Multi-Location Pain Points: Marketing Fog

Avatar for Amanda Stephens

Amanda Stephens
VP of Operations

Marketing fog
Marketing fog

In my time at seoplus+, I’ve participated in hundreds of calls and meetings with our multi-location clients. One of the biggest pain points, especially early on, is having an understanding of what’s working and what isn’t from a marketing perspective.

Which stores are driving the highest volume of activity?  Is your messaging resonating more in one city or region than another? Should you invest more in the locations with poor marketing performance, or double-down on the high-performing regions? What marketing channel is most effective? Why are you ranking highly for one topic and not another? 

As a marketer, clarity is basically a superpower, and fog is a major obstacle. If you can’t get visibility into what is working, you don’t know what strategy to apply, nevermind evaluating if a given strategy is even effective. 

These issues only deepen as your number of locations grows. If you run a two-location dental group, for example, it probably isn’t too hard to identify which store is carrying the most weight or which one has a higher number of Google Ads clicks. But if you manage dozens or hundreds of locations, identifying and addressing underperformers or leaks is a lot more difficult.

Let’s talk a little more about marketing fog, and how to overcome it for your multi-location business

Graphic of SEO & PPC agencies on a reporting call

Bring your sources together

First and foremost, a lot of fog is caused by having separate vendors or platforms that don’t talk to each other. Your paid ads provider might be able to talk about the number of live chats generated, but if they don’t have visibility into the quality of those conversations, or whether they lead to bookings/sales, you can only have partial conversations. 

Similarly, if your SEO team is trying to identify the cause of a traffic drop, but they haven’t been informed that radio spend was paused, they’re going to be looking in all the wrong places. If your marketing team is taking credit for a spike in online sales, but it was because a wholesale order was placed through, this can be a pretty awkward conversation at the next reporting call.

Centralizing your marketing channels is critical. Whether that’s creating shared dashboards, co-leading reporting meetings, or just having visibility into key actions, the more information is out in the open, the more you will be able to clear the fog. 

Graphic representing looker studio dashboard

Create shared reporting

Speaking of shared dashboards, this is another way to clear marketing fog. At our agency, for example, we use Agency Analytics to integrate Google Analytics, SEO, paid ads, PR, and social media data, as well as integrations with e-Commerce, email marketing and more. This means our clients, and everyone on our team, can see all key information in one place and cross-reference as needed.

We also use Looker Studio (formerly Google Data Studio) for more advanced reporting. It has robust native integration of most Google products (Analytics, Google Ads etc.) and there are third-party connectors that will automatically pull in data from sources like Meta. Unfortunately, at this time Google Business Profile requires a paid third-party connector or a manual setup.

The coolest part of Looker is the ability to bring in custom data sources. For example, with a property management company, we were able to sync lead forms via Zapier to a Google Sheet, which we then mapped into Looker Studio. We were able to see information like number of bedrooms all in the same place we saw impressions and clicks—now that’s clarity.

Whatever solution you choose, having a centralized location where key stakeholders can see data from multiple sources is key to clearing the fog.

Graphic representing outlier metrics

Spotlight outliers

Reporting calls and robust dashboards don’t provide as much value as they should if you don’t know how to cut through the noise and spotlight what matters. For example, if you have a keyword dashboard with 1,000 entries you are tracking, it is not feasible or even useful to go through these one by one and try to draw conclusions. The shorter your time window, the less useful this analysis becomes. Why did keyword #589 fall by 2 positions yesterday? Why did your Brandon, Manitoba store generate no calls last Tuesday? These questions are not worth your time.

That said, it is important to be able to spotlight your high performers and low performers. Which stores drew the most and least clicks this month? Which location had the most and the least number of calls? Ask your agency to create dashboards for these, or have them set up automated reporting (you can get a Top Performing Report sent straight to your inbox every Monday morning, for example).

For instance, you can set up anomaly reporting that will alert you if a store experiences a 50% drop in leads. Just be cautious as a store losing 50% of their leads might be alarming, but if it’s a drop from 4 to 2 then the raw numbers are not significant in terms of overall business impact. 

business strategy 1 | Award-Winning Digital Marketing Agency

Connect marketing with business strategy

Let’s say you have two daycares in Kingston, Ontario and one is outperforming the other. Location A is located near the city centre. Location B is located in the west end of town in a strip mall. The problem may not be solely due to digital marketing reasons. It may not be a matter of optimizing the SEO elements of the page (title tag, meta description etc.) or making a bid adjustment in Google ads. 

Consider these factors as a quick example:

  • Hours: Location A is open from 7 AM – 7 PM; this gives parents enough time for drop off and pick-up. Location B is open from 8 – 6 PM; this makes it challenging for parents with full time jobs to accommodate. Are visitors likely to see the hours and select location A instead?
  • Reviews: Location A has a 5– star rating on Google Business Profile, while location B has a 3.6. Which would you rather select? 
  • Word of Mouth: Location A has a great reputation around town because the staff is excellent. Location B has strong staff too, but they don’t have evangelists spreading the word. 

Even if the SEO team did an outstanding job and got location B ranking #1 for all priority keywords, or the paid ads team was able to double the number of visits to the location B page, or the email marketing team sent an email blast promoting an open house for location B, it’s still always going to lag behind location A based on these other business factors. Location B will continue to have a lower conversion rate and worse marketing metrics. Only by addressing these core business challenges can we expect an increase in marketing performance to match.


One of the things I love most about working with clients is seeing that fog start to dissipate as we build our relationship and elevate important data so the client can make informed decisions about where to go next. It’s not a simple or overnight process, but over time we learn to spotlight the information that matters most to you as the client, arm you with learnings to take back to your executive team, and create and deploy strategies that move the needle. 

At seoplus+, we understand the unique challenges that multi-location businesses face and the significance of marketing clarity. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help clear the fog, simplify communications, centralize data, and help you thrive in a competitive landscape.

Avatar for Amanda Stephens

Amanda Stephens

Amanda Stephens is the Vice President of Operations at seoplus+. She leads the production team across a number of departments including SEO, web design/development, and paid ads. Amanda is responsible for team culture, process, and training to ensure optimal results for world class clients.

View latest posts

Want More Sales? Get 3 Tips From an SEO Expert!

Our SEO specialist will review your website and provide actionable tips to help increase your revenue

"*" indicates required fields


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

3 screenshots of seoplus+ TikTok videos

Passionate Marketers Striving to Make Your Life Better

Meet the team you'll work with. We can’t wait to learn more about your goals so we can achieve them together.