Getting Started with Location-Based Cause Marketing

If you haven’t tried your hand at location-based cause marketing before, don’t be intimidated. Location-based marketing was made for you! Foursquare alone boasts tens of thousands of businesses experimenting with offers and specials. Most of these are small businesses that are using location-based marketing to connect with consumers and level the playing field with larger competitors. Join the crowd.

As you get started with location-based marketing, keep the following pointers in mind:

  • Consider your location. Obviously, on the for-profit side, Foursquare is perfect for stores and restaurants and coffee houses and any other business with foot traffic. On the nonprofit side, museums, cultural centers, historical sites, and schools are just a few of the organizations that should “claim their venue” on location-based services like Foursquare and Facebook Places. You might just connect with a cause or company because they checked in to your location on Foursquare.

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  • Find a partner that wants to experiment with you. It’s important to identify a partner that’s as interested and curious as you are about location-based marketing. Working together can be fun and rewarding for both of you.

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  • Take one step back to take two steps forward. Sometimes the key to success with location-based marketing is sowing and then reaping. This was the case with a cause partner, Finagle-A-Bagle. The company wanted to support a local cause, but it needed help getting its location-based marketing program started.

    Most causes wouldn’t think to help a partner with something that didn’t directly benefit them. But if partners help each other, they can grow a larger opportunity and share the bounty.

  • Test a variety of services. Do you know who’s going to be the survivor in the location-based services wars? Will it be Foursquare because it has the most users? SCVNGR because it’s the most interactive? Or will Gowalla resurrect itself and roll east? That’s why you have to try different services. Decide what you like about each of them, and which appeals to different audiences.

  • Use the services as-is. It would be nice if you could just pick up the phone and call Facebook or Foursquare or Yelp and have it tailor its service to your needs like you can tailor clothing to your tiny waist or long legs. But that isn’t going to happen.

    All these companies are growing very quickly and have not staffed up to meet all the calls and requests from customers. So, focus first on using the services as is. On Foursquare, this means sticking to basic functions, like building your program around Mayors, check-ins, tips, and specials.

  • Be realistic in your expectations. You’re not going to raise a lot of money from location-based cause marketing to start. However, with perseverance, you’ll raise some money and tap into a vein of opportunity that will deliver deep rewards in the years ahead. But the mining must begin now.

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