To understand the importance of local content marketing, let’s take a pop quiz.
Homeowner A needs a new roof on his house. So does Homeowner B.
You, being the business owner that wants to sell each of them a new roof, can broadcast your company’s well-researched, broad-based marketing campaign at both of them, and hopefully land both sales.
Because Homeowner A lives in Pasadena, California and Homeowner B lives in Newark, New Jersey. Homeowner A needs to make sure his shingles won’t melt and he’ll still have room for solar panels. Homeowner B just wants to know his roof won’t collapse under two feet of snow come January.
Since your well-researched, broad-based marketing campaign focuses on your lifetime warranty, proven craftsmanship, and decades of professional service as a company, you might miss out on BOTH sales.
See, as meaningful as your umbrella message is, it doesn’t mean something specific to the unique local needs of Homeowner A or Homeowner B.
So how does a franchisee – or a franchisor – avoid this pitfall?
For Multi-location Businesses Serving A Wide Geography, Your Company’s Message May Not Be Enough
So what can multi-location businesses do to secure those sales in both Pasadena and Newark? The onus is on both the franchisee and the franchisor to deploy local content marketing strategies that serve individual locations equally well, so both can capture sales.
The Local Franchisee Challenge – Own Your Space, Focus On Local Content
Some new business franchise owners come into the job believing that all of their marketing will be taken care of “by corporate.” And while it’s true that franchisees do get some help in that area, at least compared to independent small businesses, the most successful marketing campaigns have work put in by both sides.
Own Your Own Space
The first responsibility franchisees have in digital marketing is in owning their own space. A business’s physical brick and mortar location is unique unto itself; it has specific needs to maintain its curb appeal, interior design and product layout – all ways in which it attracts and retains local customers. Why should their online presence be any different? A franchise website has its own needs for local prominence that may be neglected.
“But corporate set us up with a website and it looks fine,” a local franchisee say.
Looking presentable and being effective in leading customers through a sales funnel are two completely separate things. All too often, franchisors roll out a suite of websites for each of their locations, only for every one to give mediocre performances when it comes to driving organic web traffic or conversions. Though made with the best of intentions, these sites serve up duplicate content, recycled images, and vaguely audience-targeted messaging. In trying to capture every customer, they usually capture none.
When a single location in a multi-location business is able to own their online space, however, the benefits are undeniable. Any unique content, be it in copy, photos or beyond, is proven to be incredibly helpful to SEO performance. That unique content is also able to target the unique local needs of their specific customer base, something that might not be feasible for a nationwide cookie-cutter marketing campaign.
Let’s take a deeper dive into the need to focus on the local when it comes to local content marketing.
Focus on Local Content
With that owned space comes the next responsibility: focus on local content. Even if all the marketing efforts thought to be handled on the corporate end came through, they still might not be doing much for local franchisees.
Like with the roofing example discussed at the beginning, all the great features of a product or service pales in comparison to customers’ unique needs – those are the things your customers are going to be looking for when they open up their search engine. The search engines know this as well, and tend to reward local content with higher rankings on results pages.
Luckily, franchisees have something that corporate doesn’t in their corner: knowledge of your local customer base. They know who their prototypical customer is, what products they’re interested in, why they choose that particular company, and a slew of other useful information.
When forming a marketing strategy, multi-location businesses are able to use that knowledge to tailor their content in multiple ways:
- Geographic targeting – Use geomodifiers often to appeal both to search engines and individuals. A geomodifier is a location-specific keyword, such as a city, state, or region that you want to target. Knowing how one’s customers talk about where they live can help better capture potential leads–for example targeting customers interested in a “Brooklyn plumber” versus a “New York City plumber.”
- Address specific issues – What are the customers’ primary needs? Are they unique in any way, especially to their location? Going back again to our first roofing example, a headline of “What Newark Homeowners Can Do To Protect Their Home From Winter Storms” is typically more effective (and pleasing to search engines) than “Stansbury Roofs Can Stand Up To Anything.” Not only does it stress a product benefit over a feature, but it targets a benefit unique to a local service area.
These are some of the more straightforward and salient methods of doing so, but are by no means the only ones.
Franchises, Start Working Towards Digital Marketing Success
If you’re ready to leave cookie-cutter design, duplicated content and vague marketing messages in your rear-view mirror, Flint Analytics can help you get started. As is our philosophy, to make the right decisions you need the right data, so let’s start talking about putting the numbers together to find a solution that will start you on the path to local content marketing success.
Photo Credit: 123rf.com/ramcreative
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