Groupon and LivingSocial can work well to bring in a fresh batch of new students, and in some cases, these programs have saved underperforming studios. But if Groupon and LivingSocial promotions aren’t handled well, they can devalue classes and create conflict and dissatisfaction within your loyal student base. Additionally, if you’re not actively working on turning these bargain shoppers into students with memberships, the low retention rate will negate any possible influx of students you may get.
Follow these six guidelines to make Groupon and LivingSocial work for you:
1). Be very clear on your rules going into the process, and be ready to enforce them. You create the rules, and they’re listed in fine print on their voucher. Don’t back down from what’s printed. Buyers know these terms before they purchase.
2). Put a limit on the number of vouchers each person can redeem. Or even better, stipulate one per person, new students only.
3). Be sure your Groupon has an expiration date of 90 days (or less) once it’s been activated. As you know, a lot of people won’t use their classes before they expire, and they’ll call you asking to reactivate their pass. How you to choose to handle this is your decision, but we recommend adding remaining passes to anything the student chooses to buy from you going forward.
4). As with an introductory special, be prepared to convert the leads you get. In general, you’ll get a lower conversion rate than you do with organic leads, but you’ll bring in a lot more leads this way. The trick is converting the leads to paying members.
- Make sure you have a strong introductory offer for these leads.
- Segment these leads in your yoga studio management software and send them a series of weekly emails throughout their offer. Connect with them personally and welcome them to your studio. If they aren’t converting after that, create a custom audience on Facebook and offer them another (but much smaller) promotion.
5). Groupon usually wants to take 50 % of the rate you charge, but you can negotiate this split. Studio owners can sometimes manage a 60/40 split, but you have to be insistent and confident when asking for it.
6). If hurting your culture is a concern, place Groupon and LivingSocial students into a special membership and then limit their scheduling options to classes they’d fit in well. Once they convert to a paying student, their membership type changes and they’ll have unrestricted access to all of your classes. If you chose to do this, note the classes they’ll be permitted to take with their offer in the fine print.
These bargain shoppers are typically difficult to convert into paying students, which makes it very important to have a strategy in place to convert these individuals before launching a campaign on these sites.
Still deciding if Groupon is the right way to promote your studio? Get your copy of 5 Guidelines for Running a Groupon Promotion for Your Yoga Studio today!