Location Based Marketing Indian SMEs

Location Based Marketing

Location Based Marketing

Location based marketing is the hot potato these days. Engaging with customers real-time is what it’s all about.

Are you familiar with SoLoMo?

It is the combination of social, location, and mobile marketing efforts. These three concentrations are frequently used in conjunction by businesses these days in order to obtain new customers.

You will see SoLoMo in the form of mobile phone applications that use social networking and location data. Consumers crave personalized shopping experiences that meet their various social, technological, and psychological needs, and SoLoMo is all about getting nearby information on demand.

The term SoLoMo describes the environment how consumers share their experiences with their friends and family, search for nearby stores and restaurants and check in at their favorite local businesses. In short it’s really a label, which accurately describes the habits of the modern day consumer.

How it emerged and why it is evolving so quickly comes down to two things that really accelerated the uptake and those being mobile devices and mobile broadband.

Pre-smartphone days we were forced to either open up the laptop or start up the desktop computer if we wanted to connect to the internet and have a burning question answered or check out what was happening with our friends. We can now simply reach into our pockets and instantly open up the page we’re looking for making the internet more accessible and portable.

Smartphones have three characteristics (the 3 A’s) that marketers covet: The devices are always on, always near and always dear. You’d be hard put to find another advertising medium has all three.

Many Businesses are still location based and are serving people from their area only. If you fall into that category, it’s important for you that your clients would be able to find you, but it’ll be a waste of time and money to try and rank high on the internet on the national or international level.

For a local companies looking for local customers or a national company steering customers to local storefronts, local search provides targeted messages to the consumer searching for a product or service in a particular area.

With the advent of mobile devices and other location based services, directing consumers to nearby physical locations is becoming more and more sophisticated. Location based services or LSB, as they are commonly referred to as, is an age old concept that has been around since the arrival of first business phone books or yellow pages.

However, the technology used is rather new and this factor has changed the face of location based marketing. This form of marketing calls for various business tactics – from advertising on local papers, radio stations, channels and billboard advertising to using location detection services like GPS and triangulation technology.

Location based marketing is a marketing method that changes depending on the location of potential clients. Instead of treating customers as a monolithic entity, location based marketing adapts to the particular social, cultural and personal traits of customers by making assumptions about their habits and preferences based on their location at a particular moment. Technological advances have allowed companies to know much more about their clients’ locations so they can target these clients individually.

Today location based marketing is very important to differentiate  your business from the crowd. Mobile marketing would be the first choice which delivers text messages to the consumers on their cell phones which not only gives information about your business but also help them to locate your business. And if they are nearer to your business location in a mindset to make a purchase, then that would be “icing on the cake”. Mobile marketing is the perfect for consumers but it depends on what service you might be offering to your consumers.

Instead of increasing web traffic and hoping that customers will visit and make purchase, location based marketing directly helps your business increase foot traffic, bringing consumers closer to your physical point of sales.

Marketing campaign organizers attempt to adapt their message to the people who are likely to view them. The advertisements you view in a large city, for example, are likely to vary from those you may see in a rural setting. This is because businesses make educated guesses on the socio-economic nature of people based on where they’re located. For instance, marketers who target airports know that their target audience has enough financial resources to travel and has time on their hands while waiting to board a flight or pass through security, so these marketers adapt their billboards, digital displays and fliers to the particular characteristics of that audience.

Marketers who advertise on websites or who use search engines to find clients can determine where Internet users are located by the computers’ unique Internet protocol, or IP, address. For example, if an Internet user in Delhi types “Mexican restaurants” into a search engine field, the user’s IP address tips off the search engine to the user’s location so that it can provide information and advertisements for Mexican restaurants in Delhi.

However, with so many different location technologies like Foursquare, Google Places and recently Twitter and Facebook Places, location based marketing has become a complex issue for business owners and advertisers.

(1) We first have to identify the campaign’s goals and define our target audience.

(2) Second, we have to decide which location-based technology is best to reach our target audience. Advertisers usually just pick one location platform because it can be quite a challenge to manage multiple platforms.

(3) Third, we have to understand how the technology works to ensure the campaign idea can be performed, tracked and analyzed. It’s a hell load of work and this complexity hinders the adoption rate of location based marketing.

Local businesses have been using social media successfully for some time now, and we know that mobile usage is always growing, smartphone users look at their phone about 150 times per day, especially in the field of purchasing.  It only makes sense that these elements would combine to present consumers with an ultimate experience. If it’s well thought out and targeted properly, the immediate rewards you offer your customers at a specific place will be entirely beneficial to your brand.

Companies that are experimenting with the idea have already experienced positive results, making it a premise to keep in mind when planning your next marketing program. A social/local/mobile technique will help you to add a new level of precision to your campaigns that will reduce wasteful ad spend by reaching the right people at the right time with the right offer, ultimately increasing success.

