As a school going kid, I hated Sundays because that was the only day of the week when I did not get a chance to visit my father’s grocery store four blocks from our neighborhood. As per my childhood ritual, I would stop by at the store, give him a helping hand or perhaps he would help me with the homework. I would spend a couple of hours there. My mom will pick me up in the evening on his way back to home. I was so emotionally touched to the routine that when they got separated and my mom got my custody; I did not left my room for a week.

The most disheartening on was seeing my father staring at the entry gate, observing people passing by in the hope somebody would enter and buy something. I can’t forget the day when we were sticking an offer outside the store and he told me to be ready as many people will visit today. Only a handful of people came. I could tell he was crying without tears.

Today, while working on beacons with our clients I can only wonder, “if only beacons would have been around back them; we would be doing pretty well as a family. My parents would have been still together…

An Era of Digital Marketing and Beacons

Things might have changed a lot from my time visiting the store. Today, a majority of lead generation campaigns run in the digital space. Offline marketing still plays a pivotal role in grabbing interest of the larger audience groups but they are losing ground to modern digital forms in terms of reach and cost.

In addition, commuters are more interested in what’s on their mobile screens than a billboard outside. People’s content consumption habits are changing and attention span is shrinking. Although hot billboards with Gwyneth Paltrow endorsing your product still roll eyeball, they are lost in the time as people are spending time glued to the mobile screens.

Marketing experts insist on mixing offline and online campaigns for a greater effect. If the billboard standing tall on your windshield pushes contact information about the advertiser to their mobile phone, the advertiser will have more chances reaching his advertisement goals. Beacons-based proximity marketing allows physical locations to deliver contextually relevant information to nearby mobile phones. Marketers can employ proximity marketing to deliver more such experiences and reach wider marketing goals, including lead generation.

In the rest of the post, I will talk about how lead generation works with beacon-based proximity marketing across various industry verticals:

  • Restaurants

If you own a restaurant at a popular eating junction in the city, you can attract an onlooker or a passerby by delivering relevant offers on his mobile from a beacon installed at the entry. If you are after lead generation make sure, the person cannot unlock the offer unless he gives away his email, phone number or both.

beacons in restaurants

I know many restaurants in the Bay Area that place whiteboards outside their restaurant to display “Offer of the Day” or a new announcement. Crowds in the area love their smartphones more than anywhere on the planet and expecting them to look at the whiteboard is like expecting Uber to turn a profit. Therefore, restaurants and bars catering to techies install beacons push the same information to their beloved device. Smarter restaurateurs ask them to share their email, even phone number, to receive future promotion offers.

  • Bars and Pubs

Bars around the world are infamous for running irresistible happy hour offers. Those offers are, however, not exactly popular outside the typical bar circles although everybody loves discount on their favorite beverages. Beacons installed outside the bar can broadcast most exciting happy hour offers to a passerby’s smartphone who might not have ever heard of “happy hours.” People associated with pub culture would love to subscribe to such offers over email or text.

beacons in Bars and pubs

In addition, you can broadcast a link displaying real-time rate of all the beverages if the person has to choose between many happy hour offers. In places around SoHo or Clarke Quay where there are too many bars adjacent to each other; you have to do more than “Happy Hours” to attract customers. Nevertheless, happy hours are a great source of lead generation. If somebody like the bar, he might return on the weekend for the after party.

  • Real Estate

Real estate industry can benefit a lot from beacon technology. Realtors can use beacons in their real estate to tap prospects’ interest into properties on sale. If they like a property; they can leave their contact details so that you can contact them when the property is on short sale.

beacons in Real estate

Realtors can also install beacons near a property on sale to tap visitors and passerby. A long-range beacon can attract even the people who can’t see the “on sale” board. The beacon outside an “on sale” property can generate leads with the following:

– Pictures and videos of the house interiors

– Details of similar properties at similar price

– Invitation to an open house event

– Newsletters and white papers about property buying

  • Events

Beacons have been generating too much attention of event organizers. They were successfully deployed in various major events: CES, Detroit auto show, Tribeca film festival, etc. Beacons not only make the in-event experience better but also can generate enough leads to turn your next event a success.

Therefore, event marketers are employing beacons in pioneering ways for lead generation and there isn’t better example than Melbourne food festival. The planners of Melbourne food festival installed beacons in 50 restaurants around the Australian metropolis to notify people about the details of the food festival.

beacons in Events

This is how lead generation can be done at events with beacons:

– Create free materials like e-books about the artifacts and get your users download it by submitting their email id

– Leverage beacons in public places like traffic signals and shopping malls to distribute digital pamphlets, event invitations, subscription forms, etc.

– Inform the people near the stadium about last minute seat availability and offers in a sporting event

– At a keynote event, inform attendees about the agenda of the day and bio of key speakers

  • Small and Midsize Businesses (SMBs)

beacons for SMBs

Beacons can do miracles for small businesses in terms of bringing new leads if done correctly. Beacons are low cost and self-sufficient. Here is how they can take advantage.

1) Advertise free Wi-Fi

If you are a business like a Hotel, you can use beacons to advertise free Wi-Fi and get the customers’ contact information in the disguise of a sign-up process.

2) Collaborate with other businesses

You can place your beacons at the premises of a non-competing business. Strategic beacon placement at their venues will benefit both the businesses. For instance, if you are cake shop, you can partner with a movie theater to let moviegoers order their favorite cake while watching their favorite movie. Likewise, salons can endorse their products by placing beacons in the retail outlets of the cosmetic brands they have good relations with.

Beacons and BLE mobile apps

Well beacons need a mobile app to communicate with and trigger relevant events; which could be a coupon code or a timetable for the event fetched from the cloud. Nevertheless, beacons are mere devices and they can only be as successful as the quality of mobile app backing them. Without mobile apps, beacons are dumb devices that are hardly of any use. The first step of taking any advantage of a beacon is to make people download the app. Of course, nobody wants to download a b-grade app no matter how great offers it throws.

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