5 Self-Serve Deals Platforms for SMBs

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daily-dealsGroupon has generated significant press thanks to the recent rollout of its self-serve Deal Builder, which local merchants can use to create limited-time promotions for themselves. However, the daily deals giant is hardly the only vendor offering this type of service to SMBs. For years, a number of hyperlocal vendors have been providing self-service solutions to SMBs who want to bypass long wait times and maintain complete control over the promotions they run.

Here are five examples of self-service promotional platforms that local businesses can use to create their own limited-time deals.

1. Groupon’s Deal Builder: Create a custom offer from a selection of deal templates.
Groupon’s Deal Builder is the latest entrant into the DIY promotions market. Rolled out in February after being piloted by 10,000 merchants, Groupon’s Deal Builder allows businesses to bypass the company’s copywriters when creating their own deals. Instead of working with Groupon’s reps, merchants choose their deal types from a selection of templates, follow the step-by-step guide for generating and confirming their deals, and then e-sign their contracts before their deals go live. Groupon says its clients benefit from working with an experienced support staff, who can be contacted for guidance at any point via live chat.

2. Qwikon: Create same-day offers on mobile.
Qwikon is a tool that merchants can use to increase business during off-peak hours with targeted offers sent to their customers’ phones. In minutes, businesses can create their own offers — Qwikon gives business owners complete discretion over the types of discounts they create, however most businesses will choose to offer a %-off or BOGO deals — and set restrictions to limit redemption periods or limit the number of customers who receive their offers. Unlike Groupon, Qwikon relies on businesses to generate their own customer lists, however the company does provide insight into the ways that businesses can encourage their customers to sign up. Qwikon’s monthly plans range in price from $49 to 249.

3. Facebook Offers: Encourage fans to share offers with their friends.
Local merchants can capitalize on the fan base they’ve cultivated on Facebook by utilizing Facebook Offers. Merchants create their own offers — which Facebook defines as discounts or promotions — and select the parameters of when and where their offers can be redeemed. (Usually in-store or online.) People who’ve “liked” the business’ Facebook page can “claim” those offers. When an offer is claimed, Facebook posts an announcement in the customer’s friends’ news feeds. This promotes social sharing, and encourages more people to get involved. Businesses can create offers from the “ads create tool” for free, however the cost to promote an offer is based on the amount of people the business wants to reach.

4. Google Offers: Distribute DIY offers across Google properties.
Google has sped up the process of creating deals by making its Google Offers product a completely self-serve tool. Businesses design and write their own offers, selecting the type of deal and any necessary restrictions, like how long an offer should run. Approved deals go live within hours. Businesses can distribute their offers for free on Google+, Google Offers, and Google’s Wallet app. For an additional cost, offers can be promoted on Google Maps and in targeted Offers emails. Among the advanced features that Google provides are nearby notifications (prompting customers when they’re near a store with an Offer), mobile redemptions, and a suite of tracking tools.

5. PromoJam: Build, launch, and track your social promotions.
PromoJam is a social media marketing platform that businesses can use to create promotions that run across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Businesses can launch coupon promotions and sweepstakes in 10 minutes or less by building off of PromoJam’s templates. Promotions are given their own landing pages, which is where customers go to claim their offers and where businesses can collect valuable user data like email addresses and contact information. PromoJam tracks the reach, engagement, traffic, and conversions for each promotion and gives businesses real-time insight into how their campaigns are performing. PromoJam’s plans range in price from free to $249.99 per month.

Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.