Checking Out Checking In On Location Based AppsAugust 6, 2013 By: Ron Cates
Odds are you’ve heard about location-based services (LBS) such as Foursquare that encourage users to share their location online so their friends know where to find them. Oh, and to also take advantage of discounts and specials given to customers that use LBS when they check in to a business.
If you haven’t already added LBS to your marketing mix, now is the time. If you have and want to amp up your results, keep reading.
You probably already know these apps allow you to identify, engage and reward your most ardent fans. Not to mention they boost word-of-mouth marketing by posting your business on your customers’ social media pages. You’ve probably also heard about the downside in that check-ins can be hit or miss as consumers either forget or choose not to broadcast their whereabouts.
Still, mobile searching and LBS apps are on the rise. A recent Pew Internet Research study found that 74 percent of smartphone owners use their phone to search for real-time information on local businesses and 46 percent of them specifically use location-based services.
Given the popularity of LBS, here’s how you can make the most of these apps for your bar or nightclub to increase visibility, engage customers and drive more business.
Next, since Foursquare is the big kahuna in LBS, download the Foursquare for Business Companion Mobile App so you can share updates, see recent check-ins, and turn specials on and off without having to go to the back office and log on to a computer.
Now that you’re set up, let’s get to the finer points about loyalty programs, email engagement and targeted advertising.
Reward loyal customers that frequently check-in with the types of perks they’ll brag about to their friends. This may include backstage passes, access to a private room, or other types of high value incentives.
Since you can see which customers have checked in, ask permission to add them to your email marketing list. As you’re asking, highlight the benefits of subscribing such as insider deals and specials.
As for targeted advertising, take advantage of the ability to display hyper-local ads or present offers to customers on their mobile phones when they’re nearby. Also, you may want to explore targeted advertising on Yelp and Facebook so that your business appears alongside check-ins and positive reviews.
Now we’d be remiss if we didn’t address the fact that some establishments simply aren’t suitable for LBS marketing. However, this doesn’t mean you should ignore the mobile component completely because people rely on their smartphone’s search function when they’re looking for a place to go.
Given this, be sure that your website is optimized for local search. You can do this by including the location of your business in the title of the most frequently visited pages on your website. You will also want to add your location within the meta descriptions of your website. When you tweak your website this way, your business is more likely to show up higher in search results. However, if this sounds too technical, know that these tasks can be easily handled by the person managing your website.
Using LBS, you will see an increase in foot traffic and online buzz. And remember that it doesn’t hurt to remind your customers in person about the value of checking in.