#TFW: That Feeling When
You know that feeling when you need coffee right now?
Or when your kitchen has become a swimming pool and you’re desperately Googling “plumber near me”?
Or when that special restaurant you were going to impress your date with is closed and you need a new restaurant really fast?
To meet these immediate needs, customers rely on search engines to give them nearby options in real time. “Near me” searches on Google increased by 130% from 2014 to 2015. It’s why so many franchise owners have started incorporating the words “near me”, “local”, “close”, or “nearby” into their website content.
These “near me” Internet searches aren’t the future, they’re the here and now. Which means if your franchise isn’t making hyperlocal marketing a part of its overall Internet marketing strategy, it’s losing potential customers to the competition.
What is “hyperlocal marketing”?
Instead of marketing to an entire town or city, hyperlocal marketing focuses on highly-targeted geographical areas in an effort to turn local prospects into customers.
Advertising your franchise or business to people in the immediate vicinity ensures that if there’s a potential customer nearby, you show up on their screen when they’re actively searching for your products or services.
“Near me” searches
Thanks to the proliferation of smartphone technology, “near me” searches have become incredibly popular.
Nearly 88% of “near me” searches are done on mobile devices. Voice-activated assistants are equipped to automatically give answers based on nearby options. The next time you use the Yelp app on your phone, notice that the default search radius is automatically set to your “current location”. Even Google is refining its search results to match this trend.
This popularity is tied to the fact “near me” searches address immediate needs and, therefore, deliver instant gratification.
A Franchisor’s Best Friend
As a franchisor, you need to embrace hyperlocal marketing so that when a customer searches for your service or product, they don’t go to a rival franchise brand around the corner. It’s an essential way to make sure your franchise stands out and increases conversions.
Start by incorporating some of these hyperlocal marketing tactics into your overall marketing strategy:
- Develop and add localized content to your website
- Engage in neighborhood-specific SEO
- Use hyperlocal paid advertising
Be hyperlocal, but maintain brand consistency
Let’s say you run a popular sandwich franchise. Your franchisees bought into a successful business that’s turnkey and has name recognition across the country.
In the past year or so, you’ve noticed your franchisees don’t have as many customers as they should—people are going to Chick-fil-A and Jersey Mike’s instead.
Brand inconsistency, that’s what.
Your franchisees started building their own websites, using images, fonts, and colors that aren’t consistent with the corporate brand site. And they decide to change the website layout and navigation tools.
Those “rogue” sites seem less credible to consumers and introduce friction and unease in the customer experience. Inconsistency, and the associated unprofessional look and feel that this conveys, scares away customers.
Brand consistency means maintaining marketing control down to the hyperlocal level.
If your hyperlocal franchisee webpages are inconsistent, your brand suffers. This is bad news for the business since it’s the brand above all that brings customers in the door.
But when your hyperlocal pages are consistent? That’s when you’re more likely to make sales in the long run because people know what to expect. You get local, “near me” search customers because they trust your store, knowing they are going to get the experience they want and had before, even if it’s not at the same location.
By ensuring consistent branding at all levels, hyperlocal efforts will generate maximum return on your marketing investment and interest from all those “near me” searches.