As a multi-location brand, opening a new location is exciting! You’re not only spreading the name of your business and growing your following, but you’re allowing customers to experience your business first-hand.
However, opening a new location is also a little stressful. Between getting new employees trained, the construction or remodeling of the building and financial challenges, it can be a lot to handle all at once.
While you have a lot on your plate, your marketing strategy may slip your mind or be pushed to the bottom of your to-do list.
But, wait, how will customers know to visit your business after you’re open? This is where a pre-opening digital marketing strategy comes in!
While it might not seem necessary to market a new location of a franchise due to brand recognition, it’s an essential part of your marketing strategy to gain customer loyalty before even opening.
So, what should your pre-opening marketing strategy look like? Here are a few things we recommend.
Local Search in Your Pre-Opening Marketing Strategy
Of course, people are going to question what new business is being built or “what’s going into the old x store?” This is a great way to get people talking, but the first step is making sure your new location can be found online when potential customers search the address.
Local search marketing, sometimes referred to as local SEO, is a strategy to help your new business location rank in the search results, specifically the local map section.
In the scope of digital marketing, local search is the heart of your digital presence. Think about it; when you ignore your heart health, it’s likely your body will suffer. The same goes for local search.
Without local search, your rankings will decrease and fewer consumers will be able to find your business.
Consumers want to spend money in their communities, and we know this because online searches that include “near me now” have increased by 150 percent in recent years. When you’re opening a new location for your multi-location brand, you can’t ignore local search.
What it comes down to is that your business information, including name, phone number, website, email address, etc., should be consistent across the internet.
The more consistent and accurate your business information is, the more that search engines, like Google, will trust and recommend your business to online searchers.
Keep in mind, though, that local search takes some time to get traction. We recommend beginning your local search strategy 90 days before your opening takes place.
Still not convinced? Learn more about why local search is vital to your brand marketing strategy.
Paid Advertising Efforts Are a Must for Pre-Open Marketing
Now that you have your local search marketing covered for when consumers are searching for your business, it’s time to reach customers through paid advertising!
Not every person will search for your specific business or what you offer, which means you need to target them with the appropriate ads, so they know you’re an option!
At RevLocal, we have a paid advertising plan called Brand Expander. Ultimately, this plan helps spread brand awareness and create demand for your new location.
Imagine Brand Expander as an online billboard for your business. This impression-based paid advertising tactic helps to build recognition and trust with your business. The more times consumers see your ads, the more likely they’ll trust and choose your business.
Brand Expander utilizes ads on the Google Display Network as well as ads on Facebook and Instagram newsfeeds. Also, our team can use retargeting ads to reach consumers who have left your website and geofencing to target consumers in a specific area.
Sixty-three percent of consumers can recall a specific brand they have seen advertised on mobile in the last week, so when it comes to opening your new location, it’s important to think like a consumer.
Ask yourself these questions to get in the consumer mindset:
- What would a consumer want to see from a new business/location?
- How would they respond to an ad?
- What should you include in your ads?
With all these questions, we can guide you with industry best practices and our own experience to create the best paid advertising strategy for your new location!
Review Marketing Helps Establish a Positive Online Reputation
Before you open your new location, it’s crucial that you have a review marketing strategy in place so you can start gathering reviews as soon as your location opens.
Although, you’ll want to make sure your staff is trained on how to ask for reviews before you officially open. We suggest starting your review marketing strategy 30 days before you open, which will allow you to train your staff and become familiar with the review process, including how to respond to reviews.
Building a positive online reputation is not only helpful to you as a business but to consumers as well! When a consumer is researching a business, they’ll look at the reviews to see what other consumers are saying about your location.
If there are only a few reviews, it’s possible they’ll navigate to another business listing. Don’t let this get you down!
With RevLocal’s review and reputation management platform, Renown, we can help you generate more reviews on a consistent basis and respond to every type of review.
With 91 percent of consumers reading online reviews, you can’t afford to not include review marketing in your overall digital marketing strategy for your new location.
If you want to learn more about online reviews, check out these resources:
While there are many other business aspects you need to care to before you open, sometimes marketing can fall through the cracks.
When this happens, it’s possible that your business will have a slower opening, which means that digital marketing is a crucial part of your pre-opening strategy.
When you combine local search, paid advertising and review marketing, your new location will be headed toward success before you even open!
Of course, there are plenty of other tactics you can consider, such as social media, traditional advertising, press releases and more to include in your pre-opening strategy.
Or, if you’re getting ready to relocate your business, check out this blog for six marketing tips!
If you need help with your multi-location brand’s digital marketing strategy, our Brand Team is standing by! From day one, you’ll work with a dedicated consultant and strategist to create localized and scalable marketing solutions for your business.
Request a demo today to learn all about our strategies for multi-location brand and franchise networks.