Running a business can be a delicate balancing act, full of new and recurring challenges.

Every physical business deals with the challenge of balancing their online, digital marketing initiatives and the on-site, real world, daily responsibilities that move their bottom line.  That’s true for a public park, retail shop, your favorite concert venue or the franchise on every other corner.  More often than not, the digital and physical experiences in these places aren’t completely aligned.  This can be especially true from a marketing perspective, creating a disconnect in the journey of a customer.

Salesforce defines the customer journey as “all of the interactions a customer has with brands, products, or services across all touchpoints and channels.”

In the 2015 State of Marketing report recently published by Salesforce, over 5,000 marketers around the world were surveyed to understand their top priorities for this year.  One of the most definitive findings in the report is that “86% of senior-level marketers say that it’s absolutely critical or very important to create a cohesive customer journey.”

When asked how they plan on creating that cohesive customer journey, they listed three technologies as the most critical to their success.

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For readers who aren’t familiar with us, SocialSign.in is a web service that leverages guest WiFi networks to help physical businesses create cohesive customer experiences and marketing campaigns.  To help understand how our service directly creates a more cohesive customer journey, we put together a list of 6 ways SocialSign.in WiFi marketing technology can be used in any physical business where people spend time.  The only prerequisite for any of these on-site mobile marketing opportunities is that WiFi is offered to guests in your business.  WiFi is already the most expected and requested guest amenity, so if you don’t currently offer it to guests, now is a good time to start.

Here are 6 ways you can use SocialSign.in WiFi marketing to create a cohesive customer journey:

1) Test The Popularity Of New Social Media Channels, Then Grow Them

Which social media platform will drive the highest engagement for your business in 2015?

Less than 40% of marketers currently use Instagram for their business, and that number drops below 20% when it comes to Vine and Snapchat.  This is a great opportunity for your business to get a head start on the competition and grow an audience on these channels…but which will resonate most with your audience?

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When your customer connects to the guest WiFi network, we can deliver a call-to-action (CTA) that encourages (but never forces) them to follow you on one of these newer channels.  Since that CTA is in your control, you can strategically change them, see which earns you the most engagement, and then properly dedicate your resources to growing on that channel.

2) Drive App Downloads

Building an app can be expensive, but as our attention shifts to mobile devices more each day, many brands and businesses are embarking down this road to create experiences specific to mobile devices.  According to comScore, the amount of time we spend using mobile apps increased 50% between June 2013 and June 2014.  In fact, 2014 was the first year we spent more time, per day, on our mobile devices than our desktops and laptops.

While it’s easy to think that you can just build an app and people will flock to download, that often isn’t the case.

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If you have an app, some challenges you may experience are:

Awareness: Do people know about your app? How are you promoting it?
Discovery: Is it easy to find? How many other apps with a similar name appear in an App Store search before yours?
Distribution: When is someone most likely to download this?

Often times, apps of a certain size can’t even be downloaded without a WiFi connection.

“Using SocialSign.in, we’ve seen app download conversions as high as 55% at the World Famous Apollo Theatre!”

Dexter Upshaw Jr.
Digital Media Producer, Apollo Theatre Foundation, Inc.

By using SocialSign.in WiFi marketing, you can deep link to your new app on our welcome page and make it easier for people to download while they’re in your venue.  This adds context to their download and removes some of the barriers that make app downloads difficult to achieve.

3) Automate and Integrate Old-School Email Strategies

Let’s be honest, fishbowls full of business cards and staff members collecting emails on a clipboard aren’t strategies you still expected to use in 2015.  They’re inefficient for a number of reasons, including the human error that comes with trying to read a strangers handwriting. For businesses that value email and use it to distribute a monthly newsletter, give out free happy hours or keep in-touch with customers, there are more modern approaches to collecting the email information of your guests and integrating them into your CRM.  We happen to be one of them, and our internal data shows that this approach to collecting qualified email information can be very effective.

4) Learn More About Your Facebook Audience

How many of your customers are also Facebook fans of your business page?
How many of the likes on your page actually represent someone who is buying what you’re selling?

That is the question our “Page Fan Ratio” answers.

This tool identifies how many of the people using your guest WiFi network are also fans of your Facebook page, giving businesses a glimpse into the degree their on-line audience overlaps with real visitors and customers.  For the people who do like your page, we create a profile of their most commonly shared interests, giving you a stronger idea of what your customers like.  This can be used on a micro level, such as updating the music playlist in your venue to more accurately reflect the tastes of your customers, or on a larger scale by helping to improve and refine targeting on ad networks.

5) Encourage Repeat Visitors To Take A Unique Action

Should a customer visiting your business for the 30th time see the same message as someone visiting for the 1st?

The answer is no.  The biggest barrier to solving this problem has been in identifying repeat visitors vs. new visitors, but that is a problem we’ve solved.  In addition to making it incredibly easy for repeat visitors to re-join your WiFi network upon their return, we also allow you to communicate unique content to them based on their visits.

By using SocialSign.in WiFi marketing, you can easily identify a repeat visitor to your business and invite them to engage in an action that they’re qualified to take.

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One example of how this can make sense for a business is in driving engagement on Yelp.  As the number of mobile unique visitors on Yelp continues to grow (up 46% YOY), so does the opportunity for a business owner to drive Yelp engagement on mobile.  Did you know that 35% of new Yelp submissions happen on a mobile device?

Access to this knowledge can also help identify loyal customers and potential brand advocates, or recognize that a customer who used to come often hasn’t returned in two months.

6) Add Context To Hashtags & Sharing On Social Media Channels

Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social networks use hashtags to lump together content from different sources into one continuous flow of information.  By using hashtags specific to your business and encouraging other people to take part in using them, you can create a flow of information, images, videos, experiences, feedback and reviews on social channels that come from your audience.  With SocialSign.in you can customize your messaging to encourage users to take part in a hashtag, then drive them to your social network of choice.

At restaurants, this can lead to a surge of free, crowd-sourced, HQ photos of your menu items.  At in-store events or one-off occasions, making it easier for your guests to know what hashtags to use can create an end-to-end user experience that helps them get involved.

As mobile and social continue to grow in importance and become critical elements of the overall marketing landscape, our experiences indicate that WiFi marketing will play a huge role in keeping people connected; not just to the internet, but to the brands and businesses they care about. This year, our team will continue to explore the most relevant, contextual ways of helping business owners tap into their foot traffic and achieve their goals.

So, what marketing initiatives matter the most to your business?  Let us help you accomplish them.

SocialSign.in is a WiFi marketing company based in NYC and San Francisco on a mission to help our customers connect with their visitors.  We help physical businesses transform guest WiFi into their most powerful marketing channel.