3 ways to win at geofencing direct marketing

Friday, July 20, 2018, Vol. 42, No. 29

Mobile marketing tactics are do-or-die for companies that want to remain relevant.

Pew Research Center finds 77 percent of Americans own a smartphone. The breakdown by generation is 92 percent of millennials, 85 percent of Gen Xers and 67 percent of Baby Boomers.

One of the toughest challenges marketers face is fighting the mass of advertising campaigns competing to get in front of their ideal audience. Between traditional and digital channels, the amount of advertising competing for consumer attention is considerable.

Geofencing is an effective way to break through the clutter. Geofencing allows you to serve your audience personalized experiences – 71 percent of customers prefer that – and meet them where they are. If you’re not up-to-speed with this technology, it’s time to start taking it seriously.

Imagine drawing a virtual “fence” around a location. When your desired audience enters the “yard,” they are notified by text message or push notification. If your company doesn’t have a mobile app, digital ads are served via apps or online pages that support advertisement placements while the user is in the area.

Geofencing takes advantage of a valuable smartphone feature – GPS. What was once an easy way to navigate around a city is now also becoming a marketer’s dream. This technology allows marketers to target specific locations (think parking lot or conference center) and show ads or notifications to people within that location.

Of course, like all things marketing, effective geofencing is not as simple as just drawing a circle around an area. Here are three ways to win at geofencing.

Keep the Platinum Rule in mind: “Treat others the way they want to be treated.” Allow your audience to opt in or out for certain services and permissions. If you have a mobile app, make it easy for them to adjust their location and notification settings. Not only are you catering to their needs, you’re also building trust.

When you’re creating your “fence,” the size of the “yard” matters: If your fence is too small, you may not capture enough people. Go too big, and you risk serving an ad that loses relevance to the specific location. Also, large structures, monuments and landmarks can interfere with the effectiveness of your geofence, so test and adapt your fencing accordingly.

Make sure the call to action is clear, geographically relevant and appropriate to the experience and requires immediate action: For example, if a lunch-special notification is pushed at 6 p.m., the ad missed the mark and the notification risks leaving consumers annoyed.

As an added benefit, geofencing provides you a wealth of data, like what messages resonate with people and which promotions drive store visits or phone calls.

With people on the move and on their phones, marketers can increase awareness, leads and purchases by targeting the right people at the right place at the right time.

Julianne Watt is the Manager of Research & Strategy Development at RedRover Sales & Marketing Strategy. She can be reached at redrovercompany.com.