Proximity marketing is one of the hot new buzzwords right now – but just what is it?

Simply put, proximity marketing means reaching out to a customer when they are nearby.  Nearby what?  You might be asking.  And the answer can vary, based on what you’re selling and what your customer might be doing that could cause them to want to buy your products.

[LISTEN: iBeaconsBridging the Gap Between Online and Offline Sales – PODCAST EPISODE]

Proximity marketing at the moment is based mostly on mobile delivery of offers to consumers; what sort of offer and where to deliver it remains key in creating an effective campaign that nets you more revenue and profit, while leaving the consumers with that warm, fuzzy feeling that keeps them coming back for more.

How can a merchant decide what proximity marketing campaigns will likely be successful?

Right, right, here’s where it gets tricky.  A successful proximity marketing campaign will have two elements that are designed to work in tandem for the best results.

  • #1 – The offer itself – this is half of the equation, since sending a non-compelling offer to a bunch of prospects simply means that you’ll be sorry when you see the results and find out that no one is buying.  Even worse, you could end up with a lot of people deleting your offers from their phones if it’s that bad.
  • #2 – The proximity location – is it better to push an offer to your prospect when they’re down the street at your competitors shop?  Is it better to work together with your neighbors to develop some great cross sell ideas and products that can be presented when the customer is finalizing a purchase in a different store?

Setting up your proximity marketing campaign correctly means you’ve greatly increased your chances for success.

If you haven’t actually determined your best mobile strategy (and believe us, you need a mobile strategy before you start spending ANY money on ad campaigns!) then you’re going to want to download the free worksheet that will get your program jumpstarted.

[DOWNLOAD: 3 Steps to Successful Mobile Strategy – WORKSHEET]

Once you’ve decided how proximity marketing should work into your overall mobile sales strategy, then it’s time to get to the nitty gritty bits and parts.  Here are our top 3 tips for setting yourself up successfully from the start, and optimizing your chances for the best ROI on your time and cost.

#1 – Don’t lump everyone into the same offers bin.

If this sounds confusing, it can be.  However, determining where your prospects were and what CTA caused them to add your marketing to their mobile is mission critical in knowing what you want to offer.  Grouping your targets into smaller batches that have similar interests is the best way to generate revenue from your offers.

For instance, if you exhibited at an outdoor festival aimed at younger women, you would want to make sure that the offers they were getting from you when they were in proximity to your location reflected this history.  By that same token, if you are doing a loyalty rewards program, then the offer cards that you’d suggest those folks add to mobile would be a different set of signage at the cash register for download.

#2 – Think carefully about where to trigger notifications.

If you’re in a large mall or shopping area, our first suggestion would be to combine the geofencing with the iBeacon targeting, in order to garner the most attention possible.  Trigger notifications in the parking lot, reminding your loyal customers that you’re around is generally a positive way to reinforce their shopping plans so they include you.  Hitting them 18 times on their way to your door is not a positive way to reinforce their opinion of you, so keep that in mind when you decide how many alerts you want to blast.

#3 – Craft the offers based on proximity marketing instead of just stock levels.

This one can be tricky, but the easiest way to get it right is to think of it as your loss leader, and pair it up with the way your store is laid out for browsing.  If you put your clearance items in the back of the store (and who doesn’t?), you might consider running a trigger to a subgroup about what great clearance deals you have going.

You might also run a different trigger to another subgroup – latest and greatest in new fashion – that targets new merchandise for this set.   If you’re running any sort of an omnichannel marketing campaign, you can leverage your in store signage, print ads, and email or other list notifications to offer prospects the opportunity to add one or more proximity marketing cards to their mobile based on their interests, and target them accordingly.

Last but not least, don’t be afraid to experiment.

The most important thing to remember is that too much messaging leads to the nuclear option on the part of your prospective customers.  Gentle reminders and sweet deals are the key to their hearts, and sometimes it takes a bit of trying to figure out what kind of deals they will respond to most positively.

Getting the groups right from the start makes life so much easier, but it’s not the end of the world if you don’t.  Once you’ve got a position in their mobile phone, it’s fairly easy to get them to click and add a second or third card – although multiple cards in one persons mobile does increase the amount of trigger messaging they’ll receive in most cases.

[CHECK THIS OUT: Mobile Wallet Passes Made Simple]

If you’re still struggling to figure out how to make proximity marketing work for your business, a quick Google search can give you a variety of ideas, or you can drop us a line and we’ll be happy to help you figure out what will work and what won’t in your situation.