I’m willing to bet you’ve noticed a change in your local restaurants, coffee shops, cafés and even the public library.
Easily accessible, free wi-fi has made it convenient for people to hang out at these types of locations.
Coffee shops have become remote work spaces for everyone trying to break free of the rat race. That hip cupcakerie is now a computer lab for college students. The corner cafe is now a place to catch up on your Instagram feed while you eat your soup du jour.
Entrepreneurship, freelancing, and remote workforces used to be the exception. These are now becoming the norm. So, if you own a brick and mortar business then it’s obvious you need to offer free wi-fi to stay competitive and keep your shop in business.
And, being the savvy business owner you are, you integrated free wi-fi ages ago, right?
But, did you know you can utilize your free wi-fi as a marketing tool?
Turning your traditional free wi-fi network into a social wi-fi network is the latest trend in business wi-fi. This type of wi-fi network allows you to gather massive amounts of information about your customers so you can market to your specific customer base.
It also offers more ways to add to your bottom line by offering targeted advertisements to every user.
Never heard of it before?
We will explain what this new marketing is and how your business can see big benefits from using it.
The Difference Between Traditional Wi-Fi Access and Social Wi-Fi
When you walk into a business with that little wi-fi symbol on the door, most of us know what to do.
You pull up the list of networks on your laptop or smart phone and connect. This type of wi-fi has been the traditional type that businesses have been using for years.
Of course, keeping wi-fi networks secure is very important so businesses usually require customers to use passwords to access these networks. Usually this information is hanging on the wall or you can ask an employee for it.
Now, imagine a network that’s more secure and gives everyone a unique login while also performing data mining for you – the business owner.
This is a social wi-fi network!
Social wi-fi, uses customers’ existing social media logins to give them access to the network. This approach is more secure because it keeps customers off of your main w-fi and it’s also convenient for users because they can log-in by just clicking a link. There’s no need to handout or display network passwords!
And, the bigger benefit to you as a business owner is that by agreeing to use your social wi-fi network, users are giving you permission to access information about them while also giving you permission to market to them.
Even if your customer doesn’t have social media, you can require them to use an email address or a phone number to login.
It’s a win-win. Your customer has ease of use and you get to know your customers.
The switch to this type of wi-fi network is a no brainer.
What is Social Wi-Fi Marketing Anyway?
Social wi-fi marketing uses all the great info your social wi-fi network is collecting and puts it to work for your business.
Using a social login network allows you to build detailed profiles about your customers. Find out when they come in most often, what they buy, how long they stay. All this information can be used to craft and implement your marketing campaigns.
This transforms your campaigns from guesses into targeted and intelligent advertising.
It’s marketing that learns every day and adapts to your customer base as they change. It’s next level marketing.
When customers login to your network you can bring them to any of your social profiles that you choose or you can put them on a custom landing page. This gives your customers the option to interact and engage immediately with your business while still in your business location.
And, it’s a great way to boost engagement with your brand on social media. Engagement leads to an even deeper understanding of your customer via reviews, shares, comments, and likes.
You can also increase website traffic, review the results of your campaigns and automate future campaigns.
What Your Wi-Fi Network Needs Before You Start Social Wi-Fi Marketing
We have established that offering wi-fi is a great way to encourage business. In fact, 62% of businesses report that their customers spend more time and money when there’s accessible wi-fi.
Before you take that money maker and make it a social wi-fi network you need to make sure you’re ready.
How is your bandwidth? Make sure you are using enough to make it easy for everyone to use the network. There’s nothing worse than arriving at a business that offers the service and then it’s so slow you can’t use it. To get people to use your network and get them to stick around awhile, fast internet is key.
Next, you might need a specific router. Most social wi-fi resellers provide a router or they can tell you if your existing router will work. The most common router used by social-wifi platforms is the Cisco Meraki.
However, don’t just go buy a router! You need to choose a social wi-fi platform first.
We recommend this platform because it tracks mobile devices that enter your business without requiring that they log-in. Most social wi-fi solutions require that users log-in to the wi-fi before data can be acquired so if you shop for a service on your own make sure that the platform you choose has this capability.
How to Create an Effective Social Wi-Fi Marketing Campaign
Alright, you’ve gone through the trouble of providing the network.
You’ve secured it. You’ve made sure that the bandwidth can handle your traffic.
So, now you can monetize it right? You can click a button, and all will be well with the world. Well, not quite.
Most social wi-fi solutions will have at least one campaign-type built-in and others come with several. Choose a solution that compliments your level of marketing knowledge.
If you need support to help you compile and decipher all the data you’ve collected then opt for a social wi-fi platform that offers a “work with you” service.
The image to the right shows some options for what you can do with your wi-fi landing page if you choose the system we recommend.
As you can see, the system is pretty robust.
As mentioned previously, the platform we offer collects customer data without your customers even using your wi-fi. It will build a profile for every device that enters your location regardless of if the device logs in to your wi-fi network. And, if at some point in the future someone uses the device to access your wi-fi then the software connects all of the historical data to the new user profile. Pretty sharp, right?
Some other features we like are campaigns that reach out to customers who haven’t visited your location recently as well as loyalty programs and the online review generation capabilities.
Is This The Right Strategy For Me?
The switch to social wi-fi is a great idea if you have the right kind of business. There are factors to consider before making the switch from a traditional wi-fi service.
What kind of business are you running?
Do you have comfy couches and chairs set up for people to settle in and talk? If so, wifi marketing is a great fit. However, even in a shop that has more of an in-and-out customer base the data alone could be worth it.
If you have been having a tough time nailing down who your target customer is and what they like, this could make things much easier for you. The wi-fi network can do a lot of your marketing research for you in a targeted and precise way. You would be able to break down your entire customer base into exact demographics and use your advertising dollars more effectively.
Still on the fence if this is the right move for your business?
Still have questions about the ins and outs of this type of marketing? Wondering how it would personally affect your business? Have specific questions that you would like answered?
We are happy to go over this and any of our additional marketing services with you. We want to help you find the best marketing fit so that your business sees the most bang for your buck.