So I wanted to join a good fitness centre in my locality (what with me having moved and all) and like any good self-respecting citizen, asked my neighbor Divya for recommendations. I had seen a great hoarding of a gym a few blocks down and wanted to see if it was worth checking out.

Imagine my surprise when Divya had no knowledge of that place! I mean, she is the kind who knows everything – from the best grocery store around to what Mrs. Next-door plans to cook the next day – and she wasn’t aware that such an establishment existed!

That was because the gym did not do it’s hyper local marketing right – it did not put itself on the map!

I shall tell you why it is important.

Nobody is going to brave travelling halfway across town just to work out at your awesome place (sorry, pal!).So target those who are already close-by to get better quality leads.

That my friend, is what hyper-local marketing is all about. But hey, it’s not a new concept as such. Handing out flyers, putting up ads in the local newsletter, conducting classes in the neighborhood club – they are all part of hyper-local marketing.

It is just that with the arrival of technology, the game has changed – drastically! It’s now time to switch to the smart phones!

Smart phone advertising

Yes, watsapp is not going to allow ads any time soon. However, you can still ensure that your customers get to see your ads on their phone. How? The usual suspects – Facebook ads, Network, Display and Search ads. But now, you can target customers based on their particular location!

How does it work?

Thanks to the smart phones, real-time identification of location is now possible. So a certain ad can be targeted to consumers within a geographic boundary based on their GPS coordinates.

Here is an example of how a car rental company did it. The minute a user searched for car rental, an ad for an establishment about 0.5 miles away is displayed.

Picture credits: news.softpedia.com

This means that you can now push out ads to those near your fitness facility and ensure that the ads appear on their network, or in response to particular search keywords or even banner ads.

How to use it?

Targeting users doing an active search

Let us suppose  that a person who is fairly new to the neighborhood (like me) is on the look out for a Gym (or a yoga class). Belonging to the mobile savvy generation, they would probably whip out their phones and punch in “Gyms near me” and ask google to suggest places.

Now, a smart marketer like you, would have bid for keywords like “Gyms” ,”Fitness centres” and even “yoga classes” specific to a particular location. Once the search engine picks up the location co-ordinates of the searcher, then it will automatically push out your ads to that mobile phone!

Targeting users based on relevant information

Imagine another scenario. The user is not actively looking for you (and may not even be a new comer in the locality). However, in your Facebook ad, you target prospects in the surrounding area of your business. Like so:

So people browsing their facebook profile in that area would be able to see your ads. And if you further add filters for “interest targeting”, the ads become even more specific! One more advantage is – you would be giving them a very relevant CTA. Since its a mobile phone CTAs like “Call now” or “Get directions” will further enhance user experience.

To sum up, your ads will be extremely  targeted and highly relevant. They will either be shown to those who are searching for it (biggest win) or to someone in the same locality (great for visibility).

Here is what you can achieve:

Increased foot falls

For a local business, even if it multi-chain, a majority of the customers would come from the surrounding area. Constant Ads to those in the locality will definitely bring in fresh leads to your business. Also, since you are pushing out ads based on location, a passing traveler (who commutes to work and back through your locality) might also get the ad!

Retarget customers

Not everyone faithfully follows their fitness routine (sheepish grin). If you look at your attendance records, you would find that most discontinue after a few months (if it is due to bad service, you are on your own pal). Since these customers don’t leave the area, it would be pretty easy to keep reminding them about the fitness opportunity that they have quite close-by!

Challenge competition

The biggest advantage with location targeting is that you can easily use it to target the customers who are patronizing your competition. You shall simply have to target that location. That is, send ads about your gym (or promotions) to those who are inside the gym next door! Yup, it is legal (what is not legal (or ethical) is using your competition’s name or ad copy to bid on).

Promotion of new branch

Planning on opening a new branch to your fitness centre? That’s awesome news! I am sure you will start with announcements in your existing branches and of course the updates on your website. What you should not forget is- telling the local community about your arrival. Apart from the big gala opening and great offers you put up, send out specific ads only to those within a few mile radius of your establishment and announce your coming! Play your cards (or ads) right and you can easily build up excitement in the community towards your arrival.

The biggest advantage of this channel is that you can directly reach your target audience. So if you pick your target audience right, you can look foward to great results. Right?

Nope wrong. You see, there are certain disadvantages that you have to keep in mind.

Ad blocker

Not everyone would be able to see your ads. Some people, tired of constant ads on the sides would have enabled an ad blocker software on their phones that will make it impossible to reach them.

Thank you Adblock plus for the image

Ad Ennui

Once more consequence of constantly receiving ads is that your prospect tends to become immune to them. They become rather adept at ignoring the constant stream of ads that get displayed.

How to get around it

Make interesting and innovative ads. Think out of the box. The more creative and eye-catching your ad is, the higher the chances of it getting noticed. Click-baits are not strictly frowned upon here, but it is that sort of thing that is more likely to get passed over. Also, try to put up your ads when they least expect it. While on a morning run (trust me, everyone runs with their phones), or near a swimming pool may be quite unexpected and novel ways to reach your target audience.

Lack of inventory

So what happens if  no smart-phone owners are near your area? I mean, you go and set  up a great ad campaign, but find that the target audience is too low? The success of the campaign will definitely be questioned.

How to get around it

The first thing to remember is that the whole point of hyper local marketing is quality. Good quality leads over lead volume. That is, advertising to people who are much more likely to patronise your establishment. That number usually would be low.

That being said, you can always increase the area of your targeting. Also, consider bidding on more keywords (the higher and more strategic your keywords, the better the odds of your ad being relevant) and finally, see if you can increase the number of impressions. Either all or a combination of these things are sure to bump up your inventory.

Stiff competition

I am sure you are no stranger to pizza wars. Indeed, any two similar businesses in the neighborhood have their own friendly (and sometimes serious) competition going on. Imagine if there is one more fitness or wellness centre near you. Then it would be a lot more difficult to sway prospects to conversion.

How to get around it

Bid on the strategic keywords. Yes, sometimes the cost can shoot up, so think hard before deciding which one to opt for. Also, get creative with your targeting. Supposing there is a nearby restaurant. How about pushing out ads to the patrons there? Something along the lines of  “So want to work off that satisfying meal? Try our Gym” would be a great way to get noticed. You can also try targeting grocery stores like that. “Healthy living begins with healthy food shopping. Consult our nutritionist for tips” can be a possibly relevant ad for grocery shoppers. Of course, giving great offers and discounts are likely to sway a lot prospects you way.

Bad Clicks

As with any ad campaign, your mobile ads are also charged as per clicks. Imagine this scenario. You have planned a great ad campaign for the same grocery store example as above. So, for every patron who come  into the store, your ads get displayed on the phone. Great going. However, a lot of parents who come in for grocery shopping hand over their cell phone to their children (to keep them quiet, I assume) while they go ahead with their purchase. That means, all your ads would be displayed to children – who would be quite uninterested in it.  A definite waste of impressions.

Worse, if they accidentally click on it, then you would be paying for that as well. A very dire situation indeed.

How to get around it

Streamline your process! Not all shoppers come with their children. Infact, shopping might turn out to be a family affair (read kids) only on weekends. On a weekday, the patrons would be more interested in focused shopping. So time your ads right. Early morning quick shoppers or early evening shoppers who pop in for one item before rushing off to on their schedule may be great targets.

As you may well know, there are two sides to every coin. Though these dis advantages may seem fairly high, without hyperlocal marketing, even the Divyas of a neighborhood may not know you. And that, my friend, is serious visibility crisis.


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