Posts tagged location-based services
The following excerpt is from the article Using Social to Drive Customer Traffic: 10 Tips For Using Foursquare and Facebook Deals, and was written by Ken Mueller, owner of Inkling Media, for SocialMediaToday.com. View the full article.
As I work with small businesses, the ultimate goal is simple: drive traffic through their doors. Yes, things like brand awareness are important, but ultimately, you need customers to come through the doors and make purchases.
With that in mind, I think it’s time to revisit the concept of location-based services and checking in, specifically with Foursquare and Facebook Check-ins. It’s time for small businesses to take a long hard look at using both of these services as a way of driving customer traffic.
Here are some key elements to running a successful location-based check-in campaign:
1. Think mobile – remember, these deals only exist for those who are using smart phones and mobile devices. But with the rapid adoption rate of mobile technology, we are now at a tipping point for mobile Internet usage overtaking stationary Internet usage. Take advantage of your customers being on-the-go and making last minute decisions.
2. Entice new customers – Both Facebook and Foursquare are great for offering rewards, but one thing all businesses want are new customers. The right deal for first time check-ins could bring new people through the door to check you out and sample what you have to offer. I’d suggest making that deal for first time visitors something that really helps them get to know you better, perhaps a discount on your signature product, or even free if it’s not too expensive of an item.
3. Reward loyalty – Too often small businesses focus their marketing and advertising efforts on new customer acquisition, and too often social contests are designed to reward new people. The problem with this is that you never want to forget your loyal customers who have been with your over the years, and come in regularly. They are the keys to your word of mouth marketing, so make sure you offer something special for them. Perhaps it’s special rewards for a certain number of check-ins over time, or something unique for the “Mayor” on Foursquare to promote some healthy competition.
4. Offer Multiple deals at once -Since you have the option of one deal on Facebook at a time, and multiple deals on Foursquare, I would say offer a variety of deals at the same time, some for new customers, some for repeat customers, and perhaps something for your hardcore fans. This way, there is something for everyone, and you can treat each deal as an experiment to find out what works and what doesn’t.
5. Mix it up – There might be some deals you want to offer over time, but I think it’s best, especially with Facebook, if you offer them for a limited time, perhaps monthly, and change both the reward and the requirements (i.e. number of check ins). Remember, not all of your customers are usually there for the same things. We all have our preferences within the scope of what you offer as products or services, so make sure you switch it up from time to time. Besides, we get bored easily; we like variety.
6. Choose your rewards carefully – This is really important. Whatever you offer, whether it be a discount or some sort of merchandise, it needs to be something that makes people want to check-in. If the reward is too small, no one will come to your business to claim it. And yet, while it needs to be of great enough value to attract customers, make sure it isn’t too big of a reward. You certainly don’t want to break the bank and lose too much money on the deal. In some cases, you might not mind losing some money on a short term deal, if you know the long term payoff will be greater in terms of future purchases, but in general, find the right balance that works for you and your customers.
7. Be strategic – Have a plan. I just spent a few hours with a client mapping out a strategy for this in order to do it right, and we’re not done yet. But by planning it out, you minimize risk while maximizing the return. Don’t just slap an offer together and throw it out there.
8. Promote, promote, promote – I can’t stress this enough: it doesn’t do you any good if you offer great deals but don’t tell anyone about it. If you us any sort of traditional media to promote your business, why not promote the check*in deals that way. If I’m putting an ad in a magazine or newspaper, you better believe I’ll mention our check-in deals as an incentive to come in. Try putting a sign on your front door or window, too, to entice passerbys.
9. Just ask! – Since location based marketing is still new to a lot of people, it hasn’t become second nature for them. As a result, we need to educate our customers as to what these platforms are, how they work, and what the benefits are of checking in. I’m working with several clients right now to use signage reminding people to check in. This is a perfect place for a QR code because these check-ins are done via mobile devices anyway.
10. Inform your staff – Don’t create deals without letting everyone know internally. You don’t want your staff to be caught off guard when someone tries to claim a reward, and you also want them to be able to explain the deals to people, as well as talk them up. Your staff can encourage people to check-in to take advantage of the deals. Remember, checking in is a new and learned behavior. We need to get people in the habit of doing this.
And of course, have fun! By encouraging people to check in, and making them want to check in, you’re taking advantage of their social graph and the viral nature of those platforms.
Does your store use foursquare or Facebook check-ins? If so, what types of deals have you offered? Tell us in the comments section below!
Did you know Foursquare grew 3,400% last year? The location-based social tool is incredibly popular, and despite fierce competition, it continues to expand. It’s so widely used that even if you don’t participate, customers are probably already using it to check in to your location, leave tips and reviews, and connect with friends.
Like any tool, you should make sure your fans are actually using Foursquare before you invest time with it. But, if they are, there are many ways you can use it to create word of mouth.
