Context, not content, is the new king. The opportunities to add customization to marketing strategies are endless with the use of big data, social media and location tools. iBeacons present the perfect opportunity to use these tools to better engage with audiences and customers. Using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), iBeacons send notifications based on proximity to bluetooth-enabled smartphones. For retailers, event marketers and travel brands (amongst many others), implementing a context-heavy iBeacon strategy can result in higher sales, brand awareness and strong customer engagement. These are some of the first considerations to take when integrating iBeacons into a marketing strategy.
To App or Not to App?
In order for iBeacons to work, there has to be the actual beacon hardware, a bluetooth-enabled mobile device and something for the beacon to communicate with. Most brands choose to use their own native app to push iBeacon notifications because they are already built and have additional functionality such as mobile shopping, rewards programs, etc. Building these apps can be extremely time consuming and expensive, though. Perhaps you want to consider creating a pass that works with Passbook instead. This will still allow context-aware notifications based on location but save on time and money. Choosing the best option depends on budget and marketing goals.
2. Proximity and Context
The next step in developing an iBeacon strategy is choosing the proper communications to send. With iBeacons, you can send a variety of notifications based on a smartphone’s proximity to the hardware. For example; a welcome message can appear when walking through the door and a notification about a special sale can appear when the user approaches a specific product. Keep the customer in mind when developing these commuications — what are they interested in learning about? How many times do they want to receive notifications? Remember, context is key. Know your customer and use appropriate language. Don’t overwhelm them with too many notifications!
Once you have decided on an iBeacon strategy that works with your brand, integrate it into your overall marketing plan. Drive app downloads or pass installs on Passbook, and encourage people to the vicinity of the iBeacons, in social media and email communications. Make sure your customers have the ability to share their experience on their own social media channels and through email and text messages. Implement A/B testing and appropriate measurement systems to test and improve your communications.
Check out these best practices for mobile marketing for more tips on optimizing your iBeacon strategy.