Since Google and Facebook Places have taken the lead, with Foursquare close behind, more and more people are “checking in” to locations all over the country (and in some cases overseas). With such an enormous audience sharing information about every place they visit, businesses are beginning to adopt “geolocation” technology for their own marketing purposes. Here are a few ways that your business can take advantage of the ‘Places’ craze, and use the location applications out there to gain customers and improve your ratings and visibility.
1) Double-Check Your Visibility. With all the check-in apps and businesses out there, the odds are good that your business isn’t on the radar – yet. Contact the site to make your business ”discoverable” if you can’t locate it using the app.
2) Encourage customers to tag you. Make sure that customers know you are discoverable: if you want customers to track you on Foursquare, for example, place the Foursquare symbol on a store-front sign with a note that says you can be found there. Include your geolocation information online if you have a website.
3) Encourage customers to scan barcodes. Products for sale in your store will have barcodes on them, and consumers can now scan these barcodes with their smartphones to find reviews, compare deals, and make an informed decision before buying. One popular app that supports bar code scans is Bakodo, although there are more out there. Some businesses have pick up on this trend, and are now offering promotions centered around it. For example, a scanned item compared online may have a special discount price if bought in a particular store.
4) Build in rewards: Make special offers and incentives available as part of your marketing plan: if potential customers spy a deal, they will be much more likely to check in at your store. One app that might be helpful is ‘WeReward’ -it offers customers cash for checking in to businesses (Side note: if you are going to offer coupons and discounts to users with the highest number of check-ins, be sure to use a location-verification service).
Here are a few good reward examples we’ve seen:
Reward your most loyal customers: If someone is checking into your location multiple times, it is in your best interest to encourage this behavior by acknowledging it. The shop in this image, for example, offered a special discount to someone who had checked in the most that week.
Give “group deals” a try : This is a special incentive given to a large enough number of people checking into the same location at the same time. Groupon, for example, is one app that business owners use to help get their offers out. Try out challenges: Another common app now is SVNGR (Foursquare’s challenge offering is less flexible), which enables a business to give specific rewards to consumers who rack up enough points for doing a specific behavior. For example, checking in may earn you a point, or posting a photo may earn you two.
It’s still too soon to say where exactly Geo-location apps will take business marketing, but with a little experimentation you can use it to your advantage as it continues to grow and improve.
MARKIT Group staff
If you’re new to Location applications, read more about the most recent addition, Facebook Places, here:
What Your Business Should Know About Facebook Places
If your business isn’t on the radar, no one will check in:
How To Make Your Business Geolocation-Ready
And of course there is a market for people who want to check in to music, videos, and other forms of entertainment that do not force them to leave the couch:
Entertainment Check-Ins Don’t Require You To Be Anywhere