10 Keys to a Good Location Based Marketing Campaign

Originally posted on my work blog at WCGWorld.com on April 7, 2011

If you aren’t familiar with location based services, some of the top providers are foursquare, Gowalla, YelpFacebook Places, Whrrl and SCVNGR. These services help companies engage with their customers and create loyalty 2.0 programs by exchanging value (offers, coupons, badges, mayorships) for tips, check-ins and spreading the word. In this particular post, I’m going to share 10 basic tips that any company can use to help build a successful location based marketing program:

  1. Be sure to claim your location across each of the top 5-6 location based providers, even if you don’t plan on regularly monitoring/engaging in all of them.
  2. Pick 1-2 services to use (hint: if you’re in the travel and entertainment industry, Gowalla is a great choice). One way to decide which service(s) are right for you is to see how active your customers are across each service.
  3. Find out who your influencers are (the mayor, ambassador or the person at the top of your leader board is usually a good place to start) and get to know them. Heck, invite them in for coffee, lunch, a wine tasting.
  4. Set some goals. Are looking to drive foot traffic? Loyalty? Sales? Engagement? Think about how to measure this.
  5. Pick a great offer. Note that “great” doesn’t equal “expensive.” Sometimes, a sign in your store/venue honoring the “mayor” might be enough. My co-author, Mike Schneider, and I have what we call the “Ben & Jerry’s Rule” named after one of the first successful campaigns ever to roll out on foursquare. They offered 3 scoops of ice cream for $3 for everyone that checked in (cost for 3 scoops is normally $5.50). And even better, the mayor got a free extra scoop.
  6. Measure, refine and optimize.
  7. Don’t be afraid to leverage the “game dynamics” of some of these platforms as appropriate. For instance, on SCVNGR, you might give extra points for a picture with the store manager. Or if you sell coffee, a bonus for the best drink recommendation.
  8. Remember to let people know about your program by putting up signs, telling them in your newsletter, including a mention on your “on hold” music, etc.
  9. Operationalize, operationalize, operationalize. This means that if you are going to run a location based marketing campaign, train your employees. Train yourself. And make sure you have whatever it is that you’re promising. Not operationalizing is where many companies fall down.
  10. If you are tech savvy (or have some tech savvy developers), try experimenting with some of the APIs these location based platform providers make available for free. You can jazz up your website or your mobile app.

Has your company launched a location based marketing campaign? If so, tell us about it in the comments below.


  1. Anonymous says


    Great post, the best one is #5 – Pick a great offer. Note that “great” doesn’t equal “expensive.”

    Everyone keeps raving about daily deals and 50-60-70% off but that doesn’t work for businesses on a regular basis.  Long-term success for businesses in location based marketing is building loyalty vs. trying to get new customers with all of your advertising dollars.

    • says

      Hi Barb

      You don’t have to monitor them on the network themselves if you are a small business. I have a client in LA that we run a Yelp! mobile coupon and while I have accessed the business data that shows how many have been claimed I actually get feedback faster from the people who are working. I will ask if they had any redeemed for the $1 off and they will tell me if people are using it.

  2. says

    Very nice Aaron. This will make my Mobile Monday next week hopefully it will get you a reader or two! lol

    I discussed a new hole this week. Since I have been going to vermont so much where they have very poor cell service because the people are resisting new cell towers (they have to look like trees) I was accessing my location for FourSquare and Gowalla from the satellite (remember I had satellite issues in NYC due to tall buildings and also indoors) but because I couldn’t grab the 3G network it wasn’t allowing me to check in.

    I am starting to think when I talk LBS I will have to put an asterisk and say ‘except in Vermont’ LOL

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