I recently attended an interesting webinar held by Hootsuite guest starring Geotoko. It was a little salesy, but the premise of the webinar is that location based marketing is the way of the future. Not the pretend future we were promised in Back to the Future Two with awesome flying skateboards and shoes that self inflated - but the near future and even current. Seeing as my job is to stay on top of interactive marketing and internet marketing trends I decided to look further into this and share how location based marketing is truly a powerful tool to bridge the gap between the digital and physical world. In this blog you will learn what location based marketing is, the different companies that are the big players with location based services, and three tips to be more effective with location based marketing. What is location-based marketing? First, lets define location-based marketing. Location based marketing (LBM) is when companies use geographic locations provided by GPS on mobile devices to market to potential customers as well as provide the potential customers useful information and fun games. There are a variety of ways to market/target your customers using LBM and each method has different advantages and disadvantages. Whatever way you use LBM, the overarching goal is to reach the right person, at the right time, with the right ad. How you do it – that is the fun part! Who are the big players in location based services?
- Foursquare - Check-in enough to become the mayor? Foursquare an extremely popular app. is a highly social way to utilize location-based marketing. They are a leader in the field and have reached a point where they are a major player in LBM. Foursquare allows a customer to check-in and leave suggestions or messages at various establishments. Businesses can promote on Foursquare via coupons or providing perks if someone becomes the mayor. Mayorship – though gimmicky – leads to real world prizes, which is unique and a great bridge between the physical and digital world. These real world prizes create loyal customers who often go to these businesses with hopes of becoming the mayor or retaining their mayorship. Foursquare also has a unique and fun badge system where you receive badges based on your check-ins. When someone checks-in they also have the option to post on Facebook and Twitter - these check-ins serve as a way to promote businesses. Check-ins show that a person likes your product enough to announce to their social networks they are there.
- Yelp – Yelp uses one of the most powerful forms of marketing – word of mouth. Current customers leave reviews for anyone who is looking. Sometimes these reviews are positive, and sometimes they are negative. However the review is slanted they tend to be more trusted as people assume that these are non-commercial based reviews. These reviews are then found by potential customers who have searched “nearby” and been geolocated by GPS. Much like foursquare there are also check-in and deal options, and businesses can utilize these to reach customers at the right time and in the right place.
- Gowalla – Gowalla has not been around as long as Foursquare, but they are extremely popular. Gowalla is a GPS based application that tracks your location, and does so with a great user interface. One feature I really like is that with Gowalla you can’t check into a location unless you are physically there. You can’t game the system with Gowalla as it uses your GPS to find where you are, and if you aren’t there – you aren’t checking in. Additionally Gowalla allows you to make trips, which are an excellent feature if you are just visiting a new city. These check-ins are also pushed to social networks, which allow potential customers to see that their friends frequent an establishment.
- Show some love – We have all seen the stickers for Yelp local stores. Remind people in the physical world of what you are doing in the digital world. Keep your location based marketing top of mind.
- Make deals that matter – If a potential customer is close and they see a great deal, they are much more likely to go to your store than for an average deal. Think great discounts to woo repeat customers.
- Stay current – Make sure that you are listed on all the major location-based marketing services. Many have phone lines and if the address or phone number is incorrect it is important to correct them so your check-ins have that viral effect with the correct information.