geofencing marketing

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Geofencing marketing is a tactic that leverages the user’s location data to inform marketing decisions. We previously described what geolocation is and how the different types of targeting can be used in your marketing. This time, we’ll go over five core use cases for geolocation marketing to reveal how practical this technique can be.

Messaging campaigns powered by geolocation data are frequently used by retailers to drive foot traffic to their brick-and-mortar stores, but this isn’t the only use case. In fact, there are several uses for geolocation marketing campaigns that don’t even require a brick-and-mortar presence at all.

No matter your app vertical, there are likely one or two geolocation use cases that will work for you. Find yours below.

1. Target Users When They’re Near a Competitor

Driving traffic to your store isn’t the only goal of a marketing campaign. In some cases, it’s a win to simply drive traffic away from competitors.

Retail apps without a brick-and-mortar location can establish geofences around competitors’ physical stores. By offering promotions and discounts when users are about to shop at a competitor, you’ll keep your app top of mind even without a physical presence.

Even if the message doesn’t immediately lead to conversions, it might cause shoppers to hold off on buying the item until they’ve done some more research — giving you another chance to win the purchase.

2. Tailor Recommendations to the User’s Geolocation

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Location-based recommendations aren’t new, but mobile GPS tech enables far more precision than IP address blocks. Instead of a restaurant app suggesting popular food in the city, it can suggest popular food within one mile. Geolocation enables more relevant recommendations and search results than ever before.

Search results and passive recommendations aren’t the only ways a restaurant app can leverage geolocation. With geofencing, you can trigger push notifications to proactively suggest venues when users enter a new neighborhood. The immediacy of these suggestions will likely drive better results than more generalized city-wide recommendations.

3. Optimize the In-Person Experience With Beacons

We regularly say that mobile marketers should optimize their apps with analytics and A/B testing, but it’s a lot harder to optimize in-person experiences like brick-and-mortar stores. Normally, there’s no good way to collect data on the shopping experience, so businesses are left with only big picture metrics like conversions.

With beacons, this story is changing. Beacons are small, physical devices that track nearby phones via Bluetooth. The technology is picking up in popularity: according to Business Insider, half of the top 100 retailers in the US tested beacons in 2014, and we can expect to see 4.5 million active beacons by the end of 2018.

By placing physical beacons around the store, you’ll be able to track customers’ precise locations. This helps store owners understand patterns in foot traffic, which items catch shoppers’ eyes, which aisles are most overlooked, and more. These granular metrics enable deep optimizations that could affect conversions down the line.

If your app doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar store associated with it, you can still use beacons at events. If you plan on hosting conferences, pop-up shops, or local meetups, remember to gather data with beacons to optimize future events.

geofencing beacon

Source: Wikipedia

4. Inform Product Suggestions With Location History

Geofence-triggered push notifications help conversions in the immediate future, but what does this mean for long-term campaigns? Location data is, in fact, one of the many types of user data that can inform future marketing campaigns. If location plays a key role in your app, you can collect location history the same way you might track app usage history. Then, if you spot any trends, you’ll be able to adjust your marketing accordingly.

Think of a public transit app that lists up-to-date bus arrival times. By default, the app might show the closest transit routes to the user’s current location. But over time, this app could add even more value by learning which routes the user frequents. If a particular route is part of someone’s daily commute, the app could eventually default to that specific route instead of showing all nearby schedules.

5. Prompt For Surveys on Geofence Exit

Geofencing is a two-way street. Events and messages can be triggered when a user exits a geofence, not just when they enter. This presents the perfect opportunity to survey users and collect valuable post-purchase information.

Generally, customers aren’t inclined to fill out surveys (no matter how short) without a tangible reward. Since these customers are already using your mobile app, you can offer a discount on their next purchase in exchange for filling out the survey.

Something like, “We’ll give you 10% off your next purchase if you fill out this three-question survey” could do the trick.

This tactic is especially powerful when triggered upon exiting a geofence because the in-store experience is still fresh in the user’s mind. You’re more likely to receive honest feedback.

Getting Started With Geofencing Marketing

geofencing tips

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There’s a lot of tech behind the scenes in the world of geolocation marketing. Luckily, marketing platforms like Leanplum abstract the technical challenges away, leaving marketers free to craft location-based campaigns without occupying engineering resources. If you’re now getting started, keep these five use cases in mind as you build your first geofencing marketing campaign.

Leanplum is the mobile marketing platform built for engagement. We help brands like Lyft, Tinder, Grab, TED, and Zynga orchestrate multi-channel campaigns — from messaging to the in-app experience — all from a single, integrated platform. Schedule your personalized demo here.