Learn how location based services such as Foursquare, Google Places and Facebook Places will grow your customer base and increase sales.
With the explosive growth of smartphones and GPS, location based services are becoming all the rage.
If you’re unfamiliar with location based services, here’s what you need to know.
People use location based services with their smartphones just like they would a map. They use their smartphone to find the products and services they need.
People also use their smartphone to notify friends on social networks of their current location. They also use location based services to post reviews and opinions about different stores and locations they visit.
Smartphone users do this through a variety of location based service (LBS) platforms. Some of the more popular LBS platforms include:
So why are people voluntarily broadcasting their current location and opinions on social networks? The answer: Because they receive incentives such as discounts, online badges and other must-have items.
And why do they use their smartphones to find out where businesses are located? Because it’s fast, easy, convenient and free.
For automotive stores and service centers, location based services are an exciting opportunity. These platforms allow people to find your business in new ways. As people continue to buy smartphones and use location based services, automotive stores will need to implement a location based marketing plan if they want to be found by potential customers.
This report will tell you everything you need to know about LBS platforms and why your automotive store or service center needs location based marketing.
Why Is Location Based Marketing Important For Automotive Stores And Service Centers?
You may be wondering: What do smartphones and location based services have to do with automotive stores and service centers?
It’s really simple. Smartphones and location based services help people find the products and services you sell.
Think about it for a second.
Let’s say someone is out driving around doing Saturday afternoon errands. After grocery shopping, they realize they need to get their oil changed. They pull out their smartphone and they search “oil change” in Google.
The person sees a map of all the nearby oil change shops in Google Places. They then look for discounts on Facebook Places, Foursquare and mobile websites. The person makes their decision.
Would your automotive store or shop be part of that decision? If you don’t have a location based marketing plan, then probably not.
If they can’t find you, they can’t buy from you.
More and more people are turning to their smartphones to find the products and services they need. Take a look at the numbers:
- One out of every four Americans owns a smartphone (Pew Research)
- More than 70 million people have accessed the internet from their phone last year (eMarketer)
- By 2011, more than 100 million people will be accessing the internet from their phone (eMarketer)
Here’s the most interesting statistic, Google is reporting more than 30 percent of all mobile internet searches are “local searches.” By comparison, only 20 percent of Google searches on regular computers are “local searches.”
This means more people are using their phones to search for addresses and other information to find the nearby products and services they need.
What Are The Benefits Of Location Based Marketing?
There are several important benefits you get with a location based marketing plan. Most importantly, you increase your visibility among potential customers near your store.
Here are some additional benefits:
- Proximity: With location based marketing, a nearby customer is more likely to visit your store than a competitor that is a 15-minute drive away.
- More Impulse Buying: By receiving information and discounts in real-time from their smartphone, it is more likely a nearby customer will visit your store on impulse, which will lead to more impulse buying.
- Higher Search Ranking: Google is starting to give top billing to more of its products and services in its search results. A Google Places listing ensures that people searching nearby for the products and services you sell will find your store.
- Hassle Free: Customers don’t have to go through the hassle of printing online coupons or clipping coupons from direct mail advertisements with LBS. It’s also a lot harder to lose a discount on your smartphone. The phone is presented to the store clerk for the discount, making the shopping experience hassle free.
- Higher Return On Investment: Using location based services costs next to nothing. The ROI on location based service is much higher than other marketing channels such as direct mail, TV and radio.
- Spreads Word Faster: Location based services are tied to larger social networks such as Facebook. This leads to more people learning about the products and services you sell. Additionally, loyal customers can post reviews about your products and services. It’s free word of mouth advertising.
These are just a few of benefits of implementing a location based marketing plan. As these technologies add more features, you can expect more benefits.
What Location Based Service Platforms Should You Use?
There are several LBS platforms you should include in your location based marketing plan. The list includes Google Places, Facebook Places and Foursquare. Here is what you need to know about each of these platforms.
What It Does: Allows people to search Google for nearby automotive businesses with their mobile phone. Search information results include phone number, address, map with directions and customer reviews. It’s a map, phone book and review guide all in one place.
What Information Is Required: To maintain your Google Places listing, you need to verify you are the store owner/manager with a Google account. You will need to provide: phone number, address, store website, hours of operation and a short store description. This service is free.
Promotional Features: Google Places includes Google Tags. These are “tags” you can purchase from Google that allow you to include specials and coupons on your local page and map. This service costs $25 per month.
What It Does: Allows people to share their current location with friends by “checking-in.” Information is shared with the Foursquare social network and Facebook social network if connected. Users are awarded points and badges for check-ins.
What Information Is Required: You will need to create a Foursquare profile. You will need to enter your name, email and location. Once you have a profile, you will need to add your store to the venue listings if one does not exist. You will need to add: business name, address, cross streets, phone and Twitter handle. You can then register as owner of the business to create special and discounts. A Foursquare representative will call you to confirm you are the owner.
Promotional Features: Foursquare allows business owners to post specials. Specials can include free items and discounts on purchases. Specials are earned based on “check-ins.” They can be based on frequency or given every single time. Specials are free to run.
What It Does: Allows people to share with friends their current location by “checking-in” using the Facebook Places feature on the Facebook Mobile App on their smartphone.
What Information Is Required: To register a Facebook Place you will need the Facebook Mobile App. Search for your business using the application. If your business does not exist, enter the company name and a short description of your company. Be sure you are at your place of business when registering.
You can then visit Facebook and claim your page. After you claim your page, you can merge your places page with your business page on Facebook. A Facebook representative will call you to verify that you are the owner of the business. This service is free.
Promotional Features: Within Facebook Places there is Facebook Deals. This service allows you to offer customers special deals when they check into your store using Facebook Places. Deals can include: coupons, free items and donations to charitable organizations. Currently, it is free to post deals on Facebook Places. However, this service has not been fully rolled out to all businesses yet.
We’re Here To Help
Implementing a location based marketing plan will launch your company ahead of the competition. When people search for the products and services you sell while they’re out shopping, they’ll find your company first.
We’ve been helping automotive industry companies get ahead of the competition online for years. If you have questions about location based marketing, mobile websites or text message marketing, we’re here to help.
Give us a call at (877) 563-8054 to help get started with location based marketing. Our contact information also can be found on the AfterMarketer Club contact page.