Managing local marketing strategies for multiple-location companies can be challenging, even for experienced marketers. Let’s say you’re running a 30-location grocery store on the West Coast of the United States. Your store managers are begging you to do a better job of marketing to their local audiences. Here are just a sampling of their complaints:
- A manager of the flower department at one store feels like she can’t compete with the truly local florist who gets intimately involved with the high school at prom time and works with the local card store for Mother’s Day.
- A manager of the produce department at another store doesn’t like the fact that their Asian produce isn’t getting promoted to their substantial Asian population.
- A manager of the pharmacy department at a senior-rich store feels like he’s not effectively promoting senior-friendly products to his local market.
How do you solve these problems? By adopting local store marketing (LSM).
Local store marketing (LSM) is all of the marketing activities you do to help your business be locally relevant to customers within a 1- to 5-mile radius. LSM requires a lot of effort, but the payoff can be great. It’s all about building relationships, giving back to the community and serving the needs of local customers.
Nine Steps to Take for Local Store Marketing
1) Develop Location-based Buyer Personas
Think about the unique characteristics of each of your locations. Essentially you want to come up with a location-based buyer persona (or multiple) for each of your stores. Here is an example to help you get started.
2) Create a Location-specific Database
Having a location-specific database and good engagement platform will make LSM much easier and more efficient. If you have a store-wide database, you can’t promote Asian produce selectively to your Asian audience.
3) Leverage Google My Business (GMB) for Each Location
Assuming you’ve set up Google My Business (GMB) for all of your locations1:
- Create posts that are particular to each location-based buyer persona. For example, promote sunscreen products for the beach stores, meal kits and other senior-friendly products for the elderly stores, Asian fare for the Asian stores, and to-die-for flower offerings for the stores with local florists.
- Highlight a local employee each month, letting people know that if they come to the store that month and find the promoted employee, they will receive a special gift. This is all about making your local store feel like a living, breathing entity who cares for them and is worthy of being cared for. Think about how you feel about most corporations. They’re big. They’re unfeeling. They only care about their bottom line. Creating relationships locally goes a long way in building loyalty and trust.
- Promote a local school and/or a local vendor. Again, the local relationship is huge. A big corporation isn’t going to take the time to care about a local school. But your local store cares deeply.
- Sponsor a local activity, ideally with other local companies. Perhaps you will support a Little League team or a concert at one of the local wineries. And of course, as part of the sponsorship, include some of your favorite products that you are eager to sell more heavily.
4) Further Localize Your Digital Marketing Presence Across Multiple Locations
Create location-specific web pages (company name/location) and social media personas to further help connect local customers with a specific site.
5) Use Customized Emails
Use email marketing to reach out to each location-based persona. Ideally, have the local emails signed by the local store manager.
6) Text Messages Are Even Better
With smart phones all the rage, text messages are even more effective than emails for connecting with local community members, especially if you’re encouraging people to visit the store. Consider using an automated system to make texting even easier. Invite your customers back, thank them for coming in, send birthday messages and much more. Offer your customers a treat and give them 7 days to come in to redeem it.
7) Personalize Assets with Location Information
At a minimum, replace the corporate address information with the local address information. You can do this for online assets as well as for physical assets.
8) Practice Geotargeting for Multi-Location Marketing
When you use geotargeting in your online communications, not only do you make local customers feel warm and fuzzy by highlighting favorite watering holes (e.g., popular restaurants, bars, companies and shops), but you also influence the owners of those favorite places to think about partnering with you. This gives you the opportunity down the road to do some joint marketing, which can be very powerful.
9) Manage Reviews Locally
We all love great reviews. But we know that with great reviews come some not-so-great reviews. Truth be told, the bad reviews aren’t the end of the world. People trust companies much more when they don’t look absolutely perfect. For example, let’s say you’re looking for an area rug on Overstock, and you see that they have some bad reviews. But when you dig deeper, you notice that most of the bad reviews were due to the wrong product being sent, and the reviewers said that the company handled the mistakes smoothly.
Whether the reviews are bad or good, it’s important for the store manager to respond to all of them (the local person is key here). Corporate should write up positive and negative templates that they use on behalf of their store managers (making sure their store managers see everything) or their store managers use.
We hope this article has given you good ideas for how to adopt LSM if you are marketing for a company or franchise with multiple locations.
Happy Local Store Marketing!
1Please visit to learn how to do bulk verification in GMB.