entrepreneurship

Using Groupon To Market My Business

It takes money to make money.

So when I started my 360 Photo Booth business, I was trying to come up with different ways to market it. I knew that I would set up a Google My Business profile as well as position us on Instagram & Facebook to appeal to millennials – our target audience. I was not interested in investing my own money into the business so I needed to come up with a way to get “free” advertising.

I know what you’re thinking “where can you get free advertising”. When I say “FREE”, I mean not having to pay upfront costs. If you have an Etsy shop like I do, you are charged AFTER a customer makes a purchase. The platform takes their fees for “promoting your product” before they release the profit. And now, I found out that Groupon offers something similar.

Let me preface this with the fact that I am an avid Groupon customer. I use the app at least once a week looking for deals in Miami and Atlanta since I pretty much live in both cities. And then one day while I was scrolling, I saw my friend’s business ad on there. He is a personal trainer based in South Florida and he was offering his services at a discounted rate. 

I immediately started searching for 360 Photo Booth services on Groupon in the South Florida and Atlanta areas. I couldn’t find any and the lightbulb went off — this is a good market.

I created a Groupon Merchant (business account), started watching YouTube videos on people’s experience using Groupon Merchant, and created my first campaign. In maybe a day or two after I created the campaign (it has to get approved by Groupon before going live), I received an email telling me that the campaign was rejected. I shrugged and assumed that’s the reason why there were no 360 photo booths on the platform — they were all getting rejected. 

And then maybe a month later, I received a call from someone that worked for Groupon saying they saw I attempted to make a campaign and wanted to know if I was still interested in partnering with them. He told me how Groupon is always looking for new and innovative things to offer and they liked my 360 Photo Booth business. He told me that there’s a certain way to manually work the system and his specific job at Groupon is to find those unique businesses, revamp their campaigns, and get them approved. 

After the call, we went back and forth via email trying to set up the perfect campaign. Groupon has 20+ million active users on its platform and they provide businesses all the marketing they need. However, it comes at a cost. You have to list your product at an appealing sale price and then when you make a sale, Groupon wants 50% of that sale.

For example, let’s say your business offers jet skis. Your regular rate to rent out a jet ski for 30 minutes is $100. You list this service on Groupon at a discounted rate of $60 (40% OFF). This discounted rate is the price a customer will pay at checkout. After the purchase, Groupon will take $30 and give you $30. 

Now, before you fight me, let’s continue to look at that example. Depending on your business overhead (costs of operation), that $30 profit may be a loss. If gas for the jet ski is $10, you have to subtract that from the revenue so your true profit is $20. Other overhead costs may be a dock rental fee, lifeguard salary, and more which can have you seeing more negative than positive. In the context of my current business model, it’s a win because we just want to build exposure and profit enough to pay the employees that have to work these events. We do not use Groupon to pay for our overhead.

We started our campaign in early December and have consistently sold at least 2 vouchers per month from January to March 2022. The cool thing about this is, we are able to make more money by upselling additional items since our campaign is bare bones. On our account, we only offer standard 360 Photo Booth services for 3 hours, 5 hours, and 8 hours. All of our customers so far have purchased the 3-hour voucher and when we schedule the event, they almost always want an additional hour (more $$), themed props (more $$), and custom overlay/geofilter (more $$).

For those that do not know what upselling is, it’s when you offer additional services and/or products during a sale. You probably have experienced this while being a customer at your local fast-food restaurant. You order a taco and nachos and the cashier asks “would you like to add a drink with that”. That is upselling. So there are products and services included in our regular rates that we do not offer Groupon customers. We can’t just let you off that easily.

Another benefit of using Groupon to market my 360 Photo Booth business is being able to easily get reviews that you can then use on your company site or social media and it helps your business establish credibility. Just because something is listed on Groupon, doesn’t mean you should give your money to it. Remember, I am an avid Groupon customer so I look at reviews and I leave them. Shoot – I look at and leave Google Reviews. The reviews show that not only is your business legit but it provides good or bad services and products. I will admit, due to poor planning and lack of staffing on our part, we had to cancel our attendance at an event last minute which caused us to get 1 poor review but that won’t stop our show.

All in all, we have seen success in Groupon. The campaign reach and conversion rate has been pretty high for the first 90 days (the partnership is 4 months long with an option to renew) and I just know it will continue to grow. I will say, we do not promote our Groupon listing on our social media or even word of mouth because we don’t want everyone booking through the platform. Like seriously, we have money to make. So we have a limited number of vouchers that can be purchased on Groupon and still promote our regular rates via other online platforms.

I hope this was able to give you insight on potentially using Groupon to build brand awareness and increase traffic to your business. I don’t have all the answers but I thoroughly enjoy sharing my entrepreneurship journey so you can see what it’s like in real-time. 

For those of you interested in starting a 360 Photo Booth business or already started but not getting booked, let’s hop on a call to discuss what’s going on. As always, I love helping people level up in their entrepreneurship journey.

