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Marketing & Promotion
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January 19, 2011

Written by: Barry Chandler

Joe Sorge, the driving force behind AJ Bombers Restaurant & Bar in Milwaukee has had amazing success with Foursquare, the location based app for smart phones, that allows users to “check-in” to a physical location and notify their friends. So much success that the business (a little over a year old) has just had it’s 8000th check-in, rewarding the lucky customer with 8000 minutes of free food in the process!

Foursquare works best for businesses like bars and restaurants where those checking in can be rewarded for sharing their location or by becoming the mayor (the customer with the most check-ins). The gaming element whereby customers earn rewards or virtual badges for their check-ins has helped accelerate the growth of this Social App.

Joe Sorge however, has taken use of the application to a whole new level. Recognizing the potential of the system early on, he started to develop promotions around Foursquare, actively seek out opportunities where he could leverage it’s use and it’s viral marketing reach.

He hasn’t just stuck to the standard rewards for check-ins either. In September 2010, AJ Bombers created a special menu that only the Mayor off the venue could order from! Clearly, all of this creative marketing has worked. Since Joe opened the restaurant, he hasn’t spent a single cent on traditional advertising! What would it mean to your business not to incur those marketing costs every week and month?

If you haven’t yet explored the potential of Foursquare or if you haven’t yet claimed your own venue (it’s already listed on Foursquare with people checking in whether you know it or not!), then now is the time to do it. Once claimed, you can create specials, edit your location, correct any listing errors and get access to lots of rich data about who checked in and when.

In April 2010 more than 231 people checked-in to AJ Bombers’ “I’m On A Boat!” Badge party. The event resulted in the single best day of sales ever for the restaurant with Joe having to turn away customers because he didn’t have the room to accommodate everyone. You’ll see what we mean in the video below:



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