How to Create a Nationwide ZIP Code Territory Map

A nationwide ZIP code-based territory map, created using MapBusinessOnline.

Does the above map call out to you? Is this territory scheme similar to the map you want to create for your business? If so, read on to learn how to create a nationwide territory map.

MapBusinessOnline is specifically designed to enable the creation of beautiful and informative business maps by everyday business people like you and me. There is no need to hire a cartographer or a GIS specialist when you’ve invested a few dollars into MapBusinessOnline.  Territory map capabilities within MapBusinessOnline can be applied to sales organizations, franchise businesses, and service organizations.

First, Adjust the ZIP Code Data Source

To create the best-looking territory maps, adjust the ZIP code settings in MapBusinessOnline for territory creation. Use the ZIP code with the Fillers option set in Map and Data.

  1. Open Map & Data (the gray map layer check box hovering over your map.)
  2. Select Map Options and then the ZIP code Tab.
  3. In the Check box at the bottom of the panel, drop down to and select ZIP codes with fillers.

This setting automatically deals with the non-ZIP code areas that pepper the United States, including national parks, extremely rural sections out west, and military installations. ZIP codes with Fillers merge those unassigned areas with the abutting ZIP codes, making your map view solid and consistent. Remember that you can’t fix these unassigned areas of your map later; you must select this setting before starting your territory map. Once selected, you’re all set – forever.

Determine Your Base Map Alignment Layer

As you can see, the state-level territories created in the above map, in many cases, combine multiple states. MapBusinessOnline has rules for territory creation across jurisdictions that keep things organized:

  • Combined and split state territories must be created from lesser map alignment layers – i.e., ZIP codes or Counties.
  • While not recommended, overlapped territories can be created and configured to stand out visually using Territory Options in Map and Data. Learn more about Territory overlap.

ZIP codes are the most common map alignment layer used to create territories. ZIP codes provide the most flexibility in territory creation for a USA-wide map where territories are roughly outlined by state(s). A territory creator must choose which map alignment layer makes the most sense for their particular territory map requirement:

  • Most franchise organizations use ZIP codes for their territory map alignment layer because they offer easily compiled segmentation with accurate and up-to-date demographic data.
  • Rural service orgs lean toward counties for their map alignment layer.
  • Large and national organizations sometimes choose states as their map alignment layer unless they have hierarchical tiers that tend to favor ZIP codes or Counties.

National Territory Creation

MapBusinessOnline provides several ways to create a nationwide territory map. If you have all your ZIP codes neatly assigned to a territory in one spreadsheet, you can import the territory spreadsheet and quickly set up ZIP code-based territories.

An example of a ZIP code-based territory import spreadsheet.

MapBusinessOnline’s territory import process now supports hierarchical territory imports as well.

Suppose a territory creator does not have a territory spreadsheet to import. In that case, the best way to create a nationwide territory is by gathering groups of ZIP codes using a Polygon Search Tool.

If your company only requires whole state-level territories – territories made up of one or more whole states – it’s easy to select individual states with your mouse cursor, hold the shift key down to select more, and then name the resulting territory. However, most territories are more complex and, as such, require the flexibility of a ZIP code bases map layer.

The ZIP code territory creation process:

In Map and Data, Check on the ZIP code layer and adjust for transparency.

Adjust the ZIP code map layer for transparency.

  • Turn on the State Layer for reference, and uncheck the state color Fill, which prevents ZIP code selection. Darken up state boundaries in Map and Data for clearer guidance as you select groups of ZIP codes.

Optimize the state layer – darken boundaries and uncheck fill.

  • Under Search Tools on the Master Toolbar, select the Polygon option. Place your cursor on the map where a selection of target ZIP codes exists and run the polygon inside the targeted ZIPs’ borders, connecting the polygon back to the starting point. A dialogue box opens – select the ZIP code layer.

Select a group of ZIP codes using the polygon tool.

  • Click Next and name the Territory. There is a notes box in the naming dialogue for reference information. Try creating and deleting a few territories to get the hang of it.

Name the created territory. You can always rename the territory later.

  • The territory Data Window view appears. This tabular data view is designed to manage data associated with your territory. Remove redundant data using the Choose Columns button in the lower right. You can add demographic, imported sales, or business listing data in the Data Window territory view. All additional territories created will include the same imported tabular data layers in the data window view.

