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Geofencing Marketing: Is Your Multi-Location Brand Reaching Its Local Target Audiences?


Two consumer research trends are occurring that multi-location businesses need to be aware of. First, consumers are searching for local businesses. In fact, nine out of ten consumers use search to find local business information. Second, consumers are searching for local businesses on their mobile devices. Seventy-six percent of local smartphone searches lead to an in-store visit within 24 hours. 


Today, consumers are conducting local searches that are relevant to your multi-location business, and they’re searching on the go. So, how can your brand appear in these local searches? 


As a multi-location business, it’s in your best interest to run local search advertisements to attract these local mobile users. However, multi-location businesses often find it challenging to run local advertisements across multiple business locations. Multi-location businesses can incorporate geofencing marketing to address this pain point.


In this blog, we’ll explain what geofencing marketing is and will cover specific strategies your multi-location business can implement to improve your localized marketing strategy.


What is Geofencing Marketing?


Geofencing marketing, also referred to as geofencing advertising, is when businesses construct a fence around a specific geographic area and then target mobile users who enter that area. Once mobile users enter the designated area, they’re sent your business’ geofenced ads via mobile apps or web pages.


Geofencing marketing is a local advertising tactic and one component of multi-location businesses’ comprehensive localized marketing strategy. Again, since consumers are searching locally for businesses, your local geofenced ads should help drive many of them to your business’s listing.


How Geofencing Marketing Works


Multi-location businesses can create geofenced ads in Google Ads, Facebook/Instagram, and Snapchat. Therefore, depending on which platform you choose to run your geofenced ad, your ad will appear as an in-app, search, or display advertisement.


These online platforms rely on WI-FI, GPS, Bluetooth, and radio-frequency identification (RFID) to target mobile users within your designated area.


Typically, you can set up your geofenced area in two ways:


  1. Select geo-targeting options such as country, state, city, or zip code 
  2. Drop a pinned location and then set a radius around that pin


Both are strong tactics. However, dropping a pinned location and setting a radius gives you more control over the targeted area.


It’s worth noting that some platforms allow for different minimum radius sizes around a pinned location. For instance, Snapchat has a minimum radius of 0.06 miles around a pinned location, while Facebook and Instagram’s minimum radius is one mile. For Facebook and Instagram, if you want a tighter radius, you can exclude nearby locations that border your location’s radius.


Places You Can Target With Geofencing Marketing


Below are a few places multi-location businesses can target with your geofencing marketing campaign events. You’re not limited to these areas, but hopefully, they inspire you.


  • Your Local Business
    • Making your local business the center of your radius can help bring in local consumers.
  • Competitor’s Locations Near Your Local Business
    • If your local business is losing consumers to a nearby competitor, target the area in between the two locations to help win head-to-head battles.
  • Specific Buildings
    • Get your ad to many consumers in a smaller area by targeting densely populated hotels, residential communities, or event spaces.
  • Nearby Street or Areas of a Highway
    • If your local restaurant or store is near a highway, target an area several miles up from your local business.
  • Colleges and Universities
    • A property management company specializing in student housing can target a college or university’s campus and the surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Sport, Trade, or Music Events
    • If you’re a car manufacturer, target the event space of an upcoming car show while the event is taking place.


3 Benefits of Geofencing Marketing


Now that you have a better understanding of geofencing marketing and its use cases, let’s discuss the specific advantages over traditional marketing tactics.


1. Immediate and Timely 


Because you’re targeting mobile users in a designated area close to your local business, you can immediately see if there’s an uptick in business when your ads go out. With geofencing marketing, you’re much more likely to see quick conversions and results than running a traditional TV, radio, or newspaper ad.


Note that when conducting a geofenced ad at an event’s location, conversions often lag due to attendees being preoccupied with the event they’re attending. That doesn’t mean they won’t research your business after seeing the advertisement once the event ends. Just expect a slight delay in engagement or conversion when targeted events.


2. Test and Compare Targeted Areas


Like traditional marketing campaigns, you always want to test, evaluate, and improve your campaigns. Geofencing marketing is no different. After targeting specific areas, you can test the following for effectiveness:


  • Size of the geofenced area
  • How geofenced ads for multiple local businesses performed against each other
  • How similar geofenced ad campaigns performed across different platforms 


3. Improved Attribution and Engagement


Because geofencing marketing is so immediate, you can pair your geofenced ads with promotions. By pairing the two, you get more detailed information about consumer behavior. For example, if the promotion is only tied to your geofenced ad, you’ll know how many consumers were affected by the ad. Once they enter your local store, you can also see which products they purchase outside of the promotional items. 


3 Geofencing Marketing Tips


Various online and social media platforms make it relatively simple to set up and run a geofencing marketing campaign. What’s challenging is optimizing your campaigns after the initial ones, which are your benchmark. Here are a few critical geofencing marketing strategies to implement when creating and optimizing your campaigns. 


1. Know the Demographics of Each Targeted Area


If you have a brick-and-mortar location, you’ve likely already done a ton of demographic research on the area before opening the store. Work with local team members to get new demographic data if a store’s customer demographic data is outdated. Local teams also get insight into what resonated most with their target audience and can help craft or influence geofenced ads if time and resources permit.


Your demographic research can also help your multi-location business determine which platform to run your geofenced ads on. For instance, if you’re targeting a college campus, you’ll likely want to use Snapchat or Instagram since college students use those platforms more often than Facebook.


2. Run Your Geofencing Ads at the Right Time


Both local and corporate teams should know the busy hours for each business location. It’s, therefore, best to run your geofenced ads right before or after busy hours to increase the number of customers during slight drop-offs. Don’t stray too far from your most popular hours. For example, it wouldn’t make sense for a breakfast diner to run a geofenced ad in the evening. 


Your demographic research can also help you decide when to run ads. Sticking with the diner example, let’s say a good percentage of your diners are older. Then, you’d want to run geofenced ads early in the morning. If most consumers are teenagers or college students, they likely eat later in the morning, so you’d push back when your geofenced ads start.


3. Include a Desirable CTA


Like other marketing or advertising campaigns, you want to entice consumers with strong calls to action (CTAs). Because geofencing marketing relies on proximity, the CTA should require immediate action. 


For example, a local restaurant could offer a free drink or buy-one-get-one-free deal for specific menu items. Or a multi-family property management company might offer a free month’s rent if they book during a specific weekend or month. 


Ideally, your CTAs should bring mobile users to a lead capture form or lead capture landing page. The lead capture form or the page will collect customer data by requesting an email or other personal information.


For more general social media tips for multi-location businesses, read our latest Localized Social Content Guide. This guide will help to ensure you’re implementing local content best practices.


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Running Location-Based and Geofenced Ads


You now know what geofencing marketing is, how to deploy geofenced ads, and how to optimize these ads. Multi-location businesses have the challenging task of running social ads across all locations.


SOCi can help multi-location businesses address this pain point. SOCi’s Ads PLUS allows marketing teams to create and deploy highly customized and locally targeted ads to specific locations. Unlike traditional geofencing marketing, SOCi’s Ads PLUS relies on Facebook users’ home addresses and can target areas by zip codes. 


Running geofenced ads on Google Ads, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, along with SOCi’s location-based ads, will allow you to better target areas around your local business locations, resulting in more customers. With SOCi’s Ads PLUS, you can use lead generation forms to grab first-party data and create custom audiences that you can share across teams. For more information, request a demo!


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localized marketing to the next level.