The goal of any digital marketing campaign is to drive growth, whether that is in sales, sales leads, or brand awareness. For many organizations, attaining this growth strategically through localized marketing is key to long-term success. 

Enter location-based marketing.

location-based marketing representation

Location-based marketing, also known as geo-targeting, is a strategy designed to intercept and engage an audience within a defined geographic area. Using a mixture of location-based data, marketers can intercept and engage users, on all devices, based on where they are and locations they have recently visited.

Getting started with location-based marketing

Although location-based marketing can be detailed and sophisticated, getting started can be quick and easy by focusing on the three primary pillars:  SEO, PPC, and social media.

  • Optimize Localized SEO. SEO stands for search engine optimization and refers to how search engines rank your website based on a variety of variables. Simple ways to improve your local SEO include making sure your Google My Business page is up to date, encouraging happy customers to give you a positive online review, and ensuring you use local keywords throughout your website and company blog. Using information like IP address or a mobile phone’s GPS, search engines rank listings based on geographic proximity to the user, depending on the business category.
  • Geo-targeting with Paid Platforms. While SEO is a long-term game, PPC (Pay-per-click) and paid digital advertising allow brands to intercept and engage new users much faster. Using platforms like Google Ads, DV360 and social platforms, marketers can intercept both passive and active users with relevant messaging. Rocket Digital encourages all clients to utilize point of sale (POS) and customer relationship management (CRM) data to uncover behavioural insights and map their catchment area. By understanding user behaviour and where your customers are located, brands can quickly minimize campaign waste. With geo-targeting, brands can focus their advertising efforts and dollars only on customers within a specific radius.
  • Use location tags on social media. Location tags are a powerful and effective feature used by many social media platforms. Using a mixture of mobile and GPS data, users can pinpoint the location of their social posts. Social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram all utilize location tags and high-performing brands encourage users to utilize location tags on all user-generated posts to boost brand impressions and relevance.

Know your audience

Knowing and understanding your audience is essential. Brands must understand who their audience is, how they act and where they reside. When using location-based marketing tactics, brands should continue to also segment based on audience demographics, psychographics, interests, and behaviour.

Brands should use all available data points when constructing and mapping their audiences, such as pulling insights from POS data, CRM data, Google Analytics and social platforms. This information will help marketers construct user personas and decision journeys that outline the needs and actions of each user group throughout the sales process.

When possible, this information should be augmented with qualitative data, acquired through interviews, surveys and focus groups, to help fill in qualitative gaps.

Finally, brands must remember that user personas and decision journeys are living, breathing entities. Marketers must continually update this information to accommodate for audience and behavioural changes.

Top platforms for location-based marketing

While many platforms offer geo-targeting features, there are a few that have distinguished themselves as leaders in location-based marketing.

  • Google and Programmatic Display. You may not have heard of it, but you have most definitely encountered it. Google and Programmatic Display platforms use a mixture of geo-targeting features. Using a mixture of remarketing, radius targeting and hyper-targeting, these platforms can target users based on their web history, geographic location, and locations they have previously visited. When used effectively, these platforms support all phases of a user’s decision journey (improving awareness, conversion rate and retention).
  • Facebook. Facebook ads are particularly suitable for location-based marketing and targeting your audience based on everything from age, sex, interests, and more. Because users voluntarily give Facebook all of this information when they set up their profiles, it is extremely easy to use Facebook ads to target your message to very specific audiences. And, like programmatic display platforms, Facebook and Instagram can target users based on their current and past locations.
  • Instagram. Instagram is the leading platform for sharing photos, which makes it an excellent tool for businesses that can create strong visual content. Like Facebook ads, Instagram ads can also be targeted to highly specific audiences based on their demographics. Facebook and Instagram use the same targeting engine which allows marketers to quickly deploy and optimize campaigns on both platforms.
  • YouTube. YouTube is a social platform that is still overlooked by many local businesses, but it shouldn’t be. Like other social media platforms, YouTube can be used for location-based marketing, but it can also be used to reach custom-intent audiences. Custom-intent users are people who are actively searching out specific content; for example, a YouTube user in your area who watches a lot of home improvement videos might be an ideal person for a local hardware store to target.

If you are looking to be more strategic in your approach to digital marketing, you simply cannot overlook the importance of location-based marketing. For help getting started, we’d love to chat with you about how you can use this powerful form of marketing to help boost your business.