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Well before the end of 2009, it was clear that geolocation would be one of the biggest web trends in 2010. From social services like Foursquare to location-specific trends in Twitter, location is one of the hottest new features for users, businesses and especially advertisers. While we expect the biggest push in geolocation will continue to be its integration with social services, even e-mail marketers like MailChimp are catching the geolocation bug.

Advertising has the most chance of succeeding if it is targeted, not just by demographic and interests, but location. Thanks to GPS, skyrocketing smartphone adoption and more and more geo-aware services, it’s easier than ever to get information about where someone is at any specific moment.

The real-time nature of geolocation is giving advertisers exciting new opportunities — think about the potential of letting nearby users know that you’re having a sale or the ability to offer Facebook fans offers that are specific to their location. Location has interesting potential for other forms of communication as well.

MailChimp’s goal is to let small and large businesses easily send e-mail to customers or potential clients. That’s great because it lets businesses reach lots of people at once when announcing a new product or promotion. Unless you specifically collate the data yourself, that database of e-mail addresses still lacks context.

If you’re a business that has a local location but also ships worldwide, you don’t want to send a campaign about a sale in your brick and mortar store to someone who lives 3000 miles away, but segmenting users by location hasn’t been an easy task unless you ask customers for an address when they sign up for a newsletter.

Now MailChimp is introducing location-based targeting for its users that will determine location based on IP address, negating the need for address or location fields.

How It Works

In MailChimps’s case, it is tracking location based on IP address. When a customer (who has double-opted in to a subscription) clicks on a link in a newsletter sent by MailChimp, MailChimp can grab his IP address and then determine its location. IP addresses aren’t 100% accurate, but they are usually indicative of about 150 miles or so.

MailChimp will keep a database of locations that a customer uses when interacting with your mail and will average that to give you a general location idea.

MailChimp customers can then enter in an address or zip code and compare it against a subscriber list within a radius of 50, 100 or 150 miles. The limitations on specificity are important to note if you are wanting to send a truly localized campaign.

Find out more at Mashable



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