Both small and large businesses are using GPS to help them to connect with their current clientele and reach out to new customers. They are doing this by sending advertising messages that are customized for the customers geographic location. This technology is primarily being used to send specific advertising to prospects through their smartphones and other mobile devices.
Internet marketers have access to a number of tools to reach out geographically to consumers. Foursquare and Go Walla are two mobile applications that provide advertising content to users according to their GPS location. These location-based services are becoming increasingly popular among both consumers and marketers, and are very effective for generating and converting sales leads. Near-field communication technology (NFC) is what allows two smartphones to share information by being touched together.
Location based marketing uses geo-fencing to search for prospects and send them geographically relevant advertising content. Bluetooth technology can be used in the same way as NFC technology. It allows the sharing of data between mobile devices over short distances. Some businesses are currently using one of these tools, while larger businesses are employing all of them to get a leg up on their not so technologically savvy competition.
Before you get started with location based services, learn how they work by familiarizing yourself with the most popular location based platforms. Yelp, Foursquare, Go Walla, and Loopt are the four major players in this arena. The popularity of these services varies by geographical location, so you need to find out which services are most popular in your local market. Sign yourself up for these services and educate yourself on how they work.
On line consumers are rightfully concerned for their privacy. You location based marketing strategy should start by allowing potential customers to opt-in to the service. Most people get irritated with unsolicited advertising being sent to their smartphones or mobile devices, and they tend to look upon those businesses with disfavor. When customers opt-in, you need to be upfront with how you will be utilizing their information, and NEVER sell the information to a third party.
The content you provide through these services does not have to be strictly advertising. In fact, it is important to vary your content to keep customers interested and engaged. One outdoor equipment retailer has its system set to provide information about a local hiking trail, including hazards ahead and what sights they might next encounter. This kind of value-added content is very popular with consumers, and very effective for generating sales leads. Promotions are also a good idea. You can offer special deals to the first 50 people who check in at your location, for example. Don't consider these promotions, however, unless you plan on tracking your results so you can determine if they are effective.
Consumers are much more likely to respond to advertising content that is close to where they are. Marketers are learning this, and customizing their message to target the people who are more likely and able to respond.
From the stand point of the consumer, their biggest concern with GPS advertising is privacy. National associations of mobile marketers have set guidelines that, if followed, address all of your customers privacy concerns. Location based advertising is effective, especially when done with the consumers consent. Be transparent from the outset. Make your customers and prospects aware of how you will be using their information, and always put their concerns ahead of your advertising goals. This creates a Win/Win situation for your business and your customers. You get to target your advertising for the best ROI, and the consumers can be assured that their information wont later be used by unscrupulous spammers.