Originally Published September 2021
Brother’s Market is a relatively new entrant to the convenience store and gas station business. Started in early 2018, the experienced food, beverage, and retail team behind Brother’s Market quickly opened or acquired one location after another in the greater Alexandria, Minnesota area, including: Alexandria, Barrett, Carlos, Elbow Lake, Glenwood, Miltona, Osakis, and Sauk Centre as of 2021.
Quickly branching out into the co-related and co-located liquor store business, a literal sister-brand was created: Sister’s Beer | Wine | Spirits. As of 2021, Sister’s has four locations across the greater Alexandria, MN area, including: Barrett, Carlos, Elbow Lake, and Sauk Centre.
The future was looking bright for Brother’s Market and Sister’s Beer | Wine | Spirits, except – travelers unfamiliar with the area couldn’t find them online, and regular customers couldn’t leave reviews to show others how much they loved the new brand.
So, where would Brother’s Market & Sister’s Beer | Wine | Spirits turn for marketing help in the Alexandria area? Cohlab Digital Marketing.
Let’s break down what we did.
Blue car indicates Brother’s Market location. Green martini indicates Sister’s Beer | Wine | Spirits location.
Brother’s Market & Sister’s Beer | Wine | Spirits Use GMB To Grow Brand In Alexandria Area
February 2020, Alexandria, Minnesota
In February 2020, Logan Gruber of Cohlab Digital Marketing in Sauk Centre reached out to the team at Brother’s Market because they had a location in Sauk Centre and Logan has a passion for helping local small businesses compete against larger corporations.
A meeting was set in-person with Logan at the client’s Alexandria location. That meeting included Kellie Janssen, President of Brother’s Market and Sister’s Beer | Wine | Spirits, along with Missy Myron, Vice President of Operations at Brother’s and Sister’s.
After a fruitful meeting, a proposal was authored, advocating for the creation Google My Business (GMB) locations for both brands – 8 GMB locations for Brother’s Market and 4 GMB locations for Sister’s Beer | Wine | Spirits in order to drive travelers and locals who were unfamiliar with the stores and new brands to these locations.
As of February 2020, none of these locations were on Google Maps, so someone planning a trip to or through their target markets would have no idea the Brother’s or Sister’s locations were there. Locals using Google Search or Google Maps to plan a night out would see competitor locations, but not Brother’s or Sister’s locations.
March-July 2020, Greater Alexandria Area
After an initial data-gathering period where Missy & Logan worked closely together to determine correct data for all 12 locations, Cohlab got to work creating GMBs for all of the Brother’s and Sister’s locations across the greater Alexandria area.
There were, however, some difficulties in the execution. First, certain locations were not able to accept mail directly to their door from the United States Postal Service. This resulted in verification postcards from Google being unable to reach them, and their locations being unable to be verified. The solution was to wait out a 14-day Google-imposed waiting period, then email back-and-forth with a Google representative to set up a GMB video call between a trusted store manager or Cohlab employee and the Google representative in order to verify the location.
Other locations did not have the mail delivery problem, but did have an issue with proper photography – either the building previously didn’t exist so Google thought it was an empty lot, or Google had old images on-hand which showed a different brand owning the property, so our name was rejected. This was solved by having either a trusted store manager or Cohlab employee take new photos of the necessary locations.
Each location needed a deluge of data to be as complete as possible, compete with other convenience stores and liquor stores in search results, and provide the best experience possible for potential customers. Data we needed for these locations included:
- Store Name
- Store Category
- Hours Of Operation
- In-Store Phone
- Website (leading to Facebook Pages)
- Opening Date
- Logo & Other Photography
- Amenities (i.e. restroom, dining, car wash, coffee, etc.)
- Health & Safety
Because there weren’t any Google My Business locations in existence before Cohlab partnered with Brother’s Market & Sister’s Beer | Wine | Spirits, there isn’t any data to compare against. But what we can do is measure the website visits (in this case, these are visits to their two respective Facebook pages), phone calls, and requests for Google Maps directions that they would have missed out on without our work.
We revisited the Google My Business locations we created one year after they were launched to see how they were faring.
Note: Google My Business statistics are only available for the previous four months, and so have been extrapolated from that data backwards through a twelve-month period.