Reeling In Groupon Gurus

Living in Chicago, it's difficult going a day without hearing a conversation about Groupon. They are also the talk of the country after recently rejecting an offer from Google. When it comes to their daily deals, there's a lot of evidence that they can drive traffic to a restaurant. No system is perfect and this one-time shot deal is no different. Some restaurants have experienced a sharp increase in traffic to a degree that service suffered.

But there's no question Groupon is here to say and there's word that they will soon let restaurants claim their venue and be able to handle their own deals. Here's a bit from National Restaurant News:

Merchants that claim their store, which Groupon says only takes a couple minutes, will have their deals promoted via e-mail, Twitter and Facebook. There's no upfront fee, and business will receive 70 percent of each promoted Groupon sold, and 90 percent of each non-promoted Groupon.

What I've been wondering is how can restaurants turn these Groupon Gurus into occasional diners, regulars, or even brand advocates? Even though Groupon might become more social, here's a clear example of the importance of your social media strategy, consistency, and presence. It's not always the case, but I'd argue Groupon Gurus are often more social media saavy.

Think about ways you can engage them from the moment they show you that coupon. Maybe instruct your servers to solicit their Twitter name (or e-mail address) to enter a drawing or simply to thank them for coming. Implementing a Groupon deal will bring in scores of people...the last thing you want is for them to come in, take advantage of the great deal, then never again think about your restaurant. And of course, the given - always be at the top of your game when it comes to food and customer service. Well all know the power of the first impression : )

Have you run a Groupon deal before? How did you reach out to these Groupon Gurus? Share your ideas!
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  • Steven: I think you're right on and definitely think finding ways to make people feel part of an 'exclusive club' are key. Thanks for your insight!!
  • Josh

    The question about how to leverage social to benefit a recurring visit is one that a lot of people are trying to deal with. The 'crack-like' effect of issuing a deep discount to drive awareness and then wanting to extend the effect to a loyalty initiative is one fraught with a lot of chances to go wrong and lose customers and goodwill.

    A short list would have to include ample visibility of the loyalty program and a really easy enrollment program. The initial incentive might be an offer or additional discount, but beyond that the program needs to make sure the member is treated like one of an exclusive 'club'. Lots of ways to make people feel special I think, but no social initiative is ever a set & forget effort. I would think a restaurant needs to anticipate a higher level of engagement when deploying social marketing.
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