Thursday, January 6, 2011

Location-Based Marketing

New smart phones that allow wireless mobile connection to the Internet, while also broadcasting your GPS location (yes! the satellites always know where you are!) have made an entirely new range of services possible.  Location-based marketing is an emerging form of marketing - sending you deals, offers and information that are relevant to you based on where you are (with your mobile phone in your bag of course!)

My friends at Sitepoint's Tribune Newsletter had this interesting article this week that I thought I'd share.  I receive a lot of newsletters and this one is one of my favourites! (I actually learn valuable stuff):

Location-based services like Foursquare and Gowalla were all the rage last year, after starting out as a sort of game. It was only when businesses realized they could be used for marketing that the general public saw the potential. Since then, Facebook has released its own location-based service, Facebook Places.

If you (or your clients) have a physical presence (a retail establishment, restaurant, office, or other place of business where you see customers), you need to claim your listing on these services. Once you've claimed your listing, you can create promotions and incentives to bring customers back again and again. They offer a great way to build customer loyalty, and create a sense of excitement around your business.

Let's take a look at what's involved with each one:


Foursquare lets you create specials for free (for now), and there are several types, for:

  • the mayor
  • every X number of check-ins
  • when another specified condition is met
When a user checks in to your business, they can see available specials; once they've met the requirements, these will automatically unlock. Foursquare will even send you a window cling to help you promote your special.


Gowalla lets you purchase custom "stamps" that visitors can earn by checking in at your location. You can also create custom messages for patrons to see when they check in.

Facebook Places Deals

Facebook Places deals are still in beta, but are rolling out to more and more businesses every day. Claim your business and you'll see if you can post a promotion. If not, check back in a few weeks.

If you are one of those fortunate few, you can create several types of deals:

Individual deals—one-time deals, such as a coupon
Loyalty deals—require a number of check-ins before "unlocking"
Friend deals—unlocked when a certain number of your friends check in at the same time
Charity deals—donates a certain amount to charity with every check-in
The process for creating a deal is fairly straightforward, and I can see these really taking off once Facebook opens them up to all businesses. There are already hundreds of millions of Facebook users, so I expect this to give Foursquare a run for its money in 2011.

Promotions on All Location-based Services

Geotoko is a new web service that integrates the most popular location-based services mentioned above, letting you post your promotions once and distributing them to all three networks.

Geotoko will also help you customize your campaign with custom landing pages and Facebook tab integration. The service is still in beta (Facebook Deals isn't functional quite yet), but it looks very promising.

If you liked this content, check out Sitepoint and sign up for their Tribune newsletter too.

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