Local merchants are looking for immediate results with their hyperlocal marketing programs, and most aren’t willing to pay up front for the online clicks of a customer who may or may not actually show up in person. As vendors search for better ways to serve the small business market and capture a larger share of the $89 billion that this group spends on advertising each year, the focus is shifting away from website clicks, and toward customer acquisition.
Here are five hyperlocal solutions for merchants that charge based on the actual results their platforms deliver, typically in the form of in-person visits and purchases.
1. Foursquare: Get ads in front of mobile users in the nearby vicinity.
Perhaps the most well known location-based app for consumers, Foursquare knows what its 40+ million users are searching for and where they’re located in real-time. The company is now using this location and search data to power a self-serve small business advertising platform. Using Foursquare, SMBs are able to target people who are searching for their products or services, while also standing nearby. They can target these users with featured listings or ads. Foursquare charges businesses when users click on their ads to see more, or when they visit the businesses in person.
2. Globus: Use limited-time incentives to engage mobile users.
An advertising platform that aims to get people to actually walk inside participating businesses, Globus charges merchants based on the number of new customers they acquire through their mobile campaigns. Small business owners tell Globus the locations of their stores, the industries they serve, and the incentives they’re willing to offer, and the vendor runs targeted mobile campaigns using its own algorithm. Mobile users who view these ads are directed to landing pages that include incentives to engage with the business. Globus determines the cost that businesses can expect to pay to acquire each new customer based on location and demographic information.
3. LevelUp: Capture data from customers who pay with mobile.
LevelUp is a mobile payments and rewards program used by more than 14,000 businesses. Consumers who’ve downloaded the LevelUp mobile app and linked a payment source are able to pay for products and services with their smartphones. At the same time, merchants are able to capture data about those interactions to improve the targeting of their loyalty programs and ultimately increase revenue. LevelUp encourages businesses to offer different types of incentives, including tiered loyalty (“Spend $100, get $10 back), visit-based loyalty (“Visit 10 times, get a 20% discount”), and time shift discounts (“Get $2 off before 10 am”). LevelUp charges businesses 25% of the incentives they offer when those offers are redeemed. Businesses are also charged a 1.95% processing fee.
4. AdLeads: Pay only when customers sign up to learn more.
AdLeads is a mobile advertising platform that charges businesses only when people ask to learn more about their products or services. A DIY solution, AdLeads lets its users select where their ads should appear, down to the neighborhood, city, state, or country level, and how their ads should look. These ads appear in mobile apps across all categories, including music, entertainment, and games. Users who view these ads are prompted to enter their contact information for the chance to learn more about the business, and businesses are charged only based on the number of customer contact details they collect. AdLeads says budgets can start as low as $50, with signup costs ranging from 50 cents to $5, based on the industry and the amount of geo-targeting.
5. Groupon: Run limited-time promotions with no upfront costs.
More than 650,000 businesses have run Groupon deals in the past six years, in part because the company charges no upfront fees for participating. Local businesses tell Groupon how many customers they want to acquire and what types of “deal” they’re willing to offer, and the company’s representatives come up with custom campaigns intended to lure potential customers in the business’ own backyard. In exchange for this service, businesses must offer steep discounts or incentives to customers, and they must agree to pay a certain percentage of their profits — usually roughly 50% — back to Groupon.
Know of other local merchant marketing tools with acquisition-based pricing? Leave a description in the comments.
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.