What are beacons and why are they important to businesses? No, that isn’t a typo. I didn’t mean to say bacon.
My Definition of A Beacon
Beacons are a cool piece of technology when used in conjunction with Bluetooth technology can send messages to people on their smart devices within a specific area.
How Beacons Work
Beacons emit a BLE signal that enables anyone with a beacon setup to send a message to those have Bluetooth turned on.
So, Why Am I Talking About Beacons?
Well, because while I was at State of Search they were using beacons in conjunction with a mobile app they had created to send messages to my iPhone. And also because, I sat in on a presentation by Casey Markee “Beyond SEO: Wearables, Beacons & Hyperlocal Marketing” that really got my attention. I knew about beacons before, but somehow what he said just inspired me. Here is his slide deck.
How Can Beacons Be Used
- Send tips about a location/business when user is within 100 ft
- Welcome visitors when they enter
- Notifications about business hours, special offers, reward programs
- Prompt consumers to check-in, follow on social media, etc.
- Ask for a review as patron is leaving establishment
A beacon essentially creates a contact point that can be integrated into your already existing marketing campaign. It is important that you do not use beacons alone, but always in connection with an existing campaign. When considering using beacons for your business, keep in mind that they can be used for both customers already inside your business or, to entice those passing by to stop and come in.
- Using multiple beacons can move a visitor from spot to spot. For example, a customer is looking in the shoe department, suggest a matching handbag and offer a coupon toward the purchase.
- Think about using beacon technology to improve the customer experience, such as providing a store map or customer service contact points.
- Beacons can provide the unique opportunity to engage and even influence behaviors when your messaging is used effectively.
Use Beacons Strategically
I see the potential as unlimited with beacons. However, as marketers we need to make sure that when we integrate beacons into our marketing strategy we need to make sure we are not overdoing it or we will turn people off instead of gaining their loyalty. As with any marketing tool it is important to use it carefully with the singular purpose of serving with the needs of your target audience in mind.
Beacons are rapidly gaining momentum and as more consumers start enjoying the benefits of them, the more businesses will use them. If you want to start playing around with beacon technology, here is a free tool to map your location.
Have you used beacons or received a beacon message before? What did you think?