It all started in 2013 with an idea to help golf courses market to players in the Kelowna area. A simple WordPress website was launched along with a text message platform that pinged local golfers with special offers and notifications of available tee times.
GetintheLoop was in business.
Matt Crowell, founder and CEO of GetintheLoop, realized early on that he had something with potential far beyond the golf courses of Kelowna. He had developed a technology solution that could help other small businesses connect with local consumers. His mission crystalized; establish a business model that was different from the daily deal sites we’d become accustomed to in the early 2010’s by building an engaging platform for local consumers and keeping things simple and sustainable for small business owners.
“In those early days we learned that small business owners really needed a lot of support with digital and mobile marketing solutions to reach local consumers,” recalls Crowell. “We designed the GetintheLoop platform to be an easy to use multi-channel marketing engine to help drive foot traffic through the door and deliver results.”
Crowell’s drive stems from his passion for the shop local movement and believing that local businesses form the foundation of a vibrant community. If you read his Love The Grind blog or catch one of his inspiring videos on YouTube, you quickly realize that this is more than just a business venture for Crowell, it’s a way of life.
Before starting GetintheLoop, Crowell spent two seasons playing professional hockey in Europe for HYC in Herentals, Belgium. While winning two Belgium Hockey League championships and leading his team in scoring, he was also honing his business skills off the ice. He graduated from the Antwerp Management School with a Masters in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He then spent some time working for BDC helping small businesses and entrepreneurs grow their businesses before turning his attention to his own entrepreneurial efforts.
The GetintheLoop mobile app works across iOS and Android devices, as well as over the web. Small businesses pay a low monthly fee, and gain access to community members looking for places to eat, shop and visit locally. Unlike other platforms that disrupt consumers by offering intrusive ads, GetintheLoop connects consumers with nearby businesses by providing them access to rewards, offers and events in their community.
While GetintheLoop started during the early days of mobile technology, today, location-based mobile marketing has become an essential part of the marketing mix for small businesses. “We’ve made digital and mobile marketing simple and effective for local businesses so that those people can focus serving their customers and operating their businesses,” explains Crowell. “We’ve created a robust mobile marketing tool for SMBs, fully supported by our local owners – a boots-on-the-ground network of entrepreneurs.”
GetintheLoop’s ‘secret sauce’ is their network of 180 franchise owners across the country who work alongside retail business owners to help them craft effective offers while providing hands-on mobile and digital marketing expertise. The franchisees purchase a community or territory to manage and act as local champions for the shop local movement.
“We’ve grown GetintheLoop neighbourhood by neighbourhood across the country with a local franchise owner in every community that we serve. For a business owner, this is very different than working with Facebook or other international platforms,” says Crowell. “Our franchisees know their local markets intimately, and are truly invested in the success of their retail partners.”
With GetintheLoop, small business owners have access to a real-time dashboard to help measure and manage their ongoing campaigns. Depending on each businesses’ objectives, they’re able to see how many local consumers they’ve reached, how many interacted with the offer, and how many took an action by either redeeming in store, clicking through to web or placing a call.
With the global pandemic shifting more and more consumers to online shopping, a platform like GetintheLoop helps local retailers stay top of mind. For a low fixed monthly fee, small business owners get to tap in to someone right in their community who is there to provide support, marketing insights, and strategic guidance during these difficult times.
“The biggest threat to small businesses right now is the proliferation of online shopping which has only been accelerated by COVID-19,” says Crowell. “We’ve created a way for small businesses to put their offers right in front of local consumers on their mobile device. We help businesses market new services like take-out, delivery or curb-side pick-up options, special promotions and we even help drive loyalty with our new digital punch card feature.”
Despite the challenging times, Crowell believes there is tremendous opportunity on the horizon for his business. His team has ambitious plans to continue expanding GetintheLoop to new communities across Canada, while continuously adding new features and solutions to the platform.
Recently, the company opened its API to allow integrations as a way for other websites and apps to support the shop local movement and help extend its reach to more people. There are currently over 75 integrations across the country and early returns indicate a ‘win-win’ for the integration platforms, retailer partners and the GetintheLoop community.
The pandemic has also steered many Canadians to think differently about their future and look for new ways to take control of their own careers. Since the start of the pandemic, GetintheLoop has added an average of five new local franchise owners per month, and with new markets recently opening in Quebec and Atlantic Canada, GetintheLoop is now in every province from coast-to-coast.
“I’m really proud of our entire team and the way we’ve grown our business, especially during this very challenging year. With over 5,000 businesses on the platform now reaching more than 600,000 people, we’re well-positioned for future growth and able to continue driving the shop local movement.”