We continue the series of interesting blog posts written by industry experts, including marketers, analysts, developers and other professionals.
We talk a lot about device users. But, It’s easy to forget that those devices are attached to actual people who occupy a physical space. Geolocation advertising allows you to see where these people are, and send them specific, relevant advertisements based on their location.
It’s one of the best ways a modern business can find new customers and improve conversion rates. And it’s simple to get started.
What Is Geolocation advertising?
Geolocation advertising is a form of marketing that lets you target potential customers based on location. Those near your business can be contacted with a range of promotional materials: offers, ads, or even just nudging messages.
Compared to traditional forms of marketing, geolocation marketing is far more targeted and efficient.
It allows you to:
- Reach a more specific audience based on their location.
- Target a new customer base. Those who might not know about your business can be alerted when they’re in your neck of the woods.
- Gather more accurate feedback about customers’ behaviour and whether or not your geolocation marketing strategy is effective.
- Provide special offers and rewards to returning customers, making them feel valued and more likely to return.
Older forms of advertising, like TV ads and billboards, are limited in their ability to target specific customers. They are effective, of course, but easy to ignore. Even if they are seen, it’s incredibly difficult to draw a direct correlation between these traditional forms of marketing and their effect on sales.
These forms of advertising are very much a “throw everything at the wall, and see what sticks” kind of approach. Geolocation marketing, however, allows you to optimise your marketing strategy.
If traditional marketing is a shotgun, geolocation is a laser-pointed sniper rifle. Able to target individual customers and produce more significant and quantifiable results.
In the past, to reach out in a personal way to a customer or prospect you may have reached for the telephone. That meant trawling through your phone log and wherever else you stored customer data and having a conversation.
As welcome as that may be to customers, it would take you significant staff hours and effort. Leveraging geolocation lets you target individuals efficiently and cost effectively.
Different Kinds of Geolocation Advertising
Let’s break it down. There are three different kinds of geolocation marketing. They all operate differently and, as such, are useful for different strategies.
Geotargeting allows you to identify your customers’ IP address activity on a larger network. This means you can see that a user is on the network. But, because such networks can cover massive regions, you can’t see exactly where they are or what they’re doing.
This technique can be employed for broader, city-wide or region-wide marketing campaigns. You may notice this when you take a long flight to a new country or region. Upon connecting to the local Wi-fi, you’ll often receive a message like, “Welcome to Manchester.” It might link you to tourist information websites or transport hubs.
Geotargeting allows you to determine when devices in different countries are using your site. If a user is detected from Germany, your site can show them all the standard information, but in German. Pretty handy, right?
Geofencing detects devices using their GPS location. This means you can target users based on their precise location.
The strategy is to build a virtual perimeter around certain geographical locations (like a fence) and trigger automated messages to users when they enter or exit that perimeter.
You’ll likely set up your geofence in an area local to your business, like a street or town square. So that everybody passing through will be aware of your location and possibly receive incentives for visiting.
It’s great for attracting foot traffic and reaching new demographics that may never have heard of you before. It’s also perfect if your store is a little out of the way or not immediately visible.
Geofencing is valuable for feedback. You’ll be able to see how many people moved through your geofence, triggering your message, and then how many actually visited your business.
These are the smallest in scope but, therefore, the most accurate in terms of targeted marketing. Beacons are small physical devices you can deploy that connect to any nearby devices via Bluetooth.
Their scope is extremely local, meaning you won’t reach as many potential customers. However, the customers you do reach will receive far more relevant targeted ads and offers. These are mainly for use within businesses. As soon as a customer walks through your door, they can connect and receive relevant information about your business.
It’s like creating automating bespoke messages through voicemails. When a customer calls in, they can hear a tailored message with detailed instructions. Well, with geolocation, you can target customers with tailored location-based information.
Because they use Bluetooth, they don’t require any internet connection to operate. This is ideal for areas with poor wi-fi coverage. And it can reach those who aren’t even connected. The only downside is Bluetooth connections must be turned on.
How to Get Started?
