Successful Geofencing for Your Business

Have you experienced a mobile marketing or research event that was triggered by your location yet?  If not, expect to see one soon!

Geofencing is all the rage in mobile marketing, and it’s worth exploring how your business can benefit from using the technology to reach customers. As a consumer, it also pays to be aware of how businesses are using the technology.

The beauty of geofencing is that it allows you to target your mobile marketing message to a user’s exact location at any given time. The term geofencing refers to the geographic boundaries or “fences” that you set up to define the area you’re targeting, a trigger perimeter which is rooted to a specific central location.

Most often this is one of your company’s own retail locations, but it could be any point of interest where there are people you want to reach – any place, really, that you think potential customers might be open to receiving your message, such as a local stadium or gym or even a competitor’s retail location. A user enters your targeted area and this triggers the marketing message to be sent to their mobile device.

That all sounds great, but does it work? The short answer is yes! Research has shown that locally optimized ads can have 70% higher click-through than standard ads. Gordmans, a regional department store, saw a 200% increase in click-through rates, and the Hauser-Ross Eye Institute brought in 333% more revenue using geofencing techniques.

Other examples include Blue Moon Beer targeting travelers in airports, alerting them to which restaurants carry the product. Ford used it to achieve a 15.4% conversion rate with local dealer follow-ups to generate leads. Lionsgate Films used it with its Hunger Games movie release to achieve the highest-ever record of box office purchases made through mobile devices.

But the devil, as they say, is in the details. Users have to opt in, so making that happen is a major obstacle to successful geofencing campaigns and may rely more on traditional marketing and outsourced technology partners. Here are some other tips to keep in mind as you navigate the world of geofencing.

SMS Rules. Text messages are the easiest and best way to get the message out to participants. But you also don’t want to drown users with useless messages.  Many customers are still charged per SMS, so make sure that any geofencing triggered message carries real value.

Follow the Customer. Build your geofences where you know your customers already are, not necessarily where you want them to be. That’s why you need to consider locations that are not just your own retail sites. A deeper understanding of customer behaviors can greatly improve the effectiveness of these efforts.

Small is Beautiful. Building huge geofences just doesn’t work. The best rule of thumb here is that the perimeter should be less than four minutes travel time from the targeted location, whether that’s on foot (like in a mall) or driving (within blocks of the location).

Action is the Key. Don’t think of your messages as ads, think of them as a call to action that will engage the targeted user. The message needs to be brief, location relevant and prompt action. The message also needs to be important enough that the user will want to take that action.

Track Results. Track your metrics – especially as they relate to the bottom line. You need to find out if the resources you’re putting into geofencing are getting results. If not, either tweak the efforts or pursue other techniques that get the results you need.

Location-based marketing and geofencing are definitely here to stay despite their infancy. It’s time for your business to dive in and see if it can work for you.  If you’re interested in learning more about’s geofencing capabilities, check out our online mobile platform details.