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What Exactly Are Google Beacons and Do I Need One for My Business?

Did your business receive a Google beacon? Do you have any idea why? We had to field this question for a client, and we thought it would be helpful to cover here, too.

What is a Beacon?
Google beacons are small, low-energy Bluetooth devices that communicate with nearby smart devices. Google beacons improve location services and help users by offering relevant, hyper-local information.

The main idea behind Google Beacons is their ability to improve location-based information and send it directly to your customer’s phone. Location information could be a big help for businesses in a crowded shopping area, especially business often frequented by newcomers, such as a dental or doctor’s office. The small, light gray beacon devices are placed somewhere in your store or office. Each Google beacon sends a signal that can be picked up by nearby devices with this same technology. Whenever a phone is in range of a beacon, it can get updated information about the local environment via Google beacons.smartphone app google beacon

Improved Customer Experiences

The Google beacon platform promises to connect your business to customers strolling through your neighborhood. Paired with someone’s previous Google searches and current services, the Google beacon will help users discover your business and push content. The beacon works across Android, native apps, and the web. Apple watch, smartphone, and tablet users already enjoy a similar, but more advanced experience provided by Apple’s iBeacon.

Obvious Benefits of a Google Beacon

“My customers and clients can find my place of business, so what’s the point?” The beauty of the Google beacon is that it can work in conjunction with your app. For example, you’re likely already familiar with “near me” searches, where you open your phone and conduct a search such as “hair salons near me.”

If you were a salon owner, here’s what you could do with a beacon:

  • Offer turn-by-turn directions to people walking on the street.
  • Send updates about upcoming events and specials to all receptive smart devices in the area.
  • Share a photo of the newest dye job.
  • Encourage customers to snap and share images of their own.
  • Let your customer pay wirelessly without ever taking out their wallet or cell phone.
  • Remind your customers to leave a review.
  • Customers using location history will see the most popular times and average duration spent at your business.

Why Did My Business Receive a Google beacon?
If your business received an unannounced package from Google containing a beacon and some instructions, lucky you! When Google first launched Project Beacon, some small businesses received a beacon free of charge. Your business received one because you already advertise with Google. You won’t be billed for the beacon and using the Google beacon won’t increase your total Google advertising costs, so it’s certainly worth setting up, especially because it can easily be a piece of set-it-and-forget-it technology.

The Bottom Line For B2Bs
While it’s clear that business to consumer (B2C) businesses, like the salon, could potentially experience a great benefit from using Google beacons, there are also a couple advantages important to business to business (B2B) companies. The Google beacon can encourage and reward both employees and clients for leaving feedback. These user interactions, positive reviews, requests, and in turn generated content, can help to boost your SEO. Another positive? Now businesses can calculate the success rate of Pay Per Click and social media campaigns. The beacon can tell you who came into your place of business after clicking an ad or interacting with a social media post. Tracking your conversions can better inform you for future digital marketing campaigns.

Contact us to find out how we can help you use Google beacons and fill in the gaps as your department of marketing.