September 2017 -

Monthly Archives: September 2017

Proximity Marketing for the Tourism Industry

Posted on September 26, 2017 by

On average, we check our phones a whopping 150 times a day. This offers a huge number of opportunities for savvy marketers to target us with products.

Marketers know that providing personalised content to end users is critical to increase engagement. We are constantly bombarded with information, which makes filtering what’s important or relevant to us hard. One thing’s for certain – users will engage with content much better when this is done for them.

This concept isn’t new and is used increasingly in end user communications. However, what’s been missing in the past is the physical or location based element to this puzzle. Many websites contain lots of useful information but filtering through this to get to the information you need – especially on a mobile device – is often cumbersome and frustrating.

Bluetooth beacons solve this problem.

Beacons broadcast content that is specific to a physical location. This means that end users get access to what’s relevant and useful to them specific to wherever they may be – whether they’re at an airport, in a hotel, at a tourist location or a shop. Considering ‘near-me’ searches have doubled in the last year, the location specific content has become more important now than ever. It’s expected that 70% of retail companies will use beacons over the next 5 years.

Take a minute to think about the possibilities that beacons offer and you’ll realise powerful this concept is – to be notified of location specific content. Imagine standing outside a famous landmark and receiving a notification on your smartphone, alerting you to a nearby cafe along with a 25% discount – you’d probably swing by and purchase something, wouldn’t you? Offers, maps, and other important information can be all broadcasted via Bluetooth beacons, making the possibilities endless.bluetooth beacons

These beacons enable you to create micro-moments with your customers: these are critical touch points within the consumer journey which, when added together ultimately determine how that journey ends. Micro-moments are all about anticipating your customers needs in a specific physical location, and taking action to provide them with the information they need. Do they need directions? Tourist information?

All the technology exists today to make these location specific micro-moments possible, but it can be hard to know where to start.

This is where Coaster CMS comes in.

Coaster CMS is a next generation, beacon enabled Content Management System. It has been built from the ground up to make the management of content easy for the website owner. It’s beacon enabled with support for both Kontakt and Estimote beacons, and has innovative features that make it the perfect platform to build both static and location based content.

As Coaster CMS was built from the ground up to make use of beacons, it allows different content to be displayed at different times of day. Imagine being able to not only build amazing static and location based content, but also choose the times of day, day of week, or even hour of the day, that different content is displayed – pretty handy, right?

Even if you aren’t ready to move directly into location enabled content, Coaster is an extremely capable CMS in its own right. As such it future proofs your content and serves as a platform to build location based and time specific content as and when you are ready to deploy beacons.

Bluetooth proximity beacons are a technology that will revolutionise our use of the internet, so contact us today to find out how you can make use of this technology now and get yourself ready for the Physical Web.

Coaster CMS is a next generation CMS built from the ground up by Web-Feet, an innovative digital agency based near Southampton in Hampshire. Being an agency we serve the needs of our clients and Coaster reflects this by combining the latest technology but with a focus on usability.

To read a bit more about Beacons in tourism;

http://www.ibeacontrends.com/ibeacons-event-industry/

http://www.ibeacontrends.com/yorkshire-wildlife-park-ibeacons/

http://www.ibeacontrends.com/beacon-installation-gatwick-airport/

http://www.ibeacontrends.com/ljmu-beacons-use/

http://www.ibeacontrends.com/lighthouse-city-guide/

http://www.ibeacontrends.com/beacons-levis-stadium/


Setting up the Kontakt Gateway + Location Engine with Proximity Beacons

Posted on September 26, 2017 by

Promotional graphic of Kontakt Location Engine

Introduction

This article will detail how we set up and used Kontakt’s Gateway + Location engine with Bluetooth Proximity Beacons – We’ve worked with Kontakt’s range of Bluetooth Proximity beacons for a while now but it was some time ago that we received our Gateways but never got around to setting them up, until now! Part of the reason for this has been that we’ve been really busy on customer projects and the other is because we thought it might take a while, this couldn’t have been further from the truth as it turns out.

