Foursquare – GPS Cell Phone Software to Help Businesses Reach New Markets
Today I would like to tell you about a relatively new phenomenon to hit the cell phone locator industry. What we will be talking about today is a revolutionary new marketing and social networking tool called “Location Based Services” apps. This is most commonly known as LBS among businesses and technology enthusiasts.
You might be wonder what Location Based Services Apps actually are? Let me try to shed some light on this matter for you. Not long ago, some brilliant marketer realized that the fact that modern smartphones are equipped with GPS receivers in them makes it possible to tap into a previously untapped social phenomenon.
Here’s how it works. If you have a smartphone, and more and more people these days are upgrading to smartphones, you can install a location based application on your mobile device and begin participating in the latest craze to hit the cellular phone industry. Trust me when I tell you that this craze will be as big as the overwhelmingly successful Facebook phenomenon and perhaps even bigger!
Facebook has even entered into the LBS market with the introduction of a feature called “Facebook Places”. In my opinion, they are missing the mark and leaving a lot of money on the table with the limited way in which they are utilizing LBS technology.
Allow Me To Introduce foursquare To You
There is an LBS app called foursquare and I believe that their business model is much more enticing for both business owners and users. In just a minute, I’ll explain why I feel this way.
Perhaps the most popular of the location based services is foursquare. If you haven’t heard of it yet, you’re certainly not alone. Despite the fact that few people seem to know about this application, it’s remarkably popular and it’s popularity is poised to explode here very shortly. This is good news for business owners because it means they can get in on the ground floor and capitalize on this newly emerging technology. As of February 2011, there are over 6.5 million people who are happily using the foursquare LBS application worldwide. It’s not unlikely to expect this number to climb into the hundreds of millions in the years to come.
Why is foursquare So Popular?
You might be wondering why this type of GPS tracking application is becoming so popular so quickly. The main reason is that the brilliant founders of foursquare have creatively transformed a method of gathering market research for businesses into a fun and exciting social networking game that has the potential to be a customer generating magnet!
Why Would Businesses Choose To Use Location Based Services?
The reason that businesses absolutely LOVE foursquare is that this game makes it possible to not only gather very relevant market research about the type of people that are frequenting their business but it also encourages people to return to a place of business more frequently than they regularly would by providing a way to earn enticing incentives. When a person visits your place of business with their smartphone that has foursquare installed on it, they do what is called “checking in”.
It’s extremely easy for the customer to do this. All they have to do is open the app and click on a link inside the foursquare application on their smartphone and the time and date that they “checked in” will be automatically recorded. The reason that customers will willingly do this is because they earn points every time they “check in” at a particular business. As they accumulate more points, they earn what are called “badges”.
There are a quite a few badges that people can earn and the person who has frequented a business the most will earn a badge called the “Mayor” badge. The amazing thing is that consumers will compete quite aggressively to be the person in their community who holds the highest ranking badge for various businesses. This phenomenon can have the effect of growing the customer base of a particular business at an exponential rate! Profit levels that were previously thought to be impossible to achieve are now well within reach for businesses that creatively take advantage of this mega-marketing strategy.
How Is This Different Than Punch Cards?
Many businesses already have punch card programs to encourage their customers to return to their place of business more frequently. The foursquare location based service application has taken these types of programs to a much higher level. Businesses all over the world are providing enticing incentives for people who frequent their business the most often. For example, many businesses will offer a free meal or some other kind of free merchandise to those who have frequented their business most often and have earned the highest badge.
Business owners who are smart enough to capitalize on this latest craze stand to really cash in! The best part is that location based services such as foursquare are only in their infancy and the best is yet to come. Those businesses that can get out ahead of the pack and start an advertising campaign that promotes the use of location based services when they frequent their place of business may notice that the percentage of return customers should rise dramatically. If a business happens to have a very low percentage of return visitors, they can use this information to take a closer look at how they’re operating their business to figure out why people choose not to return.
Why Do People Choose To Use foursquare?
Believe it or not, people choose to use location based services such as foursquare simply because it’s so much fun! Not only is it a fun online game to participate in, this phenomenon brings out the competitive nature of shoppers like you wouldn’t believe. People all over the world are competing aggressively to have the highest badge level at business establishments of all kinds. The fact that foursquare and other LBS applications bring this competitive nature out of people is nothing short of miraculous when it comes to the impact that LBS apps can have for business owners.
