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Over 91 percent of Americans own a mobile telephone, and more than 60 percent use their mobile as a primary means to access the Internet. The latest new research regarding usage of mobile devices reported that 85 percent of consumers ages 18 to 29 use their phones to access the Internet.

With these numbers in mind, businesses cannot underestimate the importance of taking mobile technologies into account when putting together marketing plans aimed at increased customer engagement and increased customer acquisition.

(Check out: “Facebook Emerges as Top App for Mobile Users Looking to Write Online Reviews”)

The vast majority of online review sites have made moves toward creating user-friendly mobile platforms and interfaces to provide users with instant access to data, tools, and offers determined not only by their personal preferences but also by their geographical location as communicated by their phone GPS. Unfortunately, many merchants fail to maximize the opportunities for customer engagement present in each of these review sites via their location-based or mobile experiences.

Mobile access places endless amounts of information within hand’s reach of the end user. It also equips businesses to manage their sales and marketing strategy in a way that seeks to embrace this trend and maximize the opportunities presented by each branded, location-based, or mobile experience provided by sites like Yelp, Foursquare, OpenTable, and TripAdvisor.

Location-Based Engagement Helps with Transient Customer Acquisition

If your business happens to be in a geographical area highly dependent on tourism and transient traffic, then location-based apps supported by review sites can significantly help direct traffic to your business and reassure potential customers of the quality of your services as assessed by your reviewers.

Foursquare is an excellent example of a location-based app that does a great job of pointing business to local shops based on the location of the end user and their geographically delimited search criteria. Transient traffic benefiting from the assurances and guidance provided by review sites with well-designed mobile experiences are very likely to submit excellent reviews to validate the information they utilized in making their decision to patronage a business. Tourists, for example, are always eager to brag about discovering a local joint with the help of their favorite review site.

Location-Based Engagement Aids Small Businesses Trying to Overcome Dead-Sales Periods

Every business has slumps or hours where nothing happens. Instead of sitting with arms crossed, businesses can maximize time-delimited promo opportunities that send signals to community members within close proximity of their business. This functionality exists in several location-based apps, and it is most commonly available in association with review sites that focus on restaurants and entertainment. Because customers are coming in during a low period, the venue has an advantage in providing excellent personalized service in tandem with an increased perception of value. This combination often leads to five-star reviews. 

Location-Based Engagement Equips Businesses to Reward Loyalty

Repeat loyal customers are the most willing to become brand advocates. Providing your frequent customers with rewards triggered by check-in experiences not only generates positive associations and a sense of enhanced value but also increases recollection. The chances are good that your loyal customer will take the time to review your business while bragging about the specific deal or offer they received in association with their engagement with your brand.

(Check out: “More Mobile Phone Owners Checking Online Reviews While Inside a Store or Local Business”)

Location-Based Engagement Lets You Capture the Opinion of a Guest in Real Time

Brags and nags can be best handled in real-time. When customers engage via mobile, chances are the experience will still be fresh in their minds, and the narrative will be accurate and rich in detail. In the case of a customer complaint voiced via a location-based review, the venue has a good chance of correcting issues even before the customer leaves the facility, assuming the app in question has real-time notifications and the management team is well-engaged with the notification system.

Regardless, the quicker and more accurate the feedback, the more useful it is in developing a business plan and correcting service trends that might be lacking. In fact, if given the opportunity per the policies of each review website, consider encouraging your customers to leave a review even before they leave your venue. This will significantly increase your review volume and help you increase in popularity ranking.

Location-Based Engagement Helps Shoppers Identify Businesses Preferred by Their Peers

Many review sites are making a push toward social engagement by allowing you to see friends nearby and receive information regarding the preferences of your friends in close proximity to your location. By having the endorsement of those that they know best, customers stand a better chance of finding a business to be a good match for their particular taste.

This is especially true for restaurants and entertainment venues where demographics greatly influence preference. By having a well-managed and enhanced level of engagement with review sites that offer these features, your business will gain new customers that are not only proximal to you in terms of location but also have great affinity for those that love your business the best. This model of referral is tremendously helpful and often results in improved online reputation.

Mobile and location based is the next best thing, and everyone who wishes to stay one step ahead needs to think about functional ways to integrate mobile and location-based solutions and features to enhance the customer experience and provide customers with more and better avenues of engagement. If you are a small business, then begin by trying out a couple of location-based opportunities, evaluate your results, and tweak your outreach until you are able to maximize revenue opportunities originating from location-based tools.

Crystal Shuller

Crystal is the Director of Customer Happiness for ReviewTrackers. She's known around the office for E-mails that make everyone smile, and she has a bag of tricks and tips to help businesses solve their problems and delight their customers.

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