Business relocations are likely just as old a concept as business itself. From downsizing office premises for better budgeting to expanding to international markets, they’re frequently imperative or simply the optimal choice. However, they’re by no means a simple process; they require proactivity, careful planning, and proper execution. They present new opportunities for growth and potential rebranding but also hold the potential to impact content marketing strategies. So, where does one begin to address this overarching challenge? Let us devote this article to exploring the fundamentals before delving into important marketing tips when relocating your business.
Relocating your business
As outlined above, there are many different reasons that warrant or necessitate a business relocation. Each will affect marketing outreach and strategies differently, so let us begin by briefly outlining the three main ones.
Upsizing is, of course, the most fortunate of reasons for relocations. A business has achieved such growth that it simply requires new premises to house its operations. An increased workforce requires more space, so upsizing is a welcome option that attests to business efficiency.
In this case, marketing outreach will typically need to expand accordingly. Messaging will need to promise proportional growth of one’s scope, entailing new, bigger, and better products or services. When relocating your business due to upsizing, projecting a bright future is typically advisable and lucrative.
On the other hand, downsizing is typically due to less pleasant business outcomes and circumstances. Workforce downscaling, exiting, or restructuring may often necessitate it. Growth rates may no longer warrant such large premises or justify the rent. Finally, the coronavirus pandemic has also encouraged downsizing, as Daily Record reports on Accumulate Capital’s research into UK businesses. More specifically, they found that 73% of senior decision-makers expect companies to downsize due to the coronavirus pandemic. Similarly, they found the following downsizing incentives:
- “[37%] said their business is planning to relocate to a smaller commercial space in the next year. [T]he same number are looking to move to a new location with cheaper rent.”
- “[58%] admitted their preferences for commercial premises have changed […] believing that working from home will become the new norm.”
- “[45%] do not see a situation where all their employees will be working in the office at the same time.”
In such cases, marketing outreach will typically need to build and guarantee confidence. Downsizing will often carry negative connotations, even if they don’t apply, so messaging needs to counter this perception.
Finally, international relocation is arguably a much more complex business relocation type, which would likely warrant its own article. Grant Thornton research highlights 4 main types of international relocation:
- Full migration
- Use of Intellectual property (IP) holding companies and regional hubs
- Changing the risk model
Moreover, it identifies multiple, broad reasons for international relocation:
- Slow economic recovery
- Increased compliance burdens
- Competitive advantage
- Tax incentives
For the purposes of this article, and for the sake of text economy, we will focus on full migrations specifically. Regardless of the reasons behind them, such relocations warrant large-scale marketing changes, from refining content marketing strategies for new audiences to engaging anew in local Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Thus, marketers will need to take these sweeping changes into account throughout the process.
#1 Before the relocation
Having outlined the above, we may proceed with specific planning, management, and marketing tips when relocating your business. Naturally, the very first phase begins before the relocation takes place.
Be proactive about business relocations
Before planning a relocation of any kind, it is always wise to be proactive about the process. BDC Major Accounts Manager Michael Poynton notes that ““[i]t’s a good idea to think proactively about your space”. The reason for this, he continues, is “so it matches both current needs and growth plans.” He concludes by identifying three key woes that may emerge from lacking proactivity in meeting space demands:
- Production mistakes
- Declining customer service
- Higher staff turnover
Space reorganizations may, by all means, offer a substitute for business relocation, or at the very least, a temporary measure. Fortunately, professionals dedicated to this practice offer budget-friendly options in this regard. However, an eventual relocation due to workforce upscaling or new product lines may be unavoidable. In these cases, remaining vigilant and proactive can ensure minimal risk and operation disruptions.
Set your budget in advance
Once you have determined a relocation is indeed imperative, you should likely begin planning ahead. As with many business endeavors, business relocations entail strict, specific budgeting in advance.