Adjust the Data Window view by adding imported data and or demographic data.

  • Delete the ZIP code gathering Polygon by clicking Delete in the associated dialogue box.
  • Repeat the territory creation process until the entire USA or regional coverage area is completed and all territories are named.

An unoptimized rough draft nationwide territory map.

The above territory picture is a rough draft of my final map. It still needs some fine-tuning. The territories are all in place, but you must adjust border areas that may have missed small ZIP codes, especially along river borders. This is just a tedious fact of territory creation. Many tiny ZIP codes require editing, especially in the east of the USA, where rivers are boundaries.

Territory edits out west are easy:

  1. Zoom into the area or territory.
  2. Select an unselected ZIP code with your cursor and hold down the Shift Key.
  3. Select all the other ZIP codes requiring inclusion.
  4. Click the Edit Territory option in the open dialogue.
  5. Select the Add to Territory Option and select the target Territory.
  6. Click the Edit option in the lower right.

The Edit Territory dialogue. Choose the manner of Edit required on the right and select the target territory.

Let’s look closer at a map section:

Area requiring territory edits.

The snippet of the territory map to the left shows several potential edits.

The two light green ZIP codes with the red border are unassigned. They were missed in the territory creation process. Select them (select one, hold down the shift key, and select the other) and Add them to the green territory.

Notice the darkened ZIP code at the border of three states. That indicates overlap. It also shows that ZIP codes do not always align with state boundaries. In this case, I recommend removing the ZIP from the territory to the west and leaving the ZIP in the territory to the east because most of the ZIP area exists there. Once the ZIP is selected, options display for selecting either a territory or the ZIP code. Choose the ZIP and use the option to Remove from All Territories Except.


The Edit Territory dialogue provides various ways to edit misapplied ZIP codes:

  • Add to territory – Select and Add to.
  • Move to territory – Switch a ZIP code or selection of ZIPs from one territory to another. Choose the territory to move to, and the application will remove ZIP from the previous territory and place it in the target territory.
  • Update territory – Select a group of ZIp codes and update the entire territory with that selection.
  • Remove from territory – You guessed it – select and remove those ZIP codes.
  • Remove from all except – This is handy when you incorrectly assigned a selection of ZIPs to one or more territories but want to preserve the selection you added to the correct territory.

Fine Tune Your Map’s Look and Feel

Once your ZIP code territories are reviewed, you can fine-tune your map’s look and feel. These adjustments are suggestions. Use your judgment. Make adjustments, and then take a look. Think about how your map audience will react.

  • From the nationwide view – consider the labels. Do they make sense? Will they invite criticism? Are they woke enough? (OK – that’s a joke! Lighten up!) Adjust as necessary.
  • Consider adjusting colors – Avoid colors that are too bright or too dark. Keep similar color shades separated.
  • In Map and Data > General, check Hide Internal Boundaries.
  • Turn off the ZIP code layer. Decide if that looks better.

On my map, I made the following adjustments:

  • Renamed the territories to develop a consistent, readable naming system.
  • Darkened the territory boundaries.
  • Removed the ZIP code layer and checked the Hide Internal Boundaries box.
  • Adjusted territory colors to be more pastel and less offbeat.
  • Adjusted the territory label positions.
  • Removed the state layer auto label and transparentized territories. The state label bleeds through from the Street data layer.
  • Simplified the legend and placed it in the pocket of the Atlantic coast, where a rectangular image would include the legend.

The contiguous USA territory map view.

My nationwide map contiguous view.

Lastly, a conterminous view, with Alaska included:

USA territory map with Alaska.

Conterminous view, including Alaska and or Hawaii, is an option in the image file export button.

Conterminous with Alaska & Hawaii.

Feel free to request a territory creation web demo.

Posted in Business Mapping Software blog post, Franchise Mapping, How to instruction, Press Release, Sales and marketing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Share Territory Maps with Field Staff Through KML Export

Over the summer, MapBusinessOnline image file export options were enhanced to include KML support. In addition to exporting images such as PNG, Jpeg, or PDF files, MapBusinessOnline now supports KML files.

