How to Win at HyperLocal


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Just found this post on SEJ about winning at hyperlocal marketing. Beacon technology is definitely going to be coming up more in the future, but will small businesses use it? I can see bigger retailers taking advantage of it to send deals, but would it expand beyond retail?

They also discuss reviews, which I think is a worthy discussion to have. How do you deal with fake reviews, bad reviews, and outright lies. Tying beacon tech back into this... would there be a possibility to use a beacon trigger to send a review request after the sale as the customer is leaving the store? Maybe that's where that tech can really shine? Who wants to partner up and work on that functionality :p
 

Linda Buquet

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Thanks so much for sharing this one Eric!

Beacons are something I need to learn more about.

But I recently had a demo of Yext's new Xone by Christian Ward and I can't even tell you how blown away I was by it! The benefits to this technology and all the ways it can be used are just mind blowing!

I'm working with Christian to try to get a video demo or maybe even do a Hangout or Webinar for you guys. It's something you have to see and hear him explain. Then once you get it, your head explodes! At least mine did.

Reading about it and trying to wrap your head around it, just does not cut it.
You need to see Christian demo it and explain it.

And yes could definitely be used for reviews. That's a GREAT idea!
 

Scott Barnett

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Eric,

Verified or trusted reviews/feedback is a great thing. Beacons can be used for this for sure, as well as several other ways to get verified data from customers. It will help a ton. We are working on this, if you want to help, we're happy to have it!! :)

Regards,
Scott
 

Scott Barnett

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@Jon - happy to chat offline, don't want to promote stuff here. We're looking at stuff similar to Amazon's "verified reviews" concept.
 
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@Scott, very interesting! Using on-site beacons for verification (i.e. verifying that the reviewer was on location)? Or some other verification method?

The term "verified reviews" is tossed around by too many platforms that *don't* have the kind of end-to-end visibility into the company-customer transaction that Amazon has. I wonder how long before consumer trust erodes in that concept.

Unless! Unless someone can find a solution that brings Amazon-like visibility to the local space, which I took to be Eric's suggestion about the potential of beacons. Another approach that sites like Thumbtack are taking is to "own" the transaction itself by connecting local customers with local service providers on a closed platform.

BTW, I see this thread--and this forum--as about *building* stuff out in the open, not about promoting stuff. Everyone here is building something--a business, an agency, a consulting practice, a solution. So there is a net gain for everyone when you share. As Linda says, the more you share, the more you get back ;)
 
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I'm interested to hear more about the review process you're working on as well. I have ideas I can toss out, but if you don't want to dive into details in the forum I get it. PM me if you'd like to share details, and I'll try to help.

My idea was thinking more on the retail transaction side from a rewards club system, but I could see a similar system for a dentist office where you're likely to give an email address or a phone number. If you get someone to opt into appointment reminders, then I could see a potential way to get an active "subscribe" or approval from the customer for other offers/requests.
 

Scott Barnett

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@Jon, @Eric - sure, just being sensitive about being too salesy.... but here you go:

(1) Beacons are great - but they are very early and will be expensive to deploy at scale. We're willing to sit on the sideline and see how Facebook/Google/Yext/etc. do here. There are certainly concerns about privacy and we're personally concerned about interoperability.

(2) We are making our platform available to hyperlocal digital publishers - they add our functionality to their site, and (in theory) they already have a loyal readership who have registered. The key is having registered users. Our platform gives the local publisher a business directory, where each business gets their own "page".

(3) The publisher offers functionality to the local businesses in their community... when a customer comes in, if the business owner already has the customers email address they can automatically send them an email requesting feedback. The publisher also asks readers to give feedback to local businesses, in those cases they also have the email. That businesses "page" gets populated with feedback from readers and customers (and where beacons come in is when somebody outside the area stops into their store - but we view that as a 2nd phase effort. Why not start with the folks you already know first?)

This isn't foolproof - there are plenty of scenarios where a user won't offer their email - but for those that do, they get an email with a specific link to give feedback which will indicate it's a "Verified" piece of feedback. At a minimum, we know the customer was actually there. And it's in the business owners interest to get these email addresses for this purpose. Also, it's live feedback that gets displayed on the business owners "page" on the publishers site. Jon - in our case, we're viewing the local publisher's as the potential "middleman" that can "own" the transaction, and host the content as well.

