A Brief Guide to Multi-Location Digital Marketing

5 min read

According to Google, 77% of all in-store purchases are influenced by digital marketing.

Given that, it’s not surprising that digital marketing has become absolutely critical for your multi-location business.

Still, this raises an important question, “How to provide local customers with personalized and relevant experiences without compromising your corporate brand’s identity?”

Here are a few tips that will answer this question for you.

Create Indexable Location Pages for Each Branch

Some companies decide to let branch owners build separate websites. Let’s take an example of McDonald’s that has individual sites across different countries (mcdonalds.de, mcdonalds.gr, mcdonalds.com.au, mcdonaldsindia.com, etc.). Even though this tactic can increase website visibility in local SERPs, it may compromise your overall brand perception and consistency.

That is why many multi-location businesses decide to create indexable pages for each of their branches. Each page should include location-specific content, customer reviews and testimonials, photos of your offices and staff, local keywords, the exact NAP (name, address, phone number) for each business location.

Unify Multiple Locations into a Single Brand

Consistency is an integral part of any powerful digital marketing strategy. It gives you the opportunity to create a memorable brand presence and increase user experiences, irrespective of the marketing channel they use.

Still, maintaining brand consistency is not easy for multi-location businesses, especially franchises. Let’s take an example of the best franchises to open, such as fast food chains, hotel brands, or postal services. As an owner of a popular franchise, you will need to manage a plethora of business locations, each with an individual owner.

Your goal is to adapt your brand messaging to local audiences. At the same time, you will need to unify these local tactics into a consistent corporate brand that builds trust with audiences.

You want local consumers to recognize your brand every time they see your brand colors, logo, imagery, or ad. Statistics say that 65% of consumers get frustrated when they’re presented with inconsistent experiences across multiple channels.

Here are a few ways to maintain the consistency of your multi-location brand.

  • Set a consistent brand personality. This is something that starts at a corporate level. Choose the brand tone of voice that resonates well with your audiences and implement it strategically across all online channels you use.
  • Make sure your business’ information like exact address, phone number, maps, and business hours are used consistently online.
  • Create a detailed brand style guide for franchisees that will provide them with directions on branding. It should cover every aspect of your strategy, from the size of brand logo on their website to the implementation of brand messaging on their blogs, social accounts, or email newsletters.
  • Make sure that your promotions, sales, and discounts are provided across all stores.
  • Survey different audience segments to see what they think of your brand image.

Key Aspects of your Digital Marketing Plan

Building a well-designed and cohesive website for your multi-location business is only half the job done. The other half is putting it in front of the right people. There are several key website promotion aspects you should invest in.

Storytelling Makes You Trusted and Authoritative

When crafting your content marketing strategy, map out your customers’ journeys and tailor your tactics to them. For example, infographics and articles are great for visitors that are just getting to know you, while explainer videos and how-to guides could be valuable to your existing customers. To increase blogging and publishing consistency, consider hiring an agency that will handle your content marketing strategy across all business branches.

You shouldn’t forget the role of user-generated content in forming customer perceptions. Encourage user reviews on GMB and social networks and even create dedicated local hashtags for them to use.

Local SEO Helps your Local Pages Appear High in Local Searches

As a franchisor, you need to ensure that each of your business locations appears in front of the right local audience.

For starters, target the right keywords. Here, you don’t need to focus on exact match keywords, as they’ve started losing their relevance over the past few years. Instead, focus on locally-relevant, natural, and long-tail keywords that will meet your consumers’ intent.

With the rise of voice search, customers’ needs have changed. They don’t need to use unnatural phrases like “Nail salons in San Francisco” to find the right information. Mobile searchers want more personalized offers, based on their location. For example, they will look for businesses that are “near them” or that are “open now.” Optimize for such keywords and check whether your address and business hours are accurate.

You need to invest in local off-site SEO, as well. Some of the most powerful practices to implement are:

  • Claim Google My Business listings and create solid Facebook pages. These are the major sources of your website traffic. To optimize them to the max, you will need to provide geographical information for your listings, display user reviews and ratings, add website links and integrations, upload photos of each business location, and use built-in integrations like faster reservations.
  • Don’t underestimate local business directories like Yelp, Yellow Pages, BBB, or Angie’s List.
  • Focus on building authoritative backlinks to your company branches’ pages (or individual websites). Remember, backlinks are a central element of Google’s Local Pack.

Social Media Marketing Fosters Stronger Customer Relationships

Social networks help you humanize your brand and make it more relatable. They give you the opportunity to listen to your local audience, build stronger relationships with them, and foster brand loyalty.

The major problem with multi-location social media marketing is, again, consistency. If you let franchisees build and manage their own pages, then your brand guidelines need to cover each aspect of their social strategy, from rules for communicating with influencers and customers to managing crisis situations.

Paid Search Increases Brand Visibility

SEO is a long-term strategy. As such, it doesn’t deliver immediate results. Therefore, if you want to increase your multi-location business’ visibility faster, PPC is the right addition to your marketing strategy. PPC will not only help you rank at the top of the SERPs, but will also increase brand awareness and boost your conversions.

Still, you shouldn’t create generic ads for each of your business locations. Instead, localize them. Just like with SEO, you should use local keywords to generate qualified leads to your location pages and turn them into qualified leads. You could also pick your negative keywords, based on your local audiences’ behaviors.

Email Marketing Nurtures Leads and Turns them into Paying Customers

As the number of email users is predicted to reach 4.1 billion by 2021, it’s not surprising that email marketing remains the basis of your lead nurturing strategy. Adapt your newsletters to local audiences and, at the same time, keep them on-brand. One of the simplest ways to maintain the consistency of your email newsletters is to create templates for every business’ branch so you can control their use of your brand language and style.

Conclusions

The main idea behind multi-location digital marketing is to provide personalized user experiences across multiple locations without hurting your overall brand presence. Even though these are some fundamental tactics you should apply, you will need to adapt them according to your business’ individual needs. Most importantly, keep testing your locations’ online practices and update them regularly.

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