Perhaps the biggest marketing strategy to come out of the SoLoMo (Social, Local & Mobile) trend is geo-targeting (aka location-based marketing). Advertising to the right people in the right places in real time is proving to be a lucrative plan for advertisers all along the sales spectrum. Considering that 75% of smartphone users use their devices to track down local information and 20% of smartphone users check into local businesses using social media outlets, there’s no rational reason to NOT geo-target customers. Enhance your location-based marketing efforts with these three tricks of the trade.
- Know What’s Up. Geo-targeting is about trends. The best way to track down trends is to go authentically local. Once you zero in on an area, nail down your target audience and start making connections with those people. Ask them questions, get them to complete a survey, find their favorite haunts and habits. Start collecting and analyzing data as soon as possible. Authentic research will put you miles ahead of your competition. Keep your finger on the pulse of geographic trends by following and participating in location-specific social media conversations on Yelp, Foursquare and Twitter. Try Nearby Tweets, which helps you search Tweets by location and keyword.
- Tag the Impulse. Users who are searching locally are more likely to make impulse buys versus engage in a long-term commitment. They want products and services “right here, right now.” For example, if you’re in the automotive business an ad for car repair won’t be nearly as successful as one that offers a daily deal for $5 off a car wash.
- Use Your Imagination. Giant retailers and small businesses are tapping new sources of creativity to stretch their geo-targeting reach and engage consumers. For example, geo-fencing allows businesses to create a virtual fence around a location. When a person crosses into that boundary, she automatically receives a message with an invitation to visit, an offer for free merchandise or a coupon. This strategy works extremely well for companies with multiple locations. Mobile loyalty programs (think Lantern or Shopkick) are popular with shoppers right now, too.
Using location-based marketing can be overwhelming, so it’s important to have a clear idea about the message you want to send and the audience you want to reach. But don’t limit yourself too much by targeting a single city or zip code. Instead, canvass a large geographic area. This will help you gain enough traffic that you can gather reliable data that will help you identify local trends.
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