By leveraging marketing campaigns that tap into the location of specific customer demographics, companies can be proactive with that information — e.g., present more targeted offers that will drive local brick-and-mortar loyalty, in-store purchases and word-of-mouth within their neighborhood.

SoLoMo is best utilized by businesses with tangible products or services to sell like restaurants or bookstores. Businesses that need local traffic to stay alive are who should be looking into SoLoMo campaigns. Retailers benefit most from it because they can communicate with potential consumers that are literally only a few steps from their store.

Both local businesses and companies with many local locations have a lot to gain from this marketing venture. Small businesses must learn to take advantage of the opportunities SoLoMo offers in order to compete with the larger enterprises that will undoubtedly increase their marketing efforts for incorporating SoLoMo strategies.

Popular location-based services like FourSquare, Google Places, and Facebook Places have millions of active users who use their handheld or mobile devices to check in to wherever place they are, and publishing them publicly to keep their friends and the rest of the world updated of their whereabouts.

This  can greatly affect social media marketing as well as Search Engine Optimization (more specifically Local SEO).  As most search engines are now using social signals to rank websites, every check-in at your business, office or restaurant can affect how search engines will rank your website, or what search engines will return to users once the name of your company is searched online.

One reason for slow LBS growth in India has been the cultural indifference of how Indians perceive maps in daily life. With time and exposure to maps based services like Google Maps, Nokia’s pre-embedded navigation, etc., people seem to be crossing the cultural divide and are now ready to explore LBS beyond just maps and navigation.

How Location Based Marketing Can Help You Connect with Customers

Companies are using location based marketing in a number of ways to connect with customers. Some tend to stick with only one tool to keep things simple. Others use all of the tools to stay connected with their customers on a variety of fronts.

One of the most preferred ways for successful location based marketing is having a mobile-friendly website that has been optimized for local searches. This can be done by paying more attention on including geo-specific and industry-specific terms. Businesses can also include title tags and meta descriptions that are locally optimized. It is also important to optimize the social pages locally and get local reviews.

A number of social media websites such as Foursquare and Facebook offer the facility of check-ins. This is a great method of word-of-mouth advertising as once a user has checked-in your business it is publicized to the friends of the users hence spreading a word about your business. The growing use of GPS is the key-driver in location based marketing. It helps host a number of applications that businesses can make use of.

From the outlook of a marketer, location based marketing comes with a number of benefits.

  • It helps capture the target customers effectively. If the customer is within the location of your business, he is more likely to visit  your store in comparison to a store that is a bit farther.
  • Sending advertisements within the real time can result in prompt response from the customers.
  • Targeting promotional material electronically helps save on printing inventory.
  • Location based marketing results in increased ROI.

On one hand where a professional SEO for a website is important, it is equally vital that you keep your business updated with the latest technologies to attract customers. When you align your business with the latest e-commerce tools and techniques it means you are preparing in advance.

How Location Based Marketing Can Improve Local SEO

Ratings and reviews are the digital equivalent of “word-of-mouth” referrals and are probably one of the most important local search elements. The quality and quantity of ratings and review contribute to how often the search engines display your listing or your location. They are to local search what “backlinks” are to SEO, creating credibility and authority for your business online. Encourage your customers to write short reviews.

According to Google’s statistics, 20% of all searches contain local terms and keywords with 97% of consumers searching for local products and services online. And that figure is continuously growing, especially with the increasing number of smartphone owners.

If you have a coffee shop business, you should make use of location-based services to help boost your shop’s popularity both online and offline.  This can be done by registering your business name and location and let customers “check-in” every time they visit your shop.  Most active users of location-based social media sites tend to leave comments or feedbacks as form of assessment on how they enjoy your services or products.

You can make this trend work for your Local Search Engine Optimization campaign by connecting your location-based social media accounts to all your websites and blogs.  You can also feature the link of your website on your account page to let your customers know that you have an official page online.  Once the search engine bots indexed your location-based social media pages (filled with positive feedbacks and massive check-ins from your returning and new clients), expect an improvement in your online visibility most especially in search engine results pages.

Your location-based social media site pages help in vouching your website’s credibility by showing off to search engines that you are legitimate and your customers are satisfied with your services.  So, if an internet user will search for “best coffee shop in Dallas”, which website do you think Google will display on top of the results page?  Surely the ones which are popular and got high ratings from satisfied customers.

How does your company use SoLoMo? If you don’t have a SoLoMo program, are you interested? Tell us your thoughts.

Rohit Kuttappan

A genial, soft spoken and friendly professional, Rohit helps startups, small and medium enterprises in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi area to build a positive social reputation and have maximum conversion rate in online marketing by running effective campaigns in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google , YouTube and high traffic websites. Rohit has been involved in the marketing efforts of a number of start-ups and have consulted and managed the social media campaign of some small and medium businesses. He is well experienced in digital marketing for education, hospitality and retail and realty verticals.

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