Went to a great talk last week from Fiona Shutter, founder of Groupon Bath. The talk was one of a regular series organised by Bath and Bristol Marketing Network.

For those of you who do not know what Groupon is, here is a quick overview – it is a social buying platform that works by promoting deals (at huge discount) on its website that become live deals once enough people have registered interest. As soon as that number has been reached the deal then goes live for 24 hours.

Fiona talked about how Groupon works for businesses and the type of business and deal that can work well. The power of social buying is impressive – local restaurants in Bath, for example, have seen a huge take-up of offers which has really helped boost business on quieter evenings earlier on in the week.

If you have a business that offers products or services with a hefty wedge of variable cost (ie you can strip it out) then you can create deals that will fly. You have to be able to deliver though so Groupon is not good for one-man bands.

One point really stood out for me: be prepared for the volume of traffic to your site.

A local paintalling company talked us through how a deal worked for them. What surprised the company was that for every person who took a deal three more visited the site.

This presented them with a huge opportunity to get sign-ups and other conversions but they weren’t ready with the right content as they did not expect the deal to drive so much other ‘interested’ traffic.

So, if you are going to use Groupon be prepared for the traffic – it will come and you need to engage those users effectively.