How to Use Mobile Marketing to Snag Local Customers

January 16, 2012

January 16, 2012

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If you own a retail store and haven’t yet tried location based marketing, you might want to put it on your radar.  Jonathan Bellinger, the digital strategy director of the marketing communications firm, JWT New York, told Entrepreneur in an interview last week that, although there is currently a gap between large and small business as far as success, small business location based marketing can take off if small business owners “get more create and offer addition value.”

What is it?

Location based marketing works by tracking opt-in consumer locations and then texting them information about nearby sales and promotions.  Imagine that you’re in the car looking for a place to eat, and you get a text telling you that the local sandwich shop is offering a two-for-one deal for the next hour.  Would that help you make your decision about where to eat?  Some marketers not only track a consumer’s location, they also incorporate time into the equation.  That helps them gauge which offers to send, because the two combined are used as a predictor of their intent to buy.  For instance, they wouldn’t likely send the sandwich deal if it were 3:30 in the afternoon.  Alistair Goodman, the CEO of Placecastestimates that by combining location and time, a business using the platform will rack up 2-10 times the amount of business that a generic text would.

How to Make it Work For You

Here are some tips that small business can use to get in on the game.

  • Don’t force it.   Remember when everyone was talking about opt-in email and spam?  Well, it’s same type of scenario for location based marketing. You’ll have to convince your customers that there is value in giving up their locations and interests, and then persuade them to opt-in to your marketing scheme.  But never simply use their information without their permission—that will only create ill-will.  On the other hand, if a customer decides that they don’t want to participate in the program any more, make it easy for them to opt-out.  Creating a bunch of hoops for them to jump through will only frustrate them and create bad feelings for your business.
  • Don’t share.  One of the key factors in getting people to sign up for your program is that they understand that you won’t sell their information to anyone else.  You’ll likely get offers, but remember that the benefits of a loyal customer, including repeat business and referrals, far outweigh any short-lived monetary gains you’ll get from selling your list.
  • Offer Value.  No one wants to spend time reading endless texts that have little or no value to them.  Make sure that every text you send to your customers offers them some sort of value.  The best way to do this is to put yourself in their shoes.  What sort of information and deals would you want to receive, and what would cause you to push “delete?”

Just because location based marketing hasn’t made it big in the small business world yet, that doesn’t mean that it won’t.  Who knows, maybe your retail store will be one of the first in the upcoming movement?

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