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Deadly Pitfalls of Multi-Location Digital Marketing

Like characters in a horror film, many multi-location businesses unknowingly flock to these digital marketing mistakes. Learn what they are & how to avoid them.

As I embark on my yearly quest to watch as many horror movies as emotionally possible, I find myself screaming the same questions at the characters — “why do you insist on staying in THAT house?” and, “WHO thought it was a good idea to let the toddler keep the wooden doll?”

It’s a tale as old as time — scary movie protagonists put themselves in deadly situations by making the same mistakes. At GPO, we’ve noticed a comparable pattern when it comes to multi-location digital marketing — with many enterprise brands falling prey to similar, preventable pitfalls. Learn what they are and how to avoid them by following along as we take a ride on the spookier side of multi-location digital marketing.

Having Inconsistent Data

Whether you’re dealing with 100 locations or 5000 storefronts, data integrity can be hard to maintain — particularly when a large share of those locations is franchisee-owned. Keeping brand voice and messaging consistent across the board while maintaining accurate store hours and service offerings for each location is tough!

Moreover, when data inconsistencies arise, patrons can show up to one of your locations expecting a product or service, only to find said location is closed, or worse — in the wrong address! Situations like these not only hurt the individual operators, but they are detrimental to your organization as a whole.

Partnering with an organization that helps you consolidate all your locations’ data — distributing it to your local listings, GMB profiles, and pertinent aggregators will ensure data accuracy and save you the grief of death by inconsistent data.

Not Having Location Pages

Look at your mobile search history. What do you see? If you’re like most people, you see one or two embarrassing searches and a few that say “[service/product] near me.” And just like your search history contains local queries, prospective customers are likely searching for your company’s products and services near them.

But if you’re in charge of digital marketing for a franchise-based or multi-location business with hundreds or thousands of storefronts or service areas, how do you make sure you capture searches across each state, city, and zip code that you serve?

Search-optimized location pages are essential for your brand to rank at the local level across thousands of localities (and adjacent cities). According to Search Engine Journal, location pages help consumers find your brand at the top of the map pack and organic search results, especially when linked to from GMB profiles.

Additionally, even when consumers enter your website through other channels, optimized location pages offer a superior user experience that answers critical questions about each storefronts’ operations and services.

If you think you can get away with creating one locator page with the phrase “near me” stuffed into the content 30 times, don’t! Google recognizes local intent and serves searchers with results that match their actual locations, meaning you need individual pages for each store. Without them, customers will have to turn to third-party sites for each storefront’s business info, or worse, they could just look to the top of the map pack and find directions to your competitor’s nearest store.

Settling for Subpar Location Pages

Conventional wisdom says a location page for a multi-location business should have the store’s name, address, phone number, and a map. But, conventional business is the same thing your competitors have, and if you want to outperform them, you have to outsmart them with excellent location pages.

Excellent location pages:

  • Have rich content that showcases FAQs about the store, such as hours, product/service availability, and specialties.
  • Include fast-loading interactive maps that allow searchers to toggle between locations while displaying accurate information about each one.
  • Have a mobile-friendly, responsive design with a focus on PageSpeed.
  • Offer custom modules for locations to display offers, reviews, jobs, events, and additional content.
  • Don’t have duplicate (or near duplicate) content, which search engines flag as low-quality. For example, when Google spots duplicate content, it’ll attempt to identify the original page and then deindex all others.
  • Use a strategic linking strategy to connect your main website, your location page, and the store’s GMB profile.

Well-established multi-location or service area-based businesses with poorly executed location pages will not only lose traffic and calls, but they also reflect poorly on the broader organization behind them, hurting the brand overall.

Trying to Survive on Branded Terms Alone

Say you’re a quick-service restaurant with a focus on Mediterranean fare, you have 250 stores across all 50 states, and your top-seller is the lamb gyro. However, on your marketing and supply chain teams’ advice, you decide to introduce more vegetarian dishes to your nationwide menu. Outside of expensive and short-lived PPC/social campaigns, how can you ensure that you’re capturing traffic for these new offerings?

Deploying unique, localized content that centers around your ancillary offerings (e.g., vegetarian kebabs in {{City}}) can help your brand capture non-branded local searches. This can help drive calls, clicks, and visits from falafel-starved individuals who aren’t seeking your brand out by its name or signature offerings, but instead happen upon it thanks to localized content that solves their problems, or in this case, satisfies their craving. Not creating localized content around your product/service categories leaves gaps open for your competitors.

At GPO, we regularly run competitive search audits that compare ownership of SERP market share across the major players in different industries. This helps us identify low-hanging ranking opportunities that our clients’ competitors are not capitalizing on, and build local content around them. If you’re on the marketing team for a multi-location business, chances are we already have an audit with your company’s name on it — contact GPO to get it.

How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Multi-Location Digital Marketing

There’s a scene in Scary Movie where Carmen Electra is fleeing from Scream, and as she runs through the house looking for ways to defend herself, she chooses a banana over a grenade, a knife, and a gun. Don’t be like Carmen!

When defining a strategy for your multi-location business’s marketing, arm your brand with the right team, tools, and products for the job, including optimized location pages with unique content and accurate data that’s distributed and curated with care. Learn how GPO’s Local Pages can help your brand build an empire of unique local pages and ensure data accuracy across major aggregators by chatting with us today.

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