This guest post is by Daley Epstein, a contributing writer for SmartBrief.
Location isn’t just for realtors anymore. It has become common practice for millions of people to announce their location via mobile phone applications, whether stopping by Starbucks or watching an NBA game. Because of this trend, hyperlocal marketing is increasing in popularity, and people are “checking in” for a variety of other reasons.
In a discussion at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival moderated by Evan Cohen of Foursquare and Lisa Bradner of Geomentum, participants came up with the following reasons as primary incentives for customers to broadcast their location:
- Brag to your friends about the cool place you’re at
- Meet up with people serendipitously in the area
- Snag a deal for checking in repeatedly
- Check in more than anyone else and be awarded a special status, such as “mayor”
- Business reasons
Depending on a customer’s personality and place in life, one or all of those reasons may drive them to share their location. But how can a company benefit from the popularity of location-based applications? Checking in is the new measurement of customer loyalty. Offering rewards, such as a discount or a freebie for repeat visitors, builds relationships with customers that shows you appreciate their business.
Rewards don’t have to be costly, the panel noted. The Foursquare mayor of a certain mall in New Jersey has a reserved parking spot, and the mayor of a busy sandwich shop gets to cut the line at lunch. Such incentives have no retail value for the companies, but for the consumers, the perks are meaningful.
Allowing customers to check in to your business helps get your company’s name out. When someone repeatedly checks in to your business’ location, it puts your business on all of their friends’ radars, as well. However, customers will burn out on location applications if they start to feel overwhelmed.
Make the application experience more about engaging the customer in a virtual relationship and less about getting the deal if you want to ensure that the customers who keep checking in truly care about what you have to offer and aren’t just looking for freebies.
How can your company reward those who loyally check in?