National brand recognition and visibility are of grand importance for any retail brand when it comes to generating consumer interest, and ultimately contributing to sales growth both online and in-store. Organizations spend millions of dollars per year to market their brand, and whether through digital media or traditional advertising, most large-scale retailers have a complex strategy in place that ensures they drive sales success.
In addition to a national brand effort, a real opportunity for retail gains is held within the ability to market locally to the appropriate audiences, driving the in-store foot traffic that generates revenue and further validates the retail brand to those in target markets.
In the highly competitive retail marketplace (especially around holiday time), it’s imperative for retail franchisors to educate their franchisees on the essential practice of localized marketing, and to support those efforts at scale with desired results. To do so, prioritizing an effort around local search, email and social marketing in part can bring consumers to stores in droves.
Searching for a deal
Search engine optimization (SEO) should be the heart of any localized marketing campaign. Truthfully, local SEO efforts are more complex than a traditional campaign, with a profound number of details and elements to consider. While there’s no silver bullet to rocket a local retail franchise to the top of search results, a few tried and true principles offer a great start:
- Google My Business: Arguably the most important element of any local effort, Google My Business optimization can make or break a consumer’s ability to find a business on the web. Start by finding duplicates of the business page and removing them, verify the true listing, get a NAP (name, address, phone number) in, and categorize the business properly.
- Schema markup: Schema code helps search engines better understand a website. The code contains additional information about the business, including hours, reviews and more. To optimize locally, it’s essential to set up both “local business markup” and “review markup” within the schema code.
Surrounding area meta descriptions: While never a shoe-in, by including surrounding cities of a businesses retail location, a business greatly increases the chances a searcher discovers a location when they pinpoint the city they want to explore.
Email marketing stands tall when it comes to driving retail sales and conversions. In fact, email has been one of the biggest revenue-driving channels for customers in 2016, accounting for as much as 40 percent of total revenue in some instances, and representing about 20 percent of retail traffic.
Retail brands are certainly aware of these results, and should facilitate a local effort to bring a portion of those sales in-store. Current studies suggest a nearly 50/50 split when it comes to online and brick and mortar shopping, so centering an email marketing campaign around in-store only coupons has long legs. Whether it’s offering a percentage off, a buy-one-get-one or any other number of incentives, focusing on driving location traffic is essential to sales and growth.
Delivering the right message, at the right time, to the right people — the guiding principles of any quality marketing effort. For social media marketers, the ability to target specific audiences is a top-tier benefit of any strategic plan, and highly beneficial to a retailer’s ability to get consumers through the threshold.
Many retail brands have thousands, or even millions, of fans between Facebook, Twitter and other active social platforms. Within these networks lives a grove of information about consumer interests and demographics, so even with the large following marketers can accurately pinpoint and target consumers.
For example — Facebook’s audience targeting enables marketers to apply a radius from a specific retail location to promote in-store only deals to those within that radius. Even consumers who haven’t become fans of a brand yet can still be targeted through promoted content and advertising.
Make the sale
Driving national recognition and exposure is priority for any and all franchise retail brands, with that awareness trickling down and benefiting local franchisees. In addition, by implementing a local marketing effort, retail franchises can proactively drive foot traffic and in-store sales, a benefit for the franchise as a whole. While the web enables marketers to target globally, the world is perhaps smaller than ever. With consumers prioritizing vicinity, local marketing is now more important than ever.
Matthew Jonas is the president of TopFire Media, an award-winning integrated public relations and digital marketing agency specializing in franchise marketing and consumer branding. Together with the leaders of iFranchise Group and Franchise Dynamics, Jonas established TopFire Media to provide a strategic and synchronized method for digital marketing in the franchise industry. As a digital marketing strategist with more than a decade of in-depth experience in SEO and PPC, social media publishing, conversion based marketing, inbound marketing, sales management, and online lead generation, Jonas has built a career dedicated to delivering an integrated marketing approach that achieves client success and long-term relationships.