When it comes to mobile marketing, smart geo-location is and will remain the buzzword of the decade. Connecting individuals with the businesses and activities that are relevant to their “here and now” allows these businesses to capture a portion of their wallet share that’s not necessarily correlated to intent or research, but more rooted in impulse and immediate need. This type of marketing allows local businesses to have incremental revenue by helping customers find them through the use of mobile devices with smart features.
By the time you read this article, we hope you will have already implemented a sound online review and reputation management strategy that includes taking control of your online profiles in the most commonly used third-party review sites.
As someone who is already engaging with your customers through review sites, you are probably aware of a variety of location-triggered interactions that can help you connect with potential customers. Among the most popular location-based tools for marketing served through review sites, we can include Yelp Nearby, Swarm check-ins, and the most intuitive and passive of all: Google’s location features.
(Check out: “6 Super Tips to Get Your Business Mobile-Ready”)
Given the value these features provide to small and medium local businesses, taking time to make sure you are getting the most out of each location-based feature absolutely makes sense. Let’s get started as we share with you a few simple but smart moves that can help you maximize geo-located features.
Ensure the Accuracy of Your Address, Phone, and Hours
Set aside time to conduct a full audit of all your third-party review sites and directory listings. Make sure your basic information is accurate and consistent across all sites. It is not uncommon for businesses such as medical practices and legal practices to have directory listings with a prior address.
This can cause a great deal of confusion and frustration for their current clients, and for potential clients who depend on the accuracy of online information. Elements such as the quality of the reviews and geographical proximity are important in making the choice as to which business they wish to patronage.
Several studies have identified inaccurate location as one of the most common errors associated with listings for brick and mortar businesses. Don’t let that happen to you. A few hours of audit can save you thousands in the long run, and set the stage for effective location-based marketing.
Use Google My Business
This is not negotiable. It must be done. Google My Business allows searchers to find you on the map (through Google Maps), call you with a single click, have a quick view of your hours of operation, view your cumulative Google+ Local review and rating scores, and get GPS-based directions to your shop.
The newly implemented Google+ Local will further the capabilities of this feature, making it one of your most powerful free marketing tools. If you have not yet set up your Google My Business and requested your activation code to claim your location, then you need to do it now. This is the tool that will help your last-minute customers get to your location without a hitch. Both your local customers and out-of-town guests will find this feature incredibly influential when making shopping decisions.
There are multiple apps that work in tandem with review sites designed to engage shoppers in check-ins and other interactions with merchants. Many are triggered by the proximity of their smart device. Take Swam, for example, which works in tandem with Foursquare. These apps are a fantastic way to reach out to potential customers hanging out in the vicinity by introducing them to your product or service.
Use Promos to Bring Traffic in During Low Periods
While we are on the topic of check-ins, consider using apps and tools that let you broadcast to users nearby to run promos, discounts, and other sales incentives specifically designed to bring customers in during low periods. We all know that a little revenue, plus the opportunity to amplify your reach, is better than no revenue at all. Study your transactional patterns, and work on a location and proximity-triggered promo to help you boost sales during low hours. Take a look at how Foursquare paid promos for restaurants work.
Drive Real-Time, Two-Way Engagement
Why not engage with your customers on location or nearby by having a two-way online conversation? Explore the option of running contests or trivia games using Facebook, and announce the availability of your activities using offline marketing. In the near future, Facebook will have enhancements that will facilitate location-based engagement, making it an ad-hoc tool for this type of engagement.
Have Offline Collateral That Triggers Review-Site Recall
Promote your online presence to passersby through offline marketing collateral. Many third-party review sites provide small businesses with stickers, banners, and other tools to trigger recall and engagement. If a passerby finds out you are listed in a particular site, then he or she is far more likely to check out your profile, read your reviews, and take advantage of promos you may be running via the review site of choice.
Stay in the Loop and Embrace New Apps and Tools
Be the first to embrace new apps and tools designed to maximize location-based marketing opportunities. Oftentimes, new players in the segment will offer businesses tremendous deals or excellent free tools only available to early adopters. Give new apps and sites a chance to earn your business while they help you amplify your messaging.
Expand Your Geographical Coverage When Applicable
A large number of location-based tools allow business owners to define their geographical reach through the creation of a map, selection of markets, or by indicating a radius by blocks or miles. Consider expanding the area of service as well as the area of broadcast for your location-triggered promos.
A great example of expanded geographical reach can be seen in the Groupon app. As you approach a large city, the app will begin to feed you offers nearby based on your preferences. By the time you arrive to the city center, you have been exposed to a variety of options to help you make a choice in establishments you might be willing to try.
Taking advantage of location-based, free and paid marketing opportunities can help you get more leads, secure more customer reviews, and take your online reputation to greater heights.