Once upon a time, advertising your restaurant came down to physical ads, word-of-mouth, and reviews. While those methods are still important today, there are other ways to spread marketing messages. Now, technology is king. One of the fastest-growing ways to make your mark via tech is proximity advertising.
This tactic is hugely effective for many businesses, especially hospitality industries like restaurants, cafes, and hotels.
After all, who hasn’t found themselves wandering around town hunting for somewhere great to grab a bite or drink? Location-based marketing hones in on potential customers in your area and lets them know what you do best.
In this brief guide, we will take a closer look at proximity-based advertising. We’ll dig into what it is, how it works, and who benefits from this innovative and precise marketing technique.
What is Proximity Marketing?
What is proximity marketing? For one, it’s an increasingly common buzzword in digital marketing circles. Essentially, proximity marketing is all about using your customers and potential customers’ locations to market your company.
This generally happens via mobile location technologies integrated into mobile devices. Examples of such devices are GPS technology, location services, and triangulation. You use these devices to collect customer data. Then with this data, you send specific marketing information to them.
At its core, proximity-based marketing is part of the rising trend for hyperlocal marketing. Targeted, precise, and fully customizable proximity adverts allow you to show promotional material to consumers within a specified local area.
For example, if your restaurant is within a shopping mall, you can target your desired clientele within that space.
This, combined with Bluetooth and cloud-based Wi-Fi, allow companies to send messages to customers based on where they are.
Benefits of Using Proximity Advertising
There are countless reasons why you should use proximity marketing. The main reason is that it allows you to reach your targeted audience at the most advantageous moment. (I.e., when they’re in a spot you’ve picked or near your business.)
You’ve probably already experienced the savviness and convenience of this marketing technique. Have you ever seen a coupon pop up on your phone right after walking past the establishment it pertains to? That’s proximity marketing in action.
It’s pretty clear why this would work as a treat for restaurants. Well-timed advertising delivered this way (for example, during or just before lunch hours or peak dining times) maximizes foot traffic.
This approach is also great for boosting engagement levels with existing customers. Nothing tempts visitors back to a place they’ve already visited, like the promise of a discount or reward.
With proximity-based advertising, you can reach someone about to walk past your establishment. They’ll see your offer or loyalty program reminder on their phone and feel motivated to drop by.
Understanding Different Types of Proximity Marketing
Proximity advertising comes in several forms, each with advantages that may suit your needs better.
Here are the most common types of proximity marketing approaches that you can integrate into your business. Don’t worry. We’ve selected options that don’t require extensive tech know-how. Most of these are simple “plug and play” methods.
Making Use of WiFi for Proximity Marketing
First up, let’s talk WiFi proximity marketing. You already know how crucial free WiFi is as a marketing tool. Free WiFi is a huge draw for customers today in the age of remote working and 24/7 connectivity. If people can count on you for free internet, they’re more likely to have a positive customer experience. That means they’re also more likely to become loyal customers.
You can set up proximity marketing with your existing free WiFi as part of your restaurant, bar or cafe.
When your customers connect to your guest WiFi, you can send their mobile device with offers. This will keep them engaged, spend more time and money in your establishment or encourage them to return.
To do this, create a captive portal, the landing page that pops up when folks connect to your network. That page will capture their information and allow them to access your WiFi.
You can also have fields on your captive portal page encouraging visitors to share their email or phone number. That way, you can access them for email marketing or SMS marketing campaigns.
Beacon Marketing: Bluetooth Proximity Advertising
If your business is within a mall or similar location, then Bluetooth proximity marketing is for you.
Beacon marketing relies on proximity marketing beacons—usually Bluetooth devices placed strategically—sending short-range mobile signals to smartphones via Bluetooth technology. When people walk within the range of these beacons, they’ll receive targeted messages selected by you.
Bluetooth proximity advertising is a savvy way to access customer data because it requires little effort. Place the devices around your venue and let proximity technologies handle the rest.
Proximity-Based Advertising with GPS
Are you interested in another way to draw in potential customers and collect data? Then try GPS proximity advertising. This is a part of the ongoing trend for geo-marketing and geo-targeting.
By utilizing location data, businesses can efficiently hone in on customers moving through a specific place at a particular time.
If you’re a restaurant close to a specific place, GPS helps you define areas where promotions best run. These include hotels, resorts or retail parks.
Mobile Proximity Marketing with RFID
Phone companies have integrated Radio-frequency identification (RFID) into mobile devices for the past couple of years. RFID is a way to track and identify objects via Radio-frequency tags. This is a form of Mobile Proximity marketing.
This means that you have a tag that you can place on a person, device, object, or animal. Then, you have a transmitter. These two send messages to each other via Radio waves to communicate where said tagged object is.
So if phones already have RFID, all it takes is the right transmitter to send and receive marketing messages.
Some industries, like retail stores, build tiny transmitters into product barcodes. It’s not a massive leap to envision how they could work on menus or other products in restaurants and bars.
The customers’ smartphones will simply pick up information from these transmitters by being close to them. Then, the phone and the transmitter will exchange information. This allows for a seamless data transfer without an active internet connection.
Perhaps even more exciting, RFID technology allows marketers to gain insight into customer behavior and movement. This personal and location data helps businesses to fine-tune their marketing efforts.
Here’s an example. If a company knows that its clients usually display X behavior at X location, that’s market research. They can use that to determine how to reach potential consumers.
Proximity Advertising Examples
Now that you have a general idea of location-based marketing, we’ve devised proximity advertising examples to show how to implement proximity marketing. Keep reading to learn how to use this technology to attract more customers.
- QR codes. Businesses like Amazon and Shopify place QR codes on packages. That way, once consumers receive their product, they can scan the code for a refill. This encourages repeat customers. Stores also use this with first-time visitors by sticking a QR code on menus.
- NFC tag. NFC stands for near-field communication. A great example of this is Apple pay or Google pay. Basically, your phone contains an NFC tag, and so does a card reader. When you tap it against a card reader to pay for a purchase, you are connecting the two tags.
- Store apps. Have you ever downloaded a mobile app for a store like Target or Ikea? When you use a store app, you engage in proximity-based marketing. Why? Because the app asks to use your location. If you opt-in to this and push notifications, the company can send you proximity advertising messages.
Who Can You Target with Proximity Marketing?
One of the beautiful things about wireless proximity-based marketing is that, in 2022, everybody is a potential customer. Due to the widespread use of modern smartphones, everyone’s always online.
We rely on our favorite mobile device for everything. We use it to book vacations, check emails, pay for meals, etc. That means it’s never been more advantageous to implement proximity marketing.
As with most digital marketing efforts, proximity advertising is a numbers game. Not everybody who receives a push notification, email or alert from you will become a customer.
But it does increase your odds. You’re getting your message out to more people. That means you’re building brand awareness. The more people hear about your offerings, the more they want to visit. Once they do, you’ll turn them into loyal customers with your fantastic customer experience offerings.
Finding the Right Proximity-Based Advertising Service for Your Small Business
With planning, knowledge of your customer base, and modern technical wizardry, proximity-based advertising will increase your profits. Ready to try it out for yourself? Consider using Beambox as your go-to proximity advertising service.
Beambox is a WiFi marketing software service for small businesses and the hospitality industry. We can help you design a captive portal, connect a beacon to your free guest WiFi, and more.
Ready to learn more? Start your Beambox free trial to start growing your business today.