This is one example of how to do this that we're farthest along on. We have a few other ideas that are still on the "drawing board". One of them includes a loyalty/rewards component we're very excited about. Hopefully this makes sense, but in any case, fire away!
 
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Eric, great post and great topic.

I can't tell you all how excited I am to see Local Search Forum leading the charge in discussing beacons, their capabilities, their flaws, and the opportunities they present. "Local" is about to get a whole lot more interesting in the coming months as the technology and ability to leverage that technology becomes a reality for even the single location business.

My belief is that Local Marketing expertise is going to graduate from just providing discovery services and the best digital presence solutions to also now providing ongoing interactions with those who arrive at the local place in reality. From "clicks" to "visits", in the real-world, physical sense will be the new opportunity for every business.

If "clicks" were the currency of the web, "visits" will be the currency of the real world. And beacons can provide the bridge by which this occurs.

Linda, perhaps there is something that we could do with the group on this thread regarding beacons? With our new Xone initiative, many of the thoughts listed here are similar use cases and opportunities. Would love to see that grow and happy to help or bring Xone capabilities to the discussion.

Thanks.
 

Linda Buquet

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If "clicks" were the currency of the web, "visits" will be the currency of the real world. And beacons can provide the bridge by which this occurs.

Linda, perhaps there is something that we could do with the group on this thread regarding beacons? With our new Xone initiative, many of the thoughts listed here are similar use cases and opportunities. Would love to see that grow and happy to help or bring Xone capabilities to the discussion.
Love the click/visits insight Christian. Great analogy.

FYI for anyone that missed here is the Xone launch announcement:
<a href="http://www.yext.com/blog/2015/09/yext-launches-xone-power-real-time-engagement-mobile-customers/">Yext Launches Xone to Power Real-Time Engagement with Mobile Customers | The Yext Blog</a>

Christian if there is something more recent, feel free to share.

Yes I mentioned above that you and I were talking about a video or webinar or something.
Is that what you had in mind in the comment above? Or???
 

JoshuaMackens

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I'd like to see the demo you mentioned Linda.

For us that don't understand beacon technology, or have a very limited understanding, what's the deal?

My understanding is beacon technology could be used to blast an offer to people in a certain radius via bluetooth to their smartphone?

If this is correct, what's to keep businesses from spamming people in a mile radius? I'm sure there's some sort of fail-safe for consumers to turn this off or making it so they have to opt in to receive?

Edit: I just read https://fpf.org/wp-content/uploads/Guide_To_Beacons_Final.pdf and figured this was the case concerning beacons:

"Beacon signals won’t be received unless users have installed apps that are associated with those beacons (i.e., the airline app, a museum app, a retail store app, a library app, etc.)"

So, what is going to make consumers adopt this vs local business apps? Local businesses have been pushing "their app" for a long time and as we've seen, there's been no real consumer adoption. I think the solution would have to be one massive app. Is Yext going to be pushing a big app? I can see companies like Google being able to market and push a big app like that successfully but what about the smaller companies?

Then there's the issue of bluetooth being enabled but you could use the app to ask the user to do that. A bigger issue would be if a consumer would be annoyed with all of the offers coming in. This could be set in preferences too I suppose but not overwhelming the consumer would need to be a big priority obviously.

Sounds promising, it's just about if consumers would adopt an app like that, if indeed this is app based.

Also, didn't FourSquare try something like this? Like a location based offer system based on where you were located in proximity to the business offering the discount? That didn't seem to go too well but it was probably right back to the same issue, no one adopted the app.
 
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It's more for in-store use. So the scenario would be someone walks into your store and they get a message containing a coupon or a deal currently running. You could make that deal only available to people who opt in, so they came in for one thing but are persuaded to buy more. They're already inside, so it's not like you're trying to pull them in but it's more of an upsell attempt.

I thought it would be interesting from the other side (and others have thought the same), when someone leaves after purchasing they are prompted to leave a review or share their experience.

The fail safe is that someone needs to opt in prior to receiving these messages. So yes they need to have bluetooth/location settings enabled, but that could come from an app that's already been downloaded.

I'd like to hear more from Yext as well about how they're developing it. A demo from them would probably give us a better idea what their plan is, and maybe we could throw out some ideas we have.
 

