How to Use Location-Based Services for Your Business

Without a doubt, working with location-based services has a major advantage for businesses.

Mashable recently published some creative uses of location-based services from across the country. If you are unfamiliar, location-based services, according to Wikipedia, are information or entertainment services accessible with mobile devices through the mobile network that have the ability to utilize the geographical position of a mobile device. The examples provided in the article are fantastic and demonstrate the power of this new medium for local businesses.

So how should you use a location-based service to market your business? There are three basic ways that local businesses have used these services: Product Promotion, Client Interaction, and Gamification. Each one of these categories will leverage differing aspects of your business, while simultaneously providing a valuable customer interaction.

Product Promotion is, without a doubt, the most simple marketing strategy in business. Using location-based services, a business may choose to give away a free product or a discount on the final bill upon check-in. To check in, users load a location-based service on their mobile device (GoWalla, Foursquare, or Facebook Places), choose the establishment, and “Check In.”  For example, a local tavern in downtown Philadelphia known as ‘Tavern on Broad’ will pick up your tab and give your guest half-price drinks on every third check-in. As the chart below demonstrates, they have had over 1,100 people check in 1,813 times.

There is nothing better for a business than Client Interaction through word-of-mouth referral. Many of the popular location-based services allow a user to submit a tip, highlight, or photo to a particular venue. If you are looking to increase client interaction, you may want to offer an incentive to encourage user submissions. You might encourage users of Gowalla to select a highlight of your new policy of being open late with the ‘Open Late’ highlight on the service. This will allow people looking to conquer a late night craving to find your spot.

A new word was born within the last few months called Gamification. This is the use of game mechanics for mobile sites or apps. Successfully using this strategy to market your business could be as easy awarding the 100th person that checks in on Saturday via Foursquare or promoting a discount at your coffee shop once twenty-five people have checked in on Facebook Places.

Without a doubt, working with location-based services has a major advantage for businesses. No matter what you would like to sell or market, there is a creative way to do it. So now you need to get to it.