Recently, the topic of member deals, or hot deals, came up in our Chamber of Commerce Professionals Group on Facebook.
Are member deals something your chamber does? Are you seeing any benefit?
Here’s my take:
It sounds great to the members that you have this online platform for them to put out a hot deal, or a member deal — whether it’s half-off a stay at a B&B or half-priced cigars — you get the idea.
The Problem with Member Deals
The problem with this sort of advertising/promotion is that relatively few people are going to see these hot deals, let alone take advantage of them. Reaching the right target market with the right deal is really tough (kind of random).
In addition, the platforms don’t, generally, produce striking designs, meaning the whole presentation is rather lackluster. People may glance at the app or site but not being impressed or entertained, much less finding a deal that appeals to them, they bounce away and aren’t very likely to come back.
People are now comfortable downloading apps but if they don’t use them consistently the app fades to obscurity and is eventually deleted.
Then there’s the question of distribution. The “sell” on a member deal is to provide your member businesses access to your audience (members and people in the community) but if you’re just pushing out relatively few member deals (and most aren’t great deals) on your website, that’s just random (low conversion) advertising. Little value and it’s pretty boring. Who’s going to rush to their inbox or app just to see today’s member deal when 90% of them contain something they’re probably not even in the market for?
Maybe you also share your member deals on social media, reaching a larger audience. That’s even worse because it’s now just social advertising, clogging up streams, interrupting people that may or may not be your member business’ target demographic. Unless the deals are killer most people won’t be interested, so rather than provide a service, it actually becomes an annoyance.
The whole member hot deal concept, while it might sound good — and we were all excited by sites like Groupon and the rest — it simply fails to work at scale for chambers (so far).
If I were running a chamber today, I would not be doing member deals/hot deals in their current form. I would stay open to the app or platform that breaks the code and rolls out a beautifully designed app that consistently offers killer hot deals that appeal specifically to the right people at the right time.
A couple of companies that are out in front on this are Save Local Now and MyChamberApp. Both have successes they can reference but I don’t think either would say they have broken the “hot deal” code quite yet.
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