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5 Tips for Launching a Successful Check-in Promotion

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by: Adam Steinberg (@adams472)
17 November 2011

Intrigued by the fact that more than 1 billion people have now “checked in” at a location via Foursquare? If so, you’re not alone: Businesses of all shapes and sizes are launching new programs to engage customers through check-in services such as Foursquare and Facebook Places. Whether you’re creating a short-term campaign or long-term loyalty program, it’s critical to consider a variety of factors before launching your program. Here are five tips to help you create a successful check-in program.

1. Create a Unique Program
While check-in programs are still relatively new, you can differentiate your brand by offering more than just a “10% off” coupon for every check-in.

For instance, why not engage your customers by launching a check-in-based contest that offers a grand prize to the winner? Or perhaps you want to help your customers explore multiple locations. In that case, think about launching a check-in based scavenger hunt. Want to incorporate check-ins into your loyalty program? Why not have a special seat in your restaurant for the mayor?

Think about how you can enhance your location-based marketing campaigns by offering a unique spin on your check-in program.

2. Make Sure Your Program Matches Your Goals
Is your goal to drive in-store traffic? Create buzz on social networks like Foursquare or Facebook? Attract nearby customers? Drive awareness for a specific product?

A location-based marketing program can support any of these initiatives, but it’s critical to structure your program to properly support these goals.

For instance, if you’re seeking to bump up in-store visits during the holiday season, a check-in contest may be an ideal solution for you. If your goal is to attract nearby customers, a proximity-based messaging program would be ideal. If your goal is to promote a specific product, consider how to incorporate this product into the messaging and prizes associated with your program.

3. Think Through Fulfillment
Sure, it sounds easy enough to reward guests for checking in, but how are employees in your stores going to know what a check-in is or how to fulfill a check-in reward? How do they enter a check-in reward into your point-of-sale system? How do you track rewards at the corporate level?

You should have answers for all these questions before launching a check-in program.

4. Integrate Check-ins with Your Other Marketing Systems
Check-in programs are a phenomenal way to start relationships with your customers and boost participation with your brand, but you also need to think about how to integrate check-ins into your traditional programs.

To that end, make sure you’ve eliminated data silos and integrated your location-based marketing program with your email marketing platform so that when people opt in, your other systems recognize this and can capture that behavior.

5. Measure and Optimize
As with any new marketing program, you should measure and analyze your check-in programs, tracking metrics such as total check-ins, loyalty per user, social influence (how many friends these people have), email opt-ins and participation in your other marketing programs.

Because location-based marketing is a new, transformative way to reach customers, it will take some time to optimize your programs. Don’t be afraid to seek feedback from customers and modify your location-based marketing programs to generate your desired outcome. In addition, as location-based marketing continues to evolve, it will be important to continue experimenting with the latest tools and tactics.

More Location-Based Marketing Resources:
1) Blog: “4 Ways to Work Check-ins into Your Marketing Mix
2) PowerPoint: “Follow Them! Location-Based Marketing Tips and Techniques


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