Rachel Beaumont founded Darwin Harbour Cruises with her parents and husband in 1996. She discusses the benefits of group buying sites after her experiences with online marketing company LivingSocial.
We have had our fair share of ups and downs at Darwin Harbour Cruises, however overall we have been lucky to be relatively successful. The downturn of the economy however had a major impact on Darwin tourism as a whole. Tourists have become less willing to travel to regional Australia and during the wet season, for some, business can be almost non-existent.
I was aware that if I wanted to continue my business success throughout the wet season, I would have to do two things. The first was to grow my online presence, and the other was to source a way to communicate with locals quickly and provide them with a reason to try a harbour cruise. That’s when I turned to group buying with LivingSocial with the plan to use the deal as a marketing tool rather than an income generator.
Success was an understatement. In less than 48 hours my deal had broken the LivingSocial record for the number of deals purchased nationally in a short period of time, selling 1,500 tickets. I was astonished at the success and my husband David and I joked that advertising on television wouldn’t even have drummed up that kind of business. Operating in a tight market like Darwin I can only imagine the success that small businesses in larger capital cities could be achieving if they also integrated group buying into their marketing plan.
It is for that reason that I have pulled together my top five tips for anyone considering group buying based on my personal experiences.
1. Have a strategy in place and know exactly what you want to achieve as your end goal
2. Ensure that your business is able to provide the volume of service that your deal may attract. This is an opportunity to showcase your best assets; you don’t want this to be ruined by poor customer service.
3. Be prepared to upsell – you have the client in front of you, now show them everything you have to offer
4. What makes you unique? – showcase your best assets. Push your mediocre products and services aside; this is your chance to shine.
5. Have a follow up plan in place i.e. offer return discounts, source email addresses for your database, provide giveaways on the day etc.