Marketing Deals

HeaderlogoOnce I tell people what I do, one of the most popular questions I get, whether it be during cocktail small talk or at client presentations, is: “How to get a bunch of relevant traffic to their site quickly” and one of my answers is usually “market through deals sites”.

And, I get a surprised look on people’s faces. Maybe they expect something more complicated or intellectually taxing. Honestly, I can’t blame them with the way that some other online marketers make things seem tougher than they are by speaking in jargon or making technical matters seem like magic. But, I digress. In my experience, marketing deals, especially through deal sites, is an effective way to drive traffic to your site, and here are some tips.

First of all, you want to make sure that your offer is appealing, and will make people want to act. To find that out, I would rely on results from past campaigns (I usually just take the top two and ignore the rest) or test your idea through interviews or online focus groups with prospective clients. I’ve separated out my recommendations into the standard (VW) and the deluxe (BMW) models.

The VW

Deal Sites: These deal sites (such as RedFlagDeals.com and DealHunting.com) and the large number of travel deals blogs and more out there, add value by offering deals to their their readers. So – by simply finding the contact information and sending them an e-mail you can get your deal listed. If your deal is very relevant to the site (I tend to look at what is up there to see if the deal would fit in and may modify the copy a bit to make it work) then it can be an instant hit!

Internal Communications:
Sending out news of the deal to your internal list and posting it on your website is a common strategy, but you can also look at other options, such as marketing your deal through a newsletter belonging to another internal department, a partner or a larger organization that you are part of. Personally, I have had success with marketing through partner organizations, and they also enjoy the benefits since usually I offer to present their deals in my internal communications as well.

Other Methods: Adwords Campaigns can also be used to market deals, and in my experience I get a slightly higher click-thru rate if I talk about a deal in an ad. Using Digg.com to promote a deal can also lead to success – but you have to make sure that the deal is highly relevant to the community. If you are already running display advertising, deal-based banners can increase click-through significantly. You can also use traditional marketing methods such as print advertising and direct mail.

The BMW

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Another way to market through deal sites is to sponsor a section of the site. I set up this sponsorship with RedFlagDeals.com for Microsoft Small Business Canada over a year ago, and it was a success both in terms of traffic and end actions. You can see that there are both sponsored deals, which contributed the majority of traffic, but also a banner at the top and a button on the top right for branding.

Since there are a lot of technology lovers in the RedFlagDeals audience, Microsoft made a perfect match for the small business section of the site. In my experience deal site owners such as RedFlagDeals.com have a very entrepreneurial spirit, so you can work together to make the program successful for everyone. This is very different from other site sponsorships that I have created with more traditional sites that are not willing to implement anything even slightly out of the box (or out of the template ;) ).

In general, I have had a lot of success with marketing deals. Usually at the beginning of the program, I hear a lot of skepticism around this, that they will simply attract tire-kickers that will not be willing to buy. But personally, the numbers on end-actions are always good, though the creative that I am working with doesn’t over-promise and under-deliver and I am very careful about targeting. Plus – I usually find a deal or two myself that I like while I am setting up the programs ;) .