You’ve probably heard the saying “think globally, act locally.” Well, the practice of geofencing allows marketers to act hyper-locally.

Mobile devices have taken over the world. It’s been more than two years since they overtook computers as people’s preferred internet-searching device. They’ve changed the way we communicate, shop, and seek out entertainment. So, it’s no surprise that they’ve changed the marketing world as well.

Geo-fencing is one of the most potent new forms of advertising, but many are still in the dark when it comes to the details of this marketing strategy.

What You Need to Know About Geo-Fencing

Location-based data is changing how marketers connect with potential customers and clients. Businesses and organizations now have the power to section off entire geographic areas and target people and devices within them.

Geofencing works via global positioning systems (GPS) and radio frequency identification (RFID) on mobile devices. Did you know businesses are able to establish “virtual barriers,” allowing administrators to communicate with devices entering, leaving, or residing within a designated area?  Various triggers are set up based on a business’ marketing strategy.

These triggers can include: 

  • Targeted text messages
  • Email alerts
  • In-app notifications
  • Banner Advertisements/Display Ads

Uses of Geofencing

A sign or an advertisement is effective, but it doesn’t have the immediacy of a notification on a phone or other mobile device.

Geofences can be configured in different ways to prompt a push notification to appear on someone’s phone. These notifications are tools for companies to:

  • Trigger immediate sales
  • Promote brand-awareness and recognition
  • Obtain useful shopper data and insights into their shopping intent
  • Notify customers about special offers, sales, and other time-relevant information
  • Offer coupons
  • Provide improved “Loyalty Points” systems (no more punch-cards!)
  • Gain feedback via customer surveys

The above examples are very useful for retail brands, however, there are a multitude of industries that benefit from the use of geofences.

Concert and sport venues have discovered the use of geofences to aggregate fan posts about the event. In-the-moment feedback from patrons provides valuable insights into what venue-goers like and dislike about their experience. Venues can then use this information to improve on their shortcomings and play to their strengths. Driving loyalty is also a huge benefit of geofencing.  After fans have left the geofenced area, the venue is able to continue serving them ads to drive business back.

A geofence can also be used for security.  Monitoring activities in specific areas is now easier than ever. Management personnel can be notified when people enter or leave a fenced zone.  This capability opens up possibilities for improvements in customer service and other areas of business operations.

 

Creating Your Own Geofence

While geo-fencing is a complex, multi-faceted technology, it is relatively easy to get started.

Here’s what you’ll need to do to set up a viable geofence for your business:

  • Create an app
  • Find the right software to create your geofence (this can vary by budget, as well as the size of your intended fence
  • Test the software to work out kinks and bugs before you start offering it to potential customers/clients
  • Develop creative notification campaigns–what offers, sales, or promotions are you going to offer via your geofence?

 

Important Considerations Regarding Your Geofence

Apps–especially retail ones–are notoriously difficult to keep popular. A clear majority of company apps lose most of their users within a single year. That’s why it’s important to avoid some of the common geo-fencing pitfalls.

Something to keep in mind is many companies are too pushy with their push-notifications.  We all know what it is like to be bothered by advertisements on our phones and devices. Remember: people are more bombarded by advertisements and notifications than they have ever been before. Naturally, people are more skeptical (or even annoyed) when they feel like they’re being “pestered” by your app.

Keep the following elements in mind as you develop your fencing strategy: 

  • You don’t want to alienate users by sending too many push notifications.
  • GPS-based apps are a huge drain on phone batteries, even when they’re just running in the background.
  • You’ll likely need the services of technology experts, app developers, or software designers to create and maintain the geofence at optimum levels of efficacy.
  • Smaller is better when it comes to a geofence–stick to the geographic area directly around your brick-and-mortar location (at least at first).

 

Important Takeaways for Geo-Fencing Success

Don’t let the warnings above scare you off.

Geo-fencing isn’t strictly for the “big dogs,” there is plenty of room for the smaller “chihuahua-sized” companies to get in the mix. Local retailers can take advantage of these services just as easily as the national brands. If you are interested in learning more, contact us at NLA today.  We are experienced in geo-fencing and are able to take on your next campaign with proven success.

In the end, a successful geofence-based campaign is just like any other marketing strategy. The fencing process works best when it works organically. To do this, your notifications should be:

  • Timely: To prompt people’s “Fear of Missing Out” (FOMO), it helps to notify customers about sales that are ending soon or limited-time offers.
  • Relevant: Use shopper data to inform potential customers about the kind of products they like and enjoy seeking out. Don’t offer them something they don’t care about–that’s a one-way ticket to having your app uninstalled. Your customer data information and Google analytics can help with this.
  • Useful: Don’t spam your customers! One useful notification is always better than ten that have no bearing on their lives and interests.

By following the tips given throughout this guide, we’re sure that you’ll harness the power of the geofence to boost your business, bolster your app, and see some of the best ROI of any marketing strategy you’ve used. Best of luck!