Offered Local Blog
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.
There was an interesting story today in the New York Times – Your the Boss – Is Groupon Ruining Retailing? one of the most interesting statements in the post to me was:
“a typical new customer is gained because a business is near the customer’s home or office, or because the customer heard something good about the business”
This is one of the reasons that for many businesses a location based marketing strategy that uses social media marketing components is going to be more successful than relying on coupons or heavy discounting to generate more business.
As an example there is probably more business to be had in getting existing customers to increase their visits to your store than there is in using coupons to get new customers, simply because existing customers who visit more often will be more likely to spread the word about your business and of course make more purchases.
Now, what you have to do is give your existing customers the ability to share their love of your business. This of course is one of the main drivers behind things like Facebook, Twitter, foursquare etc. They provide the venue for businesses to share their information and then rely on their best customers to spread the word. Some of that exists with Groupon, you can share the offer, but the premise is different and as such Groupon programs run the risk of generating “coupon seeker” new customers as several comments eluded to in the post.
Several of the comments noted that we are breeding a culture of expected discounts, which is very possible. Personally, I like discounts but in thinking about my own locally based shopping and dining habits, I still think I like a more combined value proposition: easy to get to, good service and fair value in the price. It’s great when a place that I like has a deal but it isn’t the thing that wins me over completely. This is one of the primary reasons that developing a social media strategy that connects you to your customers and gives them a way to easily share the value of going to your business is such a key component to any business marketing plan.
You can check out the rest of the comments from the original post in the New York Times below.
Back in February there was a good article in TechCrunch that provided some statistics on how far people would go to get a discount, something well worth knowing if you are actively engaged in location based marketing.
Discovering The Distance-to-Discount Ratio
“When it comes to deals, the bigger the discount, the further people will travel. While this may sound obvious, mobile advertising company JiWire has some numbers to back it up. JiWire is releasing a new study today that evaluates consumers; behavior when it comes to location-based deals and discounts”
There were a couple of interesting data elements but one that stuck with me was this one:
“Even if you give away a product worth $100 for free, only 31 percent of people would travel more than two hours to get it.”
As stated elsewhere in the article it is logical that people are only willing to do so much for a certain discount or convenience factor and there are even limits for free!
I think that this is really important for a business as it’s beginning to develop its social media marketing and location based marketing strategies to clearly understand the limits of your potential customers. It could be simple things like:
- How do people get to us? car, train, public transport – this could affect from how far away you can expect to draw new customers
- Does our product require delivery or can the customer take it with them? – this might affect the type of discounted items as it may be too much of a burden to arrange to pick large items up but simple to carry things out of the store, maybe you have smaller discounts on easily carried items and larger discounts on larger items to reflect the transportation factor
- The cost as related to the income of your client – this is an interesting one, a $50 discount means different things to different people, so students might travel further or accept a lesser convenience factor than working professionals for that same $50
Most of these things can be easily determined by looking at your customer demographic or even running your own quick poll on Facebook or Twitter. Take a chance and ask “how far would you go to get a discount from us”? Then take that information into account as you craft certain offers in the future. The fact is that people like offers all you need to do is determine what suits them.
One final thing, remember to look at your social media marketing channels individually, it could be that certain customers are on Facebook and others are using Twitter and they may have very different distance to discount thresholds, make sure the right offers go to the right channels.
You will probably have to experiment often to determine what works but in the end you will end up with far better offer and promotion targeting, which is key to driving purchases.
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.
Facebook leverages marketing for corporate brands more effectively than Twitter, reveals a group buying startup, ChompOn, after comparing the value of posting on Facebook with its counterpart on Twitter. According to ChompOn’s report, a Facebook share fetches $14, which is nearly three times the value of a tweet and a Facebook…
via Is Facebook Part Of Your Online Marketing Plans For 2011?.
There is some great information in the above post. Given the difference in social approaches between Facebook and Twitter it is no wonder there is such a difference in the two services.
For the most part Facebook allows you to cultivate a deeper relationship with your friends where as Twitter is much more for sharing snippets of information. Overtime the Facebook relationships end up being much stronger because of the relationship building.
So what does that have to do with creating more value from a share versus a tweet?
Quite simply when it comes to making purchases we all rely on references and reviews by people we have relationships with and trust for any number of reasons. The stronger the relationship, the stronger the trust and the more likely a reference or review will result in a transaction somewhere else in the social chain, the social chain hopefully being your business.
For businesses developing location based marketing or social media marketing plans it is important to build both parts of the social channel but recognize that larger efforts placed in Facebook will probably bring you better results over time for your marketing efforts.
Whenever you are starting a new company or building a new product you are generally driven by the need to address a particular issue in the marketplace. In many cases it starts with a problem that you have or one that you discover as you are working with clients in a different area. As you begin to look into the issues you read blog posts, check news stories and look at related products to determine if the problem is real, big and potentially within your realm to solve, especially if you are going to be doing it as a start-up company.
Sometimes the time between the idea gelling and the product marketing/sales activities kicking off can be 6 months maybe even more and you have had to put into words many times what it is you believe and what it is you are doing. This process tosses out the incorrect ideas and assumptions and gives you a whole lot of practice coming up with what it is you are really doing and who you are doing it for.
It’s at this point that I love to crank out a Wordle, a cool form of word visualization that brings out common ideas from mounds of text. Above I have inserted the current Wordle for OfferedLocal based on a few writings and blog posts that have been done while we were getting the idea, company and product up and running.
