Proximity marketing convenience

Proximity marketing is the use of technology to send targeted messages to consumers who are close to your business. While some of this technology might be beyond the reach of your small service-based business, there are other methods of reaching your clients closer to the point of sale.

Examples of proximity marketing

Consider the 2 for 1 soft drink signs at service stations, book ads on Amazon or pay per click ads for a new vacuum on Google Shopping. If you take a spoon and mix that all up it makes less sense. If you spotted an ad for 2 for 1 soft drinks on Amazon, would you get in your car, drive to the service station and buy them? Probably not because it’s not very close, it takes time and you need to pay for petrol.

Location, location, location

There’s an old saying in business that 3 things matter. Location, location and location. Indeed those 3 things mattered more at one time than they do now. Websites, social media, apps, email and sms are all opportunities for us to reach clients in their own home now. We can be close to where they are and the distance for them to purchase, perhaps getting off the lounge to find their credit card, is minimal.

Proximity of advertising

Perhaps in today’s hyper-competitive business world, proximity marketing could extend to mean something different. I remember, in my days of selling advertising, television advertising would have greater reach than radio. However, if a business was having a limited half day sale, radio’s local approach would work best. When we setup a live outdoor broadcast or popup event, we would attract passers by, people who were already out driving or who lived, or worked nearby.

Value in marketplaces

Earlier this week I published a new social media course on Udemy, an online marketspace for short video courses. In a couple of days I attracted over 400 enrolments to my course, which is a flood compared to the trickle I would get if I tried to get people to my own website. By going to Udemy I get users who are already registered on the platform, who are searching for my course topic and are familiar with the format of online video courses. Surely reaching my audience, in the right place, at the right time qualifies as proximity marketing.

While I am on a trip down memory lane, let’s go back to my days of selling my unwanted stuff on ebay. I remember I could list a very valuable item on there for $1 or less. Then, the marketplace was so crazy that there was often a click frenzy that drove the price sky high. 2 years after my Mum purchased a satelite phone, I soild it for $200 more than she purchased it. We listed it for less than it was worth but the power of an all out bidding war meant we won more than we expected.

Supply and demand

Supply and demand is a topic I have written about before. Daniel Priestley illustrates the importance of supply and demand in his book, Oversubscribed. He makes the point that if supply is 1 and demand is for 2 of anything, that’s all you need to start people bidding for that 1 thing. Perhaps that plays on people’s sometimes irrational fear of missing out. When you reach a group of buyers are clustered together, is that proximity marketing?

Most of my examples above relate to products but it applies equally to services. From both a marketing and sales point of view, how close are you to your client? Can you send a message to them? How easily can you build rapport, so they trust you enough to buy? How close you are to your client matters.

Close to point of sale

How close is your client right now to the point of sale? Could they easily go on your website and buy your services today? What about mobile? Maybe they don’t want the added inconvenience of walking into another room and waiting for the computer to boot up.

Convenience really is the point here because inconvenience, in any form adds an intangible cost for a client to do business with you. The more you make people work, the less likely they are to become your client. Perhaps evidence of this is that every second website visitors wait for a page to load, will reduce sales conversions by 4.42%. Yes, we are a fickle bunch.

6 utility levers

In the book, Blue Ocean Strategy, Convenience is 1 of the 6 Utility Levers (pp122-124). In other words, it’s worth making a note of how you can add or increase convenience to your offer.

You should also consider convenience in your advertising and promotion. How convenient is your message for your potential client, at that time? For example, if you advertise a free hearing check on a billboard at an airport, when people are about to fly away from your testing centre, that’s inconvenient.

Where are your target audience?

Adopting proximity marketing to send a message when someone is close to your store, makes more sense than the billboard idea. Advertising your services in a freelance marketplace, while it may cost, makes it more likely you’re going to reach people who are ready to buy. On social media, we always recommend you find out where your audience are and meet them there.

Less friction, more clients

Proximity marketing has to be about more than 1 type of technology. Give some thought to reducing friction and making it easier for clients to do business with you. You can do that using a variety of online and offline mediums.

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