Keyhole Markup Language (KML) is an XML-based file format that enables the transfer of geographic features to third-party software such as ArcGIS Earth, Google My Maps, and Google Earth. KML allows the MapBusinessOnline user to draw points, lines, and polygons on business maps and share those drawing overlays with other mapping users outside the MapBusinessOnline universe.

Put another way, map drawings and territories created in MapBusinessOnline, exported in KML format, can be imported and overlayed in third-party mapping software that supports KML use in the field. Additionally, traveling field staff can access shared territory maps as KML files and quickly import them into mobile devices for display over Google MyMaps or other mobile map apps.

Currently, standard maps created in MapBusinessOnline are not supported on a mobile phone application. However, a map creator using MapBusinessOnline can create multi-colored territories or drawings showing highlighted and color-shaded areas and export those drawn figures as a KML file. Those KML files can then be imported into third-party desktop and web-based applications and apps supporting maps on a cell phone.

KML Support for Territory Map Views

How could KML Map image export come in handy?

MapBusinessOnline generated territory scheme imported as a KML file into a Google Earth map project.

Companies that create sales, franchise, or service territories using MapBusinessOnline have multiple reasons for viewing territory maps on third-party web or mobile mapping applications, including:

  • Sharing territory map views and areas of responsibility with field technicians, sales reps, or franchisee employees.
  • Executive or management map views supporting sales planning, strategic planning, and general management decision-making. Think CFO with a laptop on a plane.
  • General geographic referencing for customer service representatives to confirm customer locations and match customers with field tech territory assignments.
  • Field routing applications in construction and insurance can benefit from awareness of proximity to territories when approaching job sites.

These are just a few examples of KML territory applications we know. There are many more possible applications for business mapping KML support.

In any of the above scenarios, a territory manager can easily export a KML file out of MapBusinessOnline and import the file into a KML-supporting application. The exported territories would appear on the map view draped over the original map.

A franchise territory map in MapBusinessOnline above, exported to Google Earth below.

The process for moving KML files from MapBusinessOnline to other KML applications is outlined below:

  1. Export the territory or draw layers from MapBusinessOnline by clicking the Export Map Image button on the Master Toolbar.
  2. Select the KML Territories or Drawings option in the Map Image dropdown.
  3. Select KML or KMZ file format and export.
  4. Import the data via the standard drawings or image file import process within the target application (Google Earth, Google My Maps, ArcGIS Earth, or other applications). Applications usually specify KML import options.

The process for importing KML files into the Google Earth web application  is also simple:

  1. Log into
  2. In the Google Earth Dashboard view, choose File in the upper left dropdown and select Import KML/KMZ file.
  3. Select your file and click Open.
  4. Google Earth zooms into your area of interest and displays your images or drawings.

For Google Earth mobile phone KML import:

  1. Drag the bar at the bottom of the app window up. KML import is on the right.
  2. Click the Plus sign (+), select Local KML, and then Import.
  3. Navigate to your local file and select it.

The Google Earth web-based dashboard, with the KML import button highlighted on the left.

Another Google web-based solution is Google My Maps, not to be confused with Google Maps.

  1. Go to Google.MyMaps.
  2. Select Create New Map.
  3. An Untitled dialogue opens in the upper left corner. Scroll down and click Import.
  4. Navigate to your KML data and select your target.
  5. My Maps does not zoom to the imported KML area; you will have to use the navigation zoom controls in the lower right of the app to zoom into your area of interest.

One nice feature in My Maps is that MapBusinessOnline territories appear in a map legend as clickable links. Clicking on the Territory name pops up a label and highlights the territory map’s alignment layer internal boundaries – ZIP codes in the case below.

A MapBusinessOnline territory KML file viewed in Google My Maps with internal boundaries selected.

Both Google Earth and My Maps offer a selection of background maps.

ArcGIS Earth & Mobile Phone KML Overlays

Another example of a business needing KML support is a busy organization with just one or two GIS professionals managing all map requirements using GIS tools. It’s common for such busy GIS pros to get overwhelmed with map requirements.

In such cases, an end user might require a territory map exported to an application like ArcGIS Earth on a cell phone for visual reference. MapBusinessOnline can provide the KML capability to make that possible. ArcGIS offers both desktop and mobile phone versions.

