In the ever advancing world of inbound marketing, it is always a risk to make predictions on what the 'next best thing' could be. However, in beacon technology, you may have a safe bet.
By 2020 it is estimated that there will be 400 million beacons deployed worldwide. Global companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google have already begun to implement beacon technology, as well as 50 of the top 100 retail brands using it within the USA.
So what are beacons? How do they work? And, can they help your business?
What are beacons & how do they work?
Beacons make use of Proximity Marketing.
A beacon is a small object which would be placed within your business and emit a Bluetooth signal called Bluetooth Low Energy, or BLE. This signal will then be sent to all available customers as a push notification once they enter a certain proximity to the beacon. Customer privacy is a key concern here, and users must have enabled location services on their smart phone for the beacon to be fully optimized.
For example, imagine entering your favorite department store and receiving a notification on your phone telling you that your favorite brand is 20% off for today only, or entering a restaurant and receiving a promotion offering a free drink with your meal.
This is possible with beacons and proximity marketing.
Should you use beacons as part of your marketing strategy?
One key factor to bear in mind when establishing whether a beacon is worth the investment is that while the potential audience may be limited to just those in the proximity of the business, as well as those using its wireless signal, the message is incredibly user-friendly and targeted at those most likely to buy.
You're offering a deal to someone that already has expressed an interest in your product, simply by being in-store.
Google has recently launched their Beacon program 'Eddystone', and have, as expected, established a fantastic technical support team that will be able to guide you through the initial set-up of your beacon. Similarly, Facebook is offering free beacons which work with their 'Place Tips' feature. It is a near risk-free investment in expanding your business' marketing capabilities.
Various recent studies have also shown the potential success possible when using proximity marketing within your business.
- Interactions with advertised products increased 19 times.
- In-store app usage was 16.5 times higher for users who received a beacon message.
- 53% of consumers are willing to share their current location to receive more relevant advertising.
- 57% of consumers are more likely to engage with location-based advertising.
- 62% of consumers share local deals with friends.
- 63% of consumers feel a coupon is the most valuable form of mobile marketing.
A key factor to remember when planning your beacon promotions is that they must add value to the customer. Simply repeating existing offers will not encourage more beacon-compatible users for your business, instead, it will have the opposite effect. Offer exclusivity via the beacon, and it will grow your followers which in turn will grow your company.
For more information on Facebook's new free service, Place Tips, click here.