How Be Great at Local Marketing for Multi-Location Businesses
Local marketing for multi-location businesses is becoming increasingly important.
It used to be that big brands with multiple locations across a region or the country had a leg-up on local, single-location businesses. Multi-locations had more resources and brand recognition that helped them stand out and drive in customers.
But, the digital marketing landscape changed that -- and continues to change.
Through local marketing, single-location businesses have become empowered to compete with big franchises and brands that have a location in the same market. For example, a mom-and-pop pizza shop with one location can be just as likely to show up for a “pizza near me” search as a Dominoes.
This shift is forcing multi-location businesses to rethink multi-location marketing and the way they promote their brand and each of their individual locations. They are being forced to create a local marketing strategy for their multi-location businesses that includes:
- Local SEO
- Local social media marketing
- Google My Business management
- Directory listing and review management
Many multi-location businesses know they need to focus on these things to keep with changing digital landscapes and consumer habits, but they are struggling with the tasks.
Challenges in Local Marketing for Multi-location Businesses
A recent study conducted by Forrester and SOCi asked 154 multi-location marketing leaders about the challenges and opportunities in local marketing.
A majority believe that focusing on local marketing is important and worth investing in. Sixty-one percent (61%) of respondents said that improving marketing effectiveness at the local store level is a high or critical priority over the next six months.
They also expressed that there are barriers holding them back from creating a strong local marketing strategy for their multi-location business.
Seventy-seven percent (77%) said that “executing on a localized marketing strategy across all their locations is a challenging endeavor.” The top challenges for local marketing for multi-location businesses include:
- Corporate marketing lacks the resources to effectively and efficiently manage all sites, posts, and reviews across all locations (36%)
- We have organizational silos (35%)
- Our digital marketing strategy has historically had a national rather than a local focus (31%)
- It is difficult to balance customization at the local level with consistency at the national/overall brand level (31%)
- Corporate marketing lacks location-specific knowledge or data to properly support localized marketing (30%)
- We struggle to oversee the brand's overall localized marketing efforts while providing individual locations with the ability to participate and be engaged where needed (25%)
- We struggle to properly assign local questions, reviews, etc. to appropriate parties within our organization to be resolved (25%)
These are real challenges, but brands can overcome these obstacles in local marketing for multi-location businesses.
How to Start Local Marketing for Multi-Location Businesses
The benefits of local marketing are valuable enough that this marketing approach cannot be ignored. If multi-location brands want to continue to attract and engage new and old customers, they need strategies for reaching local, nearby customers.
So, how can they do it?
#1) Identify all digital properties.
The first step in local marketing for multi-location businesses is identifying all of the digital properties that need to exist for the brand. These properties include the platforms for the brand as a whole as well as platforms for each individual location. In some cases, you will need a profile page for each location.
By outlining all of the website properties and social media profiles you need for your multi-location business, you will get a better picture of the resources needed to manage the brand and individual locations.
The list of digital properties should include:
- Location pages
- Google My Business
- MyArea Network
- Angie’s List
Also, look for any other directories that are specific to your industry and add them to your list.
Related: Your Brand MUST Be on Business Directory Websites -- This Is Why
#2) Create brand guidelines.
A common problem with local marketing for multi-location businesses is maintaining a cohesive brand across a variety of platforms and regions. To resolve this issue, create brand guidelines that help keep every stakeholder on the same page.
Create a central brand guide. Start by creating a central brand guide that outlines guidelines for the brand as a whole. This should include directions for using the logo and tagline. It should define color palettes, fonts, and other graphic directives. Include all details that make sure the brand will look and sound the same even if materials are created by two different parties.
Create regional marketing guidelines. Next, list the different regions where you have locations, and set regional marketing guidelines for those sectors. Locations in the Northeast may have different ways to approach marketing than locations in Southern California. Define the regions and the guidelines for each unique geographic region.
Related: What Should a Brand Guide Include? Use This Plan to Create Your Guidelines
#3) Assign ownership.
Local marketing for multi-location businesses will be a bit easier once you have a list of your digital properties and guidelines for how to manage them. At this point, you can assign ownership of each property to key stakeholders.
Detail who will take ownership of what. Assign high-level brand management to corporate marketing. Empower local franchisees and regional marketing directors to take ownership of more localized marketing tasks. And, determine who will be responsible for maintaining and monitoring the brand marketing as a whole.
#4) Track and tag the right data.
A key to succeeding with local marketing for multi-location businesses is in collecting the right data.
Business data is key to understanding what is working across all of your properties, both in both digital and physical spaces. Plus, it helps you organize your customer segments so you can target customers with relevant local messaging.
As part of your local marketing process, set up systems that track sales and engagement based on location and website properties.
Related: How Multi-Location Restaurants Can Use Data to Increase Revenue & Improve Operations
#5) Review, adjust, and improve.
Data is important because it is what allows you to adjust and improve your location marketing efforts.
Once you set up strong data systems, schedule a time to regularly review the information you collect. Use the stories from the data to decide what you need to adjust to improve. Look for signs that things are working, and identify initiatives with strong returns so you can repeat them.
Related: Need Help Making Sense of Your Business Data and Analytics?
Simplify Multi-location Local Marketing with MySuite
Local marketing for multi-location businesses can’t be ignored. It’s here to stay and likely going to increase in importance over the years to come.
If you need help with implementing these steps, MyArea Network is here to help. Our team knows local marketing and what multi-location brands need to do to attract nearby customers and build a loyal local following.
Whether you need managed services to help you execute on local marketing strategies or you want software solutions to help you manage your local digital properties, we are here to help.
Contact us for a demo of our MySuite, our local marketing software to see how our tools and solutions can help your multi-location business excel at local marketing.