Location, location, location: How location based marketing can help your business. – Article by XOXX and Pooch & Mutt owner, Guy Blaskey, published in the trade magazine PPM (Pet Product Marketing).
On May 26th Google announced the launch of ‘Google Offers’ and ‘Google Wallet’ in the US. Google wallet will allow you to pay for goods by touching your phone to a sensor in a shop, using NFC (Near Field Communication) technology – similar to how you use an oyster card on the tube in London. Because the NFC chip will be built in to smartphones the phone will ‘learn’ where you shop and what you buy. This will then work in tandem with Google Offers, which will notify you about special offers on the items that you regularly buy in areas that you normally shop, so you can get the deals. There is no launch date for Google Offers and Google Wallet in the UK at the moment, but there are existing location based marketing services that could easily benefit pet stores and pet brands..
A great example of a pet food brand using location based marketing is the German pet food brand Granata. Granata set up billboards offering samples of their food to dog owners. Instead of having to call, text or write in for your sample all you had to do is ‘check-in’ on Foursquare (a location-based social network) and the sample was distributed directly into a bowl that formed part of the billboard. You can see a video about this at http://bit.ly/fgSJ3V. Not only did the dog get to try the food there and then, it also generated huge word of mouth both in the park and on online.
Location based marketing is not just for brands with big marketing budgets, it is perfect for pet stores. In fact it is easier because pet stores have physical locations to market. As a local pet store here are a couple of things that you can do.
1) Add your store to Google Places. This is a really simple process, just go to www.google.co.uk/places and follow the instructions. It means that your store will show up in local searches and registers your store on Google Maps, making it easier for customers to find you whether they are searching on their computers or using the Google Maps app on their smartphones. You can also add photos, videos, coupons and even real-time updates like weekly special offers on your Google Places page.
2) Benefit from Facebook check-ins. ‘Checking in’ is when people let their facebook friends know where they are. To check in you simply open the facebook app on your smartphone. Your phone will then check via GPS the places that are close by and you select where you are, you can also add a comment about what you are doing there and ‘tag’ friends who you are with. Then an update, like the one below, is published to all your facebook friends.
If you tag someone then this is published in their feed too. And checking in is not just for showing off what you are doing, it is also a useful way to meet up with friends. If you check-in then you can see other people who have checked near by. So if you are waiting for a flight in an airport you can see if any of your friends are there too.
So how can you benefit from this? At the time of writing Facebook has hinted that it will soon be rolling out Facebook Deals, currently available to limited businesses. When you go to check-in you get a list of places that you can check-in to. Some of these will have yellow boxes next to them. These are places that are offering Facebook Deals. You will soon very easily be able to set up a deal at your store, just go to www.facebook.com/deals/checkin/ and follow the instructions. There are different types of deal that you can offer for people who check-in to your store. ‘Individual deals’, the simplest type where people get money off or a freebie for checking in, i.e. get 10% off when you check in to ABC’s pet store. ‘Loyalty deals’ where people get a deal for checking in multiple times, i.e. get a free bag of Pooch & Mutt’s Bionic Biotic on the 8th time you check-in to ABC’s pet store. ‘Friend deals’ where you get a deal for checking in with friends, i.e. check in with 6 friends and you all get a free bag of treats when you spend over £10.
When people check in and claim the offer an update like the one below appears in there facebook feed.
This promotes the offer, and therefore your store, to all their friends. Driving even more people to your store.
Most importantly both Google Places and Facebook Deals are/ will be free to use, so there is no excuse not to… even if they don’t work, what have you lost by trying?
Guy Blaskey is the owner of pet supplement specialist Pooch & Mutt and marketing consultancy XOXX. Find out more at www.poochandmutt.com / www.xoxx.co.uk and follow Pooch & Mutt at www.facebook.com/poochandmutt. Pooch & Mutt products are available from Vital, Pedigree and Natural Pet products.