Is your current strategy for driving local sales making the grade or falling short of expectations?
Driving in-store traffic and increasing sales at the local level is one of the greatest challenges brands struggle with across all categories. Large brands and franchises with multiple locations are tasked with marketing in areas with varying market penetration levels, demographic and competitive differences and geographic nuances. Localizing your efforts to account for these differences is an effective way to supplement national brand efforts and often proves more effective than umbrella tactics. Customized local plans for search engine marketing, landing pages and traditional media can be highly effective in driving in-store traffic and sales.
While local sales plans are one of the most valuable tools national brands and franchisors have in their arsenal, they’re frequently overlooked or underutilized. Local operators may lack the time, experience or expert resources to adapt and implement plans. The corporate marketing department and their agencies often lack the bandwidth required to plan, implement and negotiate tactics on a market by market basis. The result is a national marketing plan designed for the average location ignoring individual market factors.
Making the Grade: Your “Straight A” Local Marketing Strategy
Successful local store marketing begins with a fact-based approach. The four A’s: Awareness, Alignment, Analytics, and Agility are instrumental in identifying and implementing strategies and tactics that address unique market challenges, drive traffic, and increase sales.
Awareness, Alignment, Analytics, and Agility form the foundation of an effective fact-based approach to local marketing that informs current and future strategies, tactics, and spending.
Brand awareness is important for driving sales at the local level. Creating the type of momentum that keeps your brand top-of-mind among consumers demands the right tools and know-how.
Building awareness for national brands on a local level begins with questions like:
- Are your physical locations easy to find and access? If your business relies on foot traffic, you want to overcome any challenges with careful attention to signage and descriptors.
- Are landing pages optimized to showcase each location? Most consumers begin their research online looking for places “near me”. Because of this, search engine results are skewing to favor location indicators over a national presence. A locally optimized landing page is essential to making your market presence known.
- Are directory listings up to date and consistent? Directory listings are another key component to search results, accounting for up to 49% of your local ranking factors. NAP (name, address, phone number) consistency is critical to optimizing your placement in search results.
- What are the key differences between this location and others? National campaigns are engineered to bring the average customer to the average unit. But no customer or location exactly fits either profile. It’s important to be aware of market differences in customer demographics and media habits so national strategies can be adapted at the local level.
Increasing sales volumes in a sustainable manner over time requires a highly-coordinated approach to aligning both national and local strengths with on-the-ground resources. Most national brands have access to marketing resources that retail locations and franchises seldom do, including significant budgets, staffing, and deep marketing expertise. Local retail outlets have the advantage of direct access to their customers and a deeper understanding of their individual markets and competitors.
While it’s not uncommon for individual franchise owners to implement marketing tactics on their own, it’s important that local efforts mirror the national brand in look, feel, tone, and overall experience. Coordination of these efforts is critical to fully leverage the brand and create demand at the local level with programs developed to:
- Build brand awareness
- Grow in-store traffic, sales, and engagement
- Increase customer loyalty
- Enhance a store’s image in the community
- Develop involvement and recognition within the local community
Analytics enable you to paint an accurate, detailed picture of your customers complete with demographic, economic, location and lifestyle characteristics. They also serve as a window into your target’s interactions with your advertising. The correct data can be used to measure awareness, drive in-store traffic and sales, and adjust strategies as needed to quickly respond to changes in the marketplace and consumer behaviors.
Armed with these facts, you can use that knowledge to:
- Find more customers who look like your best customers
- Identify cross-sell opportunities within your current customer base
- Determine which targets will be most responsive to your message or offer
- Test promotional, traffic building initiatives, and more
Today, so much data exists that it can be overwhelming to keep up. While the data exists, it requires constant monitoring to make ongoing optimizations. Many local operators and franchisees don’t have the time or experience to continuously assess this flow of data, or to even know which metrics are the most important. This is especially true in the digital world where metrics seemingly never end – click throughs, view throughs, engagement, shares, reactions, and more. How do you compare these and which is more important? Or, should you focus on mobile programs that place a conversion zone around a location to count the number of people entering the store who have been exposed to your ad. It all depends on the goal of your marketing effort.
Effective marketing at the local level requires the agility to adapt and change plans based on market conditions and ad response. Most franchisees and local operators don’t know how to negotiate local media to get the most impact from their spend and many national brands don’t spend media dollars to support smaller markets. Partnering with an agency that has the bandwidth and expertise working with franchisees or operators in developing customized local marketing programs can bridge the gap between the national and local levels of your organization.
Working with the right agency can provide the flexibility and agility you need to respond to changing customer preferences and trends in a rapidly evolving retail marketplace by helping you:
- Apply analytics to measure, monitor, and adjust strategies and tactics in a highly responsive manner
- Properly allocate and deploy your resources to reduce overall marketing costs and overhead
- Access expertise and the full range of capabilities needed to support and build your national brand while driving local sales in areas such as:
• Local media buying
• Search engine marketing (SEM)
• Creation of customized, local landing pages
• Social media
• Digital marketing
• Local out-of-home/outdoor advertising
• Sales and training support, and more.
Put Local Store Marketing to Work for You
Local Store Marketing (LSM) from Planet Central is a customized plan targeted to a specific group of potential customers within a trading area to create awareness and initiate trial of products or services. We often target as little as a three to five-mile radius of each store location. Contact us to find out why Planet Central earns an A+ from national brands seeking to drive more local sales.