Nearly two years ago, my co-author Mike Schneider and I published a book called Location-Based Marketing for Dummies. At the time, location-based marketing was just getting off the ground in large part thanks to the launch of two services: foursquare and Gowalla.
Over the last couple of years, many of the original location-based services have been acquired or have gone out of business. But foursquare still stands in spite of the fact that it still hasn’t caught fire like many of us hoped it would.
While foursquare has stalled out around 25 million users, it is still a force to be reckoned with and worth considering as part of any company’s marketing mix (that goes double for any live event).
Foursquare Marketing Basics
It’s been a while since I’ve seen a back-to-basics post on foursquare that doesn’t just focus on the offers, but gets into some of the other considerations that are a must for a good foursquare campaign. There are plenty of others, but this should help get your creative juices flowing:
• Set goals: This probably sounds like a no-brainer, but as a business owner, it’s sometimes tempting to jump in feet first. Given the fact that your business will need to spend time and energy against this effort, knowing what activities you are trying to drive (foot traffic, loyalty, awareness via sharing across social networks, share of wallet) is critical to measuring your ultimate success.
• Claim your business: It’s pretty easy to get your business set up (or claimed if a customer has already set it up). The easiest way to get started is to open up foursquare on your mobile phone, search for your business and then…
• Reach out to your Influencers: Find out who your influencers are (the mayor or the person at the top of your leader board is usually a good place to start) and get to know them. Heck, invite them in for coffee, lunch, a wine tasting… You can do this individually or as a group.
• Create a special strategy: Understanding what types of offers you’d like to make available (discounts, informational, experiential, give aways) is helpful to establish up front. Note that you don’t need to give away the farm, but you also want to make sure you’re providing enough value to encourage checkins.
• Test out different specials: Foursquare now gives you the ability to pick different specials. It’s a little hard to find them on their site so I’ve listed the types of specials along with descriptions below:
- Swarm Special – Like, “If 30 people check in at once, get 25 cent wings”
- Friends Special – Like, “Check in with 3 friends and get a free dessert”
- Flash Special- Like, “The first 10 people that check in after 8pm get 25% off their order”
- Newbie Special - Like, “Get a free cupcake on your first check-in”
- Check-in Special - Like, “Get a free appetizer when you check in”
- Loyalty Special - Like, “Get a free cookie every 3rd check-in”
- Mayor Special - Like, “Mayor gets 20% off their entire bill”
• Measure, refine and optimize: This one is pretty straightforward. Have a plan and execute against it.
• Let people know about your campaign: Remember to let people know about your program by putting up signs, telling them in your newsletter, including a mention on your “on hold” music, etc. In fact, foursquare offers free decals for your door if you want to order them.
• Train your staff: This means that if you are going to run a location-based marketing campaign, train your employees. Train yourself. And make sure you have whatever it is that you’re promising. Not operationalizing is where many companies fall down. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to redeem an offer only to have an employee stare at me with that deer-in-the-headlights look.
• Experiment with paid: As with any other social activity, it is worth testing some paid activity with foursquare’s local updates and promoted updates. These allow you to let people who are using the “Explore” button or are checking in nearby to see your business, even if they’ve never checked in there before.
• Download the business app: The business app is a relatively new offering and better yet, it’s free. This allows you to track activity (who is in your business), specials (update/change) and analytics in real time.
• Measure your efforts: While foursquare doesn’t provide the most robust analytics dashboard, you can see important activity from your venue once you’ve claimed your business. This dashboard provides information on daily checkin activity, special redemption, top people checking in, etc.
In conjunction with foursquare, don’t forget to do similar activities on places like Yelp, Google Places and Facebook. More on how to best activate on those other channels in an upcoming post!
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.
Related Topics: Analytics | Channel: Local | Check-In Services | Facebook: Mobile | Foursquare | Google: Mobile | How To Guides | How To Guides: Local Marketing | Mobile Marketing Column | Statistics: Mobile Marketing | Twitter: Mobile | Yelp