Small Businesses see the Power of Specials Nearby on Foursquare

This past weekend, we were out with friends for dinner and drinks. We were finishing up dinner and looking for a place to grab some drinks. A few friends made a recommendation on where we should go. The consensus was pretty much set when I pulled out my phone, and brought up the foursquare application. I simply wanted to check out what other bars were nearby. It was then that I saw foursquare was showing that there was a Special Nearby. By clicking the Special Nearby button, I then found that it was actually a bar offering patrons one free drink when they stop in at the bar and check-in on foursquare. With six of us looking for a place to go, that’s 6 free drinks if we all check-in. 6 free drinks at a bar in the city is getting close to $50 without including tip. In any event, we decided to spend the rest of our night at the bar that was offering the foursquare special.

Foursquare Specials NearbyHave you claimed your venue on foursquare? If so, have you started running a foursquare special? You know that there are no fees associated with running a foursquare special, correct? If not, now you know! :) As you can see from the example above, running a foursquare special for your small business can drive sales! It’s our opinion that the biggest reason for foursquare specials being so successful is the Specials Nearby alert that foursquare has built into the application. That’s how foursquare informs users, based on their location, what venues are offering specials nearby.

Think about the example above…and no, it doesn’t only apply to bars, which we’ll get into a little later in the post. Consumers were out in the city looking for a place to go. Instead of going to the first place we saw, we whipped out our smart phones, checked foursquare, and saw that their was a venue running a special nearby. Instead of going to the bar around the corner from where we ate dinner, we walked a block or two and spent the rest of the evening spending our hard earned dollars at the bar that was running the foursquare special. Without running that special on foursquare, we would have never known the bar was so close, and we definitely would not have stopped in to buy drinks. Basically, by being on foursquare, and actively managing their venue by running a foursquare special, the owner of that bar drove new sales. That’s pretty powerful!

So, what if you don’t own a bar? What if you own a farmers market, a retail clothing store, or even a small stationary supply store? You can still take advantage of foursquare specials for your small business! If you own a farmers market, and you run a foursquare special, say, one free piece of fruit for checking-in at our venue, then when folks are out in town and they check-in on foursquare, they’ll see a special nearby. When consumers look into the special, they’ll see your offer and the next time they go grocery shopping, they may very well come to your farmers market for their fruits & veggies. The same logic applies to your small retail shop and stationary store.

The first key is being on foursquare, the next is coming up with a motivating offer that provides value to consumers, and the last part is officially creating your foursquare special, and then promoting it through foursquare & other online tools like your blog & social networks.

Let us know if you need any help managing foursquare for your business, or creating a foursquare special.

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  1. Foursquare is very intriguing. It took me some time to claim my venues as I was ignored by FourSquare for several weeks. At the suggestion of one of my customers I emailed them at and They were very helpful and have since been able to claim 3 of my venues and am working on the other 2.

    I have one question for you. How can I make sure that someone who checks-in actually consumes at my business and doesn’t unlock a badge simply by walking by?

    Te ebook is excellent, by the way!

  2. Luis – Thank you so much for taking time to read the post, leave a comment, AND for the eBook love! I’m really happy to hear that you liked it! Regarding your question, and it’s a good, I’m not really sure that there is anyway to do that. There are always going to be fringe members who simply want to cheat the system. One thing that I’d suggest is to make your foursquare special something of high value. Tie it to a purchase. Again, you’ll still have those folks who want to cheat the system, but your goal should be to focus on the quality foursquare users, and convert them into customers, and then into advocates. Does that make sense?



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