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How to Geo-Target for Your Business

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Lexie Lu
A UX/UI designer with expertise in marketing, web design, and graphic design.
Geo-targeting is the practice of distributing content based on a person’s location, as best as you can determine it. Let’s look at some ways you could successfully use this tactic. The following tips and case studies could lead to meaningful results.

Have you ever tried to watch a BBC television program from the United States only to be told the material wasn’t available to you? Geo-targeting works on similarly, but instead of barring people from access, it provides them with relevant stuff that drives purchases and stimulates other desirable actions.


Geo-targeting is the practice of distributing content based on a person’s location, as best as you can determine it.


Let’s look at some ways you could successfully use this tactic. The following tips and case studies could lead to meaningful results.


Tap Into People’s Desires


A couple of years ago, Denny’s restaurant chain was looking at ways to encourage more people to stop in and eat. The brand got notable results through location-based marketing based off of unlimited pancakes and build-your-own-French-toast promotions sent to mobile devices.


These efforts worked well because they connected with people’s desire to find delicious food when they got hungry. Denny’s also looked at ways to appeal to diners who had been to the restaurant chain in the past and had good experiences there. After all, when individuals have good impressions of a place, they’re more likely to return to it, even if not immediately.


Turn Your Attention to Travelers

Although you may prioritize reaching people who live in the targeted area, it’s also useful to reach out to those who are planning visits to the destination or just passing through briefly. The tourism board of Amelia Island, a Floridian destination, did that recently when promoting a first-annual Victorian-style Christmas event.


Marketers took an all-encompassing approach, depending on things like inserting ads that matched the content of specific pages, focusing on site placements via handpicked travel channels and targeting people who were specifically focusing on event-specific information.


Although those methods were mostly website-based, the marketing team also relied on geo-fencing and distributed mobile phone and app advertising to people who were vacationing in nearby areas, such as St. Augustine, or attending the Jacksonville Boat Parade, an event that usually attracts high numbers of tourists.


In total, the strategies brought 7,500 people to a landing page about the event. Travelers often come to leisure destinations with free time purposefully built into their schedules. This geo-targeting approach kept that reality in mind by giving people ideas about something interesting to do based on where and when they're spending time.


Use Maps to Rein In Sales Strategies

Geo-targeting is especially worthwhile if your business has recently expanded its reach into a new region and you want to cover the area as carefully as possible. Mapping software has helpful features  that allow you to create territories, add text to the maps you make and more.


When marking out sections on the map, decide on the characteristics that constitute a region. Are yours based on sales potential? Population? The average driving distance for an assigned agent?


Those are all possible factors to incorporate as you segment the map into sections. After doing that, color code the regions for better visibility and consider importing data about past sales into the map. The latter could be particularly helpful if your sales team’s size is limited and you’re trying to figure out how to spread resources efficiently.


Building a sales territory map may seem intensive, but you’ll soon realize it helps you make the most of your time. Having a visual guide that indicates where you’ve targeted versus untapped areas could ensure you maintain methodical techniques while reaching out to new people instead of going about things in a disorganized way.


Increase Conversion Rates Through Targeted Content

If someone uses Wi-Fi and has location-based services turned on within a smartphone or tablet, they are an excellent candidate for relevant content that could inspire positive actions.. For example, upon discovering someone is connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot only a block away from your clothing store, you could distribute advertisements about a sale that’s only occurring this weekend.


During a Black Friday promotion, Macy’s used geo-targeting to reward customers for coming into stores. Integrated technologies on users’ smartphones sensed their locations, which triggered the store to fill shoppers in on chances to win prizes for their patronage by using their smartphones as the delivery vehicles.


Consider Linking Up With Companies That Have Similar Aims

Geo-targeting is fantastic for obtaining customer insights and statistics because people are open to providing details about themselves in these nearly natural ways. However, that’s only true if you provide something people perceive as valuable. Maximizing your reach may be most feasible when combining resources with another company that’s also trying to cater to customers while boosting profits.


Recently, Coca-Cola partnered with cinemas to show advertising content before and after screenings. People who saw the ads got offered free Cokes. Those who responded to the beverage gesture received complimentary film passes later. Over half of the people returned to the movie theater to use them, which means this campaign had reciprocal benefits for Coca-Cola and the cinema.


O2, one of the largest mobile phone providers in Great Britain, took a similar approach. It joined forces with brands including Starbucks to deliver targeted content to people based on demographic information such as their age and location.


When an O2 customer nears a Starbucks, he or she receives coupons delivered to a mobile device. Brand representatives believe this method could encourage people to discover greater numbers of Starbucks locations in places that were previously unknown to them, plus try different products after arriving.



Although you won’t want to replicate these strategies exactly, you now have more than enough information to get a solid grasp on how to make geo-targeting work for you.

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