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  • Geofencing: Digital Marketer's Guide to Geofencing for Local Search

    Geofencing: Digital Marketer’s Guide to Geofencing for Local Search

    Marketers and advertisers are always looking for new resources and technologies that can engage their audience and increase brand awareness.

    A location-based marketing strategy has emerged as a viable means of reaching your target audience when they visit specific locations.

    According to statistics, more than 84% of marketers use location marketing to reach out to customers.

    Location Data in Marketing Campaigns

    This geofencing marketing technique allows you to target your customers based on their real-time location, creating unique opportunities to attract them.

    You can benefit from these virtual boundaries in various ways and enhance foot traffic in your stores.

    Here we outline the benefits of SEO geofencing marketing, how you can use it, and some success stories to urge you to use this technique.

    What Is Geofencing?

    It is a location-based marketing strategy (LMS) technique to notify customers about any offers nearby, using location-based alerts on their phones. SEO geofencing technology activates an action on a desktop or mobile device when they enter a particular location.

    This virtual boundary of a location using technologies like radio frequency identifiers, beacon technology, Bluetooth technology, and GPS is a result of geofencing. As a result, marketers can restrict their messages to specific geographical areas.

    Geofencing lets you target customers at specific physical locations and deliver your campaigns through these opportunities at the right place and time. Generally, mobile marketing and push notifications related to a business location are used as a form of geofencing.

    Importance Of Geofencing For Marketers

    While marketers can target their customers in specific physical locations, here are a few more benefits that they can get from geofencing:

    1. Improved Data

    You can measure various metrics when customers come to you due to geofencing promotions because you get your hands on valuable data such as messaging effectiveness, durations, frequency of customers visiting your business, and all those times when they are in the vicinity.

    You can significantly enhance your marketing efforts with the combination of geofencing and analytic tools such as Semrush, Google Analytics, etc.

    2. Local Optimization

    Geofencing is an important tool to get a high rank for your business in local searches.

    Since it is a location-based system, it lets you reach out to customers in a particular area while also making your message timely and relevant.

    3. Cost-Effectiveness

    Who doesn’t want their marketing spend to be highly cost-effective? Geofencing allows marketers to spend their budget on a relevant audience instead of those who might not take many actions.

    4. Personalization

    As a marketer, you must customize offers for your target customers.

    The only way to ensure that your products are irresistible to them is by collecting relevant data through geofencing. But companies often don’t provide enough information to marketers about individual interests, making personalization efforts difficult.

    And that’s where geofencing provides valuable information about target audiences’ interests and pain points so you can improve the promotions.

    Geofencing Implementation In Marketing Strategies

    Geofencing generally requires GPS coordinates and an app to start using it in your marketing strategies. However, to fully reap its benefits, you should consider these additional aspects:

    1. Be Specific

    It is best to limit your geofencing within a four to five minutes travel radius. Find out if your target audience is more likely to drive or walk to your location and use that information to calculate the radius accordingly.

    2. Understand Your Audience

    It is essential to know your potential customers before you implement geofencing in the marketing strategies. Understand who they are and their interests to develop location-based promotions.

    3. In-Store Promotions

    One of the best ways to provide in-store promotions to your audience is through geofencing. Once your customers enter your shop, it is easy to provide them with gifts, coupons, and special deals.

    4. Call-To-Action

    Your goal is to make people visit your location as soon as possible. In that case, it is best to create a clear and concise CTA that immediately guides them to a real-time activity. Create a message that you can send your audience and expect them to follow through right away.

    5. Use Social Media Apps

    There’s no denying that social media is everywhere, and it is one of the best ways to get through to your customers. Geofencing works well with social media apps as you can create location-based stickers, filters, and more shareable content. Geofencing, for instance, can be used for audience engagement and spreading awareness about some particular event or venue.

    Steps To Run A Geofenced Campaign

    Steps To Run A Geofenced Campaign for location services

    Here are the steps you can follow for a successful run of the entire geofencing process:

    1. Create Geofences

    First thing’s first: choose the audience you want to target and where you want to reach them, and then begin by creating your geofence.

    You can either design a geofence around a predefined boundary or some point location. For instance, a point location geofence could be a mile around a metro station. A shopping mall, a neighborhood, or a school zone could be the predefined boundary for geofencing.

    When you use geofencing to increase in-person visits, ensure your customer isn’t more than a five-minute walking distance from the store. This increases the probability of them taking some action on your ad, giving a higher return on your ad spend.

    2. Use Conditions For Entering And Exit

    Set up an entry and exit event for every geofence you create, specifying a duration in the geofenced area to pause before you trigger an event or a campaign.

    The best time to trigger some action is as soon as someone enters your geofence. For instance, when a user gets within 200 meters of your store, send an alert or push notification to them. It should include a special time-sensitive promotion or discount to encourage the user to visit that store ASAP.

    Similarly, it is best to add customers to your retargeting strategies once they leave your geofence so that they continue to receive ads for thirty days after that.

    3. Use Behavioral Targeting To Blend Geofences

    The fact that geofencing triggers location-based notifications isn’t some alien concept and has been in use for quite a while now.

