Wednesday, February 9, 2011

How Your Business Can Capitalize on Location-Based Marketing

As society evolves into an increasingly mobile interface, businesses must follow suit or get left behind. It seems there’s a new location-based app being incorporated into mobile devices each and every day, and with good reasons. How else are we to keep abreast of the whereabouts of friends and family in the new portable world? But with these geo-social networking sites comes an opportunity for business owners, particularly retail stores and restaurants, to capitalize on real-time data being provided by subscribers.

Location-based sites in a nutshell

Users connect with friends and family by “checking-in” at a particular location. Points are awarded for checking in at particular venues and users can post their check-ins on their Facebook and Twitter accounts. Users earn badges and mayorships based upon the number of times they check-in at a business or location. These sites are intelligent in that they take the user’s location and notify users of events and other activities taking place nearby at that moment or by the hour.

How businesses can capitalize

The geosocial-networking phenomenon offers businesses the opportunity to drive business to their location by first listening to, and then engaging users of these location-based social sites. Create content on these sites. Establish your digital-self on Foursquare, Loopt, Brightlite, and Gowalla. Tweet, Yelp, create a Facebook profile…, whatever you can do to link your physical business location to the mobile, virtual world. Mostly, be heard.

These geo-sites offer real-time customer demographics to businesses—yes, real-time. The value of real-time customer information cannot be overstated. By monitoring a site like Foursquare, businesses can get a potential customer’s exact location at that moment in relation to their own business, whether that customer is male or female, and what hours an establishments seem to be the most popular.

What’s even better is that you can target customers of a competitor in your area with specials for customers that check-in to your competitor’s location, in hopes of drawing them over to your business. “Two-for-one dinner offer at Joe’s Pesto Palace just for presenting this screen. Offer good for next twenty minutes.” With that offer they get your address and you can extend the offer to their friends who might be nearby. A 2008 report by technology research firm ABI Research estimated geosocial-networking sites will generate as much as $3.3 billion in revenue by 2013.

Of course, with the advent of location-based networking sites comes the formation of marketing firms dedicated to capitalizing on them. If you’re a business owner and want to hire a firm to handle this aspect of your marketing campaign, you might check out Moment Feed, Three Ships Media, or any other firm specializing in location-based marketing.

So step aboard this virtual ship before it leaves your business behind. Location-based sites offer great opportunities for increased revenue in 2011 and the years to come.
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