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3 Simple Yet Often Overlooked Digital Marketing Opportunities For Franchises

Marketing for local search is complicated. Of course, we know that the standard SEO strategies like highly optimized meta tags, content with a good keyword density, as well as a strong backlink profile are always necessary. For franchises with multiple locations, there are added complexities of proactively managing Google My Business data and citation development, Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) accuracy, and maintaining and distributing local business listings. The more competitive the market the more challenging all of this becomes.

This article will explore three tactics that are oftentimes overlooked or neglected by digital marketers for franchises but present significant opportunities.

1. Proactive management of data on local business listing

Arguably, maintaining the accuracy and consistency of data regarding your local business across the web may pose the most difficulty in local search. Proactively reviewing and managing such data become a must with the frequent automatic updates made by Google and other directories. In order to accomplish this, franchise marketers need, to begin with, an accurate database or list of hours of operation, NAP, and other crucial business data for all locations.

Within the United States, it is essential to make sure that the data held by these four major aggregators of data Acxiom, Factual, Infogroup, Localeze, is both accurate and consistent. Frequent reviews of your local businesses listed on these sites must be conducted and duplicated and/or inaccurate data addressed.

It helps to use a tool to achieve this often neglected task to monitor a business operating from multiple locations. Tools can help with the streamlining of the process of locating and identifying missing, inaccurate or duplicate citations. Tools that can be used include SweetIQWhitespark Citation Finder, and  Bright Local

Proactively managing business data presents an opportunity that is missed by many franchises. Many franchises do not allocate enough energy and time to local listings. This may be as a result of the complexity of the systems, the frequently changing market and the huge volume of work that goes along with the management of many locations.

2. Maintain individuality of local businesses by creating local business pages with unique content

All businesses and franchises with multiple locations should have an integrated location finder on its website. Many franchises miss out on opportunities in the displayed results for location searches. These search results are often not able to be indexed by search engines which not only lets a big local SEO opportunity slide but only offers very basic information that really is not very helpful to the prospective customer.

It is very helpful to customers when each business location has an indexable web page of its own containing essential local information like the name, phone number, hours of operation, address, email address, a Google Map showing the business’ location and customized content.

Try to keep local content on each of the pages unique. Franchises have a great opportunity to ensure that each of these pages for local stores offers unique content about the store’s nearby landmarks, neighborhood, location, parking and other features unique to a particular location. Another feature that proves to be a help to prospective customers is an image of the actual storefront.

3. Develop and Implement a Monitoring, Review and Response Strategy

Many franchises or multi-location businesses tend to overlook managing their reputation and reviews as a digital marketing strategy. No longer are people calling businesses to air their grouses or complaints. Nowadays, individuals tend to share their pleasure or displeasure on local business listings. You may not pay attention to these reviews but the people deciding whether or not to enter into business with you do.

It is critical for businesses with many locations to proactively monitor and respond to reviews for every location— especially the negative reviews. On Google My Business, and Yelp, a rating in terms of stars is now shown in the knowledge graph in the upper right of the Search Engine Results Page when individuals enter a branded search for a particular local business.

Third-party tools are also useful for the management of reviews for multiple locations. SweetIQ and Bright Local have platforms that are very good for monitoring reviews. You may also want to give attention to developing a solid strategy for attaining new, positive reviews on local business directories. Selecting a handful of directories that are most important for your business is a good place to start and then expansions can follow. Always a great starting point is Google My Business.

Develop and maintain your competitive advantage

Many franchises are not:

Maintaining the accuracy of all their local business listings

Creating individual pages for each location with unique content

Monitoring and managing customer reviews actively

This means, therefore, that businesses with many locations that are willing to put in the work can gain a real competitive advantage.

Give attention to these important areas as often as is possible because updates, changes, and problems are unavoidable, but you can minimize the impact. Where possible and advantageous, use third-party tools in managing the volume of individual business location data.

Anna Ray