By Brad Smith
If “SoLoMo” hasn’t been logged into your marketing vocabulary, it’s time to add this term to your arsenal. SoLoMo is an acronym for the integration of social, local and mobile marketing efforts. For example, tracking your customers’ real-time location via smartphone and feeding them a stream of information based on their location and interests.
Just last night, I was hit with a SoLoMo marketing campaign. I was doing some shopping in the early evening, and the American Express app sent me a push notification with a meal deal at the Panera across the parking lot. They hit me at the right time, with the right deal, and I bit. Who wouldn’t want a free cookie?
As you can see, SoLoMo is more than just a buzzword, it’s a path to capturing local customers where and when they want to buy. In this article, we’ll break down SoLoMo to ensure that your marketing efforts are taking advantage of today’s top trends in social, local and mobile, and we’ll give you strategies you can use to successfully integrate all three to drive traffic and sales.
As of September 2013, 73 percent of online adults were engaging with social media1. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Yelp and other socially driven networks give you the power to communicate directly with your customers. While reaching your consumers via these social networks may seem as easy as a few clicks of a mouse, actually creating a connection and driving conversation with your customers can be an incredible challenge. Who wants to be sold to every time they check Facebook?
The key is to say less and show more. Instead of just throwing up a post about this weekend’s sale, think about creating content that will drive engagement. What would make you hit “Like” or “Share”? You can run a contest to drive engagement by doing something as simple as asking your customers to share vintage pics of themselves on rider mowers. Then, offer prizes for the pics that garner the most likes and shares, and offer everyone who engages with the campaign an in-store spiff.
You should be engaging fans on your social media channels with relevant, fun, interesting content, while also soliciting your best customers to post online reviews of your products and services on Google+, Yelp and other online directories. Some dealers even offer an incentive to motivate their customers to take the time to write a testimonial such as a small gift or discount in return for the positive feedback.
Recent research from the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project gives us insight on three major aspects of how location figures into how we navigate our digital world2.
* 74 percent of adult smartphone owners (ages 18 and older) say they use their phone to get directions or other information based on their current location.
* Among adult social media users (ages 18 and older), 30 percent say that at least one of their accounts is currently set up to include their location in their posts, up from 14 percent who said they had ever done this in 2011.
* Some 12 percent of adult smartphone owners (ages 18 and older) say they use a geosocial (a.k.a. location based) service to “check in” to certain locations or share their location with friends. Among these geosocial service users, 39 percent say they check into places on Facebook, 18 percent say they use Foursquare, and 14 percent say they use Google+.
Take advantage of your customer’s dependence and increasing acceptance of these location-based services to drive immediate in-store traffic. Try promoting an event via text marketing to immediately reach customers who are in the area and are likely to swing by to check out what’s happening at your dealership.
Another idea is to piggyback off of the location-based apps your customers are already using. Consider advertising on location-based services like Yelp3 or Foursquare4. Advertising on these services allows your ad to connect with shoppers who are physically near your location. Presenting them with the right offer, at that key time when they are near your store, can be that driver.
Smartphones and tablets have revolutionized the way we shop, empowering us to price check in real-time. Should you provide free Wi-Fi service to allow customers to comparison shop while in your dealership? Absolutely! Retailers who are embracing digitally connected customers are profiting, and you can too.
Offer customers more information than they would normally have in-store about product features and benefits. Why not invest in tablets for your staff to utilize as a selling tool? If you just want to dip your toes in, buy one of these brand-new tablets going for only $40: http://tnw.co/1dO9YMo.
The real value for you as a business owner is the ability to engage with your customers in a new, more personal way, which leads to brand loyalty. The best part about a SoLoMo campaign is that when it is successful, it’s a win-win.
Brad Smith is ARI’s Vice President of Product Management. ARI creates award-winning software solutions that help equipment manufacturers, distributors and dealers “Sell More Stuff!” – online and in-store. ARI removes the complexity of selling and servicing new and used inventory, parts, garments and accessories for customers in the outdoor power equipment, powersports, marine, RV, automotive tire and wheel, and white goods industries. More than 22,000 equipment dealers, 195 distributors and 140 manufacturers worldwide leverage ARI’s website (www.arinet.com) and eCatalog platforms to “Sell More Stuff!” Smith holds an MBA from the University of Wisconsin and is an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran.