Constant Contact has new approach to coupon-based deal marketing for small businesses

As I wrote in this post from my MassLive.com blog, daily deal offers from companies such as Groupon and Living Social can go terribly awry for small businesses. Now, Constant Contact, which supports small businesses with their e-mail and social media marketing campaigns, has launched a new service that addresses many of the chief perils of the daily deal companies.

The new service is called SaveLocal and one of its key differentiators from its competitors is that the marketing is done through existing customers, who are offered the deal and are also rewarded for alerting their friends about the deal. Other differences include:

• You control the amount of the discount, whereas with the other services you’re required to give a steep discount, often 50% of more.

• SaveLocal only charges $1 to $3 for each coupon purchased, far less than the 50% of the sales that Groupon takes. This factor and the previous one will help eliminate one of the major downsides of the other daily deal companies, where businesses are often left seriously in the red from the deals.

• Because you are marketing to existing customers and their friends, it seems far more likely that you’ll get repeat business from those who take you up on the offer.

In this New York Times article, Gail Goodwin, CEO of Constant Contact, explains SaveLocal in more depth. Also, in this related article, a small business owner who has used the service talks about how it has worked for him.

I encourage you to check out SaveLocal to see if it might be right for your small business. The service is still in beta and not available just yet but you can read up on it and you can also fill out a form to be alerted when it goes public.

I learned about SaveLocal through an e-newsletter from a group that encourages buying local from independently owned businesses. The group is called Independent We Stand. Check out their blog here. There’s some pretty interesting stuff.

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