Until Next Time,

LOLATHEMANAGER

entrepreneurship, financial literacy

5 Signs You Need To Hire A Business Consultant

Now don’t fight me because I know how you business owners like to tussle but hear me out. 

If you have been following me for any period of time, you know that I wear many hats. So many hats that it is borderline impossible for me to put myself in a box – glory to God for that. However, one of my favorite hats to wear is being a Business Consultant. Business Consultants do a lot of things but my specialty is helping people start businesses, assessing current business operations and providing strategies for restructuring, creating business plans, and even curating marketing strategies for product and service launches. 

You may feel like “I don’t need a consultant” because you took a couple courses, attended YouTube University, or asked your entrepreneur friends and family for advice but that’s not enough. Those courses were not designed specifically for you after a thorough understanding of who you are as an individual and where you are going as a business owner. The same way you go to a doctor because they specialize in medicine and need to know your entire medical history before they can provide you support, it’s the same way you need to go to a consultant that specializes in business and takes the time to understand your business history so they can provide you the necessary support. 

I have had the pleasure and privilege of working with a variety of business owners. Some of them knew exactly what they wanted to do but didn’t know how to execute it while others were completely lost in the sauce. I love them both equally because it allows me to exercise different muscles. However, the only reason they came to me was that they wanted to know how I was running my businesses – even if it wasn’t what they were doing – and not necessarily because they knew they needed a business consultant. So I figured it was time to share some signs in your business that it is time to hire a business consultant. Please note, these are not listed in any particular order.

One more thing, before I get started with this list, I want you to know that you are not alone. There are thousands of people in your same position – no matter which one you identify with. The difference between you and them is that now that you are aware, you are able to make the necessary next step to get things going. Lean on that and you’ll be fine.

Okay, so here they are.

  1. You want to start a business but you don’t know what to do

There are so many people interested in starting businesses but they don’t even know where to start, let alone what to sell. And if you Google or YouTube “business ideas”, you’re bombarded with more opportunities than you can process. A business consultant can help you identify your needs and do research to find you a profitable business. For instance, if you know that you want to start a business that generates passive income but you don’t know what product you can sell, the business consultant can do that research and create a plan of action of how it would work.

  1. You have a business idea but you need help flushing out the details and/or how to get started

If you are anything like me, you always have an idea. You find yourself saying “oh, I should start this business” but when it’s time to iron out the details, you get overwhelmed with it and leave it in the Notes section of your iPhone. A business consultant is a perfect person to help you, deep-dive, into that idea and help you figure out how to get the ball rolling.

  1. You already started your business but you’re not seeing any or minimal profits

So you did everything all the business gurus told you to do but your business is not generating the revenue you thought it would. Been there, done that. This is a great place to be because a business consultant is not starting with you from scratch, even though they may need you to take them all the way to the beginning to walk them through how you got to this current position. The beauty of this is that you know more than you think. What do I mean by that? Well, you have something that prospective business owners don’t have – data. A business consultant can help you analyze your business data to see where things went “wrong” and how to get back on track to endless sales.

  1. You already had a business, shut it down for a bit, and now you want to make a comeback

You had a business and for some reason, you closed the doors. Maybe there wasn’t enough revenue coming in to break even every day. Maybe you experienced a life-changing event and the responsibility of running a business had to take the backseat. Maybe it was taking away too much time from your family. Whatever the reason, you have decided to reopen those doors. A business consultant will gladly help you create a business strategy for your relaunch and can help you come up with a plan to stay in business. The biggest thing here is you would need to be honest with yourself and your business consultant when discussing what you want your role to be in your business and where you want the business to go.

  1. You have a successful business and you’re ready to scale 

Just in case you don’t know what it means to scale, let me provide a definition. In business, scaling means the ability to increase production and revenue WITHOUT increasing resources. This is where we take into account a term I taught my students in Economics called “Factors of Production.” The factors of production are the resources (inputs) – land, labor, capital, and entrepreneurship – used to produce goods and services (outputs). The goal of every business is to keep inputs low while keeping outputs high. To do this, your business needs to create effective systems and processes that allow your outputs to grow exponentially which in turn brings in more money for the company while keeping costs of operation low. A business consultant can help you identify that sweet spot and create a strategy to help you get there. 

Now, I want to highlight that this is not an all-inclusive list. There are many other reasons to see a business consultant. Maybe your business currently focuses on one thing and you want to pivot into offering a different type of service/product. Maybe you have multiple businesses and feel like you are being stretched too thin. Maybe everything is going just fine and you just want a health check. No matter the reason, it doesn’t hurt to reach out to one.

I will write part two to this where I highlight what you need to look for in a business consultant so you aren’t wasting your time and money. Business consultants can charge hundreds, even thousands per hour, and high cost does not always equate to a high value so before you make that investment, you need a blueprint. But in the meantime, try to assess if you actually need one. 

And of course, if you’re in the market for a business consultant, consider me 🙂 shameless plugschedule an appointment.

I hope this was helpful.

Until Next Time,

LOLA THE MANAGER