Is Groupon for You?

Could Groupon work for you?When it comes to marketing strategies, things like social media, mailers and word of mouth come to mind. Showcasing your Box to potential new members is important, especially if you opened recently.

Amira Stevens started CrossFit 222 in La Grange, Kentucky, 10 months ago and immediately looked for additional marketing options. Three months after opening, Stevens began using Groupon, an online coupon site for local businesses to promote discounts and draw in consumers.

Steven’s Box is the first and only to open in the area and she realized that most people in the community probably didn’t know what CrossFit was. “It was tapping into an untapped market,” she said. “People wanted to try it, they were curious, but I think there was always that sort of apprehension.”

Partnering with Groupon was quick and easy, Stevens said. The company even gave her advice about what kind of deals to offer based on what has been most successful for other similar businesses. Then she sent them her logo and what she wanted it to look like and after it was approved, it was published on the site.

Every two weeks, Groupon deposits your earnings into your bank account. The site profits half of every sale made. “You only keep 50 percent,” Stevens said. “If you have a Groupon for $40, you would keep $20 of it. So for every one you sell, you keep 50 percent. Obviously you don’t make a whole lot of money off of that.”

Oftentimes, businesses use Groupon to offer consumers discounts on goods or services, such as a meal, an oil change or a massage. Whereas most Groupons offer consumers one-time coupons, Boxes are looking to use the site as a means to gain long-time members by cracking open the door wider through deals.

Alice Beck, manager of Black Label CrossFit in Mount Washington, Kentucky, said her Box has used Groupon since 2011 with incredible success. However, they did have to create separate classes specifically for Groupon users.

“We had to create a new system to accommodate our members and the Groupon users,” Beck said. “We didn’t want either to lose value.”

Both Boxes use Groupon as a means to find people interested in signing up and coming regularly, beyond what the Groupon offers. “There are so many deals available on Groupon now,” Beck said. “You have to be aware of what we call Groupon hopping. That’s when people buy Groupons just for the deal and don’t show an interest in the actual Box or long-term service we offer.”

The positives of using Groupon far outweigh the negatives in Stevens’s opinion. “I think the Groupon was such a great way to get people to feel more comfortable to try it because it wasn’t like they were investing too much money,” she said. “No question, we have gained more members from Groupon than any other way.”

Stevens was worried that people would perceive the Groupon classes as lower quality than everything else offered at the Box. “I was a little apprehensive about using Groupon because of the offer you receive,” Stevens said. “But there’s nothing about us that’s cheap. We’re all about doing the right thing, we’re all about creating a great community, we’re all about offering a great service. We want to bring them in the door … to make them believers.”

In terms of piquing interest in CrossFit, both Stevens and Beck said Groupon has helped and contributed to their member base. “Getting them in the door, it’s very successful,” Beck said.

Kayla Boyd
Kayla Boyd is an intern for Peake Media. She can be reached at kayla@peakemedia.com.