If you haven’t heard of Groupon, you are either living under a rock or you don’t go online much. And if you haven’t heard of Groupon, you could be missing out on mobile marketing opportunities for your small business.

Groupon is shopping Web site that offers a daily deal on the best local goods, services and cultural events in more than 500 markets around the world. Next month, Groupon is going to launch Groupon Now, a smartphone app that lets users hit one of two buttons: “I’m hungry” or “I’m bored.” Click on a button and you’ll find plenty to eat, plenty to do, and plenty of discount coupons.

So if you haven’t signed up your small business for Groupon, now is the time. Consider the opportunity…

The group buying industry, of which Groupon is a part, will grow by 138 percent to $2.66 billion in 2011, according to a new report from Local Offer Network. In all, more than 63,000 deals were published in 2010, and more than 39,000 will be published by the end of the first quarter of 2011 alone.

The report also reveals that a wider variety of merchants and new entrants from luxury and higher-priced product categories are moving average transaction values considerably higher. While dining, spa and health-related deals still abound, Local Offer Network has monitored dramatic growth in segments such as apparel and home products.

So how can your small business make the most of Groupon? Here’s a few pointers to get you started:

  1. First, understand how it works. You have to open a Groupon Store to get started, then create your deal.

  2. Figure out how much new business you can handle. If you are a personal trainer, how many more clients can you train in a week? If you are a restaurant, how many more customers can you serve a week? If you aren’t careful, Groupon will drive so many people through your doors that you can’t service them all, which can also be bad for business.

  3. Plan to staff up. If you are going to put out a Groupon offer, be sure to have the appropriate staff on board to handle the rush.

  4. Think long-term. Remember, Groupon is a tool to get customers in the door. You aren’t going to make maximum profits on the deal because you are offering it half price and then Groupon gets its cut. But you will get an opportunity to wow new customers that might never have tried what your small business has to offer.


Check out this video for more info on Groupon and decide if this is the right move for your small business: