Monday, February 13, 2012

The Big Thing -- LivingSocial?

I've been thinking for years that we need to do something Big to jump-start things. You know, like streaking across the field at a Nationals game Big. So far, nobody's volunteered for that, and I'm just too out of shape (hmm...maybe that would be good for marketing...) We've considered many other things, like, oh, some sort of viral video. Of course, the chances of infuriating some segment of the population are pretty high, and we're not quite ready for that kind of notoriety.

So, as we mulled things over, we succumbed to some (professional and friendly) pressure from LivingSocial.com and did one of those deals. Holy cow. This was big.

I should qualify that -- it's big for our little operation. We were scraping by with a couple hundred hits on the website, a few jobs per week, etc. Pretty much the usual slow season load. But when we launched a LivingSocial deal last week, we were buried. Website hits quadrupled. Facebook "likes" increased by about 50 new people, work orders poured in. It's amazing -- thank you, DC! (And, oddly enough, Portland -- who bought a voucher out there? You know we don't yet go cross country, right?)

The downside: LivingSocial takes a chunk of the sales of these vouchers, and since most of our jobs are pretty small, we are likely going to do a LOT of them for free. We've already done a few of these voucher jobs, and the net afterward has been in the $5 to $15 range -- and that's before payroll. So, this is going to obliterate our bottom line. We were fairly aggressive savers last year, so we have a small cushion to absorb the shortfall, but still...yikes.

The big plus side: more exposure, which is exactly what we were looking for. In fact, apparently one of the on-air people at the country station, WMZQ, bought a voucher and talked about us on the radio. We don't know who it was. We only know that happened because someone heard about it on the radio, she told her husband, he filled out a work request form on the website and mentioned it. WMZQ has 237 million monthly listeners in the U.S. according to their website. Again...yikes. We might need another truck.

Still, I'd like to do something even bigger. We've got some momentum now, so, when does the Nats season begin? I have plans...

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