While the U.S. might not be in a full recession right now, it’s clear that businesses and the economy are struggling due to the effects of COVID-19. Whether or not your multi-location business has been affected by COVID-19 financially, it’s still important to adjust your localized marketing strategy to help your business save money and increase efficiency.
Below, we’ll highlight the top five recession-proof tips for your multi-location business to follow now and into the future. As a multi-location marketer, it’s essential to adjust your strategies often to stay ahead of the game, and this blog will help you do so.
1. Focus on organic efforts
One of the best ways multi-location businesses can adjust their marketing efforts during a recession is to pay more attention to organic efforts. Local search and social media channels are an efficient and cost-effective way for multi-location businesses to connect with their consumers. If your multi-location business isn’t utilizing local search and social to the full extent, you could be missing out on potential leads.
For instance, when it comes to local social, what are the active channels for your multi-location business? Data from our Q2 2020 State of the Market Report found that individual brand locations are engaging 2x more often on Facebook when compared to Google My Business (GMB). We saw a double-digit increase in social posts in March when the effects of COVID-19 ramped up across the nation. This data confirms that many multi-location businesses have shifted their efforts to focus on organic content.
Now that you’ve determined the importance of organic content, it’s time to rethink the type of content you’re developing.
2. Rethink the type of content you’re developing
Content is a great way to get your consumers’ attention and provide them with the information they need to make a purchasing decision. COVID-19 has shifted the type of content consumers are looking for. For instance, in the past, consumers may have been looking for specific product information. While that can still be relevant, consumers are also wondering what safety precautions your business is taking to keep both employees and consumers safe amid the current pandemic. Consumers want to know if your business is requiring masks or how you are helping those in the community that have been affected by COVID-19.
In addition to considering the type of content your business is producing, you can also think about how your business is sharing the content. COVID-19 has caused a shift to a digital-focused world, forcing multi-location marketers to get creative. Rather than just sharing blog posts on your social media channels and through email marketing, consider doing live Q&A sessions for consumers, host a digital event, or record a podcast or webinar on a topic your consumers are interested in. There are ways to be cost-effective when it comes to a content plan. It just relies upon you thinking outside of the box.
3. Analyze your ad spend
As we discuss organic efforts and revamping your content plan, you may be wondering about your ad strategy. While paid advertising does prove to be effective, if your marketing team is tight on budget, you could consider pausing ads or reducing your ad spend. Often marketers will keep ads running without considering the benefits or return on investment (ROI) for the ads. And with limited time and resources on most marketing teams, paid efforts are a great place to get creative – analyze your creative, rethink your copy, and truly gain an understanding of what is performing, and what is not.
If your marketing team keeps a close eye on ad performance and is finding great success, kudos! Keep utilizing paid advertising as much as your marketing budget allows. On the other hand, if your marketing team hasn’t analyzed what ROI paid advertising brings your multi-location business, it’s time to do so. If you find that ads aren’t performing as well as you expected, it’s worth weighing the pros and cons of pausing your ads for the time being. As you can see, there are many other ways to communicate with your target audience that don’t require an additional budget during this trying time.
4. Leverage powerful search and social channels
After deciding whether paid advertising makes sense for your multi-location business, you can then ensure that your business is leveraging the most powerful local search and social channels. As mentioned previously, Facebook is one of those channels that your multi-location business should be active on when it comes to local social media. Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are worth considering as well, and others depending on your industry and where your consumers are spending their digital time. The more present your business is on local social channels, the more likely you’ll be able to reach your target audience.
When it comes to local search, where should your efforts be focused? Consumers are posting 4x the number of reviews on GMB vs. Facebook. Today, Google claims three out of every four new local reviews for multi-location brands. If your multi-location business is looking to become more visible online, ensuring up-to-date local listings where consumers can leave reviews on GMB are necessary. In addition to Facebook and GMB, Yelp is also a crucial local search platform.
If your multi-location business has a strong local presence on GMB, Facebook, and Yelp, you’ll have a leg up on the competition and again increase the chances that a consumer finds your business when conducting a local search.
5. Utilize tactics that will take your localized efforts to the next level
There are additional tactics, many of which are free that will help take your localized marketing efforts to the next level during a recession. Google Q&A is an excellent example of this. Google Q&A is a place on your GMB profile where consumers can ask questions about your business. You can leverage Google Q&A by ensuring that all of the questions on your profiles are answered. Consumers will not only be getting the information they need promptly but will also notice that your business is paying attention to them, which is vital.
The same goes for ratings and reviews. If your multi-location business responds to many, if not all of the reviews your business receives, consumers will notice. Data from our 2020 Localized Marketing Benchmark Report (LMBR) found that ratings and reviews have become a top-ranking factor, but the #1 factor in determining which company a consumer chooses for business. If your business isn’t optimizing your ratings and reviews, what are you waiting for?
Now that you have all of the tools you need to help your multi-location business thrive, it’s time to get to work! If you have questions on how to optimize your localized marketing strategy or need more information on any of the topics we addressed today, request a demo today! SOCi can help your multi-location business manage search, social, reviews, and ads across 100s or 1,000s of business locations all from a single platform.