The New Coupon

Apr 01, 2011

Who can resist a great deal?

Fifty percent off deep tissue massage. Buy one entrée, get one free. Four tickets for the price of two to the Antique Automobile Club of America… OK, maybe we can resist the last one, but with the rise of Groupon, LivingSocial and many other locally-focused group deal services, weare definitely living in the year of the coupon.

Coupons, long the bastion of newspapers, have branched out in the digital age. These traditional printed deals can now be found on manufacturer sites, Facebook fan pages, coupon-collection sites and now on sites like, but a number of these sites suffer serious drawbacks. These properties fall short in the same areas where newspapers excel:

  • Newspaper, both online and in print, offers a strong reach into local markets.
    • National sites frequently don’t have the same available audience as premium local sites
  • Newspaper websites are well-known and trusted within their communities
    • Groupon and other lesser known coupon sites (,, etc.) do not have the same notoriety or trust on the local, ground floor level.

But how can advertisers and agencies interested in the current couponing craze tap into the power of these newspaper sites and their group deal efforts? To accommodate this need, a number of newspapers have partnered with vendors or built, from the ground up, their own group deal offers. These deals function much like their national siblings:

Step One

Determine geographic areas to target and uncover partners in those areas to work with (or allow MANSI to help and, as part of service, uncover those potential hyper-local partners)

Step Two

Consider the deal. Whether it is a buy one, get one free or a percentage off, remember that the deal needs to be strong enough to encourage readers to share the offer with their friends and family through email and social media.

Step Three

The advertiser’s message and deal are sent to a local audience through the newspaper’s readership (email, social media, and on-site promotion) and then spreads through the community as those users encourage their acquaintances to sign up as well.

Step Four

The deal is purchased and users can redeem at the advertiser’s location.

Step Five

After handling the transactions, the newspaper returns to the client between 50 and 60 percent of the total revenue generated.

Through the use of these group deals the advertiser is achieving two goals. One, they are increasing awareness of their product or service within the communities they serve with their message being delivered by a highly trusted local news provider. Two, they are driving foot traffic to their brick & mortar locations with no upfront costs.

We polled our local newspaper partners about the best fit verticals for group deals and here are the top five:

  • Restaurants
  • Spas
  • Entertainment
  • Golf
  • Subscriptions/Memberships

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