Beacons are being touted as the next big thing for local SEO and proximity marketing. While still a mystery to many, beacons are already shining as tools to foster customer engagement, encourage user-generated content, distribute timely messages and drive sales.
These small hardware devices are placed inconspicuously and, when activated, can communicate via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology with smartphones and other devices within a limited radius, sending targeted push notifications. From retail special offers to public transportation schedules, the limits of the messaging opportunities can be endless. Beacons take the popular “near me” searches to a new level, allowing marketers to reach out to nearby prospects, offering messaging including:
- Flash sales
- Turn-by-turn walking directions
- “Fresh-from-the-oven” menu items
- Event updates
- UGC encouragement
While the technology has been around for years, the implementation was limited by proprietary restrictions. Now, Google’s open source platform (named Eddystone, after a famous UK lighthouse), is making the tool much more accessible and valuable to marketers. The Google beacon platform enables remote management of beacons and integration with Google services, allowing users to discover content and functionality across platforms, native apps and the web.
To get started with the Google beacon platform, as with any other marketing tools, you need a strategy and means for evaluating success. From there, a skilled developer can create the necessary API’s, install the beacon hardware and Beacon Tools software, and you’re off!