For the first time in history, more American adults use mobile devices than traditional computers when searching for local products and services, reports the Local Search Association. Geolocation is a marketing method that seeks to use mobile technology to push local sales. As an innovative approach to the field, geolocation can help businesses increase the efficiency of their marketing efforts and optimize their profits.
What Is Geolocation Marketing?
Geolocation marketing is the practice of using a customer’s physical location to inform a business’s advertising strategy. Information on customers’ whereabouts are collected via a satellite or cell tower. Businesses can then use this information to gain insight into the locations and spending habits of potential customers.
Short message service marketing (SMS), for example, allows companies to send text messages to customers about products and services, without the benefit of knowing where they are. Multimedia messaging services (MMS) are similar to SMS, except they include additional media such as videos or images. Quick-response barcodes (QR codes) offer business information to customers who scan a barcode with their mobile device camera. While all these techniques are useful, geolocation provides special benefits to marketers.
Benefits of Geolocation Marketing
Geolocation provides businesses with certain advantages:
Highly targeted audiences
Geolocation allows marketers to connect with customers in close physical proximity to their business. This exponentially increases the effectiveness of any marketing campaign.
Information acquisition about current customers
Mobile technology allows current customers to check in to businesses they visit, write reviews and discuss products. Geolocation technology that monitors social media can allow marketers to track this data. In doing so, they can predict behavior and increase brand awareness.
Rewarding loyal customers
Social media technology can actually increase sales and promote loyalty. When marketers track the frequency of their visitors, they are better able to provide incentives such as discounts, preferential treatment to regulars and recognition.
Attracting new customers
Perhaps one of the best benefits of geolocation marketing is the ability to target potential new customers. By using geolocation marketing, businesses can effectively convert both foot and online traffic into new customers at brick-and-mortar locations. Businesses can also effectively take advantage of impulse purchasing and can even out “bumps” in the sales day, reducing periods of inactivity in the day.
Get measured results
With geolocation, businesses can effectively track check-ins and gain tangible results on customer traffic and sales. The technology also allows businesses to improve their search engine rankings by taking advantage of geographically based review sites such as Yelp.
Marketers seeking to take advantage of these opportunities should be familiar with the types of geolocation tools available.
How to Reach Your Audience
Geolocation involves three different levels of audience targeting, as described by Mobile Marketing Watch.
Geotargeting is the most broadly based form of geolocation. In this format, marketers track a web browser’s IP address. Because IP addresses can’t target audiences precisely, this level is best used for broad marketing regions such as entire cities or states.
On this level, marketers can target smaller areas of customer activity, such as specific neighborhoods or streets. Geofencing can also be used for whole cities. With geofencing, marketers use a smartphone’s GPS location instead of its IP address, something which allows them to both pinpoint customer location and follow it as it moves. Although this type of geolocation marketing is perfect for business owners who want to attract foot traffic, it is less effective for either very wide or very specific marketing campaigns.
Beacons are the most specific form of geolocation marketing. Beacons are small devices placed in specific physical areas, designed to receive data from Bluetooth signals in smartphones. This technology pinpoints exactly where customers walk within the space and can market to them accordingly. Beacons are excellent for spaces with poor reception, such as department stores. However, they offer a limited range of communication, are dependent on the activeness of the Bluetooth signal and can be difficult to place and manage when on public property.
Geolocation marketing is an extraordinarily valuable tool in the world of advertising. It saves companies time and money and increases both the efficiency and outcomes of their campaigns. For businesses seeking to improve their bottom line, investment in geolocation technology can lead them toward success.
The Future of Marketing and You
Geolocation represents just one of the many ways marketing has adapted to the 21st century. For individuals seeking to become leaders in this field, the online master’s in communication technology from Point Park University can give them the training they need to reach their goals. The program is designed to be completed in as little as two years, providing an expedited path toward an exciting new career.