Free Guest Wifi: Consumer Convenience or Valuable Marketing Tool?

Tim Seaton knows how to leverage free wifi for marketing

Offering Free Guest Wifi has been a staple in the restaurant business for sometime. The thought is the more comfortable the consumer is, the longer they will stay increasing the opportunity for additional sales.

In reality, turning the table would most likely provide a higher revenue than an additional coffee or desert. What about the consumers that linger and don’t buy anything?

Free Wifi is not without its challenges. If you are simply offering it as a Customer Convenience, incremental sales is the only upside for your business.

Consumers are now used to logging into things using their Facebook, Google or email credentials. If you were to ask them for these credentials when they log onto your Free Wifi, would they provide them?


Why give it away when you can have them give you something in return?

Now that you have their information. So what?

There is a war being waged for consumers online, on their computers and on their cellular phones. Are you familiar with the term First Person Data? If you are not, you will be hearing a lot more about it in the years to come.

SPOILER ALERT: it also makes social media and google campaigns more effective.

When a consumer shops online, the ecommerce business collects, the consumers:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Credit Card #
  • Email 

When a consumer executes a transaction at your store, what do you collect?

Ecommerce businesses DON’T:

  • Smile and offer helpful service and advice
  • Develop a relationship with their consumers
  • Know their best customers by name
  • Help customers with recommendations
  • Give their children snacks and toys so the consumer can relax for a few minutes

What do Ecommerce businesses do then?

  • They collect consumer data
  • They market directly to these consumers
  • They offer meaningful promotions, sales, loyalty programs
  • Their ads show up everywhere the consumer goes online

Why are Ecommerce businesses so successful when every consumer knows how important it is to support their local neighbour?

Consumers want to engage with their favourite brands.

Consumers want to hear from these brands with meaningful offers.

Consumers want to engage with MEANINGFUL loyalty programs

Can a local brick and mortar store do this?


Not using Guest Wifi as a marketing tool is an opportunity lost. Guest Wifi is one piece of a complex puzzle. This puzzle does not have to be expensive. But it does need to be a complete puzzle. Missing pieces in your Marketing Puzzle allow those sophisticated MegaMartAzon’s to steal the attention and consumer spend of your local consumer.

Have you heard that Google and Apple are reducing the use of cookies and pixels? They claim that it is to protect consumers’ privacy. As we switch to mobile phones for everything, there are a lot of Digital ID’s built into a cellular phone. This is how Google and Facebook know who to send ads to.

Consumer privacy is one thing but having more control over advertising revenues is another. Google and Facebook and Apple want to make money. To do that, they have compiled a lot of data on each user. Since they are restricting cookies and pixels, they have restricted your ability to advertise directly to your customers.

This means they will have more of a monopoly on your advertising budget. If you think Google Ad Words and Facebook Ads are expensive now,….just wait!!

The way around this is for each business to collect First Person Data. Opted-in First Person Data is your only way around it. Instead of renting Googles list when you place an advertisement, you know will own your own list. 

First Person Data will make your advertising more efficient, more effective and definitely cost less.

How do I create a database of First Person Data?

Free Guess Wifi is one of the best ways to build this database. Instead of having them sign in with Facebook credentials, have your Guest Wifi attached to a shopping app. For instance the Yokalize App that is integrated with your Guest Wifi system.

Now you will collect your own customer data, and own it forever!

A consumer grabbed a slice at a great pizza place. While he was enjoying a bite, he jumped onto his phone. He noticed the pizza place a Free Wifi and jumped on. It was not just Free Wifi, it was also an app with coupons and offer for other local businesses. He signed on to the app, enjoyed his slice and then was off down the street shopping. He was looking for a new shirt, he had a big date coming up and wanted to look special. He wandered into this nice mens wear shop and found some great options. While he was there, he wanted to check some options online. This store had the same Free Wifi system as the pizza place. With the click of a button, he logged on, found what he was looking for and noticed a coupon for $5 off Socks. Not only did he get an amazing shirt but now has some funky socks that match! Next, he was off to the barber to get a trim. As he was waiting there for his turn, he was pleasantly surprised to see that his favourate barber was on the same wifi system. With the click of a button he logged on and noticed a coupon for $5 off a shave. He decided to get a trim and a shave!

 The next day, he got an email from the clothing store he bought his shirt and socks from. It thanked him for visiting and asked for an online review. He had a great date the night before and left a Raving Review for the store! 5 Stars!!

Marketing has changed over the years. A radio ad and newspaper ad just do not move the needle anymore. There is still a role for these but not in the same way. You cannot JUST do a radio ad or JUST a newspaper ad. If you have in the last few years, you have been disappointed by the results I bet.

What is required now includes:

  • Getting your business listed on as many sites as possible
  • A strong Google My Business strategy
  • A Fully optimized website
  • Consistent and strategic blog articles and case studies on your web site
  • Strong and effective SEO
  • Online ordering and appointment or reservation setting
  • Easy to find coupons, offers and promotions
  • A Loyalty platform that your customers care about
  • Comprehensive CRM of your customers and prospects
  • Behavioral insights on your customers and prospects
  • Consistent social media campaigns
  • And so on….

There is a lot.

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be expensive which means even a small business with limited means can execute a strong marketing strategy.

The bad news is, the MegaMartAzon’s have big budgets, dedicated marketing staff and a head start.

Free Guest Wifi can be an important piece in your overall marketing strategy.

Among other things, it can:

  • Gather personal details on your customers and prospects
  • Measure their frequency and duration of each visit
  • Directly offer promotions and information about your business to your consumers
  • Build your CRM database
  • Allow you to market directly to them on social media and google
  • Build profiles of your ideal clients
  • Allows Google and Facebook to find more of your ideal clients more effectively

A strong strategy can be more effective and cost you less. That is the case with Guest Wifi. By marketing to consumers while on your wifi you:

  • Provide them free ads
  • They pay you with their contact information
  • Make your other marketing efforts more focused, more effective for a lower budget
  • Predict if you will lose that consumer or if you have already lost them

There is a war on the consumers cellular phones. Yokalize have built many tools designed for small and medium sized businesses. The sole purpose of these tools is to help you fight this battle and win this war. You might be surprised at how little you need to spend to execute a strong and successful marketing strategy.

If you are not building your CRM and using for marketing, you need to. Rest assured, your most sophisticated competitors are more than happy to steal your customers if you don’t take care of them.

For more information on how to social media marketing, check out these posts: Positioning in Marketing: Get Your Brand in the Brain and How Your Marketing Team Can Measure Social Media ROI

And be sure to stop by to learn more about our small business revolution.

Tim Seaton

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Tim Seaton