For the last 15 years I have been working in some way shape or form as a marketing person. I build websites and promote businesses of clients and even a few friends. In do this I experiment quite a bit in different technologies. I use Facebook, Google+, Google Latitude, Twitter, Foursquare and the list goes on forever testing and promoting my clients. I have spent a lot of time helping the tiny business compete against the monsters.
Enter the smart phone.
Over the last five years the smart phone has become a force in marketing. Don’t believe me… Check out this piece from Mashable on smart phones and restaurants.
According to an infographic by market research firm Lab42, about 19% of those that use their smartphone while at a restaurant update their status on Facebook. Meanwhile, about 24% said they take pictures of their entrees and 18% check-in to the restaurant on services such as Foursquare.
Not surprisingly, smartphone users (20%) are also communicating with others to make dinner plans and 19% use mobile devices to find nearby restaurants. Meanwhile, about one in five people who use their smartphones during their dining out experience do so to view a menu online and find directions.
This brings me to the point of this post. Over the last few months I have noticed how most of my favorite restaurants have extremely poor or no signal at all for smartphones. This makes it nearly impossible for me to promote your business. I love promoting the little guy online.
If you want me to post about your business online you should provide me the customer with free wireless. I know the business owners are going to hate this. It’s an extra cost and in the end could harm their business. It might hurt or it can help.
Providing free wireless access could help your business in a couple of ways.
- I can now post my experience and photos about your business immediately online. This is a free method for others to build up your business on the web. It advertises your business to the users pool of friends. It also builds up your businesses reputation online and if your users use the right networks will boost your search engine optimization. The bottom line is it allows others to promote your business at a low cost.
- Believe it or not people are going to post the good the bad and the ugly about your business. However with the power of the internet and real time based tools dad customer experiences can be dealt with quickly. Tracking your company’s online reputation has never been easier. If someone tweets about a bad experience you can respond immediately in the view of thousands of people. Don’t believe me… Every time I have bad experience with a company I will tweet the event. Most of the time I get a response within an hour or two. If you think I am making this up Read: Delta Airlines Destroys A Bike Used for Charity and Fails to Refund Shipping Charges
If you need more proof of why you should provide free wifi for me to promote your business here are a few more examples from one of my favorite PR guys Peter Shankman.