A website map is one of the most common ways for today’s shoppers and customers to find location information about a business.

It also turns out that commonly used Google Maps might be counterproductive to the success of the so-called “location marketing funnel,” the practice of using various marketing tactics to attract shoppers and customers directly to the front door.

How? Businesses that defer to widely used Google Maps sometimes find that their website visitors are encountering information that sends them elsewhere, such as nearby competitors or similar businesses featured by Google. Google Maps might also feature links to paid ads or other URLs, and visitors sometimes encounter third-party, online consumer reviews that might not be all that flattering (or authentic, for that matter).

Why would any business expose potential customers to information that might deflect them elsewhere? Send them to a competitor? Expose shoppers to unowned and potentially negative information that might make them think twice or keep searching?

MapJam: a digital mapping alternative

Often, businesses don’t know alternatives exist, or they think map creation requires special programming, coding or graphic design skills. Alternatives do exist, it turns out, and the fix is quite simple.

Businesses can fix the broken location marketing funnel by fixing their digital map.

And they can do so with newly available online digital mapping tools like MapJam.com, which make it easy to create, customize, personalize, embed and share online maps with content that is fully owned. A recent white paper from MapJam describes how the location marketing funnel can begin to leak, and what businesses and website managers can do to plug the leaks by reclaiming ownership of their online map.

Online digital mapping platforms give businesses and website owners all the tools they need, in an easy-to-use interface, to create, brand and host maps that bring customers directly to a specific location. Key features of these easy-to-use platforms include the ability to:

  • Brand a map by uploading logos, incorporating brand colors and themes, adding descriptions and catchy slogans on a card that accompanies each map, and uploading images, videos or sound files to truly give the map a customized look and feel. Locational markers can appear in different colors and sizes to highlight landmarks, amenities or nearby services (e.g., parking, public transit, gas stations, dining, public services, churches or parks).
  • Embed it and share it. From a unique URL, maps can be shared with a few clicks across numerous channels that include websites, blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, text message and others.
  • Update it in real time, such that an online map can be a living, breathing marketing tool. From the MapJam interface, map creators can update content, move pin markers to new locations, rotate photos seasonally, refresh video/sound links, and keep information current about ongoing promotions or events.

Fixing the funnel

The traditional “marketing funnel” is often described as a three-step process, marked by prospecting, pinpointing the location, and closing the sale.

Typically, retailers and businesses spend a lot of money, time and creative to “own” the first and third phases of the marketing funnel. They create eye-catching logos, host user-friendly websites, launch intuitive mobile apps, invest in customer service training and create inviting and welcoming brick-and-mortar stores.

But the middle “pinpointing the location” phase is the spot at which the marketing funnel often begins to leak, especially if the map intended to attract customers exposes them instead to competitors, nearby similar businesses or content that might make them think twice or explore other alternatives.

Ideally, businesses interested in foolproof location marketing should “own” all three phases of the funnel to prevent it from leaking. They can plug the leaks with a fully customized, personalized digital map.

How uncomplicated is the map-creation process? At MapJam.com, a customized map can be created in 5 minutes, with no coding skills required. MapJam makes map creation intuitive and easy to accomplish, with built-in customization and sharing tools right in the navigation bar.

Customized digital maps can also be used for more than just addresses or locations. They can be used to promote and publicize events tied to a business, such as a book signing, on-site class, sponsored race or fund-raiser, or community appearance.

Boost success with a fully “owned” online map

An online map can be a key component of retailing or business success, but only if the map functions as intended — by funneling customers directly to a specific location, without distractions or detours along the way.

Now that retailers have access to new online tools and interfaces to create fully owned, fully branded and easily updated digital maps to promote their locations, businesses and events, they should take advantage of the opportunity to fix the leaky location marketing funnel by fixing their map.

Jack Gonzalez

Jack Gonzalez


Jack Gonzalez is Co-Founder of MapJam.com.