In this regard, you may begin to evaluate your budget to cover the fundamental costs, including:
- Real estate costs, whether you purchase or rent
- Moving costs
- Lease incidentals
- Potential insurance costs
- Potential renovations
Moreover, it’s highly advisable that you reserve a portion of your budget for unforeseen, hidden, or otherwise additional costs. You may wish to hire professional help for this step as well, as budgeting remains crucial when relocating your business.
Create a solid, specific timeline
Budgeting reviews should typically reveal your most appealing or realistic real estate and location options. Thus, once you’ve researched your preferred location and have negotiated the lease or purchase price, you may begin preparations. Here, what’s arguably the most crucial step when relocating your business is setting a specific timeline. Oz Moving and Storage project manager Ron Vaknin says you may begin six months early – hence the aforementioned proactivity.
To create a solid expected timeline, you may wish to set a timeframe for individual tasks:
- The moving process itself
- Setting up internet connections and other crucial assets
- Potential renovations
By gauging these tasks’ expected times, you may then extrapolate potential operational downtime. Similarly, you may gauge how long initial marketing outreach may take to establish an optimal foothold in your new location.
Build inventory in advance to avoid disruptions
On the subject of operational disruptions, you may also wish to consider two options, among others. Namely, building inventory in advance to maintain operations, and opting for a staggered move. Of course, the viability of either will depend on your industry, market position, unique needs and circumstances, and other factors. The former, however, is typically easier to account for.
In essence, building inventory in advance hinges on compensating for supply interruptions. By doing so, you may effectively minimize downtime and continue to provide to your clients. If you cannot reasonably stockpile enough to meet the expected demand, you may consider prioritizing your most valuable clients.
Opt for a staggered move if possible
Finally, you may opt for a staggered relocation if the option exists. In essence, a staggered move requires that you maintain both the old and new premises, transitioning gradually. This allows companies to fully minimize operational downtime and maintain a steady workflow, in turn minimizing their final revenue losses.
Naturally, this option entails multiple challenges that traditional business relocations do not. It requires more planning, more work, and a more complex execution. That is not to say it may not work, by any means, as many businesses today opt for staggered relocations. However, it does typically require more, and more thorough, professional help to do so properly and without risk.
#2 During the relocation
Having planned your business relocation and accounted for downtime, costs, and disruptions, you may then proceed with the execution. In this phase, digital marketing begins to become an important pursuit as you communicate your relocation and frame it accordingly.
First and foremost, and arguably most importantly, you will need to ensure you move carefully. Any damage to machines, computers, and other equipment may incur unplanned costs and needlessly complicate the process further. Indeed, damage to equipment, disruptions to your supply chain, or losses of inventory can understandably have serious repercussions.
Therefore, it is vital that you vet your movers to minimize such potential risks. You may wish to resort to trusted referrals and recommendations or thoroughly examine a moving company’s testimonials and reviews. Finally, you should clearly communicate your timetable and moving needs in advance to ensure a seamless experience.
Continue to consult your to-do list
Finally, as regards the physical moving process itself, you may continue to consult your to-do list throughout the process. As with all business-related processes, an attentive eye and continued monitoring can only offer peace of mind.
Relocation-related items to keep an eye on may include specific timetables for:
- Item deliveries
- Setting up internet, phone service, etc
- Insurance settlements and potential damage repairs or replacements
- Renovations, from premise layout to interior design
In this step, you may also wish to ramp up communications with all individuals involved with the move. These may include movers, suppliers, employees, marketing agencies, and others. In brief, when relocating your business, everyone involved should be fully aware of their responsibilities and expected schedules.
Communicate your business relocation
Now, the physical process aside, it is in this step where marketing concerns may arise. You are relocating, whether to larger, smaller, or international premises, and your customers need to know. Through another aforementioned perspective, a relocation offers an opportunity to contact your customers – so why not take it?
