We’re in a special and unique new time where businesses, both old and new, can easily expand their roots anywhere they choose. Adding new business locations in new markets is easier today through shared workspaces and on-the-go local co-ops (think warehouse) communities. And it's all affordable.
Plus today's technology and digital marketing capabilities can spread like wildfire across the land and make your brand easily accessible to a larger audience. But here is where trouble can enter the equation because residents in local City A may not be like residents over in local City M. They need different messages delivered with a different touch. And they may not be the same age either.
**[author sidebar]**Quickly speaking of audience, I hope you have done your research and have latched on to your perfect audience. It's the most important piece of your multiple location growth factors into new local markets. If you have not, take a quick read about perennials here because marketing to traditional "age groups" might not be what you need as you grow into new local markets.
"Businesses today have an advantage unlike any other in history. They have marketing access to any region and location they choose, not just their immediate local area. Every market can be local." - Tiffani Evans, The Idea People
From a web and digital perspective, it’s not about you and your website, it’s really all about your customer and their experience with you. Yes, your brand makes you unique and you need all of the tried and true web tactics, but your customers only want it served to them on their terms. And they want it dished up with a local flare and a local spin. The web is the perfect platform for customers to take your brand for a spin around their block on their own time and schedule.Sales tip: Customers like to make their own decisions in the buying process, so let them.
Imagine one of your prospective customers doing a Google search for widgets in Charlotte, NC. They look at the top two results. Both have multiple locations. The first brand has no local color or personality, whatsoever. The second brand has a Charlotte feel with colors and personality. It has the Queen City crown and our famous skyline image. Which one did your new customer select? Why do you think they selected the second one?
The key to success for multiple business locations is personalization for businesses with multiple locations. You’re going to have to get local, yokel.
Yup, you need to think bigger… well, actually smaller. Clients are more likely to purchase from a local business than a big national brand. And you know why? Because of the local trust factor. And not because Google says so. Because customers are voting with wallets.
So our marketing research and experience has lead us to a very valuable combination of local-specific search engine optimization and user experience optimization from a content perspective. Again, we're going local, yokel. And it’s turning into conversions, which means sales and dollars, yo. So here are some pro tips and practices that we're turning loose on you. Just be careful when you use these.Develop a Local Event Calendar for Each Location
Google absolutely loves local event calendars. We have seen page one, position one Google results for our client local event listings that ranked higher than the actual event page itself! And before you say, “how does this drive my bottom line?” Think of this as a sponsorship without having to pay for it. This is actually better than a sponsorship because you didn’t have to ask or pay people to go to your website. They are already there because you served the event content they were looking for. Once they are on your event calendar, be a genius and serve them some of your brand's wisdom and get them to engage with you.Local Google Map with Directions
Always, always, always include a Google map on your website. Google eats this up with a spoon. And so will your customers. Your Google map will live on one page called "Directions" and also have contact information for the particular local office. Remember you're thinking BIG with a local microsite for every separate location. You're also a marketing genius.Include Local Reviews on Your Website
75% of consumers say they rely heavily on reviews when checking out a local company. Do you find yourself researching different reviews of an item during your buying process? You’re not the only one. Make sure your website reviews are connected to Google. New reviews from each local location is key. Making sure that each location has their own set of local pages and Google reviews.Local Photo Galleries with Alt Tags and Descriptions
Who doesn’t like photos? We noticed that no one raised their hand, including Google. Include photo galleries showcasing your products and properly tag them with alt tags and descriptions and GoogleBot will give you eight thumbs up. It’s eight because they’re spiders.
We included these because they are generally good marketing practices, and, well, we're just good people here.*Submit Articles to Local Publications
Make sure your widgets align with their business model. It’s a win-win because they’ve already done the heavy lifting of finding your target audience for you.*Keep Social Media Accounts at a Local Level
Many national brands develop local social media accounts. It’s a great opportunity to showcase local consumers, employees and events. Be sure to interact with those who comment and like your posts by commenting back and liking their photos. By showing the love, you’re also showing your local personality and brand even more.
Bonus tip: Include location-specific information like hashtags and tag your location to show that you are indeed local.
Pheh, that was quite a bit! The key is you have to stay consistent with it. And, yes, it is time consuming. Google will reward you and continue to reward you if you stay on top of all of these best practices. So remember, when you want to market your widgets to a new area, you need to think like a local, yokel.
My next blog post in two weeks is focused on how Google drives local search through their own technology, and the rest of us follow like lemmings. We're seeing some interesting technology device trends supported by their software and the world is responding like they want us to. I hope you'll like that post, too.
If you need assistance with your marketing planning, rebranding or strategy, please call Jay Joyce here at The Idea People at 704-398-4437 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our marketing team takes pride in thinking outside the box and developing creative solutions for clients that impact their bottom line.