What is proximity marketing?
Think of proximity marketing as a lighthouse for your business.
Proximity marketing consists of a beacon that sends out messages (signals) that are picked up by any smartphones (receivers) when they get within a specified range. Someone travels past your store, cart, vehicle or pocket and they get a notification on their phone.
It’s like if stores have a person outside telling everybody their special or handing out coupons, but on phones. It’s about making communication super relevant and timely.
In fact, the technology that Google released in July of 2015 to make all this possible, called Eddystone, is actually named after the Eddystone Lighthouse in England.
Google started really pushing mobile technology about 5-7 years ago. They now give better rankings to sites that are more mobile friendly, they dump billions into their maps and Google Business programs, and they have been telling us agencies and developers in no uncertain terms that mobile is number one as we develop sites and apps.
Proximity marketing fits into the evolution of local marketing. Over 60% of all searches on phones have what Google calls “local intent”. This means that over half the people searching for something on smartphones want local results. Whether for plumbers, tow-trucks or restaurants, people want to know what is relevant to them. Beacon technology creates hyper-local messages for people that may be interested in them.
The proximity marketing technical stuff that matters
The new series of these proximity marketing beacons are Bluetooth enabled, and over 96% of smartphones are equipped with Bluetooth.
Beacons can be programmed to transmit on different powers, direct (you touch it), room (within about 10 feet), and outside (up to 100 yards!). This means businesses can have multiple beacons with different messages to guide customer actions as they come in or leave areas.
Beacon batteries last almost 2 years and many beacons like the one my agency uses are weatherproof and shockproof. These are great to be kept in vehicles, purses, or even outside.
Beacons are re-programmed from the platform and the cloud takes care of updating them wherever they are located. This means they never have to come back to the office for re-programming for different messages.
Android phones can easily receive messages and in the most recent studies show US market penetration of 67.1% of phones in use. About 44% of these phones will get a message when they come into range, due to various factors like people turning off notifications or turning off Bluetooth to avoid connecting with their cars.
iPhones actually do receive the signals (using what is called iBeacon technology), but need an app, a web browser or to take extra steps on the phone. This currently limits some of the messages received because Apple wants to control their ecosystem.
The percentages mean that proximity marketing is a numbers game. Simply, the more people your business exposes to messages, the more results. This is where businesses get creative and put beacons in delivery vehicles, reps pockets, front windows, and even taken to events or networking.
Thankfully, proximity marketing is cheap. Most businesses can start and get set up for under $50 a month for beacon and a platform that allows them to create messages and send prospects to coupons, websites or landing pages. Here’s a link to a company that offers pricing right on the site. This is pretty cheap for having an advertising channel that can get localized messages literally into the hands of people near enough to take immediate action.
Tracking results are easy as the platform records when people take action on your messages and click to see what you are presenting.
We handle proximity marketing campaigns across the country and have found that when businesses commit to a long-term strategy for using proximity marketing as an additional communication channel, things work well. The investment is minimal compared (remember, about $30 a month per broadcasting spot) to other marketing and it makes sense to test, test, test.
When companies are looking to replace a sales force with beacons or when business think they can offer a 5% off coupon to people walking by and double their business, they will be disappointed.
90% of success with proximity marketing is the actual message and offer. Proximity marketing simply puts your best message into the hands (literally) of more people.
If you want to learn more about proximity marketing, click here and we are happy to answer questions (we're kind of nerds like that).