5 tips to running a good location-based services promotion

By: Jack Winston

Businesses have an ever widening set of options for running social media and location-based services marketing promotions.  With tools including Facebook, Foursquare, GroupOn Now, and SCVNGR, businesses are able to offer promotions to on-location customers via their mobile phones.  As businesses gain more experience with these types of programs, one needs to step back and think about what is working and what is not.  Here are a few observations of what works best for running a location based services promotion and some thoughts for choosing a promotions platform that will deliver results.

1.  Use online and offline tools to drive attention to your promotion
If you want to engage your customers with a location based promotion, you need to capture their attention and get them to engage when they are physically in or near your business.  Use in store signage to make sure your visitors know they should check out your promotion on their phone.  Make sure your staff are talking up the promotion when speaking to customers and are equipped to answer any question about how to participate.  Also, even though the promotion may be for on-location customers, it is worthwhile to advertise your promotion on Facebook, Twitter, your website or other online tools you have at your disposal so potential customers can consider your promotion in advance.  Finally, make sure the platform you choose makes it possible for potential customers in the area to see nearby promotions.

2. Do not expect your participants to embarrass themselves
Too many location-based contests and games are based on participants embarrassing themselves – whether by asking silly questions of staff, scrounging around establishments hunting for obscure clues, or taking pictures of themselves in compromised positions.  Some people certainly get into it (particularly after a few cocktails), but the majority of us introverts would rather keep a low profile while out in public.  Even the potential for winning valuable prizes is not enough to get me to execute some wacky physical challenge when I can be quietly and anonymously kicking back a few cold ones.  And my money is just as green as the goofball running around the bar in bare feet, clucking like a chicken with his friend filming on an iPhone.  Make your promotions appealing to us lazy, shy people too.

3. Make participation fun and easy
Make participating in location-based promotions as fun and simple as possible.  Don’t expect your customers to navigate through a bunch of options or type in lots of additional information on their mobile phones.  You need to look for promotion platforms that offer a user interface that is easy to use, intuitive the first time encountered, and ideally entertaining.  We all like to fill time by messing around with our smartphones.  Make your location-based promotion a fun thing to mess around with.

4. Offer incentives, prizes or discounts that are perceived as being valuable
Make sure the incentives to participate in the promotion are valuable enough to get your customers to participate.  Remember that checking-in, liking you on facebook, or providing some type of information is valuable to you.  Offer something valuable in return.    Complex point systems or virtual awards appeal to some, but will not be sufficient incentive to mainstream customers.  In our last blog entry, we discussed how programs like sweepstakes can create the perception of value without breaking the bank.  Sometimes simple giveaways can be more effective than nominal discounts.

5.  Brief your staff on the game and redemption procedures
Many of your customers will be experimenting with a location-based promotion for the first time.  There will be natural trepidation in playing and in redeeming prizes.  Make sure your entire staff knows about the game – ideally promoting it to customers themselves.  In particular, make sure they are familiar with redemption procedures so the person claiming the prize isn’t involved with any complicated transactions at the register – or worse, encountering an employee who refuses to honor the prize because they never heard of the promotion.  When selecting a platform for creating your promotion, make sure the redemption process is integrated and easy to execute.

Bozuko offers tools for creating simple, fun, and effective location-based promotional programs and we are really looking forward to telling you more about what we have planned.

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