Foursquare, the location-based sharing application for smartphones, has broken out of early-adopter limbo and is beginning its gradual ascension into the mainstream. While offering incentives for repeat business may not sound like the newest idea on the block, the social sharing aspect of Foursquare, especially with its connections to Twitter and Facebook, make engagement with the service all the more encouraging. Phil Gerbyshak has an excellent article detailing some ways to essentially turn your customers into your own personal street-marketing team. If you’re unfamiliar with Foursquare, check out this video below. For the enlightened, hit the article after the jump.
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Foursquare: An Introduction
If your business has a physical location, you should click over to Foursquare.com and register. Do a search for the name of your business first, one of your customers may have already put it in the system. If so, on the right-hand side of the screen is a link for you to claim the business as the manager. Follow the instructions for claiming the venue.
When you are done Foursquare will mail you a window cling that you can put on your door or window to let your customers know that you are a Foursquare participating venue. But don’t stop there! You can get creative with more calls to action inside your business and through some staff training.
First, sign in to your Foursquare account and go to your venue.
Attract new customers
Click on “Manager Tools”, in the top-right corner, then “Start a Campaign at this Venue” (the big green button). On the next screen click the green button again to create your special. There are an assortment of choices, and this is where you can get creative:
- Swarm Special Like, “If 30 people check in at once, get 25 cent wings”
- Friends Special Like, “Check in with 3 friends and get a free dessert”
- Flash Special Like, “The first 10 people that check in after 8pm get 25% off their order”
- Newbie Special Like, “Get a free cupcake on your first check-in”
- Check-in Special Like, “Get a free appetizer when you check in”
Reward existing customers
- Loyalty Special Like, “Get a free cookie every 3rd check-in”
- Mayor Special Like, “Mayor gets 20% off their entire bill”
Here are some more sample ideas:
Use the “Print Flyers” feature for your employees so that they can become familiar with the Specials, and what the smartphone screen should look like when a customer “unlocks” the special for redemption. You employees should be encouraged to spread the word about your Foursquare presence in their interactions with your customers. You can also print flyers to display for the customers, though they are not specific to the promotion that you are running. You will want to create your own.
Add the Specials to your collateral. Whether it is a restaurant menu, a brochure, or an ad on a map or in a newspaper (yes, newspaper advertising still works for small business in small towns) you should tell your customers that you are on Foursquare, at the very least. If you plan to have some long-term Specials, for Mayors or for Loyalty campaigns, you can keep these with your usual ad copy.
Cross-promotion on Twitter and Facebook. Share your “Attract New Customers” Specials on your other social media channels, especially if you can encourage people to share them with their friends. This can work particularly well with the Friends or Flash specials.
Hide “Easter Eggs” in your products or billing statements. Print out a mini-flyer describing your Foursquare specials and hide them inside books, packaging, or include them with correspondence to your customers. Remind them that when they visit your store they are eligible for special rewards when they Check In on Foursquare.
Introduce your customers to each other. Add a “Recent Foursquare Check-ins” feature to your e-mail newsletter (you do have a newsletter, don’t you?). On your “Manager Tools” page there is a list of Top and Most Recent Check-ins that you can copy-and-paste right into your newsletter – with links to those users’ profiles! (You will have to do a little editing…) Encourage your readers to connect with each other, and remember that you should be connecting with your customers as well.