Reach Thousands Just by Showing Up

March 21, 2019 | Matt Stelzman

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By Matt Stelzman, CVA, MAFF, ASA

Imagine for a second that you are on a business trip and instead of hanging out in your hotel room to tie up loose ends on work that you need to complete, you decide you would much rather spend a couple hours working at the local coffee shop. You find a table in the back corner, set up your laptop, search for the local Wi-Fi connection and get to work. Would you believe me if I told you that within those two sentences that you just read, you missed a major marketing opportunity that took little to no effort at all?

It’s no secret that we are living in a time where, as a society, we are more connected than ever before. In an age where business is done from half way around the world with the click of a mouse button, we should always be striving to make our presence known everywhere we go. One way to do this is through the Wi-Fi function on your phone. When we receive our phones from the manufacturer, the phones are either preprogramed to reflect the owner’s name in some form or another or the owner sets the phone’s name upon receipt. As owners, we usually give no thought to our phone’s name or how it can be leveraged to help promote our personal brand.

Studies have shown that the average hotspot on a cell phone has a range of 66 feet indoors and an even greater range outdoors. So, let’s consider for a second, not only how many people you come into direct contact with daily, but also how many people you pass within 66 feet of during every second of your day. You are probably thinking hundreds if not thousands, and I would argue that you are probably underestimating.

One of the most effective forms of advertising is by reaching people in a way that they didn’t expect. This invokes curiosity as well as leaves a lasting impression on those you are marketing to. At this point you are probably asking how all these items tie together, so let me explain.

Most phones these days offer the option of serving as a mobile hotspot for other devices. This way, if there is no WI-FI connection available, your own phone’s cellular service acts as a WI-FI connection. Though it shows up as an available connection to everyone within its broadcast radius, an access password is still required to utilize it. What many people don’t know is that the name of this Wi-Fi connection can be manipulated to broadcast any message you desire to send. In other words, you can always push your marketing message to everyone within a 66-foot radius of you. So how do you utilize this to get your message across?

The first step is to identify the message you want to send. Typically, the objective is to drive the receiver of the message to a platform that can tell more about who you are and what you offer. For business owners, this might be as simple as a website or a business name. For professionals whose brand resides in their own personal goodwill, you might want to focus on yourself individually by using your name and the service you provide. This works especially well if you have a unique name that gives you exclusivity when someone searches you on the internet, which is one of the luxuries I enjoy. The message you send is unique to you, but the process is not.

On the iPhone, simply go into Settings, click General, click About, and then click the Name option. Once inside the Name option, choose the message you want to broadcast as your personal hotspot. Make this as general or as personal as you like, always with the mindset that you are providing enough information that the end user can find additional information if they so desire. Once you have decided and entered the new name, go back to your main Settings page, click on Personal Hotspot and toggle on your Personal Hotspot.

Peter Shankman recently published a blog post that reminisced over his success utilizing this simple change. He found that he was able to identify an additional $50,000 in revenue due solely to changing his hotspot description.

So, what have we learned? Marketing opportunities are all around us, you just have to tap into their everchanging methods and continue to strive to reach people in a manner they never expected, leaving a lasting impression on those you impact.