What Location-Based Services Can Do For Your Biz

Foursquare. Groupon Now. Restaurant.com. Yelp. Facebook Deals.

Chances are, you’ve heard of one or more of these geolocation social tools. The premise behind them collectively is that people can search for businesses near their location, as well as check in to these locations for special deals only offered through these apps. If you’re not yet using any of these tools to market your business, you’re missing out on some serious opportunity.

Preventing “Empty Seats” Syndrome

If you run a restaurant, you likely have all the business you can handle on the weekends. But what about Tuesday night? It’s probably pretty slow. But by connecting with customers through a location-based service, you can effectively drive traffic to your location during these slow periods. How? Simple. Offer a limited time deal that customers can’t resist for the period you want to bring in more traffic. Maybe it’s 25% off your bill between 3 and 5 pm on Tuesday. Whatever the offer, anyone searching the app during this time can cash in on the opportunity simply by showing you the deal on her phone. You input the code through your merchant account with the platform so that you get paid.

Introduce Your Brand to New Customers

Many people make decisions about where they’ll shop or eat when they’re driving around. If you’re listed on the app they’re using, they’ll find you. Make sure your profiles are up to date, and include as much info as possible (some are free, but others you’ll have to create a paying account with to be listed). And don’t stop with a single platform. Customers are all over different location-based apps, so it behooves you to be on all of them too.

Play Around

Test out different offers on different days, and on different platforms. You might find that one nets better results than another, or that one charges less, making it a better value. It’s all about seeing what works best for your brand. And make your deals worthwhile! I can’t tell you how many deals I’ve passed on because they weren’t worth my time. For instance, Foursquare has what’s called a Mayor for each venue. This is the person who checks in the most there. That Mayor may be the only one offered, for example, a free coffee. If I’m only there once, I certainly won’t be granted Mayorship, so what’s my motivation for checking in? Instead, focus on values for all, such as a free dessert, or 15% off a purchase.

Most of these platforms will gladly send you some window decals so that you can let your customers know they can find you on these apps. Tell customers, too. If I know that the next time I come in I can get a freebie or discount, I’ll definitely return.

Photo: wellohorld on Flickr