Sprint Past the Competition With Location-Based Mobile Marketing

The technology is readily available to woo your customers when they are near but only a minority of businesses are using it.

learn more about Brett Relander

By Brett Relander • Sep 9, 2014 Originally published Aug 8, 2014

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

More than 75 percent of smartphone users make use of location-based services to gather information about nearby businesses including reviews, directions, calling the business and using the businesses' mobile app. The objective of location-based marketing via mobile devices is to encourage those activities, as well as drive foot traffic, share discounts and build customer loyalty.

Businesses investing to increase their location-aware audience base are reporting improved conversions. They have ensured that their business is easy to find and have skillfully combined location based marketing with an overall targeted marketing approach that includes social media, push notifications, email newsletters and even offline marketing.

Related: 9 New Tips for Location-Based Marketing

An offline business such as a restaurant, florist or other retailer derives two benefits by post its operating hours, contact details, sales, discounts and new arrivals on social media, blogs and mobile apps. The immediate benefit is being found by mobile searchers with needs that require quick, if not immediate, gratification. Another benefit is brand awareness for both new and existing customers. There's plenty of competitors and distractions out there, so what are you doing to stay top of mind with customers and prospects?

Location-based mobile marketing brings about the convergence of online marketing and the physical shopping experience. Preferred tools include QR codes, click-to-call, coupons and mobile apps. Fewer than one-out-of-four offline businesses are making effective use of these tools. Those that are have already gained considerable advantage over slow adopters, but all is not lost. It's still early and there's time to catch up and capture market share with location-based mobile marketing.

Here are three location-based mobile marketing options that businesses can use in different settings.

RFID. RFID tags worn by people at events or placed within lanyards or even in stickers transmit locations, offer insight into an individual's interests, or can provide specific information. RFID is, in most cases, short range and can also be referred to as NFC (Near Field Communication). In fact, if you have a relatively new Samsung phone it probably has this functionality built in.

Geo-Fencing. With this technology retailers can automatically alert customers to deals, discounts, offers and more when they are near the store or restaurant.

Related: 3 Things You Need to Know Before Getting Started in Local Mobile Advertising

Here's how it works. You develop a mobile app for your small business to setup your geo-fence one-mile around your store. Once that is in place, every time someone with your mobile app comes within one mile of your store, they will automatically receive your offer, discount, announcement, etc via push notification. All you have to do is be there to serve them when they walk in.

Businesses that implement these technologies increase engagement with mobile consumers. This leads to more buzz about your business, greater customer loyalty and increased profits. Effective location-based marketing with mobile devices demands that you run a data-driven campaign. Leverage data collected from different marketing experiments and consumer behavior to create messages that are as personalized as possible.

One-in-three adult social media users has his account configured to display location but a sizeable number of people, out of privacy concerns, deny mobile apps access to location-based information. This is primarily caused by a lack of trust or simply because they haven't been presented with the benefits of accepting push notifications and sharing their location.

In my experience, when customers are asked to share location data to accept push notifications about special offers, discounts, event announcements, etc, they are happy to do so. After all, they are shopping or dining with you because they trust you and want to return. You just need to give them a reason to come by more often.

Related: How Location-Based Social Networks Are Changing the Game for Businesses

Brett Relander

Managing Director at X1 Sports Nutrition

Brett Relander is founder and managing director of X1 Sports Nutrition (http://X1Fuel.com). He has a degree in exercise science, is certified as a Master Fitness Specialist and in the biomechanics of resistance training, and is an advocate of all-natural nutrition and advanced performance training.

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