The Art of the Check-In And Why It (Sometimes) Fails

Checking in is perhaps one of the most addictive and immediately rewarding ways to interact with the world around us. Using Foursquare, for example, we can check-in to just about any business, building, city, airport and be rewarded with points. Those points help us compete with our other friends who are also earning points. And maybe, in some cases, if we check-in to a business enough, we become its mayor. Yay!

Beyond points — and fun, but essentially meaningless competitions between friends — checking in using Foursquare or Facebook Places has also allowed users to reap rewards. But sometimes, when businesses are first creating and establishing check-in specials, they don’t necessarily know what to expect. And sometimes, because they don’t know what to expect, they get frustrated by their results because, for all intents and purposes, they haven’t achieved the levels of success that they were hoping for.

But the reason why check-in deals and specials don’t necessarily work for some businesses is because they simply don’t put enough effort into planning out their own approach, expectations and marketing of said deals. Here are a few ways businesses can start to hone the ‘check-in’ and start reaping the benefits of the rapidly growing market.

Establish Expectations

Perhaps the biggest pitfall that businesses run into when they establish check-in deals is that they don’t necessarily know what to expect. Not necessarily in terms of foot traffic, but in terms of what they are hoping to get out of it. Do they want to acquire new customers, or reward loyal customers? Do they want customers to test out new products, or get rid of old ones?

Answer these questions can help any business know what to expect before they start attempting to break the often perplexing code of check-ins. If their initial expectations are exceeded, then they have successfully fulfilled their expectations. If not? Simple: Create a new approach, or expectation, and try, try again.

Keep Customers Informed

Of course, as is almost always the case, there lies the issue of keeping customers informed of any check-in specials that a business may be running. If customers don’t know that a check-in special is occurring, how are they expected to check-in?

So whether those information channels be through social networks — Twitter and Facebook — or standard, more traditional methods, like a sticker in your storefront, or an ad in a local paper. Chances are, if they are on Foursquare, they are probably on Facebook or Twitter as well, so reaching out to them through those channels might be the most cost-effective manner.

Keep Customers Intrigued, Motivated

Finally, users can (and will, eventually) get bored with checking in. Which is why, for businesses, making a concerted effort to mix-up special, and rope in customers by constantly adjusting, getting rid of, or creating new specials is important. While few people really grow tired of getting free stuff, they will become tired of receiving the same reward over, and over, and over again. Mixing it up, creating new check-in rewards, and gauging that success relative to other check-ins will ultimately yield the best results.

Checking in, in general, might not be new to most businesses, but many are often dumbfounded as to how to approach it.

Still, every business must start somewhere when it comes to a new, unfamiliar territory.

How does your business approach Foursquare and other check-in networks?



Source: MSM DesignZ, Inc. is a Westchester NY Social Media company specializing in advertising, web and graphic design, and SEO.