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Just about everyone knows that our phones can track where we are. They can do it to share your location with friends, as a helpful way to use GPS, and even for apps and social media platforms. You might wonder what this means to you as a business that wants to market to customers on their phones.
When it comes to marketing, knowing when your customers are nearby giving you leverage. You can use localized marketing tactics to gain their attention – which is where the concept of geofencing shines.
Businesses can only track their customers at some time. However, they can put action into place whenever someone with a phone moves into a specific location. Think about the last time you visited a new site and found ads for local venues. That's geofencing for you.
It's okay if this doesn't make perfect sense. This article will delve deeper into geofencing and how you can use it to benefit your brand.
What Is Mobile Geofencing?
So what is mobile geofencing? It's when the location of a cell phone is used to send relevant ads to the user. A geofence is a term that refers to a virtual border used in a real-world location.
When you enable location services on the phone, apps can track where you are. As people move from place to place, they might go to locations where a brand advertises its services and products.
This might sound scary, but it is all right. The reality is that location-based services have been in use for years. In the United States, 85% of the population has a smartphone, so our technology has adapted to accommodate this.
Developers can use geofencing to build a virtual border around a specific location, which means businesses can create an action that happens when a mobile user enters it. As such, SMS geofencing lets brands send location-specific marketing text messages to people in the area.
What Is SMS Geofencing?
SMS geofencing is the act of sending texts when customers are in a particular area. However, before we dive deeper into that, you need to be aware of two rules for businesses that market using SMS.
Consent Is Essential
Before you send any marketing texts to customers, you need their consent. One of the first things most businesses learn when starting text campaigns is that it is mandatory for subscribers to opt-in to start receiving your promotional texts.
A simple way to gain consent is by setting up keywords. These are phrases or words that are texted to you that sign someone up to get your marketing texts. If you choose to use a keyword, you can also send out a message requesting the location of that person.
Location Permissions Matter
Now that a customer has opted into your texts, you still need to get their permission to access their location. This isn't something that is automatically done, so you'll need to ask them to enable it for tracking to work.
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How Does Geofencing SMS Software Work?
After you have both of these permissions from a consumer, you can start to move forward. Your SMS provider will use the customer's RFID or GPS signals when tracking someone's location. Since location information isn't permanently switched on for messages, a "location lookup" needs to be done to determine if a customer is in a specific area.
This means you don't have to track all your customers with SMS geofencing around the clock. That would be time-consuming and expensive. Instead, you can choose when to look up their location for successful SMS geofence marketing.
Let's say you run a diner that uses geofencing. You should check the locations in the early hours and again when lunch rolls around. For the customers within the area, you can send out a promotion to them to get them into the café. The same applies to other businesses. Just think about when the best time of day is for you.
How to Use Geolocation with Text Messaging
You might be ready to start using SMS geofencing for marketing. We want to share a few of the best practices below so you get it right from the beginning.
Utilize A/B Testing
Since you won't be tracking people all day, testing the best moments to run a location lookup is good. For businesses with several locations, this might be different for each. Everything from the day of the week to the time of day may need to be tweaked for the best results.
What works for one brand might not work for the next, even if they're in the same sector and location. You want to do some testing to learn how best to reach customers who will take you up on promotions and offers.
While you might be sending out mass texts, being general shouldn't be your default. You know where these people are, so you could customize the message to get more people to take action.
Maybe it's Friday, so you text "Start your weekend on the right foot" if you're a shoe store. Or a coffee shop might text, "Nobody wants to be up at 7 am. Here's 25% off your morning coffee." No matter what you choose, try to make it feel personal.
Geofencing is going to only work on some. It would help if you were highly precise to get the results that you hope for. You could reach out to ten thousand people, and it wouldn't be helpful if only five were in the area near your shop.
Make sure you have a boundary either near or in your business. You don't want to reach out to people who are far away. They are different from the people who are going to consider your offer.
Consider Geofence Relocation
We talked about doing A/B testing related to the time of day, but you can also use multiple fences to reach all audience members. If you believe everyone you can get has been or most people need to be more engaging, you can move the geofence somewhere else to see if that improves your success.
Why Location SMS Is Essential to Marketing
SMS geofencing is more crucial than you think if you care about SMS marketing. There's a good reason that giants like Pizza Hut, Starbucks, and Uber are already using the technology. Geofencing is one of the best ways to get the most out of your text marketing.
Pizza Hut, for example, did a trial where text promotions were sent to customers up to ½ a mile from their restaurants. This resulted in a 142% increase in sales. That's a lot!
This isn't just a one-off situation either. The Location-Based Marketing Report by Factual determined the following things:
- The top channel for leveraging data is mobile.
- 82% of marketers use location data in some way, and 94% plan to in the future.
- About nine of 10 marketers say location-based marketing leads to higher engagement, customer base growth, and sales.
- Many marketers feel the data quality (such as demographic or customer location) is twice as important as other purchasing criteria, such as price or ease of use.
Using SMS geofencing for your marketing means reaching your customers at the right place and at the optimal time. When you know their locations, you don't have to guess second whether it's the right time to send out a promotion to them.
Work with the Experts at Esendex for Your Location-Based SMS Needs
SMS geofencing is a highly effective and exciting technology. It can help businesses stand out, enjoy higher sales, and launch better marketing campaigns. If you're ready to learn more about geofencing, Esendex is here to help. Reach out to us today to learn more about our SMS marketing solutions.
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