The exported KML file can be imported into cell phone mapping applications that support KML. That exported KML image is then geolocated onto the cell phone’s digital world map at the appropriate location. Thus, a map creator can generate cell phone map views with MapBusinessOnline’s advanced map visualization layers included.

To import a KML file into ArcGIS Earth:

  1. Launch the ArcGIS Earth application.
  2. Along the toolbar in the upper left of the application, click the Plus sign (+) and select the Add Files Option.
  3. Navigate to your target KML file, select it, and click Open.
  4. ArcGIS Earth zooms into your area of interest and displays your image or drawings.

ArcGIS Earth dashboard and the import pathway for loading a KML file.

The above pictures show MapBusinessOnline-generated KML images imported over ArcGIS Earth Mobile in an iOS phone view. A map user routing in the field can find themselves accurately located within the critical areas of interest. ArcGIS Earth Mobile or other apps unrelated to MapBusinessOnline might be used to collect data in the field.

ArcGIS Earth offers excellent background map options, including multiple topography views and recent USDA NAIP imagery.

KML Conclusion

If constituents ask for a few drawn map objects or territory layers to be shared with a user on a cell phone or in a specific map application, help them decide which KML-supporting map application best fits their need.

  • Google Earth for easy Import, auto-zoom, annotation options, and KML mobile phone map views.
  • Google My Maps for labeling. My Maps does support KML mobile phone map views.
  • ArcGIS Earth for the broad selection of background imagery. ArcGIS Earth Google Earth does support iOS phones with KML map views but not Android.

Then, send those field techs a KML file generated in MapBusinessOnline.

Request a quick web demo.

Posted in Business Mapping Software blog post, Franchise Mapping, How to instruction, Sales and marketing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Use a Competitor Map to Pick the Best Location for a Business

Whether you’re starting a business or trying to manage the growth of an existing business, being cognizant of the competition is a significant aspect of sales success. Competitor awareness provides multiple strategic and tactical advantages to any business, especially regarding launching a new venture.    

Imagine you decided to open your own dental practice near Columbus, OH. 

Clients will not drive very far for a dentist visit in the dentistry industry. Nor will dental hygienists drive very far to clean patients’ teeth. Opening a new practice well-situated for patients and clinicians is a delicate balance. Your practice needed to be centrally located but not overcrowded with competing offices. 

You also needed some basic information about who the competition is, their annual revenue estimates,  and perhaps how many employees they have on the payroll. Fortunately, business mapping software can help you find the answers. All you need to do is build a competitor map and conduct some basic analysis. 

Define Your Area of Interest 

The first step is to create a 25-mile radius area around the center of Columbus, Ohio. This circle area encompasses about 84 ZIP codes. The mapping application quickly calculated this metro area’s population at just under 2 million. 

A 25-mile radius map surrounding the Columbus, OH area.

 Demographically, dentistry is quite simple. Everyone ages 2 to 102 needs a dentist, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or income level. Every one of these 2 million folks are potential customers. 

Map the Competition 

Next, you had to figure out where are the competing practices. How many are there? You quickly searched business listing data in the mapping application for Dentist Practices, placing the locations on the map area of interest. Each business listing also included annual sales revenue estimates and the approximate number of employees per dental office.

In dentistry, the more employees there are, the more hygienists are in place, which is the key to a successful practice. To analyze correctly, you need to be aware of the hygienist concentration and consider opening your practice in a less crowded area. 

By applying easy-to-use filters and industry look-up criteria, you realized you could download competing dental practices and view the location points on the map. 

A dental practice competitor map for the Columbus, OH metro area.

Identify the Optimum ZIP Codes 

The mapping application provides the ability to create a basic formula that suggests the optimum locations for a business. The appropriate formula can then be used to color code the ZIP codes. ZIP codes with the highest population and lowest competing dental employee practice counts are the optimum ZIPs to invest in. Yellow ZIP codes in the Columbus Metro area map center are the best location options for your new practice. 

The top four best ZIP code candidates for a new dental practice in the Columbus, OH metro area.

Get a List of Nearby Competitors for Further Research 

The business mapping software’s business listings data helped you identify the competitors within the target ZIP codes for further study.  