So, what we believe we are doing is creating a platform for location based marketing which brings together social media marketing and to some extent mobile marketing, since most people are using their phones as if they were a computer.
In looking at what we have written about we can see a slightly different pattern emerging with prominent words such as; Social, People, Offers and Marketing, hence the catchy blog title “Social People Like Offers”. I like to say Wordles don’t lie, which is really to say that there are key aspects of related writing that are sometimes lost until you visualize them correctly.
So, what does this have to do with location based social medial marketing? Well, it points out that if you are a marketer, you need to remember that this is currently all about social people and their desire to get something in return for their engagement with your company.
There have been a few articles already, particular Mashable’s – Virgin America Rewards Checkins with Frequent Flyer Points – that have highlighted this desire and some of the early promotions that are addressing this desire:
“Virgin America, for instance, is using the platform to offer application users frequent flyer points in exchange for their checkins“
“Some other top-notch rewards include 10% off rentals from Avis, 50 bonus points for checkins at Doubletree, Quality Inn, Comfort Suites and Cambria Suites hotels”
Of course this isn’t just for big companies, if you are a local restaurant doing your own promotional marketing or a local retail store managing your social media marketing you need to not only provide people with info about your venue or products but give them something for being in the know or checking into your location. It can be something as simple as reminding them about your midweek dining specials (because who wants to cook on a Wednesday) or giving them advance notice about an upcoming sale, or in both of these cases creating offers that are only for this group of people, making it really exclusive.
As we continue building out our product and business I will run all of our blogging and marketing material through the Wordle process to see what interesting things pop up, does our view on location based marketing or social media marketing change or are we seeing variations on ideas emerge from within the cloud of words being written on the subject?
So, for now, social people like offers, remember that!
Location based social media marketing
There is a great question posed on Quora: Why do people ‘check in’ using Location-Based Social Networks? What is their motivation?
Some of the top answers in my opinion are:
“To record where they have been and build a map of the places they frequent, it’s another piece of content about yourself you can record and look back on, like photos or tweets.”
“To gain deals – I think right now this is the main reason people check in. While I mentioned I won’t usually let my network know I’m at my local coffee shop, I may be motivated if there’s a perk to checking in (ex free pastry with 3 check-ins)”
At present I think there are two groups of people; first are those that are looking to be social and let people know where they are and where they have been, for them it’s a bit of a game. The second group of people are looking for a deal of some sorts, hoping that if they engage they will get something out of it; free something, extra discount etc.
The are two other parts to this question as well; when/how do people check-in to receive a location based marketing offer and via what channel(s) do they receive these offers? and which channel can deliver a more powerful offer?
In services like foursquare the check-in is supposed to be when they are physically at the location, typical mobile marketing example, but even this is changing (see the Super Bowl where you could check-in from your couch) in other situations like those used in social media marketing (Facebook, etc.) the offers may come to you on your phone and you save them until you actually reach the location (in my opinion the far more likely circumstance going forward).
The channel is also important, in foursquare as an example you can be going by a location and find it on foursquare and check-in without having previously had a relationship with the retailer or restaurant owner, whereas in the case of an offer distributed via a social network where you follow that brand or business you find that offer in your social stream and that offer comes with the power of a relationship, potentially making that a more powerful offer.
In the end, it’s definitely still evolving and a lot will depend on how the businesses get involved and how businesses mange their location based marketing plans. Check out the rest of the answers here on Quora:
Is it location-based marketing, social media marketing or mobile marketing?
Well, yes in fact it is all of these in one form or another. In short we are focused on helping business people who have physical locations (retail stores, restaurants, bars/pubs/clubs, salons etc.) become better marketers when it comes to making offers and promotions that drive people in the doors of their business and making purchases.
Our approach is to make it simple to create an offer or a promotion and then to distribute that across social networks such as Facebook and as well as check-in services like foursquare. These offers are then accessible by existing customers and potential customers online or via their mobile phones making it easy to alert people to a special deal or to simply remind them to stop in and have dinner, or get their hair cut or pick up something for their children or pets.
Our approach is not only to make it simple to make offers but to also create a pathway for customers to become more engaged with your business. The idea is to connect more people in more ways to your business, beginning initially with check-ins, moving on to your social media programs and then ultimately into your email marketing and customer database systems where your marketing can be even more effective.
So why is this so important? Let’s go over a quick example; if you are actively engaged with social media and check-in programs today, this is a typical process that you may go through to make a simple offer to customers:
- Create the offer, say a Two for Tuesday dinner special
- Login to Facebook and put that offer and links into your status box
- Login to Twitter and put that offer and links into your status box, adjusting down for the 140 character limit
- Login to foursquare, create the offer
- Check back to see how the offer performs by logging into each account again and viewing the performance
- Compiling the information in a spreadsheet so that you can compare and share the performance of the offers with others
Whew! that’s a lot of work. What we want to do is have you login once, create the offers all at the same time and then click a button and out go the offers. In short, it has to be simpler to make great offers. We then want to collect all of the data and bring that back to you so that you can easily compare the performance across the various applications that you are using.
So, we welcome you to OfferedLocal and we look forward to helping you become the best offer and promotional marketers in the world. Right now we are taking pre-registrations for our upcoming beta release, so sign up quickly as we will only be selecting a few companies to get started with and their will be long-term benefits with being one of our first customers.
The team at OfferedLocal