Here’s a fact that shouldn’t surprise you by now: More than half of all purchases are influenced by a digital presence. You, your neighbors and the strangers across town are all Googling (and maybe Binging?) just about everything before spending any money. It’s where we are – and it’s where we’re going.
So, as a current or future multi-store owner, this presents some problems. You already know how hard it can be to implement and oversee a social media and digital marketing plan for one laundry location – but what about two, or three… or 10? It’s enough to keep you up at night. You have to win those customers, and they won’t just fall into your lap.
Take a deep breath and relax. I’ve got you covered. I’ll help you steer the ship in the right direction. Currently, there are four major areas on which to focus, so let’s get to it:
1. Local, Time-Based SEO
When you search for a local business, what do you put into Google’s search bar? If you’re like the rest of the world, you probably include phrases like “near me,” “open now,” or your city’s name.
Why do you do that? If you’re in New York City, you don’t care about the cafés and sandwich shops in San Bernardino. If you had to scroll through the results for other cities as you tried to find yours, you’d never use Google. None of us would.
But we do use Google, because it’s shockingly good at pinpointing the businesses in our area. The catch is that those businesses are the ones with good SEO, or search engine optimization.
SEO is a vast, complicated discipline, and I can’t cover it all here. Suffice it to say that Google looks for certain elements on your website and in web presence that influence your rank in the local pecking order. The higher you are, the more traffic and revenue you’ll get.
Consumers are adapting to local SEO – and it’s advantageous for multi-store owners to follow suit. Optimizing different pages on your website for different locations is a great start, but local SEO has plenty of facets. The rest of this column will help get you moving in the right direction.
2. Focus on Facebook and Google My Business
If you had to pick the top companies in the world, I’d wager that Facebook and Google would be at the top of the list. Billions of people use Facebook each month, and billions more search on Google. That’s advantageous for businesses like yours – and it provides insight on where you need to focus your local SEO efforts.
Let’s start with Facebook. A simple way to help boost your local SEO is to build a Facebook page for each separate location. This gives you more local relevance, more citations, more reviews and improves your ability to deliver location-specific content. Although you have to manage all of these pages and keep them updated, the tradeoff is worth it for additional business.
Now how about Google? You’ve probably seen the business listings when you search for a local business – and that’s where you need to be with each of your locations. To do that, you’ll need to set up a Google My Business profile and ensure that you set up multiple locations. Keep the hours, address and any other relevant information updated as well.
If these solutions sound simple – perhaps even too simple – it’s because they’re designed that way. Facebook and Google want businesses like yours to compete on their platform, so they make it easy to get a jumpstart. And for multi-store owners, these first steps are essential.
3. Build Content… And Experiment With It
Local SEO isn’t all about listings and social media. You can still improve revenue for multiple locations through high-value content. I’m talking blogs, guides, product descriptions and any other online copy. Google loves content.
But how do you build content for multiple locations? An easy way to do so is to use location-specific keywords. For instance, you can use “pickup and delivery in Manhattan” in one post, then “pickup and delivery in Brooklyn” to optimize for a different location. It’s a small change, but even small differences help.
However, the real key is to create high-value content. Experiment with short and long articles or guides that deliver a ton of value to your customer, and then link those pages to location-specific landing pages. When done consistently and correctly, you’ll improve your website’s authority in Google’s view, which means higher local rankings.
4. Start Thinking With Your Voice
My last point may sound weird at first, but stay with me. Smart speakers are taking over. Whether it’s from Amazon, Google or Apple, you’ve probably seen (or maybe even used) a smart device in the last month or two. They’re able to lock your house, order food and do a million other tasks. Whether you think they’re scary or cool, they’re here to stay.
Since they’re not going anywhere, you should know that these speakers can recommend local businesses – and that functionality will only improve. This means it’s a smart idea to start thinking about how you can get to the top of a smart speaker’s list. If someone in your area needs a laundromat or pickup-and-delivery service, and they ask Alexa or Siri for help, will your business get recommended?
Once again, this is another area where content, local SEO and local listings like Google My Business have such potential. All of these elements help improve your chances of taking the top local spot for any of your locations.
The key to remember with all of these points is that they work together. Good SEO will help your Google My Business and Facebook succeed, and vice versa. If you’re at the tip of a smart speaker’s tongue, chances are your local SEO is going to improve for all of your locations.
Multi-store ownership is hard, but that doesn’t mean marketing your business has to make your hair turn gray. Heed these tips, apply them and keep improving as you can. You’ll see better rankings for all of your stores, as well as increased revenue.