The Death of Proximity Marketing – (For Now)

What Just Happened To Proximity Marketing?

Google just effectively killed off proximity marketing as it exists today. (This serves as another example of why a holistic marketing approach is the Sherpa way).

The are sunsetting their “nearby notifications” on December 6th.

For all the “proximity Marketing” companies this is really bad news. Those are the little “beacons” that broadcast “notifications” to cell phones as they get near.

Multi-level marketing and spammers have led Google to stop support after they stated the problem of “leading to poor user experience”.

Apple effectively put a stop to proximity marketing about a year ago by killing a web element on their phone that let messages through. Now it’s Google putting the final nail in the coffin of proximity marketing for now.

What Went Wrong with Proximity Marketing?

proximity marketing TampaProximity marketing used to be really expensive and kept most players out so when Google launched their “Nearby” service, it worked nicely, alerting museum visitors to neat information, and telling people there was free wi-fi here, or that the next train is arriving soon. The bigger players couldn’t afford to have their brands hurt by spammy activity, so they worked to assure a positive experience.

Then proximity marketing got cheaper to implement, which meant EVERYONE could get in.

Many smaller companies launched to get small businesses proximity marketing and treated a positive user experience for a local market as their primary objective.

Then multi-level marketing groups latched onto proximity marketing like a rabid dog, selling it as the next magic bullet for recruiting and then selling the selling to themselves to sell more! There was an explosion of “now you can be rich” marketing. Their cheap beacons didn’t often work and their marketing was a nuclear bomb approach.

Some marketing companies started selling proximity marketing as the “Magic Bullet”, where you should see a parade of phone-waving people beating down your door after your message reached their phone nearby your shop or trade show booth. The implemented heavy does of “geofencing”, where beacons would broadcast in competitive locations or in high-traffic areas

The Negative Reactions To Proximity Marketing

Google stated seeing what was happening to their altruistic platform turned into a direct marketing channel and turned off the “ding” for nearby notifications. This meant that your phone stopped giving you the alert like you just got a text message to look at your phone. This also meant that you then had a silent popup that unless you were looking at your phone as you passed the store or walked through a geofence, you would not see the message.

Apple also saw the marketing and because they didn’t control or profit from the messages, they shut them down like a swing from Negan’s Bat from the Walking Dead. They simply turned off the entire web connection that allowed the messages. No more messages. Period.

Sure, you could get an app, or download special software to see these messages, but less than a single percentage of iPhone owners took advantage of that to continue to receive these messages (and they were likely the people selling the services.)

Then, Google, after trying to figure out how to regulate the features finally gave up and simply is killing the primary nearby services. Companies can still create permission-based campaigns using programming and API connections. So, that museum could send you a notification or you could download an app that allowed you to still access a “walking tour”.

However, Apple and Google shutting their primary proximity services down meant that the multi-level people are essentially done sending work-at-home messages in networking meetings.

But tragically, this also means that the diner on Main St. USA can’t send your daily specials or coupons for lunch as you walk by or line up to get a table.

What’s Next For Proximity Marketing?

Many of the most successful companies developed apps that power a lot of proximity messages to people who actually want them for coupons or local shopping. BeLocalPro is just one type of proximity company that saw the MLM onslaught and developed an “Local” app for businesses in small towns that wanted to connect and give each other business. This type of company will have to completely revise their internal systems now to connect differently but might just survive as they built an “Eco-system”. However, now proximity marketing will be dependent on have to pay to market app downloads and gain permission to message people.

Most other proximity marketing companies will likely go away because it’s all built on volume and “spam” of as many people as possible. The numbers likely won’t add up to develop apps and do the work involved in getting people to use them.

I’m actually glad to see the multi-level companies turn off because they were promising small businesses that proximity marketing was the holy grail and that people would walk by your business, see your brilliant message and run into your business. It seldom worked that way on a technical level or simply marketing 101 conversions. This left a bad taste with small business owners and further eroded trust of “marketing”.