Think about this! Customers will frequent your business more often even if they aren’t actually in the mood for the type of food that you serve at your restaurant or the service you provide with your business simply because they want to be the winner of the game! This means that customers will spend money that they had not previously planned on spending for nothing more than being able to have the bragging rights that they are the high badge owner at your place of business.
How Can Business Owners Capitalize On This Phenomenon?
The businesses that are capitalizing on location based services the most are wise enough to see the vision and the possibilities that this new and exciting marketing tool presents. They are combining print advertising with media advertising as a way of getting the word out to their potential customers that they can win free merchandise and great prizes simply by “checking in” the most often at their place of business.
Case Example: Let me give you a good example of the power of location based marketing. The other day my friends and I were out on the town and one of them who was riding in the backseat shouted, “Hey! Stop at this coffee shop so I can get a smoothie and “check-in”! This particular friend has developed what I think is a ridiculous obsession with checking in at that coffee shop just so that he can be the foursquare mayor of the shop. He spends more money on coffee there than he ever spent in the past. What does he get out of it? He gets nothing more than bragging rights to say that he is their most loyal customer.
What Does The Future Hold For Location Based Marketing?
The future looks very bright for this type of marketing strategy. As a matter of fact, LBS marketing and advertising strategies will soon be one of the most powerful tools that business owners can use to keep customers coming through their doors time and time again. The businesses that are able to capitalize on this social phenomenon first, stand to catapult their businesses to levels that were previously far out of their reach.
What Should Business Owners Be Doing?
- Register your business! Visit foursquare.com/business/merchants and “claim your business”. In this step, you will provide details about your place of business as well as the exact address associated with it. If your business isn’t listed in the directory, your customers won’t be able to “check in” when they walk through your door.
- Get the word out! Spend a little bit of money on signage and advertising for your business to alert your customers that your business is participating in the foursquare badge program. If you advertise on the radio and television, this is a perfect opportunity to tell your customers about the incentives that they can earn by being the person who checks in at your business most frequently. If you don’t have a web site already, you’ll certainly want to have one designed and be sure to feature the fact that you are a foursquare participant very prominently on the homepage.
- Provide enticing incentives! It’s not enough to simply say that you’re participating in the program. Businesses that will achieve the best results from this type of a marketing campaign are those that are creative and come up with interesting and enticing incentives. Sure, people will come and check in at your place of business simply because they want to win the game but if you “sweeten the pot” a little bit, the percentage of return customers will be much higher.
- Change things up! You’re likely to have some customers that will compete very aggressively for the particular incentives and prizes that you are offering. It’s very important that you don’t discourage new customers from wanting to participate. As mentioned previously, this marketing strategy is relatively new. You will have a certain number of clients who are “in the know” and they will want to get out ahead of the pack so they can earn the highest level badges as quickly as possible.
When the word starts to get out about how customers can win prizes and merchandise simply by frequenting your store more often than they normally would, it’s very important that they not feel like they don’t stand any chance of winning because they simply got in on the game too late. Make sure that you clearly reward the high badge earners but also provide incentives for new customers who are just getting started in the game. You might offer of free large drink with a regular meal for customers that have checked into your business a total of 10 times. You might even consider running a contest based off of the data that you gather from Foursquare. For example, you could advertise the chance to win $100 gift certificate for everyone who checks in at your place of business more than 20 times in a particular month. I hope you see what I’m getting at here. Simply adding your business to the foursquare directory isn’t enough. If you want to achieve dramatic results, you will want to be as creative as possible.
- Capitalize on your results! Companies that have successfully implemented and profited by running contests in their marketing campaigns know that it’s important to publicize the names and faces of the winners. When customers are able to associate the name and face with a contest winner, this makes the contest feel more “real” to those who might be willing to participate in future contests.
I believe the businesses that do the best job at capitalizing on this strategy are casinos. You can’t even walk into a single casino without seeing a winner’s board on the wall somewhere. There’s something about seeing the face of someone who actually hit the jackpot that makes people feel like they could be the next “big winner” if they only play long enough while they are in the casino. This strategy works amazingly well to increase the number of people who participate in contests and competitive LBS programs like foursquare.
What’s The Bottom Line?
So, what’s the bottom line here? The best way I can sum this new marketing strategy up is that business owners who “see the vision” of the huge potential of this tool, are going to be light years ahead of their competitors in the months and years to come. The question is; are you going to be leading the pack or playing catch up?
Where To Download The foursquare App
Are you anxious to try this app out? I’ll bet that you are so I’ve included a link that you can click on and easily download this app. Simply click here: Download foursquare Right Here.
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