How to Use Proximity Marketing to Improve Customer Engagement

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proximity marketing

When it comes to marketing in the finance industry, there are a few ways to get your products and services in front of people. You can market to people calling in to customer service, to customers who walk into bank branches or stores, with ads to people browsing the web, or even to social media followers.

These are proven methods to reach a wide audience, but they all have one drawback—the customer experience isn’t always in sync with where people are in their customer journey. For example, pay-per-click (PPC) ads target people whether they’re in research mode or actively looking to buy.

Proximity marketing fills this gap by combining customer behaviors with the type of marketing they receive—based on customer location. This type of marketing allows for a more personalized experience and improves:

  • The chances of customers following through on calls-to-action (CTA)
  • The chances of more people going into bank branches and stores
  • Customer engagement and retention
  • Debt collection efforts

Here’s a closer look at how proximity marketing works and how you can use proximity-based messaging to target customers at the right time.

Proximity marketing and how it works

Proximity-based messaging uses wireless signals and Beacon devices to send messages to smartphones and tablets using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signals. Messages are sent to customers through a branded company app and vary based on each customer’s location.

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For this tech to work, customers have to have Bluetooth enabled on their mobile device and agree to receive messages through your app.

Proximity marketing uses customer location and data to send targeted messages when customers get close to a beacon. This connection allows for real-time marketing that matches customers’ immediate and personal needs.

For example, when credit payments come due, you can send customized messages to customers when they’re near a bank branch or store. This creates a highly personalized experience because the message doesn’t just share payment amount and due date. These messages also make it easier for customers to complete the pay since they’re already near the bank or store where they took out the credit.

This strategy helps banks, for example, reach more people beyond what their brick-and-mortar staff and call center reps can manage.

A recent study by Google shows that “4 in 5 customers want ads customized to their city, zip code, or immediate surroundings.” Since customers are open to receiving customized content, proximity-based messages act as a catalyst to get customers to take action.

Proximity-based messaging can also be used as part of an optichannel experience since it takes customers from online research to in-store engagement and follow-through. Customers might see a Google search ad first, visit your website for more information, and then receive a message with a special offer when they’re close to a brick-and-mortar location.

There are multiple use cases for proximity-based messaging depending on where your customers are in their customer journey and what actions you’d like them to take. Let’s look at how to use different strategies to engage your customers.

Use proximity marketing to increase retention and revenue

Proximity marketing is more than just sending customers offers and promotions. The data you collect from customers can be used to re-target them to get them to continue doing business and eventually refer other customers. This way, customers see you as a partner vs. a business only interested in getting them to spend.

Using the AARRR framework—made up of Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, and Revenue metrics—as a guide, proximity marketing helps you retain customers longer, simplify debt collection, and increase revenue. Basically, proximity marketing caters to the later stages of this framework—3Rs. For each of these framework metrics, proximity-based messages help you:

  • Improve retention. Identify and segment which customers to contact and when based on their usage patterns and behaviors. Test different types of messages and analyze the impact on customer engagement. Track whether customers upgrade their services or leave.
  • Introduce referral marketing. Offer content that’s timely and spurs customers to make future purchase decisions and also refer your services. Referred customers tend to have higher long-term retention and lifetime value (LTV).
  • Increase revenue. Since you’re systematically targeting customers when they’re most likely to convert and buy, you create a constant revenue stream.

As an example of how this works, BrightHouse, weekly payment retailer, uses VoiceSage Proximity to send customers reminders of upcoming payments—through their Visual Pay app—when customers are close to a store. This is BrightHouse’s way of retaining customers and keeping them engaged.

Using this strategy makes it possible to shorten customer debt repayment time, since all customers have to do is pay through the app or walk into the bank or store they’re close to. Multiple rounds of calls from customer service and email reminders aren’t needed.

Key takeaways

  • Be aware of where your customers are in the AARRR framework and sales funnel and share information that corresponds with each metric. For example, for customers who’ve just opened an account or taken out some credit, send them resource information to keep them engaged.
  • VoiceSage proximity-based messaging helps you meet the expectations of customers who spend a lot of time online by creating a strong brand experience. Regardless of whether customers visit your website, social media, or read an email, the branding is consistent across all platforms to create a cohesive strategy.
  • Analyse which types of messages result in the most follow-through by using the VoiceSage console. This allows you to tailor your messages to your audience to improve engagement.

Use proximity marketing to improve customers’ engagement

Use proximity marketing to proactively target customers and encourage them to follow through—regardless of where they’re located. Do this by tailoring messages based on customer actions—like what they do when they use your app or website—so that when they’re close to a specific location, the message is relevant and encourages follow- through.

As an example, the Bank of Ireland (BOI) uses proximity-based messages to keep its customers informed. For customers at an airport, the BOI assumes that these customers are preparing to travel. In turn, the BOI sends messages with tips on how to use their bank account while travelling and special features available to them. This is extremely relevant and helpful because it prepares customers in advance in case of an emergency.

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Other ways to use proximity-based messaging include:

  • Send customers current promotions and deals when they enter a bank or store. Send this to customers based on how they use your app, how often, and how long they’ve been a customer. Customize the offers so they’re in line with how customers use your product. This way customers are more likely to stop and review the offer details while they wait in line.
  • Remind customers when they qualify for an account upgrade. Send this to customers who use multiple banking products, qualify for a credit limit increase, or have an account in good standing. Offer upgrades while customers are in the bank so that they can speak to a teller or manager about the upgrade.
  • Update customers of changes to hours of operation. If you’ve recently added hours to local bank branches or stores, let customers know when they’re close by. Only send this type of message once or twice since over-communication becomes redundant and annoying.
  • Remind customers of loyalty points they qualify for. Send this to customers with a credit card account and that participate in your loyalty program. Send customers points balance reminders, offers that they qualify for, and include a CTA button to claim the reward.

These types of strategies allow for timely and personalized messages because they keep customers engaged with services relevant to them and the bank or store itself.

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However, limit the number of messages you send to customers to avoid overwhelming them. Beacons placed throughout bank branches and stores allow you to set threshold limits so that depending on how long customers are in range of each beacon, messages are only triggered at timed intervals.

For example, when customers enter a bank branch, send a welcome message immediately. If they’re inside for longer than five minutes, send a special offer message since they’re spending time in the branch and might be interested in learning more.

Also keep in mind that you’re constantly collecting data as customers use your app and website. Proximity marketing is powered by your ability to leverage the data you collect and store in your CRM system. Use this data to build proximity marketing campaigns and populate messages with customer information.

This lets you learn more about customer actions over time and helps to improve future campaigns and add more value.

Personalized and actionable messages make all the difference

It’s not enough to send general messages to customers anymore. Customers expect personalization.

Ninety-six percent of marketers confirm that they’ve seen improved customer relationships, while 83% share that there’s a noticeable lift to their business when personalization is used.

Use the data you collect to track customer engagement over time. Adjust your campaigns so that they’re more effective and customers ultimately keep coming back to do business.

Published on: 12th March 2019

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