Proximity Marketing Future

Proximity marketing was it’s own worst enemy, but will likely return in a form that allows consumers to control it. Proximity marketing turned into simply another “push” channel that screamed as loudly as possible to passing prospects like a carnival barker. This is in direct conflict with what the media landscape has turned into in modern day – one where consumers control their information flow. Major television networks learned this the hard way and are playing catch up.

Just like crazy flashing banner ads in the early 2000’s, once they reached a point of spam, the consumers regulated them out of existence by simply stopping clicking on them and publishers tired of their sites turned into flashing circuses of crap stopped accepting them.

Today, when proximity marketing comes back, it will have to be based on something consumers actually want, not simply what proximity marketers are sure they want.

This is also a cautionary tale of platforms you don’t own, like your website. There are lot’s of magic bullet marketers telling you that you don’t even need a website with their golden solution. However, if that platform changes the rules (LinkedIn groups, google proximity, Facebook post monetization, Instagram throttling, etc…), then your business can literally stop.

I’m personally sad to see what amounts to the death of Proximity Marketing for now, because it’s not what Google or most marketers wanted it to become. However, I look forward to seeing what us as a marketing industry can transform nearby solutions into to actually help consumers.

~ Erik Cocks, MBA, is the CEO and Founder of The Authority House, a local authority marketing and video storytelling marketing firm serving St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay area in Florida. If you would like more information on local marketing, contact him at erik@theauthorityhouse.com

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Podcast- Why Do Business Videos Cost What They Do?

How much does a business video cost to make? It depends on the type of video you want and how you want it to look.

The reason nobody can give you a “price” immediately is that videos are labor-intensive and almost all clients have different needs, even if they are doing a very similar video.

Big Note: If someone gives you a “price” right off the bat, you will likely be disappointed with the results. Videos are assets that are 24/7 salespeople and tour guides for your business.

The 2 Videos Every Attorney Needs To Make – Tampa Online Marketing

What are the most important videos attorneys can make?

These are the foundation to video marketing for a firm.

If you want to be know as THE attorney to talk to in the Tampa Bay area, you need to watch this video.

If you want to connect with better client prospects, you need to watch this video.

CONTACT ME if you would like more information on videos for your firm, no matter what size or specialty. Fill out the short for and I’ll call you to set up a time to talk in person.

If you want to talk right now, call me at 813-200-8795.

For more information on creating videos for attorneys in Florida visit http://myauthorityvideo.com/

Tampa SEO is Not Tampa SEO – a heartbreaking story – Tampa Online Marketing

I was heartbroken when just talked to two prospective customers who had been paying $500 and $700 a month for “SEO services” and essentially got an article, a link, and a ranking report for what they paid. They had just cancelled after 6 and 8 months and had seen no improvement in their rankings (they are in the legal space). They basically received about $50 worth of value each month for what they paid (the articles sucked).

This is not their fault.  It’s the fault of the so-called “industry”.

I looked at their sales material, and boy it was slick. Their website really pushed how they were part of a bigger company so how could they go wrong. Then I looked at their contract… It made me mad how small businesses could be taken advantage of.

The response to these folks when they finally called when their 6 month contract was up and wanted to know why they had gotten no movement? “Hey, you are in a really competitive space (no duh), you should go with our package that will help… it’s only $999 a month”. And you need a new website, it’s only $995.

This would essentially be more of the same for another 6 months. However, they would rather take the companies’ money rather than doing a real evaluation of what it would take to rank properly, where (or if) you would see online ROI for your specific business, and what a real plan for establishing authority online would be.

I was just in a roundtable a few days ago and it dawned on me that when business owners talk about SEO, they are not really talking about SEO.

SEO means optimizing a website or online entity so that the parts are all recognizable by the search engines.

Content marketing, or what I call “Authority marketing”, is producing things that get the attention of the search engines and prospective visitors to your online entity.

Most “SEO Companies” simply do the first part, then charge you for what resembles an effective authority marketing plan as a cherry on top so they can keep billing you.

I know I’m getting on my soapbox here, but it needs to be said again… Cheap “SEO” will hurt your business, will not get you results, and will ultimately sour you on paying people to help you get attention online.