So, we’ve set two Gateways up at our offices in Southampton in the UK and these are both subscribed to Kontakt’s Location Engine. Here’s a summary of how to set them up and what you can do with them. But first…

What is a Kontakt Gateway?

It’s a small USB powered BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) + WiFi device that allows you to track and monitor BLE devices via a cloud interface or API (Application Programming Interface). Effectively real-time Bluetooth scanning that allows you to also connect your BLE beacons to the cloud. The Gateway works directly with the Kontakt Location Engine via a monthly per unit subscription.

What is the Kontakt Location Engine?

The Kontakt website says that ‘the Location Engine is an API that empowers you to build BLE based asset tracking solutions cheaper and faster’. In my view, it’s actually more than this because it doesn’t just allow you to track assets unless you consider people assets – which in many cases they are but I’d prefer to call them people.

It’s also more than an API because it’s actually a very nicely thought and well-presented web interface that gives you access to a broad range of live and historical data based on the movement of BLE enabled devices. Furthermore and perhaps most importantly, it also allows you to set triggers and then actions based on how BLE enabled devices move, say into or out of range of a Gateway. These triggers and actions can be linked to IFTTT  which makes it a really powerful tool.

What does a Kontakt Gateway + Location Engine do?

In practical terms the device allows you to track, monitor and collect data on assets and people via BLE devices. The Location Engine adds the ability to perform real-time actions based on this data.

Setting them up

So each Gateway has a micro USB port for power, one is provided with the unit, but be warned, it’s pretty short (30cm). Don’t worry however as any micro USB cable will do. At this point, you have 2 options for connecting the Gateway to your local wifi network. The first is via the Kontakt app (you will need to be the owner of the device in the Kontakt panel), the other is to connect the device, via USB, to a PC. Both are pretty straightforward – you basically just need your network SSID and password details. Once the Gateways have been updated with your wifi details the LED on the top of the device will show green once it’s been through its startup cycle.

Don’t forget that the gateways each need a subscription to the Location Engine, you have a couple of options here, quarterly or yearly, the latter attracting a discount.

Creating a venue

In order to make use of your Gateway, you need to create a venue. In my case, I set one up called ‘Web-Feet Office’. You then have the option of uploading a floor plan. A good place to create a nice looking floorplan is Roomsketcher. Once you’ve done that, you apply some dimensions in the Kontakt panel for scaling purposes (each Gateway has a range of about 50m) so that the location engine software can apply the appropriate scale radius zones for the Immediate, Near and Far ranges of the beacons. This is so that you have an accurate depiction of the associated ranges of each beacon and nearby devices.

Adding the Gateways to your venue

Now you’ve uploaded the floorplan you can place your beacons, virtually on the plan to reflect where you have placed them physically within the room. It’s really easy to move them around within the panel, just drag and drop. Nice!

Live Streaming data

So you have your Gateways powered up, connected to your wifi network, your floorplan uploaded and your Gateways virtually postioned on the plan. Now you can start streaming live location data. Click on the big green button to start live streaming data to the screen (it will be paused by default). Please note however that the data is still being collected in the cloud, it’s only the streaming of live data to your screen that is paused.

Screenshot of live streaming data in the Location Engine
Live streaming on the Location Engine. The number of devices for each proximity range is displayed in each zone.

Once you’ve started live streaming data you will see how many devices (I’ll explain why I say devices and not beacons shortly) are within range of the Gateways, split into 3 concentric circles to signify the Immediate, Near and Far perimeters. This is standard beacon terminology by the way. You have full control over switching each zone on/off on screen depending on what you want to see. If you click on any of the proximity rings, you will see on the right of the dashboard panel a list of the devices that the Gateway can see in real time. This will be either the 4 character identifier for Kontakt beacons or a MAC address if it’s another Bluetooth device, such as a mobile phone or another non-Kontakt beacon.

You can give the devices an alias if you want to make it easier to identify them in the panel. To do this you can just click on the link next to the device and add the alias. This is something I would recommend doing at the outset as much as possible as it makes the data more valuable that way – especially when assigning triggers and actions, more on this later.

