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Soaring to success with group buying sites: Trapeze entrepreneur shares his tips

Friday, 30 August 2013 | By Rose Powell

With decades of experience in trapeze training, Steen Shoar decided to launch an indoor centre for trapeze training two years ago.


Shoar told StartupSmart he realised quickly for an experiential service like his that he needed to get people in the door to see what he was all about, so he uses group buying website Living Social to promote the business.


“For us, the marketing that works is either word-of-mouth, or experiential. So we needed to offer a good deal to help people see it, and want to keep going and trying,” Shoar says.


“Print doesn’t work for us, not newspaper ads, not leaflets drop. We’ve tried so many times, I’ve been teaching for 20 years, and we don’t get business that way.”


Shoar says the key to group buying deals is to structure the price well and be prepared to on sell. He estimates one in 40 group buying customers sign up for a longer course.


“We realised we could use group buying sites to get people through the door and then on-sell our longer classes to them. And it’s worked,” Shoar says. “My advice is make sure you have a price where you won’t go backwards. We still break even and make a bit with each discounted purchase.”


Living Social is one of seven group buying sites Shoar has used. He says experimentation ensures you find which platform is the best fit for your target audience.


He adds that when you’ve gathered your audience, you need to show them the very best version of your service to entice them to buy again.


“We put on a bit of a show and it’s pretty fun. They start with no skills, but they’re making the catches with our instructors by the end of class, so they see how far they’ve come and how far they can go,” Shoar says.


Here are his five tips for making the most of group buying sites:


  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. 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 such as offer return discounts, source email addresses for your database, provide giveaways on the day.