You’ve done your research on proximity marketing and you are excited to launch your first campaign. But with so little information available on how to deploy beacons, you may feel overwhelmed with questions like: where should I start? What do I need? How do I do it right?
Here are 9 tips we developed while implementing our Eddystone & iBeacon platform. They’re pretty universal, so no matter what your business is about, you can be sure they’ll help make your deployments easier.
First things first, define your goal. It may sound obvious, but many deployments fail at this point and consequently, don’t succeed at all.
What do you want to achieve? Do you want to drive more sales? Increase the time your customers spend on site? Help them navigate? Answer these questions and define a clear goal and your KPIs so you know how you’re going to measure your performance. A clear goal will help you with many decisions you will have to make later on.
You can't plan a beacon campaign while sitting at your desk. Visit your location, study the space, and take lots of photos. Take notes on the arrangement of furniture and equipment inside, examine the thickness of walls and the material they’re made of. All of that influences how the Bluetooth signals go through the space and reach smartphones. To get the best coverage, place beacons close to the ceiling. Also, if you want to use beacons outdoors, consider choosing a tougher beacon.
Once you know your venue as well as the back of your hand, sketch a map, including everything you learned about the location, and mark all the threats to the Bluetooth signal.
Looking at your map (and an agenda, in case you’re planning an event), imagine how people will move from place to place. Based on that, create a scenario—decide how many beacons you’re going to use, where you’re going to put them, and what content they should trigger.
Finally, mark the location of your beacons on the map. It’ll help you determine beacons’ signal strength and distance between them, and it’ll make it easier to find your devices once your campaign ends or you need to replace a battery.
If you want to engage with your customers, give them engaging content. Be creative and do your best to make your app relevant to the context and your audience. Make sure that your content is high-quality and that it includes a clear call to action.
Beware of too many notifications. One can be enough if it delivers a real value to users. It’s relatively easy to opt out from receiving proximity-based content, so don’t even try to interrupt your visitors too often.
Provide your visitors with clear and easy-to-follow instructions on how to install and use your app and, above all, make sure they know that it is actually available.
First of all, include relevant keywords on the iOS App Store and in Google Play so your app is easily searchable. Beyond that, if you are organizing an event, share a link to the app with all the participants through email and social media. If you’re running a retail campaign, promote it on your printed materials with a QR code or URL. Use all your online and offline channels so your customers won’t miss the experience you’ve designed for them.
Always test your beacon setup before going live. There are some issues you can’t control—like signal blockage when the space is too crowded—but there are many you can (and should!) prepare for. Double check that the UUID, Major, and Minor values that you’re using match the actual beacons. Approach every beacon from a different angle to make sure the signal spreads evenly and check whether smartphones display all messages. If not, adjust your beacon's setting. You can solve most of the issues by changing advertising frequency to min. 300 ms (3 Hz) and advertising power to min. -12 dbm.
Finally, test whether your beacons don't overlap—if you notice that different triggers perform simultaneously, consider placing beacons further away from each other.
Beacons are mostly small, light, and relatively delicate. If they fall off the wall or if you drop them, they can get broken or damaged. Not to mention that you may lose them or that some of your visitors may decide to take one home. Having this in mind, plan your budget to cover 20% more devices than needed. Then, if something goes wrong, you have replacements on hand so you don’t have to worry about buying and waiting for new devices.
Have someone who can quickly replace beacons and deal with other issues that you couldn’t prepare for ahead. Make sure to have a support team or your trainee on the spot, especially when the campaign is rolling out. Get ready for different scenarios so you know what to do when the layout of the space changes, when beacons don’t work, or when the app doesn’t work properly.
Gather real-time analytics on customers' behavior and the time they spend in certain areas. Analyse this data on a daily basis and keep an eye on how your campaign performs. Compare different triggers and keep adjusting your campaign to get the best results possible. Listen to your customers and have their feedback in mind when making improvements.
Ready to make your beacon deployment a success? Follow these tips and let me know how it went! Want to share your experience? I’d love to hear your insights!
Tomasz Rupik is the Co-Founder and COO of Bleesk, a leading iBeacon & Eddystone platform that enables brands to create, deliver, and analyse proximity campaigns. Bleesk consists of a web CMS, iOS & Android apps, SDK, and Analytics. Bleesk’s mission is to provide the most robust and easy to use proximity platform on the market.