Increasingly, consumers want everyone—big brothers, little brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, friends, everyone in their social network—to know where they are, what they’re doing, who they’re doing it with, and what they think about doing it.
Capitalizing on those desires are location-based services (LBS) (also called geosocial services), such as Foursquare, SCVNGR, Google Places, or Facebook, which use GPS services embedded in smartphones to connect consumers to their physical locations. Marketers are catching on, using these tools to generate buzz and build brand loyalty while adding to their company’s bottom line.
It’s early in the LBS game, but here is what some of the experts suggest you keep in mind when launching location-based promotions:
7 Expert Tips for Launching Location-Based Promotions
1. Make it Worthwhile: If you want people to check in when they get to your business, make sure it’s worth the trouble for them to do so. Make the benefits of checking in rewarding, even if it’s only a virtual reward (which research shows can be as effective as tangible rewards).
2. Create an Aristocracy: Treat customers who check in frequently as part of a privileged class. Whether that’s priority seating at a restaurant or advanced booking privileges at your club, you need to make sure your best customers feel special.
3. Reward Gossip: This is social media, after all. Create a rewards program that provides incentives for people who spread the word about checking in at your business via their social networks.
4. Keep Tabs on KPIs: For LBS media, the key performance indicators (KPIs) means tracking the number of checkins, the referrals those checkins generate via other social media, comments generated, and photos shared. Here’s where a dynamic inbound marketing platform really comes in handy.
5. All in the Family: Make sure your LBS programs are tied into any other loyalty programs you offer so they become one more channel to reward repeat business.
6. The Places to Be: Making sure your Google Places and Facebook Places pages are accurate and complete is critical to getting found via the search and social network giants. Don’t forget to specify your service area when it matters (such as for restaurant deliveries or service calls).
7. Be Clear: Orwell did have a valid point about the nefarious potential of data collection. Keep your data collection and sharing policies transparent, and make it easy to opt in or out any time a user wants to do so.
Geosocial services will find increasing importance and usage over time, especially with younger consumers who rely on their smartphones to manage every aspect of their lives. With location-based marketing, success is where you find it, or -- more to the point -- where you make it.