ticket prices hadn’t seen any deal buyers turn into regular theatre-goers.

Last July, Ron decided to run his first SaveLocal deal. He had already been using Email Marketing from Constant Contact to promote shows at the theatre and stay connected with customers and decided to offer his list an exclusive discount using SaveLocal.

“The response was immediate,” Ron recalls. “We have already seen plenty of people redeeming the offer and coming back in.”

An adventure

The Company: Vertical Dreams Indoor Rock Climbing

The Deal: 50% discount on 10-visit pass

The Goal: Drive more business during slow season

The Payoff: $7,645 in revenue, 139 passes sold, 38 new customers from 2 SaveLocal deals

For some small businesses, the dilemma of historically slow weekends is nothing compared to figuring out how to generate business during an entire slow season.

For Corey Hebert, owner of Vertical Dreams Indoor Rock Climbing, that slow season is summer and his dilemma is how to get his adventurous customer base to come inside when the weather is beautiful outside.

Vertical Dreams decided to run two local deals—they ran the first deal at the start of summer and the second in the middle of July. For both deals, Corey offered a 50% discount on a 10-visit pass and sent the deal to his list of over 5,500 email contacts.

Combined, 139 discounted passes were sold during the summer months, generating $7,645 in additional revenue. More importantly, Corey had succeeded by bringing their already loyal, but adventurous customer base, back inside to Vertical Dreams.

A photographer

Business: Ryan Willis Photography

The Deal: $59 for $220 worth of studio portrait session

The Goal: Offer exclusive offer to current clients

The Payoff: $2,773 in revenue; 47 coupons sold

Ryan Willis had a great first experience with another deal provider. He was introduced to a lot of new clients and because his studio collects customer contacts, was able to stay in touch with them after the deal ended.

“I was able to generate a lot of new clients but it wasn’t cheap,” Ryan explains. “Frankly, I was tired of paying the deal company half of my profits.”

With SaveLocal, Ryan was able to create a deal and target it to not only the clients he had attracted from the other deal provider but also long-term customers who knew his work.

“Our strategy is to find clients, obtain them, and keep building that relationship,” Ryan explains. “It was a great chance for us to book those clients and forecast for the rest of the year.”

A yarn store

The Business: 3 Kittens Needle Arts

The Deal: $35 for $50 worth of merchandise

The Goal: Drive more business during a slow holiday weekend

The Payoff: $1,540 in revenue, 45 coupons sold, doubled weekend sales

For years, Memorial Day Weekend had been a slow time for Laura Rasmussen’s yard and needlepoint store.

This year, Laura decided to try running a local deal starting on the Wednesday before the holiday and ending on Sunday, right in the middle of the holiday weekend. She offered a 30% discount on $50 worth of knitting and needlepoint goods and sent her deal to her list of 3,420 email contacts.

The initial result was a good one: 45 vouchers sold, seven new customers, and $1,540 in gross revenue. But that was just the start.

“Last year, during the same Memorial Day Weekend, we made $4,600. This year, we made about $10, 000,” Laura says. “We more than doubled our sales and SaveLocal was the only thing that could have affected that margin.”

A campground

The Business: Wekiva Falls KOA Campground

The Deal: 51% off 3 night rental package

The Goal: Attract local customers to the campground

The Payoff: $6,375 in revenue, 85 coupons sold, 28 new customers

Last July, Heidi Ott was looking for a way to attract local customers to the campground during the hot summer months.

She knew many of her campgrounds email subscribers and Facebook fans were locally-based. She decided to offer an exclusive discount and send it out across all her marketing channels.

“The three-night discount worked out perfectly,” she recalls. “We saw the majority of people coming through Facebook and a lot of people redeeming it after receiving our email reminder.”

In one week, 85 people had bought three-day passes and within a few days people were already booking trips to the campground.

An art studio

The Business: CheriArts Uncorked, LLC

The Deal: $22 for up to $45 on painting parties

The Goal: Drive new business from new and current customers

The Payoff: $2,992 in revenue, 136 coupons sold, 22 new customers

It’s always good to reconnect with old friends—especially when those old friends are loyal customers who you haven’t seen in awhile. A local deal can be a great way to reach those loyal customers who may read your newsletter or “like” you on Facebook, but just haven’t had the time to stop in and visit your business.

That’s exactly what happened for Cheri Riechers of CheriArts Uncorked, LLC when she offered a 51% discount on one of her most popular art classes to her current students. Cheri reached a whole new customer base by offering a $10 bonus for customers who shared the deal and let people buy up to five coupons each.

Of the 136 coupons sold, 56 were purchased by current customers, and 22 were bought by new customers—generating $2,992 for CheriArts, LLC.

Take control of your deals in 2013

This is just a snapshot of how businesses can use SaveLocal to take control of their daily deals.

Right now, plenty of businesses are throwing out the old model of strict discount requirements, limited control over terms and services, no access to customer information, and outrageous 50% price tags, and replacing them with a deal model that actually works.

As a result, they’re seeing more revenue, more customers, and overall: more opportunities to grow their small business.

Add local deals to your list of New Year’s resolutions. Try SaveLocal today!

Want to learn more? Watch this free video to find out why SaveLocal is a better choice for your business. 

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