Coupon Website Business Idea
The question of how to start a coupon website is asked quite often with the recent explosive growth of other online coupon sites. The rapid success of regional deal-of-the-day websites, like Groupon, makes the development of a coupon site a compelling concept. As a small business owner, you have the unique opportunity to step in and create a targeted, regional coupon website that serves the needs of local consumers and businesses.
Coupons have been around since the late 1800s. The idea is simple: give consumers an incentive to purchase a product or service. The coupon may be for a free item or a percentage off of the purchase price. The hope is that once a product or service is tried, it will be purchased again and again. The same idea applies to online coupon websites.
How to Start a Coupon Website
Conducting research into how to start a coupon website consists of investigating current competitors in your field. What coupon sites serve your local area? Do they concentrate on a specific product or group of people? Are the sites kept up-to-date? What types of coupons do they offer? How will your coupon site differ from those already in existence? What niche markets might you target? Choose a specialized target group or offer bonuses that no one else does.
Potential niche markets for your online coupons could include:
- Parents – parents are always on the lookout for deals and ways to save money
- Hobbyists – there are hundreds of hobby areas in which you could specialize
- Business to business – offer discounts on products that other businesses frequently buy
- Seniors – target senior services and other products senior citizens purchase
- Coupon booklet sales – package different types of coupons into a single coupon book
As the owner and administrator of your coupon website, your primary responsibilities will include:
- Meeting with prospective clients
- Developing effective coupon campaigns
- Establishing and analyzing pricing strategies
- Defining additional markets
Other activities you’ll frequently be involved with include:
- Closely monitoring website performance and up-time
- Consistently adding to web site functionality
- Keeping up with coupon industry trends
- Ongoing competitor research
- Marketing your coupon site through various advertising channels
- Billing clients and maintaining financial records
Getting Started in a Coupon Website Business
Learning how to start a coupon website is, in many ways, the same as learning how to start any other small business. The owner of a coupon website must carefully balance the needs of coupon sponsors, customer responses, and utilize a pricing structure that encourages profitability. The common factor is you. Your communication, business, and analytical skills come into play as you sell your services to coupon sponsors, set prices, and target your audience with effective advertising.
Finding customers is a two-sided process. On one side, you need coupon sponsors. On the other side, you need people who want the coupons. Begin by building a database of coupon offers. Give discounted or a free initial coupon offering to each business so that when your site launches, there are plenty from which to choose. In addition to providing a wealth of coupons, advertise your site launch through various local media outlets. Your website should include an opt-in form, where people can sign up to receive daily offer emails.
Social media is also a great approach for keeping your followers up-to-date with current coupon promotions.
Coupon Website Success
Success is not static. Once achieved, it must be maintained. Consider the following tips for success:
- Keep your coupon website updated. Do not let expired coupons stay on the server, visible to website visitors. Nothing turns people away more than outdated offers.
- Change offers daily. A coupon site thrives on new deals and offers. If there is a tempting new bargain, web visitors return day after day.
- Work closely with coupon sponsors. Assist them in creating effective coupon offers. If your sponsors don’t find your service useful, they will stop using your site. Your success depends on creative advertising that attracts website viewers, and, ultimately, customers for your coupon sponsors.
- Remove offers from problem sponsors. If you begin getting customer complaints about coupons not being honored or other issues, speak with the sponsor. Continued complaints require removal. People will not use your coupons if their experiences are negative.
Your trajectory from learning how to start a coupon website to achieving success will probably not follow Groupon’s phenomenal path. Your site can become a profitable venture, however, and when it does, expansion is the next step. Consider the following ideas for growing your coupon website:
- Branch out to new specialty savings areas
- Spin off similar websites that target other locales
- Teach classes about running a successful online business
- Franchise your coupon website business model
- Sell printed coupon booklets you will direct mail to customers