Right now your Gateways are set up and busy collecting data which is being stored on the Kontakt cloud.

Analytics

There are quite a few options within the panel to analyse the data being collected by the Gateways. Here’s the data you can report on.

History

This allows you to select a timeframe and then see which BLE devices were within range of a Gateway during that period. You can see by Immediate, Near and Far for each Gateway and filter accordingly.

Dwell Time

This doesn’t strictly show the dwell time for an individual beacon but actually shows you the cumulative total of BLE devices within the specified time period for a Gateway in each of the 3 proximity ranges, Immediate, Near and Far. This allows you to see, up to a minute by minute timeframe how many BLE devices were in the range of a Gateway and how that changes over your selected timeframe. It should be noted that the actual specific dwell time on a BLE device by device basis is available via the API.

Screenshot of device dwell time by gateway
Dwell time for one gateway, hour by hour for a 24 hour period – shows total number of devices stacked by Far, Near and Immediate proximity

Heatmap

This data is actually very similar to the data presented as Dwell time but isn’t broken down by Immediate, Near and Far – just the total number of BLE devices within range of each Gateway during the specified timeframe.

Screenshot of total BLE devices per gateway over 4 x 15 minute period
Shows 2 x gateways on the horizontal axis and then 4 x 15 min periods with total BLE devices in range during that time as a ‘heatmap’

Connections

Connections provides you with a complete list of other BLE devices that were near one Gateway but in the perspective of another BLE device. For example: Let’s say that there is a Gateway in a meeting room and there was a meeting scheduled by me at 10:00 am for everyone who would like to join. If say a manager would like to know who attended my meeting, by going to connections, they can search for me (my beacon) and see what other devices were reported by the Gateway at 10:00 am.

Timeline

Timeline shows which devices were in range – Near, Immediate or Far – of any Gateway

This is the most detailed view available in the Analytics suite and lists each individual device that is in range of any Gateway for the specified time period, broken down by Gateway. This is a good example also of how an alias is really useful for a Kontakt beacon – see top to entries whereby both my beacon and Taylor’s beacon are in range of both Gateways for the entire period being displayed. Beacon NyTM however was in range of Gateway S14li for the entire period but only in range of Gateway MMaoZ during the period 11:45 – 12:00 and 12:15 – 12:30

Screenshot of the Timeline output in the analytics panel
Timeline shows each device on the horizontal axis and how it was detected by our two Gateways during the selected period.

Triggers and Actions

Triggers are a really powerful feature of the Gateway + Location Engine. They are also incredibly easy to set up. First of all, you name your action – in this example, I’ve set up a trigger called ‘Beacon detected’. You then choose the type of trigger – this can be ‘Beacon detected’ or ‘Beacon lost’. In this exampl, I have used ‘Beacon detected’. Executor can be Cloud, Gateway or Proximity SDK. This allows you to define what part of the solution triggers the action and for this example, as I’m using the Cloud based features, it will be the Cloud. The tracking ID is the ID of the Kontack BLE beacon I want to use to trigger the action. You also configure the proximity range that you want to use for the trigger (this is obscured in the screenshot by the Type drop down). In this case I’ve set this trigger to ‘Near’.  Finally, the source ID is the ID of the Gateway that you want to use to trigger the action. This is all you have to do to set up a trigger.

Screenshot of where you set triggers up in the web panel
This is where you set up your triggers within the Location Engine web panel

Once you’ve set up the trigger, you can click on the tab to assign an action to it. In this instance I’ve created an action called ‘Stewart entered office’. So basically, this is a beacon that’s assigned to me and the trigger is set up so that when I come within ‘Near’ range of the (specified) gateway the action is triggered. The action in this case is to Send HTTP request. The content of the request is to trigger an IFTTT action. Kontakt have a useful guide on their website explaining how this works – you can see it here.

In this case the IFTTT action is to simply send an email when the action is triggered informing the recipient that the action has been triggered (and Stewart has entered the office).

