Location based services: Making connecting with your customers easier than ever!

Connecting with potential customers is now more direct and much simpler than ever before due largely to the growth of mobile devices that have built-in GPS such as Smartphones. Mobile is bringing us new concepts where a user can scan a QR code, declare a presence by ‘checking-in’, receive a push message to unlock an interaction in store, and much more.

Location based services are personalized, immediate, and user-centric applications, accessible via any mobile device with built in GPS. LBS can include services relating to navigation, mapping, location sharing, check-in, and local search to name a few. LBS users are able to access information and services related to their physical location – from finding the nearest coffee shop, to receiving coupons to their favourite store.

Location Based Services are solutions that:

  • locate the user
  • tell people where the user is
  • provide a context to the user’s location.

Get Found Locally With These LBS Examples!

  • Geotargeted Display Ads: Different display messages are displayed dependent upon the user’s location.
  • Local Search: 97% of consumers search for local businesses online. Local search directories are usually free and often have a social element to them by letting customers provide reviews. Effective mobile local search will identify the location of the user and provide options of what is nearby. Yelp is an example of a local search service.
  • Location Triggered Notifications: These are alerts that are sent to a user once they are in the vicinity of a store or business that they have opted to receive alerts from. E.g. a user can receive a notification from their favourite coffee shop for a discount when they are nearby.
  • Social Local ‘Check-Ins’: Checking-in is the act of saying “I’m here!” Geolocation services, such as Foursquare and Gowalla, allow users to identify themselves as being at a certain business or other location, sharing what they are doing with friends, earning badges (virtual tokens for certain behaviours) and other virtual rewards in the process. Check-ins are usually combined with some form of social network, allowing the user to find other people in their proximity, and also be found.
  • Facebook Places is very similar to Gowalla and Foursquare, but allows users to tag their friends who are with them when they check-in, giving businesses and organizations an even better indication of who is at their location or event.

Why Should Marketers Care About LBS?

  • Marketers can take advantage of the geographical position of the mobile device by pushing new products and services to customers, and through social networking, users can share this information with family and friends instantly.
  • By knowing where your customers are, when they are there, and what they want, marketers can create campaigns and strategies that are very specifically targeted. These potential customers are more likely to convert if they are in a location related to the product or service, where instant conversion is possible.
  • Check-in allows a company to obtain information on their customers, see who their regular customers are and offer special deals to them. Best of all, instead of approaching users for information, it is the user that voluntarily gives their information!

Things to Consider

  • Be clear on the goals of your campaign as this will help determine the type of LBS you decide to use, and also how you are going to measure your performance. E.g. If your goal is to increase visitors to your store, then your best options would be to use check-ins, local search, trigger based notifications etc. However, if you want to increase brand awareness, you may want to concentrate on promoting your brand through display advertising.
  • Always keep your budget top of mind. Investigate all costs involved.
  • Be aware of privacy concerns. Always ask before using people’s locations for any form of marketing, notify them about how their info will be used, and provide an opt-out option.
  • Keep in mind that LBS cannot be your sole means of marketing as you will unintentionally isolate customers without a Smartphone.
  • Checking-in does not necessarily mean that the user made a purchase, or is a loyal customer. They could simply be engaging with the service for the deal.

People want information. Having local, relevant information available at their fingertips 24/7 is a trend that is not slowing down any time soon. LBS makes it easy for marketers to target consumers who are ready to buy in specific and focused geographic locations – knowing not only who your customers are, but also where they are, when they were there, and what they want is invaluable information that makes acquiring and retaining customers that much easier.