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Brands Should Have Dedicated Search Budget for Every Location

If your digital marketing budget is not clearly split between national and local, you’re doing it wrong. For small and medium-sized businesses, the marketing budget is often already locally focused. But for larger brands with hundreds or thousands of locations, the strategy and budgets tend to reside within overarching national campaigns. Important focus on local stores can be lost.

Each store has its own unique needs based on sales goals, competition, performance, etc., so each store deserves its own local budget and strategy. It all comes down to driving purchases at the local store level, and the marketing strategies should be tailored to meet this goal.

Why You Need A Local Budget

1. Consumer Search Behaviors Have Become Localized

Over 64% of American adults now own a smartphone, up from 35% in 2011. The rapid adoption of this location-aware technology has made finding a local business the easiest it’s ever been, with an endless selection of apps available to help consumers find the right business, including navigational (Google Maps, Apple Maps), social (Facebook, Foursquare), and review-based (Yelp, Google My Business).

Google’s search report best reveals the extent of the rapid growth in local searches, with “near me” searches growing 34 times since 2011 and doubling since 2014 in Google. And the vast majority of these local searches are coming from mobile. Even without including a geo-modifier in your search (“Pizza Denver, CO”), search engines will still localize your results based on your latitude/longitude coordinates, IP address or triangulating cell phone towers.

2. Localized Campaigns Convert More and Spend Less

Consumers conducting localized searches are generally further down the purchase funnel and looking to take immediate action, making them some of the highest quality leads you can acquire. Google reports:

  • 50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34% who searched on computer/tablet did the same
  • 18% of local mobile searches lead to a sale within one day

In addition, local campaigns are often more efficient in terms of spend and conversions than overarching national campaigns. This is because local campaigns are built to target the local communities surrounding the business. The content and ad copy is locally relevant and with a more targeted audience segment there is less wasted spend, allowing the budget to go further. With higher local engagement, the campaigns yield a higher return on investment.

3. Local Optimizations Provide the Greatest Flexibility and (the Best War Stories)

It is necessary to report and analyze store-level performance when marketing for a multi-unit brand,. Localized campaigns provide the ability to pull a wide variety of levers to improve performance based on reporting (which national campaigns typically lack).With localized budgets, the brand is fully equipped to shift budget and strategies from one store to another based on specific store needs.

This level of flexibility often results in legendary war stories shared throughout the office. An underperforming location can get the attention and budget needed to pull it out of a tailspin, leaving the local budget-shifting marketer with a nice feather in their cap. Other common challenges that can be solved with local budgets and strategies include:

  • Limited local awareness
  • High competitive saturation
  • Low conversion rates
  • Poor local SERP ranking

If your budgets aren’t localized, don’t worry, it’s not too late to adjust and target local consumer behaviors, convert more, spend less and discover the level of campaign flexibility most marketers dream about. Marketing for hundreds or thousands of locations can be a complex challenge, but localized marketing budgets and campaigns will provide an increased level of performance and understanding that national campaigns typically cannot.

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