6 Golden Rules Of Location Based Marketing


Editor’s Note: Schneider Mike wrote the book on Location (with Aaron Strout).
Check it out here, Location Based Marketing For Dummies.

I don’t need to tell you that location has been one of the hottest topics in social media for the past 2 years.

The last year alone has seen a great deal of chaos with apps popping up all over the place and the acquisitions of WHERE, Whrrl and most recently Gowalla by giants eBay, Groupon and Facebook.

Overall though, I am pleased with the way that things are shaking out.

Developers, brands and marketers are starting to realize that location is not the app, it’s a feature that when used as part of a natural or interesting behavior can give you some very useful information about the people you are interested in as a marketer.

Master the Basics

In Location-Based Marketing For Dummies, we talk about 6 “golden rules”. They’re designed to get you started with platforms like foursquare and yelp that offer the ability to create place specific specials and track results.

Given the burning desire by Jason Keath and the Social Fresh crew to get everyone to measurable ROI, we should mention them here so that you can get started if you are not already doing location-based marketing.

1. Claim Your Location

Simply put, search for your business across any platform that allows you to do local or location-based marketing. These include: Foursquare, Yelp, Google and (yes still) Facebook.

It takes less than 10-15 minutes to claim your “page” usually.

Claiming your venue unlocks the power to create specials and get insight into who is checking in. You should do this with any system that you think has potential, regardless of whether or not you think you will use it near term.

It’s easy to do and gives you some level of control over the message and if the platform evolves (which they do rapidly) you’ll be all set to go.

2. Set Goals, Test, and Optimize

What is your goal? With location you have a variety of things you can do. You can promote discovery, incentivize trial or encourage repeat performances. You can also learn a heck of a lot about what your customers do.

Ask yourself: am I looking to drive foot traffic? Loyalty? Sales? Engagement? Most platforms have ways to track some of the aforementioned metrics, but others require some additional work (think getting sales).

The beauty of platforms like foursquare is that often they will give you the twitter ID so the engagement does not necessarily have to end with Foursquare. Your goal might be to get the most active customers to like a Facebook page.

3. Pick A Service (Or Two) To Support

Pick Foursquare if you want to do something around check-ins. Pick Google Places if you think the fact that 40% of searches in Google having a location component is important. Pick Yelp if you want to be a part of the first system every geek uses when they go to a new city.

4. Pick A Great Offer

Note that “great” doesn’t equal “expensive.” Sometimes, a sign in your store/venue honoring the “mayor” might be enough.

My co-author, Aaron Strout, and I have what we call the “Ben & Jerry’s Rule” named after one of the first successful campaigns ever to roll out on Foursquare. They offered 3 scoops of ice cream for $3 for everyone that checked in (the cost for 3 scoops is normally $5.50). And even better, the mayor got a free extra scoop.

5. Operationalize, Operationalize, Operationalize

Train your employees. Just make sure that you have people in the know about what you are trying to do. There’s nothing worse than having a special that people need to fight the person behind the counter to get.

6. Bonus

PROMOTE IT! It’s not a field of dreams. You’re a better marketer than that.

Follow the golden rules and reach out if you need me. @schneidermike


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