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How to Use Location-Based Marketing

What Is Location-Based Marketing and Why I Need It

Location-based targeting is a marketing strategy that involves customized marketing aimed at specific geographical regions. The object is to attract the attention of consumers within walking or easy driving distance from the brick-and-mortar location of where you offer goods or services. However, it can also mean targeting certain a particular region or regions where consumers are more likely to purchase your products. When it's done right, location-based targeting provides a much higher RIO than blanket marketing campaigns. Thanks to the rise of social media and mobile devices, this type of marketing comes with a very low or even nonexistent price tag. One of its biggest advantages is that it provides small businesses with an effective tool for competing against their big corporation counterparts.

Types of Location-Based Targeting

Location-based targeting doesn't come in a one-size-fits-all version — it's meant to be customized to individual businesses. Following are seven types of location-based advertising and how they work.


Geotargeting is designed to reach out to potential prospects depending on where they are at a particular moment. For instance, restaurants might send push-button notifications to nearby consumers telling them about lunch or dinner specials, while retailers might send notifications of flash sales. Geotargeting can also be as basic as simple hard copy signage placed in a storefront in a location that designed for maximum visibility.

Proximity Marketing

Proximity marketing is localized advertising content distributed via wireless networks to nearby devices. This technique can be fine-tuned to only be sent to certain groups of consumers within the location.


Geoconquesting campaigns target local consumers when they enter into close physical proximity to any of your competitors. For instance, if you own a restaurant, a typical geoconquesting strategy might be to send out notifications of food and beverage specials as they get closer to other restaurants.

Augmented Location

Taking its cue from Pokemon Go, augmented realty is the current new thing in localized advertising. As its name implies, this strategy involves interactive ads that highly resemble video games and draw the viewer in through engagement and emotional connections.


Beacon relies on Bluetooth technology to transmit signals to mobile devices within short range from small, battery-operated devices. Businesses use them to send personalized ads to those inside or near their locations.

Mobile Apps Localization

This technology allows business owners and managers to target nearby potential customers using different languages and even regional dialects and colloquialisms to provide a hyper-personalized customer experience. With mobile app localization, you can also access a global consumer base, which is particularly useful for businesses catering to tourist populations.

Hyperlocal Marketing

Hyperlocal marketing is simply a catch-all term to describe the above strategies. Its primary goal is to move away from blanket campaigns and present time-sensitive marketing to specific groups of consumers.

When to Use Location-Based Marketing

Location-based targeting isn't appropriate for every situation. For instance, if you've got an internet-based business that sells to a global market and has no physical presence, this type of marketing is going to be virtually useless to you. Here's when you should consider using location-based targeting:

Your Business Has a Physical Location or Locations

This type of marketing is made for businesses that offer brick-and-mortar locations, such as bars, restaurants, coffee shops, specialty stores, art galleries, theaters, and activity outlets. Location-based targeting can be used to alert nearby consumers of lunch, dinner, or happy hour specials, flash or pop-sales, or spur-of-the-moment contests. It's essential to keep in mind that location-based targeting is a complementary marketing strategy rather than the main event.

When the Time is Right

Timing is essential with location-based targeting. If you own or operate a restaurant that is having a lunch special, for instance, you want your campaign to begin slightly before the lunch hour in order to reach those in the process of deciding on where to go for lunch. If your retail outlet is having a sale, weekends and after work are better times to send push-button notifications than the middle of the work day.

Seasons also matter. If your business is in a location that depends highly on tourist traffic, you're going to want to target your location-based marketing campaigns to times during the peak season. Remember that the goal of this type of advertising is to entice nearby consumers into making impulse purchases, so always plan these types of campaigns for when there are large amounts of potential purchasers in close physical proximity to your business.

Auto Dealers and Location-Based Marketing

Auto dealerships are ideal candidates for this type of marketing because auto sales generally involve face-to-face sales. Even though it's possible to purchase a vehicle in a virtual sales environment, the vast majority of automobile consumers prefer real-time visuals and the opportunity to take the car for a test drive before they finalize the sale. The best practice for auto dealerships is to target those already on their lots because they're most likely to complete a purchase that same day.

When Not to Use Location-Based Marketing

Location-based marketing isn't right for every business and every sales situation. Other methods may be better choices in the following situations.

Your Products Are Available Everywhere

Are your products available everywhere? If so, targeting a local market very likely won't have the desired effect. This approach works best when you've got something that can't be found in another location — even if it's just the best burger and fries on the block.

You Don't Have a Local Presence

The object behind location-based marketing is to encourage consumers to pay a physical visit to your place of business based on spur-of-the-moment decisions — and that isn't possible if you don't have a physical location.

Privacy Matters

Consumers who opt in have a reasonable expectation that their privacy is protected, so it's wise to use marketing companies that follow best practices concerning only using location data that derived from consumers who've opted in. Its also wise to ensure that individual consumers have issued explicit consent prior to transmitting notifications from locations that may be deemed as sensitive, such as health clinics.

Need Help?

Marcel Digital is a Google AdWords Certified Partner, specializing in paid search, programmatic, display, remarketing, paid social, and Amazon Advertising. If you're looking for a partner to help take your campaigns and targeting to the next level, give us a shout - we're happy to help!

  • Paid Media

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About the author

Morgan Oakes

Morgan is the Paid Media Director at Marcel Digital, specializing in creative ways to provide solutions in paid advertising platforms for all types of goals.