Follow-up to October’s Article on Using Groupon
Using discount offer sites – the most recognized of which is probably Groupon – is becoming popular with Jackrabbit customers. Many are using LivingSocial and CertifiKids in addition to Groupon to offer their discounts. Several customers’ experiences are summarized below. The goals and the successes vary. With more data, it may be possible to determine which customer groups are finding the most success in offering discounts through these sites.
Carolina Dance Capital
Carolina Dance Capital, Fritz Schulte used Living Social and Groupon for a 1 month/weekly dance class at a 50% discount for new students only. The School received 25% of the regular price after Groupon/LivingSocial took their 50% cut of the already discounted proceeds.
Carolina Dance Capital had more than 30 students sign up through Groupon and about the same through Living Social. Approximately 70% of those signing up continued with classes after the deal they purchased expired.
Fritz felt the program gave Carolina Dance Capital a lot of free advertising while the deal was on and opened up a new avenue for attracting students.
Minton’s Academy of Music
Minton’s Music used Groupon, Living Social and CertifiKids to offer 50% off of a class series. AnnMarie Minton tied the offers to Jackrabbit in the Academy’s online registration (see screen shot), capturing the offer certificate number in the registration. The only step integrating with online registration added was the collection of credit card information – which had to be done in a separate step because of the way that the offer sites collect fees for their offers.
With the goal of branding the Academy better in the region, AnnMarie took a chance in advertising discounts through the offer sites. The facility is not in a high visibility area and rarely do drive-bys visit. Tying into Jackrabbit’s online registration feature made it easier for those who just learned of Minton’s to enroll. Using the online system would also prevent a flood of phone-in registrations.
AnnMarie used several website pages to offer discounted classes and was able to insert Jackrabbit’s online registration forms (which were tied to the 50% discount offer) on all of them. Complete information was captured from each area with the proper certificate numbers and contact information for their registrant included. This was important because the offer sites don’t include email addresses in the registration data that they provide for download. It is also important to track certificate numbers to monitor any attempts at duplicate use of discounts.
Minton’s Music’s most recent experience with Groupon resulted in 480 registrations from which 10 actually enrolled in classes. While that is not a high percentage of conversions, the process has helped Minton’s to better brand itself and draw more traffic to its facility and retail shop. Results for Living Social and CertifiKids were similar. AnnMarie noticed that attendance from the offer enrollees dropped off as the class series progressed.
AnnMarie learned some valuable lessons in her initial experiences with all three offer venues and will get creative with the classes offered at discounts in future efforts.
Performance School of Music & Dance
Performance School of Music & Dance recently added dance to its class schedules and opened a new location. Jenn Averink – Director of Performance School of Music & Dance – thought that using a discount offer site might help fill the classes at the new facility and let everyone in their vicinity know about the new dance offerings at both locations. Because it is a more locally focused site, Jenn used WagJag to publish their offers. With the exception of the localized approach, WagJag uses the same model as Groupon and LivingSocial.
Jenn set up her first WagJag offers for the two facilities and when all of the available spots sold out without a couple of days. 80% of the certificates that were sold were used and approximately 40% of those who joined through the offer stayed on as students. The only snag that Jenn ran into was failing to include a “use by” date along with the expiration date. This oversight left the opportunity open for enrollees to request the discount on classes starting at later dates.
In her initial promotion, Jenn also chose to offer a phone number for registration in addition to tying the certificate into her Jackrabbit online registration. This created quite a bit of phone chaos in the office. With this experience behind her, Jenn now feels comfortable enough with the WagJag process to force certificate registrations through online registration.
The WagJag offer was an effective way to fill classes at a new location and to fill new dance classes. The campaign also created awareness in the area that Performance School of Music was now also a School of Dance.
In promoting Performance School of Music & Dance’s summer camp, Jenn tried WagJag again. Late in the registration season they had spaces they could still fill. Jenn thought creating an offer that would be blasted to the public would be the perfect way to fill the final camp spaces. Much to her delight, the registrations for the camp came pouring in. The 130 spaces that were available were filled within a couple of days. Parents could go to online registration and sign up for the weeks they wanted their children to attend. Since the offer was for one free session, many bought additional spots to fill other weeks.
Jenn found this to be a terrific method for essentially creating a test group for a new camp format. Jenn’s bonus? She had lots of new names of excited and happy camp kids for the School’s marketing database.
What to watch out for if you want to use Groupon, Living Social and CertifiKids:
- Think through your entire process before you ever get on the phone.
- Make sure you take into consideration what the impact to your staff will be if you choose to take enrollment over the phone instead of tying it into online registration.
- Use custom fields to capture your offer certificate numbers instead of using a miscellaneous or comments field.
- In addition to an expiration date, make sure that your offer includes a “use by” date.
- Add a “1 coupon per child” notation to your offer.
- Think through how the offer enrollees will impact the classes that they are in.
- Consider how you will price the class that you use in the offer ($price$ – 50% discount – 50% cut = <25% for you)
- Find out how much visible online feedback you have out there. If you’re lacking in that area and ask customers to post some if you want to use Groupon.
- Listen to your customers and be flexible enough to accommodate their ideas/requests.
- Track everything because the source may not capture all of the information that you want or need.
- Remember that the source gets a 50% cut of the proceeds and they pay you what you earn from the offer. Groupon pays in 1/3s (and Living Social will fi you ask) so you don’t have to wait until the end of the offer to get paid.
- Generally, Groupon requires:
- That its clients have a lot of online feedback (Yelp, Google, etc.).
- That offers run for 6 months.
- That deep discounts (50%) are given.
- That they collect 50% of the proceeds and pay you the remainder on their 1/3 at a time schedule.