I’m hooked on Groupon. In the past year, I have purchased dozens of deals for restaurants, cruises, a dentist, and all sorts of random stuff. The discounts are incredible.
There are two main components to their site:
1. Having great deals
2. Getting these deals in front of people
Promoting deals is the part that interests me most. What got me hooked on Groupon initially was getting a daily e-mail from them.
Obviously, I’m a big fan of e-mail. I want deals pushed to my inbox. Don’t expect me to visit your Web site every day to see what’s there. Most people won’t.
Something interesting happened a few months ago: I added Groupon to my RSS feed and I discovered I was buying even more than I was before.
I realised it’s all about the timing of these notifications.
The Groupon e-mail is sent to me at around 5 a.m., which means I read it when I wake up. But when I wake up, I usually have about 100 unread e-mails. In the morning I’m fighting fires, catching up on everything that happened since I went to sleep. I’m battling to get back to inbox zero.
So unless it’s a really good deal, I probably won’t get around to purchasing it. 10 a.m. just isn’t a good time to sell something to me.
But the Groupon RSS feed updates at around midnight. That’s when I’m online, catching up on Posterous work, and responding to e-mail in real-time as they come in. It’s the perfect time for me to get a small distraction like a Groupon offer.
I wonder if Groupon has A/B tested the timing of their outgoing e-mail. If they sent them out at 5 p.m. instead of 5 a.m., would they see more conversion?
At Posterous, we’ve always believed in e-mail notifications. We’ve historically run random tasks like sending e-mails at night but maybe that’s the opposite of what we should be doing. A Posterous e-mail might be the perfect distraction I need in the middle of my day.
You can try to optimise your features and product to death. But maybe all you need is well-timed nagging.