Meet Your Customers with Foursquare

Foursquare Yeti

Previously, we’ve explored how stores can use photo marketing on Instagram to generate traffic back to their site, so this time we’re delving into how Foursquare can be used to drive customers to your physical shop.

Foursquare’s location-centric service lets users check in, share tips and collect virtual “badges.”

Whether your business has multiple locations or not, marketing to potential customers via Foursquare can drastically help raise awareness and boost sales.

Claim your space

First things first: perform a cursory search of your business name in various combinations to catch possible misspellings. Claim any existing results and contact Foursquare directly to consolidate multiple listings for the same location. If your business doesn’t appear on Foursquare, you can add it. The more information you can add to your listing, the better. Try to at least include your business name, address, contact details and hours of operation.

Exclusivity attracts the herd

Foursquare users love offers, so reward their patronage by creating specials, discounts and promotions to incentivize repeat visits to your location. Some other especially effective techniques to spread the word include:

  • The Newbie: a welcome gift for someone that checks in the first time
  • Flash Deals: time-limited offers for the first 5 people that check in
  • Friends and Family: available to a group who all check in together
  • The Mayor: special privileges or discounts to the individual who has the most check-ins

Partnership to double the effort

For businesses without a physical location, consider partnering with a complementary store that does. For example, an author might partner with a local bookstore, or an independent personal trainer with the local fitness center.

Tips and lists

Tips help newcomers feel like insiders. Do you have certain items not on the menu? Are you known for making a famous drink? Or which days do you get new inventory in? Foursquare’s tips turn your secrets into a sales tool. Also consider adding tips for other businesses nearby in order to elevate the perception of your area as a bustling hive of activity.

Including your store on a Foursquare list is a great way to attach your brand with other like-minded businesses and cross-promote. This also provides a good outlet to promote niche elements of your business. For example: if your store features live music, create or find an existing list with live music and add yourself.

Obtain the ultimate: custom badges

Collecting Foursquare badges is the digital equivalent to getting a patch sewn on a scout sash. Users will jump hurdles to obtain a shiny new badge — they’re what makes a person’s profile unique. Due to the extremely high demand for custom badges, Foursquare is selective in the types it approves.

Generally, the greater chance a user has of discovering a badge, the better the chance that Foursquare will approve a custom badge. Foursquare has said they like badges with a story that offers something more than just bragging rights. Badges can be proposed through an online form, but you’ll need to bring your checkbook — reports peg the cost of a custom badge at $25,000 per month with a three-month minimum.

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