    However, marketers are now pairing this tactic with newfound programmatic capabilities that incorporate behavioral data. Together, they allow you to create targeted campaigns using date, location, time, and insights like buying habits, demographic details, interests, past purchases, etc.

    Furthermore, with the help of behavioral data, you can create specific campaigns which are more valuable and relevant to the customers’ past purchases and interests. For instance, a mall’s luxury store can target individuals that fall in a specific income and age category to ensure they reach those with high chances of becoming customers.

    4. Create Geofence Ad Creatives

    It is essential to know and understand your audience before you design your geofenced ad creatives. Catch your audience’s attention immediately with hard-to-ignore media like GIFs, video content, and static ads. Ensure that you use good copy that includes phrases like “Come in” or “You’re near us” to let them know that you aren’t far away. This seemingly simple strategy will go a long way in enhancing foot traffic for your store.

    Furthermore, include a CTA in your copy that straight-off communicates the ad’s value. For instance, “50% discount by showing this notification” or “10% off just today” explicitly communicates the advantage of following the ad.

    5. Use Data For Campaign Analyzation And Optimization

    Similar to other great marketing tools, Geofencing provides excellent ROI. However, you can improve it further by refining and optimizing the campaigns, and basing your decisions on data and analytics. Ensure that you don’t overlook the geofenced ad performance review and miss out on the opportunity to target more leads, creating more conversations.

    Some of the important metrics you can use to analyze geofenced campaigns are view-through visits, cost per visit (CPV), click-through visits, and total visit rate. It is essential to note that you have to interpret these metrics based on your campaign’s needs.

    For instance, if you wish to increase purchases of expensive items through your campaign, running campaigns that increase in-store visits wouldn’t fulfill your aim.

    A/B testing can help select the most impactful elements to ensure the success of your geofencing campaigns. Test all available options, and tweak your messaging continuously until you start seeing the results you want.

    Successful Geofencing Ad Campaigns

    Time and location together play an essential role in creating highly impactful and relevant display advertising for customers. Here are some examples of successful geofencing ad campaigns:

    1. Van Leeuwen Enhancing Foot Traffic

    Van Leeuwen is an ice cream shop in New York that used a geofencing strategy to enhance foot traffic in its store. It motivated users to use the PayPal app with mobile device options allowing Van Leeuwen to track their users’ locations. This allowed them to use geofencing to know when a target customer was near their store.

    Following this, Van Leuween offered deals and special promotions to its users to increase in-store visits. As a result, they were able to bring in more customers through the simultaneous use of mobile payment and good discounts.

    2. Sephora Improving Customer Loyalty

    The world-renowned makeup store Sephora has a mobile app called Store Companion that activates the minute a customer steps into the store. Store Companion takes out a list of past purchases, limited-edition offers, reviews, wish-list items availability, and product recommendations. Furthermore, the app also alerts the users of any unspent gift cards when they are in a geofenced area.

    With the help of geofence technology, Sephora enhances customer loyalty and satisfaction through a highly functional and fun customer experience.

    3. Starbucks

    cellular data from Starbucks App

    Starbucks notifies its app users of special offers and discount coupons in a nearby store through geofencing and the ability to send location-based alerts to them.

    It is further stepping up its game by experimenting with features like ordering ahead of queues in local stores, repeating regular orders, and directions to new stores.

    4. McDonald’s

    McDonald’s makes user engagement fun through the use of branded Snapchat geofilters. They are the first ones to implement geofencing with Snapchat and improve their digital advertising methods. Whenever a customer is near a McDonald’s outlet, they can add a burger and fry graphic filter on their pictures, making it highly engaging and fun.


    With the advancements in technology comes a highly effective and targeted marketing strategy based on appropriate use location data. Geofencing allows brands to communicate with customers near their stores and other relevant location and interact with them.

    Marketers can use this technique to develop highly relevant and personalized offers according to customers’ needs, thus improving customer lifetime value. This provides prospective buyers a reason to walk into your shops or head to the nearest kiosk to take advantage of your unbeatable, time-sensitive deals and sales.

    Geofencing is suitable for the users, too, as it gives them a chance to interact with their environment through their mobile devices and stay in the know. They also don’t miss out on exciting offers and opportunities that are only a few steps away.

    Chief Revenue Officer at SEO Company
    Industry veteran Timothy Carter is SEO.co’s Chief Revenue Officer. Tim leads all revenue for the company and oversees all customer-facing teams for SEO (search engine optimization) services - including sales, marketing & customer success. He has spent more than 20 years in the world of SEO & Digital Marketing, assisting in everything from SEO for lawyers to complex technical SEO for Fortune 500 clients like Wiley, Box.com, Qualtrics and HP.

    Tim holds expertise in building and scaling sales operations, helping companies increase revenue efficiency and drive growth from websites and sales teams.

    When he's not working, Tim enjoys playing a few rounds of disc golf, running, and spending time with his wife and family on the beach...preferably in Hawaii.

    Over the years he's written for publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur, Marketing Land, Search Engine Journal, ReadWrite and other highly respected online publications. Connect with Tim on Linkedin & Twitter.
    Timothy Carter