By Mikal E. Belicove|For Entrepreneur.com|February 1, 2011
There’s an independent theater near my house that offers customers a cheesy looking discount card. Show it to the disinterested teen-ager behind the glass when you buy a ticket and he’ll take your money and punch a hole in the card. After five punches, the next film is free.
Of course, if it’s a “new” movie, the kid will tell you the discount card is no good, but that’s not the point of this story.
The point is Facebook Places has hopped on the location-based check-in bandwagon with both feet, giving Foursquare, SCVNGR and Gowalla a run for their incentive-based money. As you might recall, Facebook Places provides anyone with a smartphone or mobile device the opportunity to share where they are, connect with friends in the immediate area, or tell them that they’re visiting an eatery, for instance, by “checking in” on Facebook. Places has been around since late last year, but until now, it lacked much incentive for its users. Enter Facebook Deals.
Facebook Deals is a simple concept that enables businesses like yours a means of offering bargains and discounts that can potentially bring traffic to your business, create buzz, and foster customer loyalty. Like the theater punch card, Facebook Deals entices loyalty from your customers by offering them a tangible discount — and you don’t have to deface a raggedy ticket to make it work.
Best yet, by promoting your business with Facebook Deals, you could create a snowball effect brought about by the enormity of Facebook itself. First, there are more than 200 million Facebook mobile users out there, many looking for deals for themselves and to pass on to friends. Adding to that is research that shows Facebook users have, on average,130 online friends. So when someone goes to your Facebook page to take advantage of a Deals discount or bonus — wham! — you’ve got 130 other folks exposed to your online offer.
Facebook Deals offers you, the business owner, four different deals:…
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