JoshuaMackens

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It's more for in-store use. So the scenario would be someone walks into your store and they get a message containing a coupon or a deal currently running. You could make that deal only available to people who opt in, so they came in for one thing but are persuaded to buy more. They're already inside, so it's not like you're trying to pull them in but it's more of an upsell attempt.

I thought it would be interesting from the other side (and others have thought the same), when someone leaves after purchasing they are prompted to leave a review or share their experience.

The fail safe is that someone needs to opt in prior to receiving these messages. So yes they need to have bluetooth/location settings enabled, but that could come from an app that's already been downloaded.

I'd like to hear more from Yext as well about how they're developing it. A demo from them would probably give us a better idea what their plan is, and maybe we could throw out some ideas we have.
Interesting.

Getting people to actually download the app is going to be the hard part. From privacy concerns to tech illiteracy, there are a lot of issues there.

For reviews, I think it makes total sense because if you only got a few from it, it's golden. But from a sales POV, you might need a lot to make it work.

Hopefully someone can get people to adopt the app though!
 

CodyBaird

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Facebook, android and apple could appraoch beacon from a consumer standpoint. I personally don't see the difference from yelp checkins or foursquare checkins. I got a free cheese plate yesterday at Eleven Plates for checking in but it had nothing to do with my decision to visit the business.

Facebook, Google, Apple and Yext could also approach it from an SMB perspective which will most likely evoke some form of spam like behavior. The winner will most likely have a large user base to start with and will walk the spam line better than the competition.

As far as using beacon technology to validate reviews. That would be cool but could still be abused at a local level. Again, Yelp already uses location for checkins, have to be with in 2 miles I believe.

Amazon and Hotels.com have the best solution only allowing users to review a business that they have actually purchased from.

Google could drop a hammer easily by using location to thwart fake reviews but based on the Local Guides push it appears quantity is more important than quality at this point. It appears to be the same with Yelp.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
 

JoshuaMackens

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Facebook, android and apple could appraoch beacon from a consumer standpoint. I personally don't see the difference from yelp checkins or foursquare checkins. I got a free cheese plate yesterday at Eleven Plates for checking in but it had nothing to do with my decision to visit the business.

Facebook, Google, Apple and Yext could also approach it from an SMB perspective which will most likely evoke some form of spam like behavior. The winner will most likely have a large user base to start with and will walk the spam line better than the competition.
I agree. I just really don't know if this thing has the legs to take off. It seems like it's going to go the way of the small business consumer rewards programs. Tons of them, little to no buy in.
 
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Everyone,

Sorry I haven't jumped in from the Yext side yet. These are all great questions, and frankly, they are exactly the questions we have been asking ourselves very critically over the last 2 years as we developed Xone, our mobile engagement platform powered by beacons.

While I want to answer some of these questions right away, I honestly think we should just set up a conference call so I can walk each of you through this. Very informal, and then we can think about webinars and other information if y'all think it would beneficial to the community at large.

Beacons are a great example of technology that hasn't quite hit its stride yet, and yet, almost every business (large and small) is looking to pilot some version of the solution. This is why I'd love to get each of your feedback.

Thanks, and if this sounds good, just shoot me a note at christian @ yext.com and I'll set up a conference call / join.me to walk through it. Also, if any of you are ever in New York, don't hesitate to reach out to discuss in person at our offices here.

Thanks,

Christian
 

Linda Buquet

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Thanks Christian,

Since privacy concerns came up, I wanted to mention that's one of the things Yext really handled well with this. Protecting privacy and sharing the data in a way it can't be abused, like so many other marketing technologies are.

I'll let him explain on the call, but I found it fascinating!

Christian can you get multiple people on a join.me session? I assume so.

Would be cool to just get the guys in this thread together for a demo.
(And anyone else reading this that's interested.)

I think their minds would be blown wide open at when the actually see all the different aspects of how this works and can be used. You can't just read about it, to get it. You have to see the presentation and hear the way Christian explains it. In fact I'd like to sit in again. Just found it fascinating!
 
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I would like to hear more about this, so a demo would be cool. If there's a day & time that works for Christian I'll block that off on my calendar.
 
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Alright! I'm on it.

To make this easier, would each of you that wants the demo and to join the conference call email me at christian@yext.com, and I'll get it all set up?

I think I can throw about 25 people on a join.me, so we can start there.

Thanks!
 

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