Offered Local Blog
As seen in TechCrunch today via a JiWire study there was a good outline of what mobile users want in exchange for giving up their location. Wrapping your head around this is important as more and more companies engage in location based marketing and social media marketing plans that rely heavily on location data.
Mobile Users Eager to Offer Their Location in Exchange for Better Content & Deals
“According to a new report from location-based media company JiWire, 53% of the “on-the-go” U.S. audience is willing to exchange their location in exchange for more relevant content and better information, including mobile deals.”
OfferedLocal Take: It makes sense that in exchange for more relevant content and for deals that one would be willing to exchange their location, which in effect means using check-in services like Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook Places and Google Places. What was interesting was that many people still seem to prefer deals to arrive to them via email, which is not as readily accessible while someone is at a particular location.
So, why the big disconnect on how people want to receive information on deals?
I suspect it is partly because of the still early adopter status of the check-in services such that many people have still not used them and many businesses don’t even know how to create a deal or offer using the services. In regards to that last point, I regularly check-in to business locations using Foursquare and find rather robust communities of people checking in and share tips and pictures but the business itself seems oblivious i.e. they are not even running a simple offer or deal to reward the loyalty of those people checking in.
Over time this will change of course and I would expect at that time the preference for deals being received via a specific mobile application will change to be less email reliant and more mobile app related.
Aaron Strout, head of location based marketing for WCG put together a great checklist on how to run a good location based marketing program, appropriately titled:
10 Keys to a Good Location Based Marketing Campaign
This list is a primer for the soon to be released book “Location Based Marketing for Dummies“, one we are definitely waiting to get a copy of and recommend that you get as well.
OfferedLocal’s Take: For nearly every small business; local restaurant, retailer or service provider, location based marketing is going to be both new and not so new. New, in the sense that there is now a whole new set of technologies to work with and Not So New, because location based marketing is what they have always done. Local businesses survive based on foot traffic both old customers and new customers have got to come into your place of business in order for you to make your numbers month in and month out.
From Aaron’s list of 10 keys to a good campaign there are two that really standout to us as being vitally important:
“Pick a great offer. Note that “great” doesn’t equal “expensive.” Sometimes, a sign in your store/venue honoring the “mayor” might be enough. My co-author, Mike Schneider, and I have what we call the “Ben & Jerry’s Rule” named after one of the first successful campaigns ever to roll out on foursquare. They offered 3 scoops of ice cream for $3 for everyone that checked in (cost for 3 scoops is normally $5.50). And even better, the mayor got a free extra scoop.”
“Remember to let people know about your program by putting up signs, telling them in your newsletter, including a mention on your “on hold” music, etc.”
As business owners and marketers know getting the right deal or offer in place is of critical importance and just like in the old days of print marketing it will come down to experimenting; how many words, when is an offer delivered and who is it targeted towards. It’s really no different, it’s just the technology that has changed and the biggest change in the technology are all the ways that you can let people know about your offers, which is to Aaron’s second point from above.
From our perspective we also think that there is almost no separation between social and location meaning that your social channels, just like your newsletters or email marketing, are all points of distribution for offers and they are all location based marketing components, simply because as a small business it is about your location(s).
So as an example, take your common offers: buy-one-get-one or loyalty offers and work them into the new technologies like Foursquare (they have sales and loyalty offers as types) and use them as well in your Facebook and Twitter status and even further in your Facebook Places and Google Places. Take every opportunity you can to distribute an offer as each medium will reach different people in different way.
So, take some time to think about the 10 keys, paying special attention to creating offers and distributing them widely and make sure to order “Location Based Marketing for Dummies” and let us and Aaron know what you think, we are pretty sure that you will be happy with the investment.
Social Media Examiner had a great blog post titled “Social Media Location-Based Services: Foursquare vs. Facebook Places”
“Ask any marketer about trends for 2011 and you’ll undoubtedly hear the phrase “location-based services.” However, among Foursquare, Facebook Places, SCVNGR, Gowalla and many others, marketers have a lot to choose from.”
One of the interesting stats that came out of the article was a comparison that was run looking at the number of check-ins for the same location between Foursquare and Facebook Places.
“Foursquare overwhelmingly dominated in the experiment, with 5x (or more) the number of check-ins in some cases. It’s unclear if these numbers apply to all businesses in all cities, but Foursquare users appear to be far more active than Facebook Places users.”
Part of is not surprised by the difference because often an application that specializes in a certain activity is actually better a performing the task, in this case Foursquare is built for checking into places and picking up deals, earning badges and connecting with people you are not already connected with whereas, Facebook is really good at being a social network. That’s not to say that Facebook won’t make inroads in the location based marketing space as it clearly will, its numbers of people are just to large to do otherwise than be successful at it at some point, maybe even buying Foursquare at some time in the future?
So, what does this mean for restaurants, for retail and for hospitality marketers? Well, in the near term you will need to have your location based marketing and social media marketing programs actively working the check-in angles and you will need to be making offers and promotions across both platforms. You should also be extending that reach across other platforms like Gowalla and Google Places as they are all capable of contributing to your customer base.
Google Latitude, the search giant’s location-sharing mobile app, is launching checkin offers nationwide, giving users the ability to unlock discounts with a handful of launch partners.Much like Foursquare and Facebook, Latitude now reveals different offers if a user checks in to locations hosting a Latitude deal. However, Google adds…
via Google Rolls Out Checkin Deals for Latitude Nationwide.
In the Mashable blog post above it was noted that Google might be a little late to the location based checkin party and is aggressively moving in response to its inability to acquire Groupon, all of which could be true to some degree. For once though I think that Google might just be continuing with a plan started long ago, which might have been helped if they had acquired Groupon but is ultimately rolling forward at great speed regardless. So why is that?
