Five Ways Businesses Can Dip their Feet in the Geo-Marketing Water

Many businesses overlook location-based marketing and focus on things like Twitter and Facebook. While these two channels may sit at the top of the food chain in terms of number of users and traction; location based marketing cannot be overlooked. While business owners may not understand why someone would ever want to be the mayor of your restaurant, you have to appreciate and understand that this behaviour and thinking is happening in your back yard.

Social location services such as Gowalla, Foursquare, Yelp! and Facebook Places are further promoting the idea of “check-ins” and are keeping the fire going on geo location marketing. These startups and businesses recognize that customers are using their mobile devices more and more to find everything. As a small business, it means you must recognize the importance of tapping into the hype and leveraging it to generate an increase in foot traffic and sales for your business.

photo credit: Ed Yourdon via photopin cc
Here are five simple ways for local businesses to capture their own personalized version of social location behavior and use mobile and online marketing to generate real life sales and transactions:

Foursquare Offers

Establish programs that provide a benefit to consumers who are willing to visit your business or show loyalty. Foursquare offers are essentially the idea of loyalty cards being brought to life through digital technology and more accurate tracking. It also provides you with an opportunity to get creative and offer deals not only for repeat visits but also for things like showing up with 20+ people or visiting for the very first time. Another benefit of Foursquare is that you capture rich data on anyone who checks-in and keep your eye on organizational trends.

Offers aren’t the only ways to get people to check-in using Foursquare. You should also look into implementing on-site promotions of the network with a simple call to action at the entrance or at a high traffic location on-site.

Yelp and TripAdvisor

Businesses don’t realize it but people are travelling more and more with their laptops than ever before. If you’re in the restaurant, travel or adventure industry ignoring these items is like ignoring the size of a glove during OJ Simpsons trial. You just can’t do it. There is a great opportunity to convert relevant consumers through channels like Yelp and TripAdvisor by simply having a presence.

Create Your Own Deals

While deals on Foursquare are great, there is also an opportunity to develop your own deals on your own terms. If you’re not familiar with the emergence of group buying sites like LivingSocial or Groupon then you might be new to these parts. With a dash of creativity and a sprinkle of brand integration, you have an opportunity with social media to tell a story centered around deals that drivea real life visits to your store. For example, Banana Republic does an excellent job with this using unique content marketing tactics like this to drive people in-store:


Facebook Offers

Recently launched, Facebook offers present consumers with a chance to acquire and redeem a deal for a specific location. Facebook offers are relatively new but they present businesses with another way to go viral on Facebook using targeted discounts and offers. The experience for Facebook offers is quite straight forward:

  • Click Get Offer below the offer’s headline to send it to the primary email address associated with your Facebook account.
  • Bring the email to the business by printing it out or showing it to the staff on your phone. Some offer emails will include a redemption code that you can use on the business’s website.


This one in particular focuses on a niche. As you may have guessed from the name of the app, it focuses on establishments like restaurants, bakeries, cafes, street trucks and beyond. Essentially, if you offer food and it can be eaten while at your location – Foodspotting is an application worth considering.

This application presents consumers with a chance to find whatever they’re craving, see what’s good at any restaurant and learn what locals like to eat when they visit nearby restaurants. The best part of Foodspotting for businesses is that unlike a site like TripAdvisor, you don’t get negative reviews. This app is all about providing people with the GREAT food in their city and thus, it’s positive feedback only.


Whether you actually embrace Geo-location marketing or not, it’s still important to know that it’s going to continue to disrupt business as usual. People are looking for real-time information more than ever before and the majority are looking to their cell phone for answers.

It really all boils down to this: creating value for potential customers. If you can do that on a consistent basis then you’ll start to see the benefits, whether it’s through an effective geo-location campaign or an attempt to go viral on Facebook. Provide value through your offers, deals and content.

What other ways can you get your feet wet with geo-location marketing? Please leave a comment bellow!

*This is a guest post by Ross Simmonds*

Ross Simmonds
Ross Simmonds is a digital strategist, public speaker and entrepreneur. He's currently writing  Stand Out: A Content Marketing Guide for Entrepreneurs which highlights how businesses can use content marketing to drive meaningful and measurable results
Ross Simmonds

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