Smart phones have made it possible for millions of people to take their technology with them when they head out from home. Savvy Internet marketers can use this fact to their advantage. Smart phones' GPS systems make it easier for their owners to get where they need to go, but they also make it possible for smart marketers to send messages tailored to the consumers' locations.

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Using this technology in this fashion has led to a whole new type of marketing often referred to as "location based marketing." Regardless of the size of your business, you can leverage this technology for expansion at a rate you might never have expected.

You can customize your mobile phone applications and your text marketing campaigns based upon the customers' locations to give them far more relevant information, personalizing the experience to an extent never before possible. When customers feel like the information you're sending them is meant *just for them* they are going to be far more receptive.

This is especially important in text messaging-based marketing because text messages are fare more immediate. Email can sit in a person's inbox for hours, days or even longer before it is read. A text generally gets read within a few *minutes* or less -- while the customer is still close to the business in question!

Ask yourself which is more likely to generate business: a potential customer will read an email message or pull up a website and be so compelled by your offer that they will put on their shoes, go out the door and drive to your restaurant/office store/clothing shop/whatever, OR: the customer opens your text 30 seconds after they receive it and see that they have a 2-for-1 coupon for dinner at a place that's just a block up and two blocks over?

We think you get the idea.

So, here are some tips to help you put together your next fantastic location based marketing campaign!

Be Absolutely Transparent

You have to make it crystal clear to your customers exactly what you will (and will *not* do with the information you collect from them. Everyone is concerned about information privacy these days (just look at the business being done by outfits like LifeLock). If you aren't completely up front about what information you're collecting and what you are going to do with it, you are not going to build a relationship of trust.

Let Customers Opt-In

Always get opt-in from your customers before sending *any* sort of marketing messages to them. People are far more likely to pay attention to messages that they've explicitly decided they're interested in receiving, which is the whole point of an opt-in based system.

One customer who goes through the step of granting permission for you to send them information is worth five people on your list who haven't. Trust us, you'll just be wasting your time (and money) messaging those others.

Then, Let Them Opt-Out

This is the obvious corollary to the last point. Make it simple and easy for people to change their minds and opt out. If something you've sent has turned someone off, you are unlikely to ever make a sale to them; you'll be wasting time and money sending messages that will just be ignored, anyway.

Even more importantly, you'll be robbing yourself of one of the few forms of feedback you can get! Significant numbers of customers opting out of your list can raise a red flag to let you know you're doing something wrong, and wouldn't you rather *know* that so you can change tactics?

NEVER Sell Their Information

It is impossible to overstate the importance of having a relationship of trust with your customers. Trust us, if you decide to get a quick hit of cash by selling your list to another company, it will cost you a lot more in the long run.

Your customers put their trust in you when they opted in; if they start getting bombarded by garbage texts from whomever you sold their information to, they WILL eventually figure it out, and here's the kicker: people talk. Each customer who figures out what you've done will cost you dozens of potential future customers. Is it really worth it?

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