As a savvy business owner, you no doubt have a thorough plan for promoting your company’s offerings. Such a plan may include a wide range of marketing strategies such as social media outreach, content development and repurposing, SEO, newsletters, ads, and text notifications. All these tactics are likely to reach customers and prospects before they enter your brick-and-mortar location. But, if that’s all you’re doing, you may be missing opportunities to influence them once they walk in the door.

Proximity promotions use smartphones and beacon technology to enhance customers’ experience in your store. For example, you might create a flash sale for customers who walk by a certain display during a particular time frame. Receiving this information through your enterprise application, those customers get a limited-time-only discount on items in that department.

Proximity marketing is still somewhat new, so you may not yet be familiar with its benefits. But, if electronically connecting with customers while they’re on your premises sounds like it might work well for your business model, here’s how you can give it a try.

Have Specific Goals

You might be tempted to try proximity promotions just because it’s the newest, coolest thing. But no technology will help your business without a specific reason for using it. Take the time to consider what you hope to achieve with this method. Here are some goals that align well with this approach:

Reward customers for entering your store. As in the example above, you can set up sales just for those who show interest in certain products. For example, if you’re a clothing retailer, you can run a 20% off all accessories, only available to those who receive an app notification based on their time spent at those displays.
Provide more attentive service. You can use beacon technology to monitor how long a customer is in the store and send a sales associate over to assist within a certain period.
Direct customers to products they might like. Based on where they spend the most time in the store, you can send notifications to help them identify similar products. For example, if a customer at an electronics store is shopping for smartphones, you can direct them to smartphone covers, headphones, and other accessories.

Know What Technology You’ll Need

Be purposive about buying only the technology you’ll need to achieve your goals. Here are the basics:

Beacons. Beacons are sensors that you place within your premises. Using Bluetooth, they track customers’ activity via their smartphones.
Geofencing. This location-based service enables you to set up a virtual boundary around your property and be informed when a customer enters it. You can include, say, your parking area so customers can get alerts the moment they’re on your property.
Push notifications. The ability to deliver timely messages to customers based on their activity is the cornerstone of proximity promotion campaigns.

Unless you or someone on your staff has skills in this area, consider hiring a technology specialist to help you implement a complete solution. Start with the basics until you know the system works well for your business.

Do a Test Run

The point of all proximity promotions is to encourage conversions, so keep careful track of those numbers compared with the percentages before you started your campaign. Experiment with the promotional strategies you’ve decided to try and determine which activities get the best results.

If you’re not getting the outcomes you expected, make small changes that might have an impact. For example, try sending your notifications via text versus via your store app. Try sending over a sales associate within two minutes instead of five minutes of a customer arriving in the store. Offer 20% off instead of 15% off when you present flash sales. Continue to monitor and compare results.

Stick With What Works

Once you’ve established a few best practices, continue to use them and monitor your results. Then, start to think more proactively about how these activities fit in with your other marketing efforts.

For example, how robustly are you promoting your app? Could you create a blog post about its benefits, including the ability to receive in-store notifications about special sales? Or could you create a video to post your YouTube channel showing a visit to your store from the customer perspective? What about partnering with other establishments to offer cross-promotional deals?

Weave all these components into your company’s marketing plan. Then, update it every six months or year, paying close attention to updates in proximity promotions technology.

In Summary

Proximity promotions can add a valuable layer to your marketing efforts. But don’t try to implement this relatively new technology without thinking it through first. Make a plan, try some initial actions, see what works, and use the best strategies to take your marketing, and your business, to the next level of success.

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Author's Bio: 

Malcom is a tech expert at BairesDev specializing in the software outsourcing industry. He has access to the latest market news and has a keen eye for innovation and what's next for technology businesses