Why Local Businesses Can No Longer Ignore Foursquare

When reading this, picture Biff knocking on your head saying:  HELLO, McFLY?? You know the movie, its one of your favorites.

Attention local business owners: location based services games checkins are here to stay. You need to stop worrying about people robbing you blind, or knowing where we are at all times, or any of the other things you heard that may have scared you about location based marketing checkins.  I am talking about Foursquare – so now what?  I think it’s important to see what you are missing out on.  There are lots of awesome posts lately about Foursquare, and tools etc., but until you actually get a visual of it, and what it can do for you (and how it can get real people in your doors) I don’t think you are going to pay much attention.

So here goes.  The people that play these games use Foursquare, are the ones you are trying to reach out to with these ads.  They are probably already loyal customers (especially the mayors) as they have to have at least two checkins, and more checkins than anybody during a 60 day period to carry that title.  You are going to keep them coming back by offering them something “as the mayor” or offering to “unlock a special” and guess what?  It has a ripple effect of people who are also loyal Foursquare users (to your business) trying to dethrone that individual and take their special offer.  You got many people, and in some cities and establishments hundreds if not thousands continually coming backinto YOUR business … trying to become the “Mayor” or “unlock the special”.  If you don’t see this yet, I don’t know that I can help.  Besides this OBVIOUS form of driving the herds in, you are going to get these same types (yes they all have blogs – ok maybe not all) talking about you, and linking to your business, which of course, is a GOOD thing.

Lets take a closer look: Recently, I went to checkin to a place I love called Cantina Loredo here in the Phoenix area, and you will notice in the top right hand corner of the image a “Special Nearby” banner that you can click on that will take you to a business nearby that has a special offer for whoever is the mayor of that place.  So THAT business, not the one I checked into, is the one who is doing the advertising on Foursquare.  Think about it, you just get done eating a good meal, and then get the offer for free drinks, or a certain percentage off, or dessert!  If you are a business owner, it’s endless what you can offer, you just have to think about what is nearby and would work well.  Not every business you will checkin to on Foursquare has this (huge opportunity hint hint) but I live in a small town on the outskirts of Phoenix, and if these guys are embracing it here, I think the rest of the country needs to take note.  It is kind of an eye opener.

Foursquare Checkins

Here is a screenshot of the “Special Offer” from above, once it was clicked on it.  So you see, businesses are doing their best to drive traffic (via these Foursquare ads) off each other based on their specific location.

Foursquare specials
Foursquare Special Offer

Another example of businesses using the tools for advertising that Foursquare is offering (oh, and I forgot to mention – at this point, its ALL FREE)  Your business will get listed eventually, even if you have not claimed it, or added it yourself, so when the results of the businesses come up – take a look at this screenshot and tell me, which listing draws your attention?  We all want specials and deals right?  Again, it just makes sense for certain businesses to be taking advantage of this.

Foursquare Ads
Foursquare Ads

For those who are still on the fence or who only worry about Foursquare being a place for people to spy on you to rob you blind – I want to give you a quote from a good friend of mine, and AVID Foursquare user:  Chuck Reynolds “Most people are gone ALL DAY ANYWAY at work, if people want to break into your home when you are gone, there is ample opportunity”

This post is a little bit of a teaser if you will, for what’s to come on the SMX Advanced panel I will be on with Will Scott, Vince Blackham, Michael Martin & Dylan Swift (Yelp) with Greg Sterling as the moderator.  We all got some amazing info to share, and we are all freaks when it comes to local, so if you are into local, you are going to love our panel!

*UPDATE:  Also, please take the time to check out the first ever Foursquare Advertiser Survey Dream Systems Media is a part of, with 3 other companies focused on local search and social media.