The online world is a different place than just a few years ago. EVERYONE that is serious about their business has a website. EVERYONE who is ranking online in whatever space your business is in IS DOING online marketing. They either pay for it or they have a full time person working for them making a decent salary (average marketing director for a small company in Tampa, $62,000).

IF you are going to compete and want real leads from your online presence, a couple hundred dollars a month is fantasy.

If you deal with anyone who wants to help you with your online business, they should be asking questions about your business, have an NDA signed to hand you (that says they won’t tell anyone your secrets), be talking about a “system” instead of a magic bullet (like only doing one thing, like Facebook ads), be upfront with you about the costs involved for your particular business, and you should be looking at hiring an agency like hiring an employee (in both fit with you, and investment).

If you want to chat about your company, I’d love to help. Call me at 813-200-8795 and ask for Erik.

 

New Podcast Corporate Charity Ideas – Tampa Online Marketing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transcript of Podcast:

Companies engage in corporate philanthropy for a variety of reasons, including a desire to build an image as a company that cares and gives back. Some give to impact the social issues that affect business, such as health and transportation, or to encourage social change. Many view corporate philanthropy as an important element of social responsibility. Although many large corporations simply donate money to causes or charities, corporate philanthropy can take a more hands-on approach for small businesses.

Volunteer

Organize event days where employees can earn comp days for helping out. Get everyone t-shirts to wear and make it an event. Seven out of ten co mpanies that provide charity support offer paid time-exchanges. This is a great way to foster team building. If you are a sales organization, and you have enough people, you can even create competitions for help (most boxes boxed, etc). Expect about 30% of your organization to participate. If you get to 50% participation, you are in the top engagement tier.

Employee Giving campaigns

If you have a larger organization, you can arrange corporate giving programs. Make it easy for employees to give.
One of the first rules when it comes to holding a successful workplace giving campaign or fundraiser is to make it fun. How do you do that? Host a kick-off party, charity fair, or similar type of networking event.
Create a theme and get the boss involved. The upper management needs to be the evangelist in this case.
Keep it up and have regular events like pizza.
Sponsor “paid” casual days, “paid” days off and even “paid” breaks. There are many employees who would love to give yo u some money for extra family time or to leave early around holidays to get some shopping done. There are also employees who would love to unwind for an hour with a video game.
Make sure that when employees take advantage of these, that their managers not only embrace but celebrate their contributions. Th e email should read, “Hey, Jenny is out for the rest of the day paddle boarding for her contribution of $20, woo hoo!”. You also must realize that these contributions may not actually cover their pay, so work with your hr and accounting to track these hours so you could deduct them as charitable contributions. Additionally, doing this allows you to say you gave x number of dollars and include the salaries in the total, making you a boss in your community for giving lots.

Organize charity events

This is one where you don’t have to go it alone. If y ou are in a chamber, work with them. If you are in any business groups, they are a great resource. Do some searches on whatever type of charity you want to support and results will pop up with organizations that list contributors. Reach out and see how everyone can help together.
Charity auctions and special events are great money raisers with many places offering up their services free for mentions and promotion.

Donate Technology

Have computers that need updating, donate the old ones. Have your IT person help set them up on the clock. It’s all deductible. One computer can make a lot of difference. Maybe you even purchase some inexpensive computers and donate those. Remember, it is deductible.

Local Grant Programs

If you don’t have a huge staff, you may want to look into a grant program. Small businesses also can design grant programs in communities where they have business locations. Local grant programs let companies target specific needs in their communities or focus on issues of interest to the business owners. The corporation establishes eligibility criteria, grant limits, focus areas, application periods and deadlines. A committee of employees and community representatives reviews grant requests and make decisions. The corporation can operate the program itself or have a charitable trust fund with a local community foundation manage the fund and administer the grant program.donation

Being involved with your community is critical to your business. If your community improves, so do your prospects for clients!
Our marketing firm donates 10% of all profits to organizations that support mental health initiatives for kids and veterans.
What can you do for your community?