The first step is figuring out which of the three types above will yield the best results for you. Here’s some more info to help you.
Geotargeting covers larger areas but can still be hugely effective. You can utilise it to track the IP address of the device used to connect with your site. And then, personalise information based on that IP address.
This means you can programme your website to translate its content to the language of each user so those from different countries will be greeted by their respective languages.
Alternatively, you can use this information to ensure smoother payments and transactions. Different countries use a variety of payment methods, and you want all of these to be accessible. Geotargeting software will allow you to see exactly where users are logging on and ensure that payment methods are relevant to that country.
Web content can also be tailored subtly to suit users from different locations. Let’s say you’re running an online clothing store. Customers in Canada are probably looking for very different garments to those in Australia.
IP address data can also help send out location-based discounts to clients. Use Mobile Carrier Detection data to strike deals with IP to Company data to customize the ad experience for business domains.
By personalising your web content, language, promotions, and payment methods, you can ensure the user experience is smooth and that users are exposed to the most relevant material possible.
Divert Foot Traffic
Geofencing can be used to divert foot traffic to your business.
You can set up around a busy town square and cast a large net over an area of massive foot traffic. But remember, all those devices can put a strain on your network. You may want to invest in hybrid cloud storage to deal with fluctuating levels or user connectivity (what is hybrid cloud?)
For a more targeted approach, set up a geofence around a similar business, maybe a competitor you’d like to divert customers away from.
You can also work in conjunction with other businesses. Let’s say you own a bar or restaurant – you could set up a geofence around a nearby cinema or concert venue, chances are those consumers will want to eat and drink.
It’s a similar process to utilising SEO for SaaS businesses. But rather than diverting online traffic to your website, you’ll divert actual foot traffic through your doors.
Target Specific Demographics
But it’s not just random pedestrians. With geofencing or geotargeting, you can target certain areas based on consumer information.
Delivery companies often use this technique to target potential customers within a delivery radius. But, it can also be used to target specific demographics.
For example, your business might offer products that appeal to a younger audience. It might then be a great idea to build a geofence around areas with a higher student population, like student halls, universities, and bars.
Alternatively, you might set up a geofence around suburban areas if you’re targeting an older, middle-class audience.
Maybe you want to promote business services, like cheap conference calls, or scheduling software – probably best to set up a geofence around an area with a high concentration of office buildings.
If you know exactly who your target audience is, you just need to know where to find them.
Improve Returning Customers’ Experiences
You can set up predetermined messages with enterprise robotic process automation that trigger whenever a device is detected in a defined geographical location.
These can be a friendly message welcoming first-timers or a greeting for returning customers. It’s a personal touch that will help your customers feel valued.
You can also send promotional information about special offers or a guide to where customers might find everything.
Use That Information
A significant advantage of geolocation advertising is the accurate data feedback it provides. Take geofencing, for example; you can see exactly how many people triggered your advertisement. From there, you can identify how many of those people engaged with your business.
Similarly, with beacons, you can observe how many people connected to your local Bluetooth network and, of those, exactly how many people come back again.
Of course, you can’t draw a direct correlation between those who triggered your advertisement and those who engaged with your business. After all, some of those customers may have been on their way to you anyway, and geofences can be tricked by malicious traffic.
Privacy detection data will allow you to differentiate between actual users in your location and malicious traffic. This will ensure you’re only connecting with potential clients, rather than wasting advertisements on IP addresses using VPNs, or hosted provider connections, that aren’t actually near your business.
Seeing how your geolocation advertising campaign directly influences your customer base is the type of vital information you need to create the perfect strategy for your target audience.
Geolocation advertising is one of the best forms of process improvement and optimization your business can employ.
There will be some trial and error, and your strategy can always be enhanced. So, figure out how much you’re willing to spend on geolocation advertising. Then, using these handy tips, work out which strategy will work best for you.
This blog post is written by Marjorie Hajim from RingCentral. Marjorie is the SEO Manager for EMEA at RingCentral, a leading cloud communications company that offers VoIP business phone and video conferencing services. She develops and executes strategies for short-term and long-term SEO growth.