In this regard, there are three primary means of communicating your business relocation:
- Email; consider newsletters and “email blasts”
- Social media; consider text, image, and video forms of announcing your relocation and what it signifies
- On-premise signs; don’t neglect the traditional approach for less tech-savvy customers who visit your old premises
You may naturally also employ different channels, should you be using them. In all cases, however, it is vital that you inform your customers manifold. Some may not follow your online presence as closely or not check their emails often. Conversely, you may decide to provide regular updates on the ongoing process instead of one or few announcements.
Communication channels and intervals aside, there are multiple pieces of information you may wish to communicate when relocating your business:
- When is the relocation due, and when will it conclude?
- Where and when can your customers find you?
- How does the relocation affect pending orders?
- What does this initiative say for the future of your business?
Your communication should thus address these and other questions you may deem appropriate or valuable. Whether they’re truly substantive as regards your operations or not, they present an excellent opportunity for you to reach out.
Be proactive about business communications
Ideally, the aforementioned campaigns should begin long before you begin your relocation. Marketers and movers may advise that you do so up to 2 months early to ensure a seamless, well-communicated transition. However, it should also stretch across the whole process up to after you reopen – hence this placement on this list.
Informing customers in advance aside, there are a number of other proactive communication steps to consider before and during your move. Among them, consider the following:
- Directly contact your most valuable customers about potential disruptions
- Ensure call-forwarding in anticipation of potential service errors
- Use your existing marketing assets, such as website banners and landing pages, to draw attention to your relocation plans
These and other steps should likewise help ensure open communication channels and transparency throughout the process. As highlighted above, proactivity when relocating your business is an invaluable mindset.
Maintain your content marketing strategy
Finally, as regards this phase, it is equally crucial to continue to market content. Relocations may indeed entail some downtime, but marketing downtime does not need to follow suit. You will be increasing your engagement with customers to communicate the relocation, so you may put this effort to use.
In this regard, a very understandable concern may be that you simply cannot devote time and resources to maintaining marketing. While indeed understandable, consider that you will be starting anew in many regards, including, by definition, local SEO. As such, maintaining your content marketing strategy and continuing to publish content can help ensure you don’t face engagement dips. You may, as previously covered, amp up your social media presence to provide regular relocation updates; that’s a marketing opportunity. Consider using this renewed engagement as a means of generating more traffic to your website through simple links, for instance. That way, you may generate interest in potential new services or products while also informing your customers of the process.
#3 After the relocation
Finally, this is the phase where marketing tips when relocating your business come into full effect. Ideally, in this phase, you should already have started engaging in these efforts. However, if for any reason you could not, after the relocation is when marketing truly takes off.
Use your relocation to contact your customers
As mentioned above manifold, a relocation offers an immense opportunity to communicate with old and new customers. Thus, after the proverbial dust has settled, you may engage with both – ideally starting with the former.
By nature, update material typically can’t be as crisp and polished; the process is still underway, and timelines may change. When you do settle, however, you may craft some spectacular, visually appealing material to market your new start. Among many options, consider the two main types of such outreach material:
- Online; pages, social media posts, and digital ads
- Print; fliers, postcards, and printed newsletters
Notably, your material may very well overlap. You may, for example, offer digital versions of your print material, or cross-post your social media material among platforms.
Channels and material aside, you will need to ensure your marketing strategy best frames your intended messaging. Covering the fundamentals aside, like clearly providing your new location and contact information, you will initially need to provide reassurance. Specifically, regardless of your business relocation type and reasons, this is a great opportunity to project a bright future. Present your upsizing as an exciting opportunity for growth; your downsizing as a focus on core products, services, and values; your international move as a testament to your success and commitment to diversification. Should you have any needs or desire for rebranding, consider merging the two messages for optimal effect.
Engage anew in customer acquisition
In turn, when relocating your business, an opportunity for new customers always arises. Whether your local business moves to new premises across town or your established business moves overseas, new audiences abound.