Business Listings data includes a full spectrum of information about the competition in your area of interest: 

  • Business name. 
  • Industry type. 
  • Contact name, title, phone and email address (where available.) 
  • Organization type. 
  • Facility type – branch, headquarters, franchise. 
  • Annual revenue estimate. 
  • Number of employees. 

A sample of dentistry practice business listings downloaded from MapBusinessOnline.


You created a competitor map of your target area of interest using business mapping software and business listing data. You established the optimum ZIP code areas for a new dental practice.  

Further research using business mapping could reveal more demographic details about the ZIP code and city demographics in any area where you desire to do business. You can use business mapping tools and business listings to create multiple map visualizations, sales territories, and even full market analysis and still have time to clean some teeth.  

Request a quick web demo.

Posted in A story, A story, Business Mapping Software blog post, Franchise Mapping, How to instruction, Sales and marketing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Identifying Target Markets Using Heat Maps & Business Listings

Products and services don’t generally sell themselves. New products created with specific end-users in mind require market research to establish target markets. It is important to identify where most of the end users are located. Can we find them on a business map and focus our sales efforts on the areas with the highest potential? 

Define the Target Market’s Geographic Area of Interest 

Selecting a limited geographic area of interest for an initial market study is a great starting point. Let’s say you are a New England-based inventor who has created a patented plumbing crimping tool for the in-home Do-It-Yourself (DIY) market. Your tool was a hit in pre-release market tests. Multiple hardware stores and big box stores have shown serious interest. 

You’ve decided that middle New England is the best place for the initial market release. Create a map of the five New England states and draw a rectangle representing the central area of interest.  

A test area of interest for market analysis.

Search for Potential Customers by Area & Industry 

Now, you must search for the hardware retailer chains interested in reselling your product. Those include Ace, Aubuchon, Lowes, True Value chains, and some independent hardware stores. You run the search for Business Listings by industry and business name in your rectangle area of interest. 

Business Listing searches can be filtered to keep your customer list focused and control procurement costs. A first pass at the total count of candidate retailers for the designated area of interest is about fifteen hundred stores. Filters in the query reduce this to 248 stores – plenty for developing a test market for the DIY Crimper at retail.  

Test market retailers imported as business listings using MapBusinessOnline.

 Find Cities with the Highest Concentration of Potential Customers 

The first manufacturing order release of DIY Crimpers was for one thousand units. Not enough to supply all 248 stores. You create a heat map to focus on the cities with the highest hardware store concentration. The heat map depicts zones with the highest count of hardware stores in each area. 

Heat map analysis applied to the New England rectangle of hardware retailers reveals eight key cities.

Launch a Targeted Campaign Across the Test Market  

You also want to get a list of specific stores in the target cities to focus your sales efforts. Run a spatial query against each of the eight highest concentration cities at once, searching for the hardware stores within a radius of 5.25 miles from the city center. This nets a total campaign count of 35 hardware retailers. 

Spatial search results across eight focus cities simultaneously, netting 35 retailers for the initial campaign. 

 The target list of 35 stores includes the addresses and phone numbers you can now pass on to your team, who will distribute the product. Additional business listing data fields available for each sales lead include: 

  • Business name. 
  • Revenue estimates. 
  • Employee count levels. 
  • Email addresses where available. 
  • Contact title. 
  • Primary or secondary contacts. 
  • Location type – headquarters, branch, or franchise.

List of test market hardware stores with contact information and firmographic data.


Using business mapping software, you identified the location of the most appropriate target businesses across your critical area of interest in New England. You used a heat map to expose the highest concentrations of critical accounts by city. You refined your customer list, narrowing the trial campaign targets to 35 hardware stores in eight key New England cities. This allowed you to roll out your campaign in the eight cities, place the inventory in trial locations, and start monitoring results. 

Mapping software with business listings provided tools for developing target markets based on actual customer concentrations and strategic product placement. Business maps – highlighting the road to success.

Request a web demo.

Posted in A story, Business Mapping Software blog post, Franchise Mapping, How to instruction, Sales and marketing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MapBusinessOnline Business Listings Search Tools

MapBusinessOnline has offered Business Listings as a location-based data source for sales leads, business data, and industry resource locations for the last four years. We have recently upgraded the database of business listings to include.

