Consumers visiting new areas for the first time will often reach out to friends online for personal recommendations and information on which shops, restaurants and venues they should visit. Who says business owners can't get in on the action, too? Localmind is a mobile Q&A service that gives business owners a way to insert themselves into the online conversations people are having nearby as a way to promote their establishments and provide useful information to potential customers.
How It Works
Smartphone users who've downloaded the Localmind mobile application can use the service worldwide to find out what's going on around them in real-time. A Localmind user who wants to know how long the line is at a nearby nightspot, or which restaurants near a sports arena offer late-night hours, simply types in the name of the establishment or the area where it's located, along with his or her question. That question is immediately sent out using SMS or push notifications to people who've checked-in at the establishment on popular location-based networks like Foursquare and Facebook Places, allowing those users to respond to the query with a helpful answer in real-time.
Localmind In Action
Just because Localmind is aimed at individual consumers doesn't mean small businesses can't jump in on the action as well. Business owners who check-in at their own establishments or nearby venues on Foursquare can get automatic pings each time Localmind users ask questions having to do with the neighborhoods they serve, making the app an excellent option for small businesses looking for lead-generation tools.
Common questions might include things like, "How long is the wait at AJ's Bar?" and "Which restaurants in the Mission District are offering discounts tonight?" To offer insight and take part in these online Q&As, business owners can submit their responses as the questions come in. Regular Localmind contributors are recognized as "experts" on the platform, which lends additional authority to the answers they provide.
Why It Works
Localmind isn’t the only platform that gives small business owners a way to connect with consumers online, but it still has a number of benefits that competing location-based services don’t yet offer. For one, the Localmind platform is completely free for both businesses and consumers. Whereas competing platforms charge merchants to interact with potential customers located in the nearby vicinity, Localmind gives SMBs access to these same consumers without charging any fees. Even better, business owners don't have to be sitting in front of their computers to interact with these consumers using Localmind's tools. The platform operates on virtually any smartphone device, which means business owners can respond to incoming messages whether they're at work, on the road or sitting at home.
Maximizing the Benefits
Business owners who plan on using the Localmind platform as their primary means of customer communication need to be available to answer queries as they come in. Up to 90 percent of Localmind users receive responses to their questions within three minutes, which means business owners need to stay on their toes if they want their answers to be the first a user sees.
One way that business owners can help ensure that Localmind users take action based on their answers is by offering temporary discounts, real-time deals and specials for customers who check in on location-based services. A Localmind user who receives multiple responses after asking which café she should visit on New York's Upper East Side, for example, is likely to visit the café that responded to her query with a discount code or limited-time offer. Business owners can offer these discounts without fear of being overrun by deal seekers, since their responses are being directed at a single customer rather than large groups of shoppers.
Read more "How It Works."
Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight. She is based in Portland, Ore.
Photo credit: Localmind