In our digital age geolocation marketing is more important than ever before. Geolocation targets a user’s physical location to create an effective marketing strategy. Information collected via satellite or cell phone towers can be used by businesses to inform their advertising strategy – effectively targeting customers with the highest potential of spending.
Before we delve any deeper let’s take a look at the three main types of geolocation marketing and their importance in business.
Different types of geolocation marketing
Geotargeting is the broadest form of geolocation marketing with a focus on the user’s IP address. Despite being less precise than geofencing and beacons, this strategy is ideal for businesses wanting to target broad-market areas such as cities.
One level down from geotargeting, geofencing focuses on targeting slightly smaller pools of potential customers. While geotargeting is focused on the IP address, geofencing uses other data types such as GPS, RFID, Wi-Fi and cellular data. This strategy would benefit businesses looking to target customers within a more concentrated area such as neighborhoods or towns.
Less of a strategy, beacons are the equipment used by businesses to target customers within a very specific set of location parameters. Beacons provide marketers with an opportunity to really zone in on a customer’s location and spending habits – going so far as to pinpoint where a customer is walking within the set parameters. Beacons are most valuable to businesses that want to target users within close proximity to their physical locations.
Geolocation marketing can provide useful information on a customer’s spending habits and locations, providing businesses with the insight needed to create personalized content and ads. This strategy is particularly helpful for brick-and-mortar businesses who could benefit enormously from targeting users within their specified location.
Though geared towards stores with physical locations, geolocation marketing is still a useful tactic that can be applied to other businesses. E-commerce stores, restaurants, and CPGs (consumer packaged goods companies) can all benefit from geolocation.
Seasonal pop-up stores, much like the ones you might see around Christmas or Halloween, also use geolocation marketing to help target customers. Many deliver ads to audiences that were seen there the year previously, based on geolocation marketing techniques.
To help you nail geolocation marketing we’ve analyzed the six most common geolocation marketing mistakes and how you can solve them.
Mistake 1: Not taking part in the user experience
A fundamental part of marketing campaigns is the UX and developing ways of enhancing it for customers. One of the easiest and cheapest ways to enhance customer experience is to actually take part in your own campaigns. The same goes for your geolocation marketing strategies!
If you’re a brick-and-mortar business you might want to increase the UX behind checking in at your store and the speed it takes to redeem coupons and promotions. An effective way to achieve this is through testing your own marketing campaigns. Get out into the real world and test your customer’s UX first-hand. Test your company’s own check-in systems and the speed of redeeming promotions, constantly rating it against your competitors.
Store the data you’ve collected on a secure online file sharing service so you have a point of reference to look back on for future campaigns. In the meantime, you can use the knowledge you’ve collected to immediately update parts of your system to increase the UX of current geolocation marketing campaigns.
Mistake 2: Overwhelming customers with uncapped ads
When using geolocation marketing techniques, you run the risk of overwhelming customers with ads. As you’re zoning in on a specific location to target it’s easy to expose customers to the same ad multiple times.
It’s important to remember that most of your potential leads already see hundreds of ads a day - so standing out is key. Over-exposing your campaign can actually take away from your marketing efforts, causing your ads to become baseless and boring. If users start to receive the same messages and ads from a company they might start ignoring it.
A solution to this over-exposure can be found in frequency capping. A simple and effective way to cap ads, frequency capping will ensure you don’t inundate customers with the same ad copy day in and day out. These campaigns can be anything from a banner-ad to location-based email marketing schemes so be sure to apply frequency capping to all your efforts.
Mistake 3: Analyzing data from outdated customer lists
Geolocation marketing is effective at targeting customers within your specified area that possess the highest chance of spending… but only if you regularly update your customer lists!
Using geolocation to inform your marketing strategy works by analyzing customer behavior within your set parameters. This data can then be used to display ads to the best target audience possible. It’s important to remember, however, that customer behavior is constantly evolving and changing.
Avoid analyzing data from outdated customer lists to ensure your marketing strategy evolves with changing customer behaviors. You want to spend your ad revenue wisely and relying on old data can lead to poorly targeted marketing campaigns.
Most companies prefer real-time API calls and frequently updated data feeds over monthly downloads so refresh your data regularly! Update your customer lists at least once a month to ensure your business is being informed of any changes in customer behavior. This way you’ll be able to adapt your marketing strategy accordingly.
Mistake 4: Lack of training for staff on your business’s geolocation tactics
It’s all good and well if you’ve set up geolocation marketing techniques but if your staff don’t understand the system then the UX will suffer. This is especially important for businesses with physical locations where coupons and promotions can be rewarded for customers who “check-in.”
You want your customer’s experience with check-ins and reward trade-offs to be as smooth and efficient as possible. You want to avoid that awkward moment at the sales desk when an employee has no idea how to redeem a coupon. Your best bet for overcoming this is to provide it with their training.
Consult your staff regularly on any updates to the check-in system and make them aware of the importance geolocation marketing plays in the business. Once they can understand the concept well it will be easier for them to direct and help customers.
Consider keeping up to date with your staff’s progress and understanding of the system by installing a sales team app. This will ensure any missing knowledge gaps are filled and can easily be monitored through an employee handbook, programs like Slack or similar. As more and more operations move online it might be a good idea to create a digitized handbook for staff using a digital handbook maker.
Mistake 5: Using geolocation marketing techniques in areas that don’t scale
Geolocation marketing is an effective tool when used properly, but sometimes businesses use geolocation when other marketing tactics might suit them better. Being aware of this is key to running more successful campaigns and ensuring your money is invested wisely.
Sometimes a certain area just won’t scale; there might be a lack of foot-traffic available or the market might be too niche for the given area. Knowing when to trade in geolocation marketing for other tactics is essential to developing your business and growing a customer base.
Often SaaS businesses and those that are part of a larger physical complex such as a mall have a harder time developing a successful location-based campaign. This is because most SaaS businesses don’t have a physical presence while stores that are part of shopping complexes can confuse geolocation marketing efforts with their large but mixed audiences.
If you’re in this position, trading in geolocation marketing campaigns completely might be beneficial but you don’t have to go to this extreme. You can still keep using geolocation to create ads but you might have to scale it down a little.
Consider only using location-based campaigns at certain times of year, such as Christmas or other seasonal holidays, or at times when you can target your audience more effectively.
Mistake 6: Lack of online interaction with customers who “check-in”
Essential for brick-and-mortar businesses, the online “check-in” option is an easy and cost-effective way of spreading brand loyalty and trust. Customers who visit your store location often “check-in” online via various outreach channels such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. This word-of-mouth promotion is a great way to promote your business without spending a penny but you have to keep on top of these check-ins.
Though online “check-ins” from customers might spread awareness about your brand, a lack of online interaction with them can lead to a decline in brand loyalty. Customers want to feel valued and special and this is why lead nurturing is so crucial – it creates engagement with your most regular customers!
This online interaction is easy to forge and one of the easiest ways to drive engagement is to respond to reviews. Reply to customers who “check-in” online with a happy, interactive message that makes them feel valued. Marketing automation will make the process seamless but be sure to keep your responses authentic and genuine.
Geolocation marketing is an effective way of targeting a specific audience and by avoiding these six common mistakes you’ll be one step closer to achieving a successful location-driven campaign.
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This blog post is written by Victorio Duran III from RingCentral US. Victorio is the Associate SEO Director at RingCentral, a global leader in cloud-based communications and call center solutions provider. He has over 13 years of extensive involvement on web and digital operations with diverse experience as web engineer, product manager, and digital marketing strategist.