Placing an offer on a deal website has become one of the more popular business marketing strategies in recent times, and has many advantages. First of all, it represents a great opportunity for businesses to increase their customer base fast. Each deal is exposed to millions of people, and is usually purchased by hundreds and sometimes even thousands of customers. The business then has the chance to turn these consumers into long-term patrons by delighting them when they come in to use their voucher.
Furthermore, it gives a business the opportunity to enhance their database and continue promoting to these newly acquired customers. The subscribers of deal sites are also likely to be very social online, which means chances are they are interested in following the business on twitter or liking in on Facebook, which represents a further opportunity for promotional effort not only to them but also their friends.
An additional benefit of deal websites is that they are measurable. A business will know exactly how many clients the online offer has attracted, and how many of those clients are converted to ongoing customers.
However, there are also disadvantages associated with offering a product or service on a deal website. There are many factors that can go wrong and backfire.
Firstly, many businesses underestimate the success of their deal, which can have serious consequences. In such an instance many businesses struggle to validate all the deal buyers, which then results in bad customer service and disappointed consumers, which defeats the purpose of doing it in the first place. For example, I recently purchased a massage and facial deal on one of the coupon sites, and when I went to the spa the massage I received was more than disappointing. The beautician at the spa told me that the reason for this was the fact that she was so tired as she has been flat out for weeks due to the offer. Based on my experience there I will not return.
Another problem is that businesses need to take into consideration the time and cost it entails to fulfil all the vouchers purchased online. Another example of mine is when I purchased a hairdresser deal online. When I tried to make a booking, I was told that the next available appointment was in 2 1/2month. When going to the hairdresser I don’t want to wait for 10 weeks, so again I felt disappointed and even before going to the appointment I had already decided that I would not return to this place.
Such bad experiences can then further back fire by bad word of mouth. This would result in a deal causing more damages to a business than good.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
First of all, Search Engine Optimisation can be considered the most cost-effective one when comparing different marketing strategies. Once a website is optimised and your keywords are ranked successfully, your ROI (Return on Investment) becomes outstanding. With little maintenance work you will be able to generate ongoing traffic to your website, which will generate new leads and sales, which will ultimately increase your bottom line and grow your business.
A further key advantage of SEO is its effectiveness in the long term. Once a website has been optimised and is ranking at the top, its position can be maintained easily in the long run, which means this website will produce traffic for your business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Additionally, optimising your website is also a measureable marketing strategy. Based on search engine reports, website statistic s, visitor’s conversion rates and key indicators, you will know exactly how well your SEO efforts are working and what areas require further improvement.
Moreover, SEO allows you obtain targeted traffic. It is up to you to decide on the keywords or phrases to target, which will allow you to select relevant keywords that will lead traffic to your website consisting of the right target market, people that are interested in the service or product your offering and are willing to buy. Essentially, this will not only increase your website traffic but also your overall sales and thus, your bottom line.
Finally, search engine optimisation will also increase your online visibility. The increased website traffic will lead to enhanced recognition of your products/services, which will then increase the visibility of your website in search engines, such as Google and Yahoo.
One key disadvantage to SEO is that it is quite time-consuming. Optimising a page cannot be achieved overnight; it can take weeks or even month to achieve the results wanted. So if a business is looking for a quick pick up in sales, SEO is not the way to go as it generates long lasting results that cannot be achieved in an instant.
A further disadvantage of SEO is that it can backfire when implementing dodgy SEO practices. Search engines will punish you for that; hence, it is vital to know what you are doing when it comes to SEO.
A final pitfall, if you can call it that, is that effective Search Engine Optimisation can actually work too well and consequently attract too many leads and sales. A small business might not be able to cater for all the leads generated and then will need to adjust their business accordingly to be able to take on a larger customer base.
When it comes to different business marketing strategies, social media marketing represents a cheap way of establishing your brand and creating awareness. So many people all over the world are interested in following a business they are interested in on twitter or liking them on Facebook. On top of that, their friends then are more likely to follow/like you as well. This allows you to generate more traffic to your website and get new leads 24/7.
Moreover, you are then able to interact with prospects/customers that are interested in your brand. You can advertise your product/service for free in a social networking environment that is considered fun and friendly. Even better, if people like your offers they will share them with their friends, which will allow you to grow your business even further, the opportunities are endless.
A further benefit of social networking site is that they are great for research. You are able to directly interact with your customers which gives you deep insight in what they really want. They will tell you what they like about your business and what they don’t, and what offers they would buy. Such information is priceless and will allow you to stir your business into the right direction and create further growth.
On top of this, social media also gives you the opportunity to spy on your competition. It gives you in-depth insight in what they are doing, which will then allow you strategise and out-perform them.
There are also negative factors that are to be considered when it comes to social network marketing. For starters, many businesses find it more time-consuming than expected. Once a business starts a blog, facebook page or a twitter account, it needs to commit to it and update it regularly. It sends quite a bad image when somebody visits your facebook page and it was last up-dated 6 month ago.
A further weakness is the possibility of bad comments. People are able to say whatever they like and if they had a negative experience with a business they are likely to express it with the help of social media.
Another factor to be considered is that social media marketing does not generate fast success. It is a long-term strategy and it can take from month to a year to see a clear improvement on customer loyalty and sales.
Just like the other business marketing strategies, advertising in the Yellow Pages also has its advantages. According to the Yellow Pages, a survey conducted back in 2004/2005 suggests that 92% of searches conducted Yellow products will results in a business being contacted, which indicates a great succession rate. Moreover, 69% of those searches will result in an actual sale.
Furthermore, the Yellow Pages state that according to that survey in 2005 the Yellow Directory is used by over 8 million people across Australia each month and yellow.com.au attracts 2.5 million visitors each month.
A further advantage of the Yellow Pages is that when a business chooses to advertise with Yellow it will also automatically be found on sensis.com.au and Sensis 1234 premium voice directory service, which enhances the chances of that business to be found.
Firstly, it needs to be emphasised that the key advantages of the Yellow Pages advertised by the Yellow Pages themselves are based on a survey conducted over 7 years. Claiming that the figures are still accurate is wishful thinking as a lot has changed since 2004/2005.
Google and Yahoo have taken over when it comes to local business searches as a fast and effective search is only a mouse button away. In fact, a Core data survey back in 2009 specified that over half of the Australian population does not even want their Yellow Pages copy delivered. Moreover, a large number of households throw their copy unopened into the recycling bin as soon as they receive it.
The reality is that the usage of the Yellow Pages has been consistently declining over the last few years, and thus, the leads generated are often more than underwhelming.
Leisa from Sydney owns a design business and had her company listed for 7 executive years; however, over this time frame had only received one lead. She considers the Yellow Pages a waste of time as her customers find her through Google, client referrals and social media.
Another example is from a business owner in Victoria. In order to determine whether it is worth it to advertise with the Yellow Pages, he used a separate number in the ad. Over the course of a year, he received 5 calls of which only one turned into paid work. The job ended up covering only a small fraction on the money invested into the Yellow Pages advert.
A further disadvantage of the Yellow Pages is the cost. Advertising with Yellow is quite expensive, especially for small local business that simply do not have much spending power. Meanwhile, business owners can list their business with Google, Yahoo and Bing for free, which makes it rather difficult to justify spending money on advertising in the Yellow Pages.