Melbourne-based startup PoweredLocal has provided a viable solution for small business owners who struggle with marketing their businesses. The solution lies in providing free WiFi to their customers.

PoweredLocal has created a system that lets customers wanting to hook onto a café’s WiFi to check into its Facebook page before they are granted access— the ideas being that the user’s Facebook friends will notice the check in and at a sub-conscious level register this check-in…a word-of-mouth strategy in the digital age.

Co-founders Michael Jankie and Gary Tramer came to the idea after years running SEO business search words, working with a similar client base. Eventually, the pair realized that they believed that actively working on SEO is all that important.

Taking it one step further, Perth-based startup Smartbeat, co-founded by Todd Sainsbury and Paul Trappitt, which has created a WiFi device and connected a marketing platform that will enable business owners to capture data about their visitors and then, conduct targeted marketing to entice them to come back and spread the word about their business.

The idea for Smartbeat came from a WiFi business the co-founders were running a few years ago. Seeing that business owners were struggling with all the moving parts involved with trying to install various pieces of technology, Sainsbury and Trappitt would sort them out with WiFi through a standalone plug and play hotspot, with some advertising and social integration built in.  Trappitt explained,

While we were getting a bit of traction with that, we kept bumping into other opportunities around different spaces and different ways of using WiFi. We got involved with a couple of co-working spaces who were wanting us to put the WiFi in but what they really wanted more was more than just a landing page. We realized from there that WiFi is not really the thing, the technology isn’t really the thing, and it’s more around WiFi and presence analytics and the community that develops.

At the core of the Smartbeat service is the idea of identifying your most loyal customers and essentially making them your brand ambassadors, in a sense, and turning your occasional visitors into regulars and then into your ‘raving fans’. Sainsbury explained,

It’s about helping businesses understand that instead of having to go outside to look for new customers, they’ve actually got all these customers that are already around them.

From there Trappitt and Sainsbury began developing Smartbeat – originally Engagement Coach – with the idea of helping small businesses develop a community and get to know them better.

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