Location Bank is helping franchisors and their franchisees with its best-in-breed digital platform, says James Hemsley, head of business development
What kind of services does Location Bank provide its franchise clients?
JH: We assist multi-location brands with the challenges of maintaining their digital storefronts and in turn leveraging them across multiple platforms, such as Google Business Profile (formerly GMB), Apple Maps Facebook, Waze, Here, TomTom, TripAdvisor, to name a handful. We also protect their reputation across these multitudes of channels.
We do this through our four-tier data cleansing service and our five main product areas: our reputation management, boost, store vault, gauge, and store locator, which all work in conjunction to increase the digital presence and customer engagement of our clients.
We’re the only platform to provide a four-tier data cleanse for our new client’s data before publishing it. We find that multi-location brands have incorrect addresses, telephone, website data across a multitude of platforms.
This means they are losing customers who are searching online for their products and services. And these searches number in the many, many millions
What does the process look like when Location Bank first partners with a new client?
JH: All new client journeys start at Location Bank, with our extensive four-tier data cleanse.
We rigorously ensure your location data online matches location data offline, including but not limited to – name, address, telephone, website, and operating hours.
These days you need to win online to win offline as customers research online before choosing to either purchase offline or online. After our team has cleaned all the client’s data, our best-of-breed local SEO solution helps the clients listing gain traction with the goal of having them at the top of organic search results, which achieve 75 per cent of all user clicks.
Location Bank creates a single point of truth that, when mirrored across the internet, creates brand credibility. This results in search engines pushing the client’s listings up search results, where they will outrank competitor listings and gain the first-found advantage.
In addition, reputation management, bespoke keyword strategies, and backend optimisation further boost the client’s ranking as visibility increases month on month. Ultimately resulting in the client getting more views, more impressions and more clicks online, attracting more customers.
Why is centralising your digital presence through a single provider such as Location Bank so important in today’s technology-driven business landscape?
JH: ‘Near Me’ searches are exploding. People searching online for local services and products is now more prevalent than ever, with the most recent figures suggesting that 90 per cent of consumers read reviews before purchasing a product or service.
This consumer behaviour drastically increases the importance of maintaining your listings and managing your reputation. In a world where the reliance on digital platforms such as Google is only going one way and with huge leaps forward in online retail across all sectors and the emergence of the Metaverse, digital integrity is vital.
This is also important when making changes to your online presence; changing operating hours during the pandemic, for example, can be very time-consuming if you need to do so across 100 platforms rather than just one. With Location Bank, a client can create one version of the digital truth across 98 per cent of the world’s mapping platforms in one place, saving precious time and creating consistency.
What kind of data does Location Bank provide its clients with to help drive their future success?
JH: Location Bank provides powerful reporting on online analytics, searches, views, actions, post-performance, ROI, reputation and keyword search and competitor rankings from a single dashboard.
This feature gives the client a 360-degree view of their online reputation and performance across all platforms, regions and locations. The client receives weekly or monthly reports delivered to their inbox; if needed, the client can log into Location Bank and generate reports from within the Gauge feature, providing instant insights into online location performance.
Additionally, our dashboard is conveniently available on a mobile app, allowing the client to use the platform’s full functionality on the move.
What common mistakes do you see businesses making when it comes to their online presence?
JH: There are three very common mistakes businesses make regarding their digital presence.
Firstly, neglecting their online presence and assuming their business reputation will take care of itself. Moreover, they disregard the importance of consistency and accuracy and how this impacts their search ranking. The vast majority of Google searches are conducted on mobile devices and Google looks to rank and displays businesses in your local proximity according to how relevant they are to your search and how active those listings are.
Secondly, not having an SEO-friendly store locator. The store locator is the first port of call for Google when looking for the most accurate location information. If the information is not in an easily digested or incorrect format, Google will downrank the listing. This is a very common mistake and is easily rectified. However, many businesses get put off using a fully integrated store locator solution due to the cost of implementation, which we have strived at Location Bank to debunk, with cost-effective options that we believe are affordable for all business sizes.
Last but not least, harvesting useful and actionable data from their digital engagements. This spans from total clicks, views, and impressions, but businesses operating in more service-orientated sectors should also be tracking customer sentiment, trends and engagement. Clients can track these metrics effortlessly through Location Bank’s reputation management suite.
Reporting, as previously mentioned, can be generated in seconds and appear perfectly formatted and ready to share. We find that a lot of businesses fall into the trap of ‘analysis paralysis’ due to the enormous amount of data associated with running a business in the digital age. We believe we have developed a tool to scythe through the noise and deliver key information to business owners.
How important is a franchise brand’s own website presence, compared to its social media platform presence?
JH: The answer is that both are equally important. The franchise brand’s or client’s website acts as a home base for all customer engagement, be that franchisee or customer. We have found that client websites play a significant part in boosting local SEO and visibility through features mentioned previously, such as an SEO-friendly store locator. Websites also provide a ‘long format’ version of the story you’re trying to tell instead of the increasingly ‘bitesize’ version preferred by customers consuming social media content.
Through a broad range of products and features, we ensure accuracy and consistency across the board. For example, as part of the Location Bank platform, we offer an automated active online engagement feature that allows you to schedule and publish media posts (specials, promotions, upcoming events and more) to social media platforms.
At a glance