It’s every business owner’s dream.
A prospective customer is walking through town when all of a sudden their phone goes off. It’s a notification alerting them that your shop has a special offer on, and that you’re only a few steps away waiting to say hello to them.
They come in, take a look around, like what they see, and become a long-term customer that tells their friends about how nice your shop is.
Believe it or not, this is a future that’s not too far off if you play your cards right. It’s also a future that sounds a wee bit complicated, but do your research and a whole world of opportunity opens up to you.
I’m talking about geofencing and contextual search. Technologies that are still developing and making their way into the hands of marketers.
And some are making good use of them right now.
Do you use geofencing, beacon technology, and other forms of outreach? How successful have they been? Let me know in the comments section below.
They might be giants
Over yonder in Liverpool last year you may have noticed that the Giants made a spectacular return, with the enormous puppets attracting crowds from across the globe as they wandered around Merseyside and congested the roads.
But if you had your marketing specs on you may have noticed that during the parade there was something of a world first happening.
Liverpool became one of the first cities across the UK to pioneer mobile digital proximity technology to enhance the experience through content marketing and other fascinating techniques.
Visitors to the city that had downloaded the I’m@app onto their phone (which clocked in at approximately 3,000 people) would get special content beamed to their phones when they walked past certain places to enhance their experience of the city at the time.
Walking past certain areas on the Giants’ route, for instance, would unlock stories and information about the puppets to make the exhibit more interactive, entertaining, and inclusive.
That’s not all. A number of other institutes around the area such as Liverpool’s national museums, galleries, and other areas of interest got involved. When people were in close proximity to a special beacon they’d get a push notification with interesting content, offers, and much more besides.
A beacon of hope?
This was all made possible thanks to beacon technology placed throughout the city which was then able to target people via geofencing that had downloaded the app.
It’s easy to see why your head may blow up reading that sentence, but it’s actually much more simple than people think. There are small pieces of tech available on the market called beacons; probably the most popular is the Apple iBeacon.
They’re small transmitters and they’re coming down in price all the time, which is great news. Simply place it somewhere (you may need permission, of course) and set a proximity (the ones in Liverpool would activate within a 37.6km² zone).
And people that had downloaded the app would get content, offers and more through push notifications to their phones. They didn’t have to do a thing, just download an app and be in the right place.
Why an app, though? Simple, to complement the experience and to get consent from people that are happy to have these notifications appear on their phones. After all, you can’t spam hundreds of people that walk past a busy area at all hours of the day, can you?
How important is context in the future of marketing and will it be a game changer? Let me know below!
I mention the above event because I came across a fantastic article last week regarding the contextual future of search. With Google’s mobile algorithm set for release and Hummingbird out in the wild, this is something businesses should be keeping their eyes on to reach new customers.
But what exactly is contextual search? The closest we have to anything at the moment is Google Now, with its cards popping up to let you know when something of interest is close by, events that are happening according to your tastes, and more.
So, will there come a time when people are out shopping and a café’s notification pops up on your phone offering you an incredible deal? Yes, and probably much sooner than you think. But Google Now is an excellent example; it takes a while to learn about your online habits and tailors its cards to your behaviour.
Contextual marketing shouldn’t be seen as a big push. Take the Giants example again – the app people needed to download was useful in deciding what kinds of content people liked to digest, and gave the marketers involved a good idea of the types of people they were reaching out to.
comScore recently predicted that by the end of the year 80 per cent of mobile phone users over in the States would be using a smartphone. That’s incredible and shows just how much we are coming to rely on what is essentially a mini computer.
And while the future marketing prospects are really quite incredible, it’ll count for nothing unless you line it up with your existing digital strategy and learn everything you can about your customers and your market to attract the right people.
How will you get the word out socially that there are exciting new ways to communicate with people? What content will you push and how often? Will you look to get people thinking or just bombard them with offers? Or maybe you just want people to know you exist.
As impressive as geofencing and beacon technology is you’ll only be successful with it if you boil it down to the basics. And that means coming back to your customers, being on their level, finding out what they want and like, and providing them with the most fantastic service possible.
If you’d like to learn more about geotargeting and mobile marketing for your business contact Wepresence now!