"Local deals. Daily deals. Group-buying deals," writes Amy Fowler at MarketingProfs. "Call them what you will, but they're all the same thing: a very expensive form of marketing that can run a small business into the ground if utilized incorrectly." Why? Because you're not just providing a deeply discounted product or service—you're also sharing up to 50% of the proceeds.

Many companies participate because they anticipate an instant source of loyal, repeat business. But, notes Fowler, this is almost never the case. "Daily deals attract a certain type of consumer—the type who never wants to pay full price." So how do you get the most from a Groupon-style campaign? She has this advice:

Take control of the relationship with direct offers. When someone uses a deal to purchase your product or service, follow up—directly—with your next offer. This way, you can control the size of the discount and keep all of the profit. Restaurants can include a voucher with a diner's check, for instance, while retailers might email a discount code for future purchases.

Create an ongoing relationship through social media. Let customers know that future deals are available when they "like" you on Facebook or "follow" you on Twitter. This will appeal to their discount-seeking nature—and set the stage for repeat business.

Ask happy customers to write an online review. Even if they never return for a non-discounted product or service, deal-seeking customers will often leave positive reviews at sites like Yelp—especially if you ask nicely.

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