Email Thursday – When Your Offer is Too Good



Today is email Thursday and I’m your presenter, Andy.

So I’m not sure how many of you have heard of Groupon, but for those not familiar with the service, Groupon offers a daily coupon to their customers through email. Groupon uses your geographic region to specify the deal for you since they are almost always coupons for local businesses like the salon down the street or a restaurant offering 65% off your next meal. Well, this past week, Groupon branched out and ran their first national campaign with Gap where if you purchased $25, you got $50 worth of Gap clothing, good for in-store only. At the same time Groupon sent this mailing, Gap sent a similar deal to their email list.

Now, according to the gentleman who runs the email marketing program for Groupon, this offer was getting responses at almost 10x the normal response rate. In fact, Groupon was seeing their LIST SIZE increase by over 2000 per minute. That’s 120,000 users every hour who are now on the Groupon mailing list. The offer was so good that people felt compelled to inform their friends, neighbors, co-workers, siblings etc. about the deal. In addition to Groupon’s 10 million North American users, they atttribute the success of the campaign to their Twitter handle, Facebook page as well as @earlybird. As the response rate climbed, the traffic was so great that Groupon couldn’t handle the traffic and their site went down. So what did they do?

They directed the traffic to an overflow page that read

“We’ve got good news and bad news… The bad news is that the site is currently unavailable because we are experiencing unusually high demand for today’s GAP deal. The good news is that if you give us your e-mail address here, we’ll notify you as soon as the deals are available again.”

—- Help us help you! Please take 3 minutes to complete this confidential survey. —

Brilliant. So, not only was their site down because of the overwhelming flow of traffic and the number of new users singing up and showing interest in the deal, but they were still able to capture email addresses as signups even though the site itself wasn’t functioning. Once the IT crew solved the issue and either opened up more bandwidth or the traffic subsided enough to begin processing the backlog of signups, a follow-up email went out announcing that the coupon was now available again.

The end result was the above email when they tell you that the deal is once again available for purchase. They thank you for your patience and sign off in a very personal way. This is a very smart approach to a problem that even though they anticipated, executing properly was just as important. It could have been very difficult to keep prospective customers interested and engaged with the brand if they tried to visit the site to sign up and simply received a timeout error. But some forward thinking and best practices proved that “By day’s end, 441,000 Groupons were sold, bringing in a little more than $11 million.” Not bad for a site that sells coupons.

At Exclusive Concepts, we offer Optimized Lifecycle Email Marketing for our clients who are looking to maximize their revenue through this unique and ever-growing channel. If you are looking for a way to get a lot more revenue from your e-mail approach, consider our Optimized Lifecycle Email Marketing service to augment your other marketing efforts. We’ll show you how it works if you’d like – just give us a call at 800-504-4324.

Thank you for listening – have a wonderful Email Thursday!