Commentary

The New Email Trigger In Town: Geofencing

While largely considered a trigger for app push notifications, geofencing can be a viable means to understand a customer’s location and subsequently send a location-relevant email.  This is possible with emerging technologies that enable cross-channel coordination between an app user and his/her email address.  

Before you can enable this functionality, there are a number of steps you must follow. First, you must first gain email permission. Next, your customer must download the app. After than, you have to set up geofences in relevant locations. And last but not least, there must be a tie between the customer’s email address, the app and the technology you use to deploy your emails.

Here are a few ideas to get you started once you get your foundation in place:

Close Proximity to a Store
When a customer is in a neighborhood where there is a brick-and-mortar presence, send an email with a coupon or special incentive to come into the store.  The email can be coordinated with a push notification or rich app message with a badge notification on the app (the number that hovers over the mobile app on the home screen encouraging you to open it and engage). The email will most likely work well when you set up the trigger to monitor when someone has entered the geofence repeatedly, but is not near their home store.  This could be a scenario where someone commutes a considerable distance to work each day and could be encouraged to stop periodically by a physical location near their work.

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Event Attendance
Brands invested in hosting or attending events where customers are present can geofence the event location.  Once users enter the geofence, an email can be sent inviting the customer to drop by a booth, VIP space or to share a schedule of all the events that day.  The trigger can even be pre-loaded to look for certain customers who are considered most important or have pre-registered for the event.  Emails leading up to the event and push notifications during the event can remind the customer to check email for more important details throughout the day.  

Distance Traveled
Geofences make it increasingly easy to know when your customers are traveling or moving between regions.  This is a great opportunity to be more helpful and show content relevant to the region where the customer is physically located vs. their home location.  This is different than open-time personalization. Geofencing allows for a trigger, while open-time personalization updates content in existing, planned communications at the time of open.

We’re just starting to scratch the surface of possibilities when it comes to coupling mobile geofencing technology with email.  Email continues to evolve through innovation, and I’m excited to see how effective geofencing can be with our beloved channel.  What are some ways you are using mobile to drive email targeting?

3 comments about "The New Email Trigger In Town: Geofencing".
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  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, July 30, 2015 at 11:18 a.m.

    This is stalking. When someone who you do not know personally follows you and tracks everything you do and say is a stalker. This is dangerous. When the time comes...and it will...when the person in control wants you to change direction for any reason they want, you will lose your own control. We are closer than you think when you allow stalkers to follow you and tell you what to do.

  2. April Mullen from Selligent, July 30, 2015 at 11:23 a.m.

    Paula--If the customer has opted into email and has given permission in the app for location to be tracked, it's permission-based and not stalking.  I'm all about permission-based practices and being transparent about how data is being used. If you don't honor permission, then you shouldn't be doing this type of marketing. 


  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, July 30, 2015 at 8:20 p.m.

    You are right about not using this type of marketing. People have no idea what they have given their pemission for..we think it is that they can now just get promotions or information from the people they allow them to email them. Bait and switch.

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