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Location, Location, Location

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by: Loren McDonald (@LorenMcDonald)
26 May 2011

A few months ago I visited a burrito chain and “checked in” on my mobile phone to take advantage of a "buy one, get one free" check-in coupon offer. One free burrito later, I was a convert to the phenomenon of check-in promotions.

After that great experience, I “liked” the restaurant on Facebook, signed up as a Twitter follower and used the restaurant's mobile ordering app, providing my email address for a confirmation email. The initial confirmation message wasn’t particularly engaging—no personality, recommendations based on my order or invitations to connect via other channels—but I later took the time to visit the company’s website to sign up for its email program, since that’s my preferred communication method. After some searching, I finally found an "account registration" that promised notifications of local events and store openings.

But then a funny thing happened. Six months passed, and I didn’t notice any Tweets from the company, never returned to its Facebook page, and most importantly given my communication preference, never received a single email.

This experience underscores the fact that for all the potential of local marketing, it’s still in its infancy, with marketers trying to wrap their heads around how to best engage customer and prospects via check-ins and daily deals and clearly making some mistakes along the way. Our new white paper, “Get Your Mocial Mojo Working,” looks at how you can mix and match local, social, mobile and email marketing initiatives for maximum impact. Here are five thoughts on how you might integrate local marketing into your mix:

1) Use “local” transactional messages to educate, engage and inform. If someone checks in or uses your app to make a purchase that requires a transactional email receipt, use that message to invite them to sign up for your email list. And don’t stop there: Include cross-sell/upsell offers, educational info or an invitation to “like” your company on your social network page.

2) Utilize email and social to build local. Within your emails and via your social network pages, tout the benefits of any local check-in programs you may have through Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook Places, etc. Then, walk the walk by using marketing technology to set up location-sensitive messages.  Simply insert links in emails that enable recipients to add “to do” items to their local check-in service, and when they arrive at your location, they’ll be able to access your “to do” messages—e.g. tips, helpful info, sales or promotions—on their mobile device.

3) Try geotargeting. Do you have a promotion, event, sale or educational info that pertains to a specific geographical area? Use geotargeting tools to send messages to contacts within the zip code radius you specify, making your messages more relevant than ever.

4) Use SMS for email opt-ins. Enable customers and prospects to opt in to your email program via SMS when checking out at a store point-of-purchase (POP), at your trade booth, during a presentation, passing by a billboard and other locations. Especially at POP, SMS increases the volume of email opt-ins while greatly reducing input error by retail employees.

5) Drive email subscriptions via local check-ins. When someone checks in at your location, use marketing technology to link that customer to a Twitter account, then automatically send the person a Tweet with an invitation to sign up for your email program—including a link to a landing page where the contact can fill out an opt-in form.

How have you used location-based marketing, and if so what successes have you seen? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.


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