In this regard, then, you may change your marketing strategies according to your new intended audiences. In the case of a local business, consider the following among others:
- Is your physical store now more accessible on foot?
- Are there now notable businesses nearby that may affect your marketing?
- Do your existing marketing channels, like magazines, best frame your new premises?
Conversely, in the case of an overseas relocation, consider such factors as:
- How do local and broader audiences react to your existing marketing strategies?
- Are there notable cultural differences that can inform your efforts?
- Does your market position remain unchanged?
In all such cases, then, you will likely need to engage in SEO, CRO, and other practices anew. Depending on your new circumstances, location, and intended audiences, your marketing strategies will need to adapt. Thus, you may use your newfound marketing position to acquire new customers, on top of retaining existing ones.
Update your online profiles consistently
However, to do so effectively, you will need to ensure consistency across your online touchpoints. Partial or slow updates are relatively common, unfortunately, and they can cost dearly in terms of trust and revenue alike.
You may thus begin by ensuring your online presence, from your main website to social media profiles, is consistently updated. Initially, make sure your Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) information is displayed correctly so customers may find you. Then, should you be rebranding, ensure uniform use of your new logos, slogans, and other branding material. Finally, maintain a consistent tone and writing style among your different profiles. All of these factors will help guarantee your customers receive accurate information and have a consistent perception of your business. This is already the case with multi-location businesses and brands, and it is especially crucial when relocating your business.
Update your GMB profile to ensure local SEO
On the subject of your online presence, your Google My Business (GMB) profile is arguably more important than most. The reason for this is fairly simple; your local SEO hinges on it. As such, as you adhere to the above principle of consistency and accuracy, your GMB profile should see due care.
To briefly define it, GMB is a free business listing offered by Google. It enables access to Google’s app ecosystem, including:
- Google Maps
- Local Finder
- Google Search’s knowledge panels
Moreover, GMB can serve as a communication platform, much like social media profiles. Businesses may thus cross-post social media marketing material there, and enhance local visibility in the process.
Updating your GMB’s NAP information aside, you may consider the following practices – which should also inform your content creation itself:
- Use location pages; location pages will provide local customers with directions, opening and closing hours, and other crucial information
- Promote your GMB locally; you may promote your new profile to local directories and pages to acquire locally-valuable backlinks
- Create and market locally-valuable content; consider local news and events, and information that familiarizes visitors with your area and industry
Local SEO does hinge on a plethora of other factors, of course, starting with local keyword research. However, GMB remains at the forefront of such marketing strategies.
Update your content marketing strategy
Finally, you may use all of the above to update your content marketing strategy. Examine your existing strategies within your new location and market position, reevaluate it, and adjust it accordingly. Among other factors and metrics, consider the following:
- How does your general and local SEO perform?
- Does your current style and tone resonate with your new audiences?
- Does your customer segmentation continue to accurately reflect your audience?
- How much has the customer journey changed, and where can you apply safe changes?
- Should you have rebranded, does your current content marketing strategy frame your new identity properly?
These points, as well as the aforementioned, should serve to yield insights into your new direction. When relocating your business, you effectively start anew in many regards – and how you market content should follow suit.
To summarize, relocations offer an effective way to adjust to market demands, from increased demand to economic strain. Simultaneously, they present a logistical challenge and a marketing opportunity; the process is long and complex, but offers new outlets. Thus, while you relocate with proper care as regards the physical process itself, you should remain proactive marketing-wise. From the initial planning stages to your opening day, ensure you maintain communication and project unmistakable optimism. When it concludes, ensure you maintain tonal consistency and provide accurate NAP as you refine local SEO and reach out to new audiences. While it may be a strenuous endeavor, marketing proactivity can help ensure your relocation goes smoothly and boosts your growth.
About the Author
Elliot Johnson is a copywriter and digital marketer with a keen interest in the relocation industry. He frequently authors content for professionalmover.ca, where he discusses commercial relocations and storage solutions.