There’s no denying that marketing is borrowing a page from the real estate handbook. It’s all about location, location, location. Beacon marketing relies on cost-effective Bluetooth technology, such as Apple’s iBeacon, that uses strategically veiled transmitters to send messages when an iPhone user is in range.
Until now, it’s been used mostly by restaurants and retailers to relay coupons or deals, but beacons are poised for fast growth over the next few years as other sectors see the potential. Some estimates claim the segment could be worth $10 billion annually in the United States by 2018. Additionally, a new report released by InReality shows that 75% of shoppers are using their mobile devices in brick-and-mortar stores, with 25% of these shoppers actually using their devices to make a purchase while in the store.
So how can companies successfully integrate iBeacon marketing into their mix? These four simple tips will help you use this technology effectively to create a rich, immediate brand experience and spur purchases or other desired actions by your customers.
- Be creative. Coupons and deals are great, but consider more imaginative ways to use this tool to create a rich technology and brand experience for your customers. Explore applications such as:
- Interactive maps
- Digital catalogs
- Payments services
- Customer service
- Loyalty and rewards programs
- Product reviews
- Be transparent. Privacy is one of the biggest concerns about proximity marketing, and smartphones are very personal devices. A successful iBeacon marketing program must have clear opt-in processes so that customers know what to expect and what information is being gathered about them. They also need to be able to control the volume of messages they receive or turn them off at any time. Being transparent about what customers can expect to receive and experience when they opt in will perpetuate goodwill and trust.
- Be valuable. iBeacon marketing offers brands a unique opportunity to deliver highly contextual, immediate messages to customers. Focus on creating highly relevant, inherently valuable content to rise above the din of other mobile alerts. Don’t overdo it. You don’t want to run the risk of annoying your customers, especially after they’ve taken the valuable first step of opting in to take advantage of this technology. If the message doesn’t answer a question, facilitate the purchasing process, or delight and inspire the customer, scrap it and try again.
- Be brief. Not only are you competing with other smartphone alerts and apps, but you’re also competing for a customer’s time and attention. Messages delivered via iBeacon should be short and clear and shouldn’t require the customer to take extra steps or clicks in order to understand the message or take advantage of it. Focus on at-a-glance viewability and understanding.
As you experiment with iBeacon marketing, test and measure your results along the way. This trend will evolve quickly, and if you can keep up, you’ll uncover new ways of reaching customers in highly creative, contextual ways based on their location.