Screenshot of assigning actions to trigger
This is where you set up the actions associated with the triggers you’ve set up in the web panel

The Location Engine API

I want to mention this specifically because the data that is presented with in the Location Engine web panel is only a subset of all the data that is available via Kontakt’s API. The data presented via the web panel is designed to show enough data to provide a really robust, useful and cost effective solution straight out of the box. It’s also pretty easy to set up. This means that there is a whole lot of additional data and analytics that can be accessed using the API. This would require a developer but also offers a whole lot more customisation options. That’s outside the scope of this article however.

Summary

Kontakt has produced a really solid solution with the Gateway + Location Engine. It’s a very powerful solution that’s really easy to set up and make use of straight away. The ability to track assets, set up alerts and trigger actions as well as collect data offers opportunities that would otherwise be very expensive or very difficult to set up. With a huge amount of additional capability available through the API many more complex solutions are possible.


Marketing Planning: Do you know your key dates?

Posted on September 14, 2017 by

A marketing plan is crucial for any business.

If you don’t have a cohesive marketing plan, you’re more likely to slap content together haphazardly.

This approach is risky, and you are unlikely to get the results you want.

A marketing plan will help you to regularly engage your customers with content that’s both relevant and interesting.

When developing a marketing plan, it’s important to keep in mind important dates and events throughout the year. Seasonal planning will guide your marketing themes, which will in turn keeping your content fresh and focused.

Developing a marketing plan also helps to get your team’s mental cogs turning early on, providing inspiration for great content during brainstorming sessions.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a marketing plan yet. In this blog post, we’ll teach you how to effectively plan your marketing strategy by:

  • Mapping out the structure of your marketing calendar
  • Planning your campaigns ahead of time
  • Adapting your marketing strategy to events

Create a marketing calendar?

A great way to start your plan is with a marketing calendar. An up-to-date marketing calendar is a fantastic and widely recommended tool. Not only can these record key dates and events, but can also be used to plan blog posts, email marketing strategies, and social media topics for the year.

Having an easily accessible marketing calendar in the workplace, either physically or online (i.e. Google Drive), also helps to open up channels of communication between members of the marketing team.

The whole point of a marketing calendar is essentially to get organised, save time and reduce stress during busy periods.

If you’re a super busy person then don’t stress – Web-Feet have created a marketing calendar free for you: download here

Choose a platform

Google and Microsoft both have online tools for creating calendars that are integrated with Google Mail. These calendars can be very useful, allowing you to set recurring events and reminders, which can be useful for scheduling newsletters, social and blog posts.

At Web-Feet, we often use spreadsheets which can be shared with our team on Google Drive. Spreadsheets are more flexible and allow you to access lots information at a glance, but you will lose the functionality of the online calendar platform. We recommend choosing the platform that best suits your business needs.

Remember your key dates

The annual events, holidays and celebrations that take place throughout the year present different marketing opportunities for different businesses. For many businesses, these dates often coincide with their most busiest and most critical times of the year.  You’ll be able to create future content and campaigns around these general themes and ideas.

Start by listing events that you know will come up throughout the year. These can include:

  • Holidays and seasonal events. Christmas, August Bank Holiday, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, etc.
  • Seasonal sale events. Black Friday, Boxing Day sales, etc.
  • Charity and National Awareness events. Movember, Bike Week, Mental Health Awareness Week, etc.
  • Sports, arts and cultural events. Wimbledon, Glastonbury Festival, Royal Ascot, etc.

All of these dates can offer unique opportunities for a variety of business sectors. However, not all events are suitable marketing opportunities for all businesses.

The key thing here is to keep it relevant – if you’re a tea company or a cafe which serves afternoon tea, then National Tea Day on 21st April would be a perfect opportunity to market your business. If you sell children’s shoes, then the school holidays will be important dates to include in your marketing plan.

Try not to stick to the obvious dates – local events, celebrity birthdays and popular TV shows may provide unique marketing opportunities and generate interest in your products and services!

