July 23, 2013 Jeffrey Vocell

Your location matters. Are you in the city or suburbs? San Francisco, Dallas, or Newton, Massachusetts? Near a physical store or one of your competitor’s stores?

The best user experience and best online marketing campaigns leverage the user’s location to make a message more specific and relevant.

Today we want to share how you can use geo-targeting to increase engagement and conversion rates of new marketing campaigns. Let's first dive in to some of the ways you can use geo-targeting.

Ways Geo-Targeting Can Be Used

The ultimate goal of marketing campaigns is to get your audience to perform a specific action. Geo-targeting helps increase the likelihood that this will happen.

Here are a few good starting points for using location-based targeting:

  • Offer incentives (sales, discounts, promotions) to visitors in a specific geographic area.
  • Target messaging to visitors based on proximity to a store, physical office location, or competitor’s location.
  • Share marketing messaging that specific to local advertising media markets.
  • Customize the language for a specific location.

Each of the above methods provides an opportunity to communicate with visitors on a more specific, targeted level. For example, if you are running a worldwide sales campaign in different countries, then customizing the messaging using the local language helps to encourage trust and increase conversions.

How to Leverage Geo-Targeting within Marketing Campaigns

Leveraging geo-targeting requires insight and knowledge into the specific geographic area that you are targeting. Your messaging should use insight and knowledge of the location being targeted to make sure that it is relevant for the audience. Using the key attributes of the location, you can begin to target the message for the audience appropriately.

For example, if you are targeting San Francisco, Dallas, and Newton, Massachusetts in a marketing campaign that features baseball tie-ins, then you should consider including the Giants, Rangers, and Red Sox respectively.

The use of geo-targeting can differ by industry, but there are some common best practices among geo-targeted marketing campaigns, such as:

Be specific: Geographically targeted messaging is relevant and specific to an individual location. Don’t just copy the same messaging used on other portions of your site; customize the messaging for the specific location. Do some basic research on the locations being targeted to learn more and come up with relevant messaging. If you need help finding information about the locations you are targeting, there is a wealth of insight available from census data (within the U.S.) and local town/city websites. If you can’t find information on a location using these sources, try a search for the town or city name.

Know your company’s market landscape for that area: If your company has a strong presence or reputation in a geographic area being targeted, be aware of it. This may mean that you don’t have to educate the audience about who your company is.

Know your competitors’ market landscape for that area: This is especially important when you are promoting local sales offers and incentives. Knowing what your competitors are doing and talking about within a particular area can be the difference between your messaging being relevant or irrelevant.

Be aware of the culture of that location: This can range from local sports teams to popular celebrity figures in the geographic area being targeted. Be aware of each of these elements within your messaging, and tie in elements of the culture to help relate to the audience.

Be aware of community landmarks: Community landmarks are a big part of culture within some locations. For example, if you are targeting San Francisco, be aware of landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge. If some of these landmarks are relevant to your audience or messaging, you can find a way to work them into targeting.

While these best practices for geo-targeting will help increase engagement and conversions, they lack some specific ways that geo-targeting can be used within different industries.

Here are some of the common use cases of geo-targeting within key industries:

Online Retail with Brick and Mortar Stores: Use store locations within the geographic area you are targeting to make your message more relevant.  For example, if you are promoting a baseball glove at a local store, let users know the location and distance of the retail store. You could use this with a coupon offer or have a time-related incentive (for example, visit the store between 8 a.m.-12 p.m. today to receive a discount). Be sure that store employees are aware of these incentives ahead of time.

E-commerce: Consider showing estimated shipping times (especially if they are short) to incentivize people to convert and make a purchase.

Financial Services: Use geo-targeting opportunities to engage the community and connect them with financial advisers. Location-based messaging should be considered for financial workshops, classes, and sharing details of incentives with the community; for example, a special promotion when opening new accounts at specific locations.

Travel and Hospitality: Consider using location, especially on mobile devices, as incentive for vacation travel and getaways. However, it’s important to consider excluding people who live in the geographic area you are targeting in your campaigns. For example, if you are promoting vacation deals to Orlando, then you want to consider excluding people in Orlando and possibly surrounding towns as well.

Media: Media has a great opportunity to use cultural references and offers that increase engagement and conversion rates when geo-targeting. For example, share advertiser-specific offers or upcoming media opportunities that are location-specific. 

Remember that the key to geo-targeting is testing, so craft a compelling message for a specific location and then test it against other messages and offers.  As you continue to test geo-targeted marketing messaging, you will gain a data-driven understanding about locations and what each audience prefers. Use this information to implement targeting campaigns that perform well with your audience and generate business results.

 

Tags: Personalization & Targeting