With the age of convenience and online acceleration in 2020, it is important you have an online presence to set your small business up for success. Customers are going online before making their purchase and are often using search engines like Google to help them find products and services.
If you’re an owner of a business franchise with multiple locations, you know better than anyone that it’s important to keep your information up to date for all of your customers. Whether you sell products online or at a storefront, you need to make sure you’re optimizing your business online for each of your locations. But even if your website is up to date with all your current locations and information, you can reach an even wider audience with the help of a Google My Business profile.
Let’s go over these six important steps to make sure you’ve optimized your Google My Business listings for your franchise locations.
6 Ways to Market Your Franchise with Google My Business
1. Create a Google My Business Listing for Each of your Franchise Locations
If you don’t already have a Google My Business profile, you should create one today. It’s free, user-friendly, and a very important tool to communicate your business information to your customers. Google My Business (GMB) is a giant digital directory of businesses and the results can come up differently on the SERP depending on where you are located.
You want to make it simple for your customers to find you! So, if you have multiple locations, your first step is making sure you have a listing created for each. Boostability has a great breakdown on how to create your profile. Even if your main headquarters is in one location, you still need to have a listing for your other franchise locations.
2. Relevant, Accurate, and Updated Information on your Franchise Listings
When marketing your franchise, keep all of your listing information accurate and up-to-date! This may seem obvious, but there can often be important changes or differences to your business depending on location. Make sure that information is as accurate and consistent as possible. Let users know who you are and what you do and don’t make them guess.
When you update and add information to your listing, be specific in your business descriptions and details. For example, if your business name doesn’t specifically show what services or products you provide, make sure to be detailed in your description.
- Are you choosing the most accurate business category?
- Is your address correct?
- Are your hours of operation the same across all locations?
- Does one storefront stay open longer?
- What holidays do you observe?
- Does one location offer something that others may not?
- Is your service list or your menu easily accessible?
If you aren’t sure what exact information you need to include, look at what your competition is posting on their GMB listings. If a user is looking for a service you provide, they will most likely choose the listing that is thorough and specific. Make sure your listing is competitive and as updated as the competition in your area.
3. Actively Manage your Franchise Listings
If information changes for any of your franchise locations, make sure to promptly make those changes to your GMB listings. Have you ever gone to a place of business that was listed to be open and when you arrived they were closed for the day? If so, I imagine you were pretty frustrated. Imagine the frustration of your customers if the same thing happens to them. Lack of updated information can cost your business and you could lose trust from your customers. Realistically, some of your locations may have different details based on your area. Changes are bound to happen and it’s your responsibility to communicate those changes to your customers.
4. Update Photos
Every listing in your franchise should have great quality photos that showcase your business. Think about all the listings you’ve seen when you Google businesses in your area. The pictures make them stand out. People respond to visuals. Give your customers great quality photos to look through.
With multiple locations, this is a great way to help your customers discern what location they are looking for. Users need to be able to easily discern the difference between each of your locations. Start by taking photos of your storefront, inside and out. What does your store look like? What about inside? Do you have a reception area? Show your customers in images what to expect when they visit your store. Showcase some of your top-selling items in your photos. If your franchise locations differ in what items you offer, make sure you add photos of those items you specified in your description. If you’re in the food/restaurant industry, post appealing photos of your food and drink items.
Again, look at what your competition is doing with the photos they provide and match them or be even better than them. Good photos help to build trust and transparency with your customers. Show them what you offer and what makes you stand out at each of your locations.
Reviews are a valuable way to increase trust in your business which in turn can increase foot traffic and sales. But it’s not enough to have great reviews on one listing. You need to be soliciting feedback for each of your locations in order to market your franchise well.
Each location will provide different experiences for your customers. Good reviews from customers are not only a factor to help you rank better, but almost 85% of people trust reviews as much as a recommendation from a friend. Soliciting reviews is a great way to get direct feedback to help you know where you are doing well and maybe where you may need to refocus your attention for your strategy. While one location may be thriving, another may have its own ups and downs. By collecting this feedback, it gives you the tools and information to meet the right needs of your business in the long run.
Building your brand reputation at one of your locations helps the reputation of your entire franchise. As you receive reviews, reply and engage with them. If you have a negative review, reach out and correct any issues to help build a positive reputation.
6. Post Updates and Answer Questions
Your GMB is a great resource to share updates and answer customer questions about your business and you should integrate GMB posts into your content strategy. Don’t just post the same content on each listing. Your locations are unique and different from each other and you need to create quality content to be successful. Communicate to your customers by posting local content. Is your store location participating in any special events in your area? Maybe your customers want to check out one of your other locations. They should see relevant content that would be great for them to learn more about your business.
Quick updates about your business are good, but you should also be providing long-form content to provide relevant information for your customers as well to help you rank better on the SERP. Check your competition and see what they are posting. Is your content competitive compared to theirs? Answer customer questions, listen to their feedback, and target your content to their specific local needs.
Start Using Google My Business for Your Franchise
Take advantage of the free features Google My Business offers and help each of your franchise locations stand out. And when you optimize your GMB profiles, you are not just providing a better user experience for your customers, you are also helping your SEO.
Boostability can help your business franchise. Learn more about our SEO services or get a free consultation today if you’re ready to get started!