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3 min read

An Introduction to Multi-Location Marketing Strategy: The Importance of “Looking Local” to Get Better Results

Looking local gets better results

It can be challenging to gain visibility on a local level in the digital environment. But that’s exactly what businesses of all sizes that rely on a local market base to build business must do. It’s not easy. It can be very time consuming. And it requires an understanding of the organic search environment and search analytics.

But, while you might think that the big brands have an edge here, you’d be surprised.

The reality is that in a world where consumers increasingly “buy local,” local, single-location brands often have a better opportunity to win through organic search engine optimization, or SEO.

Here’s why.

The Challenges Multi-Location Brands Face

Let’s consider a multi-location brand with distributors, or franchisees, or branches in dozens of locations. Their brand message won’t work on a local level. And, in fact, they’re at risk of being ignored by Google if they attempt to share the same message across multiple sites. Google, and other search engines, reward local relevance—they are focused on serving up the results they know users want to see.

Multi-location brands aren’t attempting to attract attention in just one local market. They have to vary their approach and content in 20, 30, 50, 500, 1000—or more—markets.

Contrast this to a single location local brand—a mom-and-pop pest control service, for instance. They have the ability, even with limited marketing resources, to achieve a singular focus through their website. The kind of focus they’ll be rewarded for in search because Google knows when people are looking for local services. And Google is all about creating the best possible search experience for its users that it can.

The Trouble with a Distributed Approach

Multi-location brands are at risk of losing organic visibility in local markets. So what do they often do? They turn to their franchisees, or distributors to help optimize their local websites. They take a distributed approach to managing their content, relinquishing control to business operators in each of their locations. Sure, those local operators understand the local market. But they may introduce other risks.

  • They risk losing control of the message.
  • They risk losing control of the quality of the content.
  • They risk potential damage to their brand.
  • Most of all, they risk the work of the business just not getting done, or being done in an inconsistent and ineffective way.

Local distributors and franchisees have plenty of things to do to help their businesses be successful. Marketing is not their number one priority or, in most cases, their area of expertise.

The Need for Local Relevance

What these multi-location marketers want to do is make their content really relevant to each of their local markets. So, a real estate firm for example will need very different messaging to engage a local market in Miami, in January than it would to engage a local market in Minneapolis. A hardware wouldn’t be advertising snow blowers in Miami. An HVAC company offering spring tuneups would use different timing to promote that service in Atlanta than in Minneapolis. It’s important for local businesses to speak the local language and be relevant to what’s actually taking place in their locations. This relates to imagery as well as language--a website in Colorado might feature mountains, while a site in Florida might feature palm trees.

The messaging needs of multi-location brands get exponentially more complex than those of a single location dealer attempting to attract the attention of consumers in a 50-mile radius of their store.

The challenge becomes how to leverage the power the brand has at a national level to optimize messaging for a local audience in a way that results in organic search visibility—consistently. What Google (and other search engines) are rewarding is consistent, unique content that is relevant to the subject and the local market.

How do we know this is what works? In addition to MarketSnare data from work with thousands of locations over many years, Google directly tells us that unique, high quality content is the most important factor for businesses to improve their local search rankings and overall organic visibility.

“Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any of the other factors” - Google (here)

Where MarketSnare Comes In

This is where MarketSnare can come into the mix. About 10 years ago we were approached by a national company with more than 2000 dealers in various locations. They were facing challenges in gaining local organic visibility. The effort necessary to localize their content and other marketing assets at scale was time consuming and cost prohibitive. There  weren’t any good tools available to help them manage and distribute unique locally relevant content at scale. At the time there weren’t that many good tools available to help them do that. So we began to work with them and other franchise companies and distributor networks and other multi-location brands to tackle the challenges.

The result: significant, measurable, and year over year successes for brands in more than 30,000 local markets across a wide range of industries. MarketSnare clients are able to achieve local organic traffic and leads at anywhere from 1/10th to 1/32nd the cost of doing the same with paid digital ads.

In our blog we share what we’ve learned along the way as we continue to delve into the challenges and opportunities of multi-location marketing in the digital environment where organic search drives visibility—and business results. We also help you keep up to date on the continual, and often disruptive, changes in digital marketing and SEO. It’s a fluid space, but one that we navigate every day.

We hope you continue to join us!

Have a listen to our podcast on this same topic, found here.

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