Businesses face many challenges on the road to being successful and profitable. Some of these include staying competitive and providing personalized customer experiences. Although there are often many hurdles to overcome, taking advantage of proven strategies such as location-based marketing can help you increase customer satisfaction.
In this article, we’ll discuss what location-based marketing is, and analyze how platforms such as Yelp and Foursquare Swarm recognize check-ins to physical places. Then we’ll look at four tips for engaging your customers with location-based data. Let’s get to it!
An Introduction to Location-Based Marketing
Location-based marketing, also known as ‘geomarketing,’ takes advantage of the location data of a brand’s customers to increase engagement and boost sales. Although there are several types, the main two are:
- Geotargeting. This type uses browser IP addresses, which tend to be general estimates of one’s location. An example of this is a website ad that promotes a deal to a store or business within 10 miles of your location.
- Geofencing. This variety uses Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) technology. It occurs in real-time, and is more exact when compared to geotargeting. This is what we’ll focus on in this article.
Incorporating location data can lead to highly personalized and targeted experiences for your customers. However, it’s important to understand that many customers will be wary of sharing this data if they don’t trust that you’ll protect it.
How Your Business Can Benefit From Location-Based Marketing
Location-based enterprises such as restaurants and grocery stores often face stiff competition from similar businesses. This makes it essential for them to stand out by offering special experiences.
Location-based marketing gives businesses the opportunity to do just that, and attract customers to their physical spots. It does this through the use of mobile devices, location technologies, and social networks, which together enable users to ‘check in’ to places:
Typically, users of these location-based social networks can engage with other users visiting the same spots, share what they’re up to, as well as review and recommend businesses. Two examples are Yelp and Foursquare Swarm.
Yelp helps connect brands with customers. As a business owner, you begin by either creating a location listing or ‘claiming’ an existing one that was created by users who previously checked in to your shop:
On the other hand, Foursquare Swarm lets users explore local places, and it keeps track of their visited locations:
Users can earn collectibles such as stickers along the way:
They can also share their location with a check-in, and see friends nearby. Businesses can take advantage of the location data provided by these platforms to boost customer engagement and incentivize users to visit and make purchases. For example, you can offer discounted prices and Buy One Get One (BOGO) offers.
Yelp, in particular, notifies a user’s friends and connections when they activate an offer. It also prompts the user to share their activity on other social media networks, which can help increase brand awareness for your business.
4 Killer Tips for Engaging Your Customers Using Location-Based Data
Location-based data can make it easier to promote special offers that increase engagement and, ultimately, boost the customer experience. However, to fully take advantage of its benefits, there are some key tips to keep in mind.
1. Establish Your Business Goals
First, it is important to align your efforts for engaging customers based on their location data with your business goals. Doing so will make it easier to track and measure the success of your overall marketing strategy.
The type of goal you set will often influence the sort of experiences you create for your users.
Some common goals include attracting more traffic to your business, acquiring new customers, and increasing sales during specific times of the day.
One way to set effective business goals is by using the SMART framework, which means your goals are:
This can increase your chances of meeting your objectives. Over time, you’ll want to track both quantitative and qualitative (or observational) data acquired from user habits, so that you can iterate and improve your strategy.
2. Familiarize Yourself With Location-Based Social Platforms
Next, you’ll want to explore and understand location-based networks, how they work, and any unique features they have. For example, Yelp enables people to ‘rule’ a group of places in a region, appointing each one a Duke or a Duchess.
There are two types of location-based platforms: crowdsourced and on-demand. The former includes platforms such as Yelp and Foursquare Swarm. Users can check in, and their GPS information is used to determine their current location. They can either choose an existing business listing or create a new one.
As mentioned earlier, there is often a social element to these platforms. Friends are kept apprised of check-ins, and users can add location-based tips for others to discover:
Unlike the crowdsourced alternative, listings in on-demand platforms are fully managed by the business owners. This has the advantage of ensuring that any data available is always up to date and accurate.
It’s worth noting that you may need to pay to list your business on these platforms. This is unlike the crowdsourced solutions, which are usually free for both users and brands. Some examples of this type include OpenTable and Resurva, although neither use check-ins.
OpenTable, in particular, is a restaurant reservation service that helps users find local dining spots:
Customers can book reservations and send RSVPs to friends directly from the app. OpenTable also uses a points-based rewards system that lets customers redeem points for future meals and hotel discounts.
3. Verify That Your Business Profiles Are Fully Set Up and Integrated With Social Media
Once you’ve learned the ins and outs of the location-based social networks most appropriate for your business, the next step to take is to ensure that you have complete profiles set up on your preferred platforms. For example, you’ll want to verify that the addresses and contact details are correct.
In addition to providing basic business information and photos, it’s important to fill out and customize your listing. There are often network-specific features you can take advantage of. For example, on Yelp, you can enter your specialties (specific services you offer) and attributes.
These attributes could include things such as accepted methods of payment (such as Apple Pay), whether you allow pets, or if you are a Black-owned business. Finally, you might consider integrating with social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, to make it possible for customers to share their experiences with friends and family.
4. Create Irresistible Offers to Get More Customers in the Door
Creating compelling offers is key to actually getting customers in the door. Fortunately, most of the location-based social networks we’ve considered let business owners run promos to attract more people to their physical locations.
For starters, you can notify your users that you’re online by putting up stickers with messages such as “We’re on Yelp,” along with an incentive for checking in. Some examples of offers that can work really well include:
- Giving out a free service to people when they check in a certain number of times
- Offering free specials to the customer with the most check-ins
- Giving discounts on a customer’s first check-in
It is also important to focus your promos on the incentives you offer, rather than on your business itself (for example, “get 10 percent off between 9:00am and 11:00am”). Similarly, remember that your offers should be based on your brand’s goals, so it will be easier to measure results. This can help you continually iterate and improve on your services.
Keeping your customers engaged is crucial for building relationships and convincing them to do business with you. However, it can be tricky to manage this successfully. Fortunately, using location-based marketing can help you target users on platforms such as Yelp and Foursquare Swarm. You can offer personalized experiences and create compelling promotions to attract visitors to your local venue.
Do you have any questions about engaging your customers using location-based data? Let us know in the comments section below!
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