There’s no denying consumers prefer to connect with local businesses online. Empty shopping malls and yellow page books that go immediately from the doorstep to the recycling bin demonstrate this shift in consumer behavior. To capitalize on this shift, companies with multiple locations should be front and center when consumers are looking for their products, compelling those consumers to engage with their business. In order to achieve this, local digital marketing needs to take center stage.
With so much to do to successfully market a business in a way that creates connections with consumers, marketers should prioritize the strategies that perform and work best to lead consumers toward engagement -- ultimately, driving positive ROI. From businesses with sizable budgets and marketing teams to those with common challenges including modest advertising budgets or limited bandwidth, LBN’s performance data shows that focusing marketing efforts locally helps brands with multiple locations efficiently reach the audience most likely to convert for their business and guide the path to purchase in-store.
This brings us to a key component of digital advertising performance: accountability.
How much revenue has a specific billboard or radio spot generated for your business? Unlike out of home and other forms of offline media, digital advertising (search engine marketing, social media or other digital media buys) gives advertisers the ability to see exactly how effective their advertising is by looking at cost and conversion to establish ROI. This should be a key motivating factor for advertisers with limited marketing budgets – making sure their ad dollars lead to conversions and in-store purchases.
Local digital marketing remains the foremost medium for maximizing ROI by reaching consumers who are actively looking for what you sell or the service you provide. Research data shows that over half of all local searches ultimately end up in a purchase; that number increases to 80% for local searches on mobile devices.1 Search engine data tells a similar story about how quickly searchers transact, with 50% of consumers visiting a store within just 24 hours of their local search on mobile devices.2
These metrics signify two takeaways:
Marketers must to do everything possible to dominate the local search landscape.
If brands don’t connect with these highly-desirable consumers who are raising their hand through search or finding your service via social media, the consumer will connect with another competing business very quickly. This, specifically, is what makes local consumers so important for any business – they know what they want or need, and are looking to purchase or make a decision almost immediately. Local consumers are the potential customers that drive the highest return on ad spend for local businesses.
The Three most important things a brand with multiple locations can do to make sure they succeed locally online are:
Ensure that each business location is listed accurately in key places, including directories.
Have an “always on” presence on social media.
Show up routinely on search engines when potential local customers are looking for your product or service online or via a mobile device.
What does all of this mean for companies with broader national or regional media strategies, or that have complex regional/local management and marketing responsibility structures? It’s 100% achievable.
Most multi-location companies are likely already doing some form of digital marketing at the national or regional level, but advertising at the local level is often a challenge. To maximize online success and see local activity convert into ROI, brands should to educate their franchisees or individual store managers on the importance of local digital advertising. It’s a good idea to give regional or local decision makers the tools and guidance so that they can address the need for local advertising themselves (should they have the bandwidth and budget to do so). It’s also imperative make sure that local digital marketing efforts are in sync with the company’s regional and national digital advertising, as well as offline marketing initiatives.
As an alternative - or in addition - to individual store marketing, brands can help drive incremental business for each of their locations with digital marketing solutions that help to scale these efforts. Such solutions have the ability to utilize local data, as well as regional and national data, to deliver optimal budget efficiencies and drive local engagement.
Doing everything you can to increase local visibility will ensure that your business captures customers, maximizes sales and increases return on advertising dollars. So whether its managing it in-house or partnering with an agency with expertise in this space, concentrating digital marketing efforts locally will make sure that multi-location brands are laser-focused on grabbing the attention of consumers nearby. It opens the opportunity for a business to position itself as a market-leading business in the cities where they’re present – with performance data to back it up.