Small businesses can use geofencing to great results

Have you heard about geofencing? It’s a new trend in marketing that enables businesses to target customers based on their specific location, sending messages that might be useful to them at that particular moment. You’ve probably been geofenced yourself. Many cellular companies send a push notification when you leave their service area, informing you that you are roaming. It’s the same idea and the same technology.

But this technology is not just for big companies such as cellular providers and national chains. Small businesses can take advantage of location-based marketing at low costs and to great results.

There are two ways to do this.

The first is with geofencing using GPS and RFID. This means that you use technology already embedded on all smartphones in order to put a virtual fence around your location. When people with your app enter, leave or dwell inside of the fenced area, you can push a targeted message to their phone.

The second is by using beacons. Beacons use Bluetooth technology and can be purchased for as little as $20. These little devices get installed in your location and allow you to communicate with the smartphones of everyone that enters the store (provided they have opted in).

Both of these options allow you to provide your customers with timely and useful information that helps to increase loyalty, interest and sales. They also enable you to gather data about your customers, such as where they linger in the store and how much time they spend on average. Your customers are never more interested in what you have to offer than when they are in your location, and these technologies enable insights galore.

Here are a few of the ways that your small business could use geofencing and beacons.

The coffee shop — It’s a hot summer day, so the local coffee shop might decide that it’s a good day to offer a promotion on refreshing, cold-brew coffee. Ping everyone that comes within a block or two of the shop that you’re offering an exclusive deal on cold-brew!

The dry cleaners — The dry cleaner can remind customers that their clothes are ready whenever they pass within a block radius of the cleaners. This makes remembering to pick up your clean clothes, easy and convenient.

The real estate agency — A real estate agency offers an app that enables potential home buyers to get a notification when they pass within a half mile of an open house. The home buyers can pop in to the see the house without having to plan or go out of their way.

The camping outfitters — While customers are shopping, a connected device will know which part of the store the customer is in. The customer can interact with an app in order to get more information about the products they are looking at, or in order to find the section of the store that will have what they are seeking. When they leave the store, they get a message with a coupon for their next visit.

These are just a couple of examples of how useful location-based marketing campaigns can be.

Laurie Macomber, owner of Fort Collins-based Blue Skies Marketing, can be reached at 970-689-3000.