10 Ways to Market an Online Business

Group-buying Programs
A group-buying program like Groupon can be a useful marketing tool. Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Participating in a group-buying program can be both a blessing and a curse. You're guaranteed to get lots of exposure and find a bunch of new customers from offering a deal through a service like Groupon, LivingSocial or Scoutmob. Even if they're paying only a fraction of the regular price, who wouldn't want an explosion of new customers? Well, a lot of people, as it turns out. Many business owners have found that they lose money on the reduced-price offers and then can't hang on to the deal-buyers, who are quick to move on to the next offer. It's your job to make sure this doesn't happen to you.

It's the follow-through that counts with collective-buying programs. You have to be ready for a glut of orders — and to take a hit on this wave of reduced-price buyers. Many of the participants will be there just for a one-time cheap deal, but you've got to find a way to retain the others. Encourage them to sign up for your email list, and give great service so they'll turn into loyal customers. If you play your cards right, it could be a win-win.