Build Brand Loyalty with Location-Based Marketing

The ultimate goal of any marketing campaign is to build brand loyalty and there are several ways to use location-based services (LBS) to build loyalty to your brand.

  • Tips and recommendations: Many LBSs allow users to tell people what they like about a place via features called tips, highlights, or recommendations. These ideas are then propagated to users who are nearby, either by request or when they check in. These tips help customers form an impression of your business.

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    You can leverage the tips and recommendations to promote your products and specials, but just because you can does not mean you should. Use the Amazon review approach. On Amazon, the brand is the least trusted when talking about its own product or service. People generally seek a third-party perspective, so anonymous users and friends are deemed far more trustworthy with people who are considering your product.

    Want lists: A want list is a list of things that a user thinks will be good to do. The place is “tagged” until the want is fulfilled.

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  • Pictures: Pictures tell the story of your venue and can help a user decide whether to come to your place. Take pictures of things that are happening. Use pictures to:

    • Demonstrate activity. Show off how many people visit your business. If you’re hosting an event, take lots of pictures to show people how awesome your store is. This will entice people to come in because they will want to be a part of the experience.

    • Show products. Take pictures of your products so that people can see what they look like. This is particularly helpful if your product is not a commodity.

      Restaurants, for instance, have different takes on dishes. Applications like Foodspotting and Instagram can help showcase your products and also propagate the message to foursquare, Twitter, and Facebook.

      SCVNGR is also particularly good at telling a story through pictures and challenges. Gowalla has picture-taking ability as well. Photo-sharing app Color uses a combination of picture, location, and the noise in the room to build a social graph for the user.

      Consider uploading your own photos to see whether people are interested in following your stream, particularly on Instagram.

      Foodspotting is integrated with foursquare.
      Foodspotting is integrated with foursquare.
    • Introduce staff. This is a great opportunity to get people on a first-name basis with your staff. Because photos can accompany tips and highlights, you can post a picture of a staff member with a link to a Twitter account so people can converse before they ever get to your business.

      The more personal the touch, the more likely people are to make that connection that brings them into your store.

  • Specials and contests: Specials and contests are great ways to get participants to check in to your business. Most LBS applications have ways to indicate that you have a special or contest happening.

    Make sure that your special is truly special! You have to find the right mix of difficulty to achieve and majesty of the reward.

    If you try to convince people to compete to lead check-ins at your business for a free packet of ketchup on Saturdays, they won’t be very impressed. If you have people doing a series of challenges to find a key to unlock free entrées once a week for a year, that might be worth doing.

There is an important distinction between seeding loyalty with location-based services and incorporating LBSs into a formal loyalty campaign.

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