As a small town girl almost all my life, I am used to wide open spaces, corn fields, and black dirt. But it is no wonder, that when people come to my hometown of Olivia, MN from the metro, or especially from out-of-state, they feel a bit like they are “in the middle of nowhere”.
Although I live in what has been officially coined the “Corn Capital of the World” by the Minnesota Senate, I realize how much I am in the “boondocks” when I try to check-in to local businesses in my area on my Smart Phone. Even if marketers don’t think their customers are using these tools heavily yet, there is a huge benefit to being ahead of the game, and ready for your customers, rather than lose an early opportunity or turn a customer off.
For the Beginners: A “check-in” is when a person uses their Smart Phone to give their location to their friends. So a customer could check-in to your establishment, basically announcing their loyalty of your business to their friends. This is part of Location-Based Marketing, and with the surge of Smart Phone usage, is becoming increasingly more popular and effective.
- Google Places – Now newly integrated with Google+, I think we will see even more awesome ways people can share their location with connections.
- Foursquare – Powerful opportunities for both consumers and business owners are available through Foursquare Specials (i.e. check-in ten times and get $5 off) and additional incentives thru badges and mayorships.
- Facebook Places – Ties seamlessly into your business’ Facebook Page (if you have one). Facebook deals are similar to Foursquare Specials and reward customers for repeat business.
All these Mobile Marketing apps encourage more interaction then just a check-in. For instance, they also allow you to tag friends, or add a photo or comment.
Avoid Missed Opportunities
So you may be thinking, “Location-based Marketing? I have enough to do just maintaining my Facebook page!” The first small step, is to simply update your Local Search Listingsat the 3 websites I listed above to avoid the lost opportunities like the examples below:
- I brought my son and a friend to a local recreation-based business which has a ton of young customers from kids to teenagers, young adults, and young families. We were having a blast there and I wanted it to share it. I searched for them and found no Facebook Place listing or Foursquare listing. They are missing out on free marketing, especially given their target market.
- A local restaurant is a hot spot in the area. When I use Facebook to check-in, I can tell that the management is not aware of the page, although many customers are checking in. Their website is not listed and they have no Facebook page. Same story on Foursquare, and in fact, there is a negative “tip” there, with no response from the restaurant.
- Hundreds of people from out of town will flock to Olivia this weekend for Corn Capital Days. They may be used to checking-in at their favorite big-city businesses, but may find fewer businesses are registered properly in rural areas. Again a missed opportunity for small town businesses to gain new referrals.
No matter what your location, word-of-mouth and customer loyalty matters.
Location-based marketing with tools like Google Places, Facebook Deals, or Foursquare Specials can help emphasize word-of-mouth and customer loyalty in rural Minnesota and beyond. If you need help getting a Location-Based Marketing Strategy started, please contact us. Or better yet, Stop in to Vivid Image in Hutchinson, MN, and check-in!
Are your favorite businesses being proactive with location-based marketing? What are your experiences with check-ins from a consumer or marketer point of view? Are you feeling corny enough to come to Olivia for the free Corn Feed?
Photo Credit: davef3138