Mixing Old with New: How Small Businesses Can Strategically Geo-Target

  • December 17, 2014
  • by:Serhat Pala

It’s easy to get caught up with new technology. So shiny and fun to play with, we’re drawn to it and want to use all of its new abilities as soon as we figure it out.

But the problem with new technology is that not everyone adopts it at the same time. How helpful would it be if everyone immediately went out and got the latest smartphone and downloaded your app and received your deals straight to their phones?

For every person who lives on their phone and uses it like the people in the commercials, there are a bunch of other people who have phones but who don’t use many of the features and there are a bunch more people who don’t even have a smartphone.

All this technology talk is meant to preface the main point of this post, and that is: by combining new technology with “old-fashioned” technology, small businesses with a physical store can successfully geo-target both early and late adopters of technology in their immediate area.

Targeting the early adopters:


A geofence is a virtual perimeter that is set up around a geographical location using GPS coordinates. For example, you can enter the GPS coordinates of your business location or multiple locations and then set up the geofence as a half-mile radius around that location.

Then, if someone has opted in, you can arrange to send a message to that person when they’ve physically entered into this virtual geographical zone (or fence, if you will) set up around your business. This can be done through your business app.

Facebook has also gotten in on geofencing by offering hyperlocal ads to businesses to show up on peoples phones or in their web browsers. The messages you push to the consumer can contain a deal or coupon or some other kind of incentive to come into your business.

Another way you can use geofences is to create these virtual perimeters around your competition’s locations. This is technically called geoconquesting. Then, you can send deals and coupons to people when they are near your competitors’ locations, giving them a reason to not shop there.

Targeting the late adopters:

Geo-Targeted Online Ads

You don’t need to catch people as they go by to geo-target them. You can still do that when they are in the comfort of their own homes by targeting your banner and text ads to show up to people only in specific geographic areas. Furthermore, you can target them at people within a specific age range and with specific interests. (Google knows who they are, so you don’t have to worry about that.)

Presumably even people who only use their phones in a limited way or who don’t have a phone will still have a computer with internet access at home.

If you feel like getting really creative, you can make a video and geotarget that.

Targeting the non-adopters:

Direct Mail

Yeah, that’s right. Direct mail. Some of you will liken this to stone age marketing, but if you have a physical location, direct mail is still a viable means to reach people in specific neighborhoods. One company that specializes in this is Money Mailer. They will mail your ad out to neighborhoods of your choosing and make sure that it gets put into at least 10,000 mailboxes in your specified area. That means local people will be getting your deals and are more likely to come in. It’s geo-targeting done “the old-fashioned way.”

From those who rush out to get the latest gadgets to those who can’t even bother buying one, you can still target everyone within your local vicinity.

[Photo courtesy of Amber Case on Flickr]

No Comments

Leave a Comment