A few things to try:
- Encourage people to check in. When people check in to your location, it’s a good thing. Their Foursquare friends are notified, and many users also share check-ins across Facebook and Twitter. Try testing a few incentives to get people to check in: a sign to remind visitors, discounts, specials or charitable donations.
Once you’ve verified your location on Foursquare, you’ll also receive a window cling so customers know you are a Foursquare-friendly establishment. After you’ve clearly posted this decal to your main window, add the icon to all of your marketing materials such as your email signature and webpage, and promote it on your other social media sites.
- Bring in groups of talkers. A variation of encouraging individual customers to check in is to encourage groups of friends to do it. Try a promotion that gives a group discount if friends check in together. Not only will you get an online word-of-mouth boost, but getting groups into your business means more offline conversations, too.
- Promote your biggest fans. It’s not always easy to identify your biggest talkers. But if you see a Foursquare user regularly checking in and leaving useful tips, that’s a talker you want to support. There are tons of experiments to try, but some to explore are offering special deals to your Foursquare mayor, incorporating user tips into marketing materials and having a reserved parking spot for big Foursquare talkers.
Comments are now open on Foreword Online and we want your feedback! How do you use Foursquare? Share your strategies by commenting below!
The following excerpt, from the article Location-Based Services Can Put Businesses on the Map, was written by MP Mueller for The New York Times. Check out how other small businesses are using these applications to generate traffic and how your store can do the same!
Although Starkville, Miss., is home to Mississippi State University and the fighting Bulldogs, it’s not a large city with a dense urban epicenter — the typical playground for those who use location-based marketing services such as Gowalla and Foursquare.
But one small-business owner there, Shane Reed of Strange Brew Coffee House, says sales of The Albino Squirrel Latte — a signature coffee drink with white chocolate and hazelnut syrup — and other drinks have increased 34 percent this September over the previous September, which he attributes to his use of Gowalla, a location-based check in service, and other social media sites.
When customers check in with Gowalla at the coffee house, they are greeted with a 10-percent-discount off of any drink. They show the counter crew the discount on their smartphones and proceed to sip happily.
Mr. Reed is an enthusiastic user of social media, but he says that in terms of generating walk-in traffic, the location-based services trump Facebook and Twitter. “You can have a great Twitter account and Facebook page,” Mr. Reed said, “but if people don’t know where you are located and can’t find you, it’s really not doing you much good.”
On average, he said, he gets four or five check-ins a day, but that number can jump to as many as 30 or 40 a day when Mississippi State’s Bulldogs are playing. And it doesn’t cost Mr. Reed anything, save the value of the discount.
There can be other advantages as well. When the users of location-based services see friends checking in on Gowalla, Foursquare or Yelp and making a comment about the business they are visiting, it can have an impact. The location services reward the businesses with the most check-ins by ranking them higher in their search results.
Someone who types “hair salon” into a location-based app on a smartphone, for instance, will get a list of the most popular places to get coiffed in the vicinity and the salon with the most check-ins will be at the top of the list with its logo, a link to its Web site and a map to take customers right to the door.
If you rely on local and foot traffic and you haven’t already claimed your page on these services, sign up. Once you’ve claimed your listing, cross-promote by adding links to your location-based pages to your Web and social media pages. Gowalla’s chief executive, Josh Williams, says small businesses can benefit from editing their listings.
“Fans have contributed their impressions of a business on Gowalla,” he said, “so small businesses need to go to Gowalla and make sure your business information is represented correctly and add topical, timely info, like the type of coffee that’s roasting right now. The second thing is to encourage your fans or customers to come by and check in — if your business is a hot spot, it will rise to the top of the list of businesses in your area, and that’s a great way to stand out.”
Foursquare’s manager for business development, Jake Furst, said the service offered a number of user-friendly apps to help merchants get the word out. “You can put a Foursquare Specials message in at 3 p.m., during a slow time,” he said, “and it will show up on a user’s phone within minutes. We’ve got a product called the Swarm Special. Merchants set up promo criteria for groups, like if we get 24 Foursquare users here at a set time, everyone at the bar gets a free drink.”
All the services offer businesses free window clings and stickers to encourage check-ins to get specials and find friends. They also provide merchants with check-in data, giving businesses valuable insights about their customers.
Foursquare’s merchant dashboard summarizes total daily check-ins, recent and most frequent visitors, visitors’ gender and most popular time of day for check-ins. You can also see how many of your customers who check in are broadcasting their whereabouts on Twitter and Facebook.
To determine which promotions will drive the most traffic, try scanning your Facebook and Twitter pages and those of your competitors to see what product or service people are talking about. Determine what you can afford to promote with discounts or freebies and target those for promoting. And when you sign up for these platforms, really commit to supporting them. Be sure you make time to work them, frequently pushing out updates and engaging with your audience.