By Troy Lambert

If you can reach your next customer where they are already: where they live, work, play, and shop, they are more likely to discover you. There are two challenges that nearly every company faces when it comes to marketing: discoverability and personalizing the customer’s journey to purchase. Where you reach them will have a lot to do with how successful you are. Location matters to personalized marketing efforts.

Personalized marketing can be applied to several different types of advertising. Each call for different approaches, and innovations in each will determine how you should leverage them.

Internet Marketing

Digital marketing is how many of your customers will find you, but their physical location matters almost as much as their virtual one. Local demographics often determine how a customer will react to your website, from the homepage to landing pages and calls to action.

 

For instance, a shoe company will want to advertise differently to web visitors from the Northwest, where socks and sandals are an acceptable fashion statement, and those in New York where much more upscale shoes and fashion tastes exist.

This can be done in a number of ways, from having location based redirects to different home pages or even different URL’s. For example, this could be done by directing users to shoes.com/northwest or even northwestshoes.com. The same could be done for users from New York, as in shoe.com/newyork or newyorkshoes.com.

The user’s location can be determined in a few different ways, from the browser they are using to their actual location if they are using a mobile device with location services enabled. The demographics and shopping habits of users in that general area can be determined in several ways as well:

 

  • Social Media Mapping

  • Competitor Analysis

  • Previous Shopping and Browsing Habits

  • Current Customer Analysis

 

All of this data is available and readily accessible to nearly any business. Google analytics, Twitter and Facebook analytics, and Jetpack data can all be used to inform customer models.

Print Advertising

It may sound counterintuitive in this digital world, but print advertising is not dead. In fact, in some cases it is less expensive and can be just as effective as ever. However, there are some caveats that go with that.

Where and how you advertise matter, and you must understand the return on investment from print advertising is more difficult to measure than digital advertising. Print advertising starts with subscribers and purchasers of a certain paper, magazine, or flyer. If yours is one of many ads, the readership or subscriber list is related to potential views, and then can be broken down to potential or likely responses.

This means that either the place you are advertising needs to have high circulation numbers or your ad must play a major, featured role in the publication. Your ad must also be eye catching to stand out from the crows, and have some kind of call to action or offer for the customer.

This is one way to measure ROI: a unique offer or call to action can tell you where the customer saw your ad. The key is the publication must relate to the customer where they are: a skiing ad in a ski magazine makes sense. A candy bar ad in a health food magazine does not.

In addition, a ski magazine in Utah makes much more sense than trying to sell a local ski magazine in Texas: the physical location of your ad matters. Skiers in Texas are more likely to fly to destination resorts and rent equipment rather than purchasing for once or twice a year trips.

In every instance of print marketing, the physical location of your customer matters.

Signs, Signs, Everywhere

Signage, like print media, is still alive and well. Of course, like both print and digital media, the place and the time where your customer sees these ads matters. Fortunately, thanks to technology we have more signage options than ever before.

 

Static Signs: Posters, bus bench signs, billboards, and other signs can still accomplish multiple tasks. They can aid new customers in discovering you and your business, and remind repeat customers of who you are. They can also display a unique offer or call to action, allowing you to track your ROI. Since these signs are “always on” they will potentially reach your customer at the right time.

The downside is that unless your sign is unique and eye-catching it can just become another piece of background noise that is ignored by many users. Also, placement is vitally important. You must know who your customers are and the mood they will be in when they see your sign. For instance, a sign for a Yoga studio displayed on a billboard that faces commuters heading home after a hard day at work may be very effective: everyone needs relaxation at that point.
 

Digital Signage: Perhaps a better and less expensive option is digital signage. These signs display more than one ad, and may also display other forms of content from entertainment to information.

What are digital signs? Well, they include everything from billboards to building directories, restaurant menu boards, and standalone digital signs in airports, walkways, businesses and even taxicabs or shuttles.

The key advantage of these signs is that the content changes regularly, so that motion draws attention. Building directories and menus already draw attention, since customers are looking at them anyway to find out information.

If you want to test different kinds of advertising, you can create more than one ad, display it at more than one time, and see which methods are more effective. If you want to make changes to your ad, it is quite simple and can be done fairly quickly unlike physical signs.

The location of these signs is still vitally important, as is the message you present in each location. An ad in a taxicab can be more detailed than your one on a billboard: the user will be viewing it longer than a customer driving by. An ad in a restaurant should be light and fun rather than serious: people are there to have a good time and forget their workday and problems: present them with a fun solution, not another issue to solve even if your product or service is that solution.

Where you will find your next customer is important. How and when you present them solutions to their problems is related as much to where they are as what they are doing at the time.

This location and timing can be virtual or physical, through digital advertising, print media, or even signage. For any of them to be effective, you must know your customer and the target audience you are trying to reach. Personalizing their marketing experience with you depends on their location first of all.