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Components of Successful Location-based Marketing Offers

Offers are the lifeblood of any successful location-based marketing campaign. Understanding how they work and the behaviors they drive is critical to engaging your customers.

Reward the influencer

Rewarding the influencer can be a double-edged sword if regular customers know that you’re offering better specials to influencers. One way around appearing to favor your influencers is to focus on more experiential-types of rewards for them, such as VIP get-togethers and advisory board invites.

Create a check-in special for everyone

Sometimes, when you’re just getting started with location-based marketing, providing a uniform offer for anyone who checks in can be the easiest to administer. Think of it as analogous to a happy hour special.

This offer might look similar to one that you would offer to a new customer, something like free service for a month or a free drink. If you sell tickets, you might offer 50 percent off a second ticket of equal value.

Build a tiered rewards system

Having a tiered rewards system can ensure that you’re not only rewarding your most valuable customers but also providing incentives for people to keep checking in. For instance, a mayorship or being top of the Leaderboard might merit the highest reward because it demonstrates the highest level of loyalty. Check-ins may merit a different reward and adding tips and photos yet another reward.

Recent offerings from companies like SCVNGR with the Level Up platform and Closely’s Social Select enable you to provide different offers to different customers based on loyalty, time of day, and other variables.

  • Level Up: This service provided by SCVNGR is geared at competing with group couponing services like Groupon and LivingSocial. The service offers three deals a day and each deal is unlocked by exploring each of the three businesses offering the deal.

  • Social Select: You can target specific customers so only the customers you invite to explore are eligible. However, once your target customers “unlock” a deal, they can share with their networks.

Provide incentives to keep checking-in

Creating a tiered offer is important if you want to keep people coming back again and again. One way to do this is to explicitly let customers know that the more they check in, the better the offers get. A more clever way to do this is to offer up surprise rewards after an initial check-in.

For example, Mazda had customers check in to one location to get additional information about where to check in next. Participants who made it far enough into the check-in schedule were eligible to win a Mazda2. This type of approach makes playing the game almost as fun as thinking about winning the big prize.

Surprise people with badges and games

A badge is an icon that is earned for checking in at a particular location or a series of locations. Currently, several of the location-based services (LBS) offer badges. foursquare has an entire section of its website dedicated to the types of badges that participants can earn.

These badges range from the obvious Newbie (first time ever checking in on foursquare) or Adventurer (checked into ten different locations), to the more esoteric Crunked (four plus stops in one night) or Player Please (checked in with three members of the opposite sex) badges.

Check out a full list of foursquare badges.

Milwaukee-area burger joint AJ Bombers used a grassroots effort to get people into restaurants. They held a “swarm party.” The swarm badge is given when 50 people check in to a single location. They got 161 people to check in.

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