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11 Questions to Ask Before Using Location-Based Services to Market Your Business

Note: Originally posted on: on June 22, 2010

Location-based marketing (LBM) is here and it has been here for a long while, way before Yelp, Loopt and Foursquare. But now with the recent popularity in location-based mobile applications like Foursquare, TriOut (disclosure, I am a partner), Loopt Star and Gowalla, more brands and agencies are trying to take advantages of these services to increase sales, branding and in some cases just to look cool.

Emerging from a recent “future of location-based marketing” panel, much of the audience mentioned a need for more LBM brand success stories, to help get an idea of what is possible on these new platforms.

Reset Your Thinking

But it is important to remember that getting started with location-based marketing starts with a hyper-local twist. If you have your social media thinking cap on, I dare say take if off, sit it in a corner visit your local coffee shop and ask yourself what will drive more people to walk in the doors that are not customers or make existing customers visit more often before you even think about a badge.

Regardless, soon we’re going to see more Mayor check-in like specials, leader-board contests and discount from major brands, retailers and small businesses looking to use location-based services as a marketing channel.

It’s Harder Than It Looks

But businesses should be warned, it’s a lot more work and harder than getting people to follow you on Twitter. Before you get too excited about offering a badge, a coupon or a free beer on your customer’s 5th visit, please consider digging a little deeper into your strategy. Ask yourself these 11 questions about your business and location-based services before jumping in.

  1. Who is my target audience?
  2. Do my customers currently check-in to my location?
  3. What location-based services do our customers and local community use?
  4. What is our goal if we offer a check-in special/discount?
  5. What’s the incentive for the customer to check-in?
  6. How will I get the word out online and offline?
  7. What objective numbers will I track and how?
  8. How long will the location-based promotion last?
  9. Who are we excluding by offering a check-in special?
  10. How do I integrate our check-in special with existing marketing efforts?
  11. What will it take to educate our staff on our location-based promotions?

As you look to embrace the “next big thing” in digital marketing, remember that a good strategy can help you learn and improve your efforts along the way. I’m sure there will be a lot more questions and answers to follow. Let us know what you are learning along the way.

How do you think business should approach location-based marketing?

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