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Giving free Wi-Fi to your customers is more powerful than you might think

You put up the “Free Wi-Fi” sign and flooding in come customers wielding their laptops, iPads, and glued to their smart phones. They find a comfy place to sit and log-on to the internet, shop online and check their emails.

They’re happy it’s free. You’re happy they bought something. Everybody’s happy.

According to Ofcom, the average adult internet user spends around 20 hours per week online. ING also said that in the last 12 months, 84% of shoppers have bought products using a mobile device.

Given that Tech21 recently found that 50% of consumers would rather leave home without their wallet than their phone – and some of your competitors are no doubt offering free Wi-Fi too – it makes sense to give your customers a free and convenient way to stay connected.

But if they’re the only reasons for you offering free Social Media Wi-Fi, you’re missing out on an opportunity to capture valuable information about your customers.

Research by IHL shows that social media Wi-Fi has increased sales by around 2% in retail alone.

Why? Because when done properly, it allows you to easily gather data about your customers that helps you improve their experience and target your product information. You have the data that gives you the information to be more effective in your marketing.

And the key to marketing, is having the right data.

“You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data.” – Daniel Keys Moran

What is social media Wi-Fi?

Social media Wi-Fi is basically a Wi-Fi connection that you provide to your customers for free.

Typically found in restaurants, hotels, cafes, bars and retails outlets, Wi-Fi asks for authentication via social media such as Facebook, twitter or Google+ before users can log on.

Once authenticated, they have access to the internet, restricted only by your security measures.

In return, you gather information about your customers.

Measure. Optimise. Customise.

It’s a commonly understood that it’s easier and more cost-effective to retain customers than it is to acquire new ones.

By gathering data and measuring the experiences of your existing customers, you can refine the services you offer, making the most of every opportunity you have to improve your offering and add more value to your customers.

Whilst you can collect a range of information, typically you can easily learn age, gender, date, time logged-in, session times, device used and social media platforms.

You can even track through heat-mapping and geo-fencing, where your users loiter, showing hot-spots in the store, so you can target users as they venture towards a product or area.

When you measure, optimise and customise your services you’re doing one of the most important things you can for your business – building loyalty.

In fact, research carried out by IHL showed that 28% of retailers said they had noticed a positive impact on customer loyalty, with a 28% increase in the amount of time spent in store.

Think about some of the possibilities:

• How could you improve your business if you had data on the dominant age range of your customers?
• How would you change your marketing strategy if you knew your key demographic was college students?
• The Geofencing tool shows that most of you guest hang around in the bar to wait for their taxi from 7pm-8pm. How would that affect your bar offering?
• Your key demographic access the network via Facebook – would you focus more of your marketing activity on your Facebook page?

Keeping in touch

One of the biggest problems faced by SMEs when it comes to marketing is they don’t have the contact information to direct email or SMS campaigns towards their target market.

But depending on how you set up your social media Wi-Fi, you can easily start to gather email addresses and mobile numbers to build a database of your customers.

So envisage how you’re building a loyal following, a community of people who love your services and keep coming back for more.

If you simply collect contact details as part of their login details, you’ve now got the ideal opportunity to customise your services even more and reach out directly to them.

Liam Swift of Award Winning Branding agency based at Helm, Doncaster, helps many clients build marketing campaigns to capture and use data more effectively.

“It’s important to collect data so you can build customer loyalty and trust. Taking first names so you can address them personally means a lot. Think about the last time a barman remembered your name and how special it made you feel.

“Little things like first name and date-of-birth go a long way to building a successful database you can use to create and inspire a following. It gives you a powerful marketing tool, especially for retail and hospitality.

“Sending a happy birthday text with a voucher will go a long way long way to helping your customer decide where to visit when they are next in town.”

When you consider that read-rates of text marketing are around 98%, you can be fairly confident your special offer, or service update, or booking confirmation will be read by the right person.

Social Wi-Fi Security

Something free Wi-Fi providers often miss is their liability for the content accessed by users.

If you just offer a free connection to Wi-Fi, and those users do something illegal whilst connected to your network, you can’t prove who it was that did it.

And that means you’re liable for anything that happens on your network.

Social Media Wi-Fi means not only can you control what users can access, but if they do something they shouldn’t, they are liable, not you.

Social Media Wi-Fi is a powerful marketing tool, not just a free service you can offer your clients. You give your customers a free tool that improves their experience, and you gather valuable information in return.

As a direct result you can improve your bottom line and build loyalty, retaining those customers that could have gone elsewhere.

If you want to find out more about how simple and inexpensive setting up Social Media Wi-Fi can be, please give us a call or drop us an email. We’re happy to share our Knowledge About Telecoms.


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