5 Tips to Leverage Proximity Marketing for Small Businesses

Dec 3


Apoorva Hegde

Apoorva Hegde

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Proximity marketing involves targeting local customers near a business by sending targeted messages or adverts using cellular technologies. Proximity marketing has emerged as a new marketing trend, enabling businesses to narrow down their marketing efforts. Let's learn how to leverage proximity marketing for SMBs in this article.


Proximity marketing is not a new-age concept, 5 Tips to Leverage Proximity Marketing for Small Businesses Articles but it's been flourishing lately. Local stores and businesses are using beacons and QR code technology to attract nearby customers through targeted advertisements. 

In this post, we'll talk about proximity marketing, its importance, and how small businesses can leverage it to the fullest. 


What is Proximity Marketing?

Proximity marketing involves targeting local customers near a business by sending targeted messages or adverts using cellular technologies. Let's break down this concept for better understanding. 

Let's say you run a coffee shop in a busy area of the city. But you've recently opened, and many people don't know about who you are and what you offer. Unless they're in dire need of a coffee, they might not show up at your doorstep.

Here's where proximity marketing can help. 

Nowadays, almost every human has a cellphone. In urban areas, most cellphone users keep their Wi-Fi or Bluetooth turned on for seamless, uninterrupted connectivity. Proximity marketing includes targeting these devices. 

You can send targeted advertising messages and offers to people in proximity of your business via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The content sent to the mobile users is similar to a mobile application program but is a lot more user-friendly. 


Which Businesses Should Employ Proximity Marketing?

Any business that has a physical presence and operates from a fixed location should implement proximity marketing. But some types of vendors should adopt proximity marketing strategies without any delay. These businesses include:

  • Local Retailers: Local retail stores can use proximity marketing to send product lists, coupons, offers, and store maps to attract more customers.
  • Hotels: Hotels can utilize proximity marketing to inform their guests about the availability of rooms. You can also send images of the food and rooms to attract more customers. 
  • Supermarkets: Like local retailers, supermarkets can send targeted adverts and messages promoting various offers and products. They can also send package coupons and card-specific deals to entice customer interest. 
  • Restaurants: Restaurants and cafes can send digital menus and best dishes to people nearby. They can send pictures of dishes, along with the best prices and discounts to attract customers. 
  • Other Businesses: Besides, any local business can use proximity marketing to invite customers to visit them. 


The Importance of Proximity Marketing for Small Businesses

As online retail exploded in the mid-2010s, everyone thought offline retail would be dead. But clearly, that isn't the case. Brick-and-mortar stores are running strong. 

In response, businesses need to focus on omnichannel advertising and selling. 

While online selling has become comparatively easy, convincing people to come to your physical outlet is the real hurdle. 

Proximity marketing helps you resolve this hurdle. 

Here's why proximity marketing is crucial for small local businesses. 

1. Customers Are on Their Phones

Mobile phones have become an inseparable component of our lives. People are always on their phones – during traveling, walking, and even shopping. 

Instead of social media and paid ads that are less likely to be seen, proximity marketing in the form of push notification alerts is more effective. 

And this isn't just a presumed fact. The average click-through rate (CTR) of proximity push notification alerts is as high as 80%. 

For comparison, the average CTR of email marketing is 1-3%, and for Facebook ads, it's less than 1%. So imagine the ROI you could achieve if you strategically deploy proximity marketing tactics. 

2. Immediate Conversions

Proximity marketing is all about whispering in people's ears, "Hey, come here."  People are more likely to walk into a store and make a purchase when they're nearby. 

How many times have you instantly made your mind to enter a store and buy something just because you saw something interesting? 

Purchase decisions are often impulsive. If you induce emotion and give people a reason to purchase from you, they'll most certainly end up buying.

3. Direct Communication with Customers

In other forms of marketing, you need a platform to communicate with your customers. For Google ads, you'd want your customers to use Google. The same goes for Facebook or email. 

Proximity marketing doesn't need any medium. 

You can send your potential customers an alert directly in the form of a notification alert. Since notification alerts aren't easy to ignore, people will end up noticing you. 

4. More Beacons, More Touchpoints

Proximity marketing utilizes beacon technology. A beacon device is installed that scans for nearby mobile phones. Once the device detects mobile phones, it automatically sends targeted messages. 

Businesses can install multiple beacons and offer different touchpoints to enhance the outcomes of proximity marketing.

You can also customize each beacon to send a unique message. For example, one beacon can send a discount message, whereas the other can ask the user to sign up for the newsletter. 

5. In-Depth Analytics and Improved Marketing 

Proximity marketing success is easy to track. You can integrate your beacon device with a proximity marketing application to monitor how many people have clicked on the alert and how many of them have come to your store. You can analyze this information to detect any pitfalls in your strategy and make the necessary changes. 

6. Need for the Hour

More than 40% of local businesses are using proximity marketing, and another 40% are likely to adopt it within the next three years. And the chances are that the majority of your competitors have already adopted it. 

So, if you aren't already using QR codes and beacons to attract local customers, you might lag behind soon. The revival of offline retail and the need for an omnichannel experience has made proximity marketing essential for every local business. 


Five Tips to Kickstart Your Proximity Campaign

Proximity marketing is still a fairly new concept. Not a lot of brands know about what proximity marketing is, let alone the best practices and strategies. 

But on the positive side, proximity marketing is easy to implement. It's also cost-effective. You can use QR codes outside your store to attract nearby customers. And since the QR Code plan cost is low, you don't have to incur hefty costs. 

To flatten the learning curve, we're delving into five basic tips and strategies to follow when getting started with a proximity marketing campaign. 

1. Understand Your Customers

The first step towards implementing a proximity marketing campaign is to understand your customers. Do your target customers really intend to purchase? What are their problems? What problems are they looking for? The more you know about your customers, the better you'd be able to target them. 

2. Seek User Permission

Imagine walking on a street at night with no people, and suddenly you get a notification alert. "Hey, we see you're nearby. Please come and check us out."

Scary? Maybe creepy? It might leave wondering how did they get access to my information. 

In a nutshell, businesses should not be invasive. If you want to display an advert or send a notification, always ask for permission. 

3. Prioritize Customers Based on Their Location

Proximity marketing is useful only if you use it to target customers really close to your store. If you send them alerts when they've not yet entered the store or have left it, you won't achieve the desired results. 

Therefore, it's essential to use geo-fencing to run location-based ad campaigns. Send messages to people when they're near your store, so they can look at the message and take action instantly. 

4. Break Down Your Proximity Marketing Content

The results achieved from proximity marketing are uncertain, and the opportunities are one-time. A person that comes near your store may not ever come back again. 

Therefore, it's essential to hit the bull's eye in the first attempt. 

Here's where many businesses make mistakes. 

They try to send as much content as possible in one go, which overwhelmed the user. The catch here is to break down your content into smaller pieces. 

This way, you'll be able to tell everything, but at the same time, you'll give the user room to breathe. 

5. Use QR Codes Strategically

QR codes have become the cornerstone of proximity marketing. Businesses can display QR codes with logo outside their stores and link them to an advertisement, website, social media page, or any other marketing content. 



As brick-and-mortar retail becomes more competitive, businesses are looking for innovative ways to attract customers. Proximity marketing has emerged as a new marketing trend, enabling businesses to narrow down their marketing efforts. 

But proximity marketing is still a relatively new concept, so outlets need to be careful when implementing the strategy.