The Value of Wi-Fi Marketing
It’s gone from an appreciated luxury to a common expectation. People used to search for physical signs saying “FREE WI-FI.” Now they simply unlock their smartphone and wait for it to pick up a signal. It’s a quid pro quo arrangement in which they gladly participate. Connectivity in exchange for a way to market to them. Or, connectivity in exchange for passing on your mention to their social networks. Wi-Fi marketing opens up new opportunities for engagement.
The value of a connection
Marketers and consumers tend to look differently at the word “connection.” For consumers, it’s the means of continuity – the ability to stay plugged into the digital world their smartphones deliver to them. Marketers, on the other hand, seek a way to directly engage. They want an email address or a phone number. Wi-Fi marketing can be the “connection” that serves both groups.
Connectivity giant Cisco cites Yankee Group studies showing that 96% of consumers seek out retail locations offering free Wi-Fi. Nearly 80% said they would access that Wi-Fi and use it to look up additional information on products or to be made aware of special offers while they’re there.
Consider the opportunity it provides when you become the intermediary between customers and the flow of digital information they get from their smartphones. That’s the essence – and the potent value –of Wi-Fi marketing.
Passwords are passé
Gone are the days when a retail establishment’s staff had to know the Wi-Fi password or risk customer ire. Today, it’s a common expectation to be asked for an email address, phone number, Facebook profile, or Twitter handle to gain access.
The customer gets free Wi-Fi access, and the establishment obtains a direct communication channel with customers – the Holy Grail of marketing. It’s possible to engage customers while they’re visiting and then continue the engagement after they leave. It creates the opportunity to generate contextual communications that aren’t possible with other digital marketing systems.
Innovative retailers have moved beyond asking for contact information to only offer marketing messages to consumers. They’re using this info to trigger messages with special offers when customers return, or exit offers to increase repeat visits and customer loyalty. Location-based messages greet those returning and can even help to retarget customers who don’t return. Restaurants have found this to be extremely valuable. Customers receive a special offer the first time they sign in, and they’re rewarded each time they return. At-risk customers who haven’t patronized in a while receive special offers to lure them back.
Seamless social media
The design and message of a Wi-Fi splash page can be used to encourage people to leave reviews on social media sites in exchange for connectivity. Many retailers allow customers to access Wi-Fi with social media credentials, even enabling users to send their social connections special offers and discounts.
Leveling the playing field
Brick-and-mortar retailers traditionally had limited opportunities to collect data about customers. The only time consumer behavior was captured was at the point of sale. Prior to that, what were they doing? Wi-Fi marketing offers the opportunity to change the dynamics and gain insight into customer behavior throughout their visit to a store. Retailers can use Wi-Fi marketing to offer information about products and services during a shopper’s visit, while determining exactly what drives consumer behavior.
The Wireless Broadband Alliance reports that there are more than 9 billion Wi-Fi-enabled devices in use throughout the world. Wi-Fi hotspots are expected to grow to more than 432 million by 2020. It’s a service customers now expect – and they realize it’s usually offered in exchange for information.
They’re willing to entertain your marketing offers as a trade for connectivity. It’s an opportunity to insert yourself into the conversation they’re having with potential competitors for your business, and a way to reward them for becoming an influencer. Perhaps for the first time, you’ll be able to measure in-store behavior. Connectivity, delivered with a personalized experience and customized offers – both a worthwhile exchange and a list of highly-compelling reasons to implement a Wi-Fi marketing program.