Remember: To protect official sponsors, some events (particularly sporting events, such as the Olympics) have strict rules regarding the commercial use of the official name and logo.

This doesn’t mean you should avoid running a marketing campaign around that particular event – you just need to be careful. The best way to get around this is through adopting a creative approach – you could use relevant, witty hashtags and emojis to allude to a particular event (we have some great examples in our ‘Key Dates 2017’ below!)

I’ve got my marketing calendar sorted – now what?

Once you’ve got an idea of the key dates and events your business is keen to target, it’s time to think about the types of campaigns you can run around the particular theme. Try and plan this in advance, so if necessary you can run your campaign during the build up to the particular event.

The type of campaign you choose will depend on the event chosen, your business and what resources you have.

We’ve listed some marketing strategies below, with some examples of how these strategies can be put into practice.

Social Media 

Social media is a great way to engage with your customers. Integrating social into your marketing calendar can be as simple as joining in the national discussion with witty captions, hashtags, emojis or running a competition on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Social media is also great for giving customers a sneak peak into all the ‘behind the scenes’ stuff that goes on in your business. Not only are these strategies good fun, but this also helps to increase engagement and brand awareness. Instagram is a great platform for giving customers an insight into what goes on internally – feel free to follow our own Instagram account @webfeetagency!

Idea ? If you run a gift shop, spa, florist or beauty brand during Mother’s Day, you could hold a photo competition, where followers were asked to share their a picture of their entry, tagging your brand and using the relevant hashtag. The best photo winning a prize (that would work as a suitable Mother’s Day gift).

Paid Advertising

It’s a given that some products will sell better at certain times of the year. Therefore, it’s important to consider which events may trigger an increase in sales, and to create a marketing campaign around that event. If customers are likely to have a heightened interest in a particular product, you want to stick it in front of them as best you can.

Idea ? Imagine you’re a kitchen equipment shop during The Great British Bake Off – consider running a PPC campaign around KitchenAids during this period of time. This could also work for baking equipment, novelty aprons, etc.


Email Marketing

An email marketing campaign is a great way to target customers directly. You could send out E-shots via a CRM system such as Hatchbuck with themed templates, links to blog posts and themed discount codes for products.

Idea ? Le Tour de France is on and you sell bikes – advertise your products through an E-shot (perhaps a yellow or Alpine inspired template?), offering a discount at the checkout with the code ‘letour2017’.

Blogging

Blogs are a fantastic way to increase traffic to your site and generate interest in your brand, and can be easily integrated into your marketing strategy. At Web-Feet, we strongly recommend that all websites have a blog and post content regularly.

Blogs can be easily shared by your followers, fuelling discussion on your social media pages which can attract new customers. Consider posting a collection of themed blog posts about a current event that’s relevant to your business.

If you already have a successful blog on your own website, consider guest blogging for an online publication in an area that is related to your business. As well as increasing brand awareness, they may provide a link through to your website, which can increase your referral traffic and position in the Google search rankings.

Idea ? You sell outdoors clothing and camping gear and it’s festival season – ‘5 Things Everyone Should Take to Glastonbury’ and ‘The Ultimate Guide to Glastonbury 2017’ might be good ideas for blog posts.

Whilst this list is by no means exhaustive, we hope it can give you a few ideas to adapt to your business

Key Dates for September – December 2017

To help you get started with your marketing calendar, we’ve put together some of the key dates in the UK for the remainder of 2017.

September
6th – Back to School?
15th – London Fashion Week?
15th – 24th – Southampton Boat Show⛵

October
16th – October Half Term?
29th – Daylight Saving Time ends, clocks go back⏰
31st – Halloween?

November
1st – Start of Movember?
5th – Bonfire Night?

December
25th – Christmas Day?
26th – Boxing Day?
31st – New Years Eve?

This list is by no means exhaustive, but provides a good starting point for a marketing plan.

If you’d like to have a chat about our services with one of our Web-Feet marketing experts, then please Contact Us today.


Some of our happy customers