Your mobile device points the way to anything you want and anywhere you want to go – and with the advent of location based marketing from the likes of Foursquare and Yelp – you can get pinged when you come in range of a restaurant you like, or a deal that’s going on close by.

If you’re serious about online marketing – in particular mobile marketing – for your business, you will have to get up to speed quickly about the pros and cons of location based marketing.   

According to PC World. “The burning question for the next wave of social networking is “Where are you?”–and services like Foursquare, Gowalla, Brightkite, and Loopt want you to use your smartphone to answer it. The technology at the heart of this trend is called geolocation; and with a GPS-enabled smartphone such as the Apple iPhone, Google Nexus One, or RIM BlackBerry, you can use it to let your friends know where you are, or to find places recommended by people you know, or to check in remotely at clubs, bars, and restaurants.”

Location-targeting apps work in two ways. First, they report a specific user’s location to other users, and second, they relate real-world locations (in this case your business) to their location. Geo-location based mobile apps like foursquare, mapping services like Google maps and localized reference websites like Yelp all work together to provide the collaborative and collateral data for mobile search engines and now, voice activated search engines like Apple’s Siri and Google’s Voice Search.  Siri and Voice Search pull data from listing services like Yelp, yellowpages.com and even Foursquare.

When someone “checks-in” to a venue, it’s likely they are sending a message out to their social circle saying, “Hey everyone, I’m at insert your company’s name”.  By allowing the customers to advocate their business to their social circle, venues’ are building immediate, engaged brand awareness with customers and their – often times considerable – social network .

Aside from helping to build social lists that support the business, location apps allow business owners the opportunity to form closer relationships with their customers that did not exist before.  They are now in their social circles (online at least) Businesses can pitch their deals and specials directly to the consumers smartphone. Many businesses, large and small, offer special promotions and discounts to customers that use a geo-location app to check-in at their site. Additionally,  if a business is listed on these geo-location apps, potential customers will see this listing when they are nearby – making it easy for prospects to pop in and check the business out.

The bottom line?  Location apps are the future… and that future has GPS. So you better map out how you’re going to be a part of it.

 

 

 

Editor note# This article pulls from an archived Webology article. http://www.webologize.com/why-yelp-is-the-future-of-your-small-business/