How to source deals for my daily deals website start up?


Firstly, I know what you are thinking already, "Not another daily deals website!" - it's true, I am entering an oversaturated, highly competitive market of daily deal websites. It's going to be an Australian daily deals website, only with a twist.

All deals are limited to a maximum of 100 deals, but if the deal is good deals can be limited to as low as 25. I believe the exclusivity will help protect businesses that are providing these heavily discounted deals as I read an interesting statistic that most businesses lose quite a lot of money from running daily deal campaigns.

My question is how can I sell my service to businesses and get them on board when it hasn't even launched yet? I want to acquire some daily deals for the site before it launches, exclusively awesome one day deals that will make people fight for 1 of the 100 or lower deal coupons up for offer.

I've tried sending a couple of emails to some businesses, but didn't really hear anything back. How did sites like Groupon get deals before they got big?

Are there things I should be saying in the email and things I shouldn't be saying? Should I perhaps exaggerate or could that come back and bite me later on in terms of credibility if expectations aren't met?

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asked Feb 17 '11 at 17:23
Digital Sea
1,613 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll
  • My has my question being downvoted into a negative score? Is my question not deemed a startup question? I'm slightly confused here as I asked a very valid question. – Digital Sea 13 years ago
  • Given that sourcing deals is a core competency of your startup, it's a bit like a masseuse asking how to perform a massage. – Krzysztof Kowalczyk 13 years ago
  • Don't be too harsh. It's a valid question that will be useful to many more startups as well, so it's worth answering it. – Alain Raynaud 13 years ago
  • Sadly this is off the table for the moment. Launch page and whatnot are up, I went and spoke to businesses in person which seems to have worked in my favour. I've got a few local stores and whatnot to offer up a few deals, some of which have even used Scoopon and Cudo before, so we'll see how the site goes. Hoping to launch in a couple of months, sourcing a few months worth of deals so I don't have to stress so much for a while and focus on other aspects of the site. – Digital Sea 13 years ago
  • You're right. That is what I was thinking. :-) – Chris Morgan 13 years ago

5 Answers


Here's a Mixergy video interview with Andrew Mason, the founder of Groupon. It will probably tell you everything you want to know about how he made it work. If you're not a member of Mixergy, you can get the Podcast for free here. It's #67.

And my personal advice is to build some sales materials and hit the road trying to sell some local businesses in your area. If you can't sell it as the founder of your company, then no sales team will be able to either.

It's going to be hard work and it's going to suck having to convince small business owners that you're worth their time, but if you can make a few sales on no product and good faith, you may have identified a need and a workable business.

answered Feb 18 '11 at 01:17
Andy Cook
2,309 points
  • Interesting stuff, thank you Andy. – Digital Sea 13 years ago
  • You're welcome, Dwayne. Hope it helps! – Andy Cook 13 years ago


You need a big sales team and a good group of evangelists who are out there building your user list.

You also should think about specializing in a particular sector, which is how a lot of new daily deals clones are trying to carve out some market share.

The evangelists should be people who are in your exact target demographic, because they will likely know a lot of people who are like them (ie, in your demographic).

Other than that, you really want to build your userbase as quickly as possible. The more people your daily mailings reach, the greater percentage of the cost of the deal you can demand from your business clients.

Also, I would recommend thinking long and hard about limiting your deals to 100. You may be artificially limiting your revenue, and there are some business who are looking to recruit customers in the thousands, not in the dozens.

answered Feb 17 '11 at 20:20
298 points
  • Pretty good feedback Tbaums, my only issue with that is that Groupon didn't have a big sales team when they started right? Who's to say I can't market the site myself and then hire other people as the site progresses? This is a bootstrapped start up, and I don't have the funds to hire anyone. Maybe 100 is a little limited, perhaps 300. The reason for limiting the deals is because I don't want businesses to lose out because of massive overselling of their deals as Groupon has shown can nearly send a business broke. – Digital Sea 13 years ago
  • Businesses know what they can handle and what they can't. The reason you need a sales squad is that if you are doing a daily deals site, you need DAILY deals. Not every other day deals. Not every third day deals. DAILY deals. And they need to hit inboxes at the same time, everyday. That's what the customer expects. And that's what Gilt/Rue La-La/Groupon/Living Social all seem to have settled on. Must be a reason, no? If you're short on cash, then use the tried and true method for paying sales people: Give them a commission! – Tbaums 13 years ago
  • Also, Groupon wasn't starting up in an environment where it was competing with Groupon. You are. There seems to be a bunch of successful clones out there, but getting traction may be a challenge. – Tbaums 13 years ago


Firstly I would focus on one sector first health & beauty, restaurants, dry cleaners etc.
Feature at least six and start in your local area. (Relevant content) Set up the copy, blurb, website etc and make the deal start date some time ahead. Wait for a week and watch organic search in the search engines. If you get on the first page you can approach these businesses. You can also offer businesses a deal spot for free perhaps just a small admin charge. Set up your prices and for those businesses who come on board for free get them to agree in advance (writing) if they want to continue to pay a higher rate. Take any business which fills the criteria of your site on a pay as you go arrangement or split (70/30). At the moment you are trying to sell A CAT IN A BAG

answered Aug 21 '12 at 23:49
11 points


Call every store where you know someone, get them to sign up, if it goes well ask them if they have friends who would be interested, repeat.

answered Feb 17 '11 at 21:56
Zachary K
208 points
  • I guess the only issue with that is your friends not being in a position to make those kinds of calls nor being very influential in getting those kinds of suggestions heard in the first place. Having said that, if a friend were a manager it could work. It's actually a pretty good idea Zach, thank you. – Digital Sea 13 years ago


A marketing strategy is very important. It describes how you will gather merchants and attract consumers. This will really depend on the quality of deals being offered from the merchants.

answered May 15 '12 at 17:00
1 point

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