- Google has a dominant mapping system used across the web and over the phone
- Google is going to be the dominant smart phone operating system, where said mapping system resides
- Google has Google Places, on said mapping system
- Google has trained businesses to buy ads for the web and it will be easy to buy ads/deals for mobile devices
- Both the buyer (businesses) of ads in the form of deals and the end user of the deals, the consumer know the Google brand and for the most part trust it
I could go on and on but at this point it is pretty clear that Google will get a large portion of the deal market regardless of its perceived lateness to the party. One might actually conclude that Google is just fashionably late?
So, what does this mean for businesses and the deals market when it comes to location based marketing?
- The ability to offer deals is going to get easier, Google is good at making things pretty easy
- The cost of offering deals will decline i.e. no longer having to share a large portion of the revenue as was common in the case of early Groupon deals, might actually become extremely cheap as Google can afford to drive numerous competitors to the brink with its war chest of cash
- You will really need to have your Google relationships tied up; claim your place, create a good profile
- Be ready to experiment with deals sooner rather than later, the current deals are being released by national brands but soon enough local small businesses will be able to create and run deals of their own
In the end, the here a deal there a deal mentality is here to stay and it’s only a matter of time before everyone has one.
Mashable had a good article titled “Mobile by the Numbers” which lays out the groundwork for some interesting opportunities in location based marketing and mobile marketing strategies.
“Mobile is a rapidly developing sector. According to some projections, mobile internet usage will overtake desktop usage before 2015. In preparation, companies are developing new mobile commerce platforms, strategies, and marketing efforts.”
In the above article and infographic, well worth checking out, there were several things that really stood out:
- 50% of all local searches are performed on mobile devices
- 91% of mobile internet access is to socialize
- 33% of Facebook‘s users use Facebook Mobile
- 59% of ‘s users us Twitter Mobile
So, what does this mean to someone who is trying to develop a marketing strategy for their business, in particular a local, physical location based business like a restaurant, salon or hotel?
Firstly, marketing today is all about capturing the local customer that is using a mobile device. The evidence is pretty clear that if your business is in a physical location then you need foot traffic and if you want foot traffic then you need to make it easy for people to find you on a local basis. This means you need to claim your spots on tools like Facebook Places and Google Places and provide as much information about your business as possible so that people searching can find you and say “Hey that sounds like just the place I want to go to”.
Next, it is recognizing that the majority of your current and potential customers are social and social people like offers, so you need to think about ways to entice customers to your location. There of course has been lots of time devoted to discounts, in particular those of coupon giant Groupon, but remember it’s not always about huge discounts, there is nothing wrong with the good old Two-For-Tuesday promotion or the loyalty approach of rewarding return shoppers, these types of promotions have worked for decades and will continue to do so long after the bargain hunting crazy has slowed down.
Finally, the biggest points of distribution, aside from your email database, will be the two leaders in social media Facebook and Twitter and for our purposes we would throw in foursquare and Google places, two relatively new but rapidly growing options. So, you need to get active in those areas and think of these tools as points of distribution in your overall marketing as well as mobile marketing plans.
In the end there is a simple formula for location based marketing that combines social media and mobile marketing options and the formula looks like this:
Mobile information availability + useful offers, distributed across social media channels = increased foot traffic and potential sales
If you focus your marketing on this formula and learn what offers your customers respond to, then you will be well on your way to making a success out of your mobile marketing plans and capturing the local lead as mobile activities continue to grow and ultimately dominate the market.
As if we didn’t already have enough daily, weekly or even monthly deal sites, there was quick coverage in Xconomy Seattle regarding Bing‘s foray into the deal aggregation space:
Bing Tries to Make Sense of Rapidly Crowding Daily Deals Space
Truth is We Love It!
The more ways to create deals (daily, weekly, monthly) and the more ways to distribute them; social media, location based marketing and search based marketing the better. It’s interesting to consider how far this will all be able to extend itself. Consider this, that billions upon billions of dollars of commerce take place every year from physical locations and of course we all want a deal, so unlike some markets it would seem as if the market for deals and deal type services; coupons, offers and promotions is extremely large and clearly at an early point.
So, if there are billions of dollars and millions of people and a 100 services to deliver your deals, what in the world are you going to do to manage it all?
At this point the best thing is to do is jump in, it will be a long time before there is a final shakeout when it comes to social media marketing (Facebook, etc.) and location based marketing (foursquare, Gowolla) and search based marketing (Google Places, Bing etc.) and the 100s of other startups coming in from around the corner. To begin you’ve got to make sure you understand the relationship between social media marketing and location based marketing and you need to have social media and location based services being used in your business, but that is all pretty easy to create.
The real need to focus on is managing the creation and distribution of coupons, offers and promotions. It can be a bit daunting but here are a few key premises:
- There are likely differences between your followers based on the type of social media (Facebook v Twitter), so it is also likely that your offers and promotions will need to be different for each audience
- There are differences between people who search by keywords and people who are on the road searching for a location. So, as above, it is also likely that your offers will need to be different for each of those types of services to make sure your offer is in the right time frame i.e. an offer next Tuesday doesn’t do me any good if I am driving by on a Thursday
In simple terms you need to think about the types of offers you currently make; two for Tuesday, X% off, by one get one, loyalty purchasing etc. and craft and distribute offers based on the channel and the medium.
Now, do you have to be a rocket scientist to do this correctly?, well no. What you have to do is start making offers and seeing what happens, making adjustments along the way and gaining insights into how your customers, followers and channels behave. Lots of people may get caught up in the enormity of it all but you just have to chip away at it one offer and one customer at a time.