Playing Games to Bring in Customers – Interactive Technology Makes Visiting Your Business Fun

I recently took a road trip to Washington, D.C. for work and vacation. Social media tools proved vital for locating coffee shops and museums, and selecting restaurants and hotels.

Some of these interactive tools play on a game mentality, where visiting your establishment can earn things like badges or create healthy competition – driving even more business your way!

Customer Engagement

Interacting with your customers isn’t something new to you. It’s likely a key pillar to your business success. Social media and technology tools provide precious opportunities for increased customer interaction.

Your business is likely already on these services, so the question isn’t should I be using these tools, it’s how are you going to use them? And what are your customers saying about you?

Benefits to your business:

  • New customers – your company is visible in customer searches for your business service focus area
  • Increased visits from existing customers – current customers are motivated to visit more often
  • Entertainment & competition – customers can use tools to interactive/play with other customers simply by visiting your establishment
  • Simple and free advertising – control your message or offer discounts for customers to specifically track trends and loyalty

Foursquare (

“Foursquare is a mobile application that makes cities easier to use and more interesting to explore. It is a friend-finder, a social city guide and a game that challenges users to experience new things, and rewards them for doing so. Foursquare lets users “check in” to a place when they’re there, tell friends where they are and track the history of where they’ve been and who they’ve been there with.” – Foursquare: About

Quick facts:

  • Over 3 Million Users (adding roughly 500,000 users/customers every month)
  • Thousands of local Twin Cities businesses already on Foursquare
  • Foursquare works with common social media tools like Twitter & Facebook

Facebook Places (

“Places is a Facebook feature that allows you to see where your friends are and share your location in the real world. When you use Places, you’ll be able to see if any of your friends are currently checked in nearby and connect with them easily. You can check into nearby Places to tell your friends where you are, tag your friends in the Places you visit, and view comments your friends have made about the Places you visit. Use Places to experience connecting with people on Facebook in a completely new way.”

Quick Facts:

  • Over 500 Million Facebook Users
  • Easy to link your Facebook Page to your Place
  • Facebook integrates with your other social media tools like Twitter and Foursquare

Rally Event

A great example of Foursquare interaction was the recent Rally to Restore Sanity hosted by Jon Stewart in Washington, D.C. Over 18,000 people “checked in” at the event. (Foursquare even created a badge specifically for the event.)

Before the event, I used Foursquare to locate the nearest coffee shop (with 13 people “checked in” on Foursquare at that specific location) and after the event – before my phone died – I used it to locate a restaurant (with 5 others “checked in”).

How to Utilize Tools

Many businesses are offering discounts specific to tool users. For example, some bars offer free drinks to the Foursquare “mayor” of their establishment. This is advertised to all people viewing the venue on Foursquare and thus creates competition for the mayorship of venue. Other businesses offer a discount every 5 visits. Encouragement for hundreds or thousands of potential customers to repeat visits, all with little investment on your part.

Next week: Google Places and other map & review sites to grow your customer base. I’ll discuss how the sites helped me select restaurants and entertainment venues while vacationing.

4 Responses to Playing Games to Bring in Customers – Interactive Technology Makes Visiting Your Business Fun

  1. Robin Adkins says:

    Wow these are interesting programs. I will be signing up for them. I wondered if groupon would work for my business but this looks like something easier. Fun too!

  2. joel.barker says:

    This story was covered on Marketplace Tech Report this morning.

    Is geolocation the next text messaging or the next Segway?

    “Free jeans from The Gap now available on Facebook. Plus hotel rooms, pints of beer, and more. This was all announced yesterday. But there’s a catch. In order to get the deals, you have to use Facebook’s Places feature to check in at the businesses making the offers. In other words, check in and let Facebook know where you are.”

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  4. Beneficial info and excellent design you got here! I want to thank you for sharing your ideas and putting the time into the stuff you publish! Great work!