  • Access to over 22 million businesses.
  • Email addresses where available.
  • A check box to search by primary NAICS or SIC industry code.

MapBusinessOnline business mapping software provides access to a Business Listings Search Engine whereby the subscription owner can search the business listing database by Industry Code. Industry codes are census-based data assignments known as SIC and NAICS codes.

Access to the Business Listings data is available from the Master Toolbar – under Search Tools, click the Business Yellow Pages icon. But remember, the Master Toolbar Business Listings button searches the entire country. A more streamlined approach is to create a map object – a Circle or Polygon – click the object and choose ‘Business’ from the popup menu.

This map object approach lets you search business listings within just a Circle or Polygon that you create on the map. This dramatically limits the number of business listings, or sales leads pulled.

Searching for business listings by industry using MapBusinessOnline.

Filter Your Search

Searching by Industry and map object limits the geographic scope of your business listing’s search. You can apply additional filters to restrict your scope even more, saving time and reducing some editing effort later in your business listing process.

In Business Listings, the Search function opens to Define Search Criteria. Before digging into Industry searches, I suggest filtering your search by several of the options noted below:

  • Circle or Polygon – As mentioned above, you can search by these map objects.
  • Geography – Search by a ZIP code, City, or State. Or select a group of ZIP codes, Cities, or States.
  • Sales – Search based on the firmographic data of targeted business listings. The search function lets you select revenue levels to limit your search.
  • Employees – Just as above, limit your search returns by organization employee count.
  • Location Type – Limit the number of facility types searched.
  • Uncheck the Contacts Checkbox – Limit your search to only the Primary Contact. This is very important when it comes to limiting searches.

Uncheck the Checkbox labeled ‘Export all Contacts.’

Once again, filtering limits your search returns, saving money and possibly saving time if the industry search you conduct is broad. The Industry search function queries NAICS and SIC codes. Both systems can produce results, but each code system has strengths and weaknesses. After looking up an industry code, click the Right Panel for a count estimate.

I suggest querying to the Count level in both systems to assess the broadest results possible while filtering out based on revenue, geography, or contact to keep quantities reasonable.


Business listings in Massachusetts.

Once you are comfortable with the estimated count of records, you can process the query, which will be deducted from your free sample allowance, and apply any balance to an invoice. Once the transaction is complete, those records will appear as dots on your map view and as businesses or contacts with associated data in the Data Window view.

Downloaded business listings are exported as a CSV file. Share the data with your constituencies as a business map visualization or spreadsheet.

Once your business listings are in MapBusinessOnline, you can review the data for inconsistencies and off-base records. The data business isn’t perfect. For example, I will get many locksmith businesses if I upload an industry search for hardware retailers. That’s how locksmith businesses get classified.

To remove locksmiths from your uploaded hardware store data, MapBusinessOnline’s Data Window will let you filter for all businesses in the dataset, including the word ‘Lock’ in the name. You can then remove those records easily by deleting them or use the list with those records filtered off for that operation.

With business listings uploaded to a business map, you are now able to apply map operations to those records:

  • Create a heat map to expose concentrations by area based on firmographic data or just heat map ZIP codes based on the record count of the exported list.
  • Color code the business listings based on included firmographic data.
  • Create optimized vehicle routes using the business listing addresses as stop-off locations.
  • Export the list as sales leads for use within or outside the mapping application.
  • Create detailed competitor maps using business listings to map out competitor locations.

We’re sure you can find even more applications for MapBusinessOnline business listings. Let us know how you use them, and we’ll tell the world about your genius idea.

Posted in Business Mapping Software blog post, Franchise Mapping, How to instruction, Sales and marketing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The ZIP Code – Your Repository of Business Information

My hometown ZIP code is 01966. Seeing that number brings to mind the town I grew up in on the coast of Massachusetts. I remember standing in line in the town Post Office with my Mom as a little kid. That building had the neatest odor. It smelled like a combination of must and money—Les odeur de government.

I first saw America’s Top Ten most wanted outlaws posted in that Post Office. At the time, I made a mental note, ‘Stay off of the most wanted list.’ That mental note has served me well.

ZIP codes take on a real significance for the average American. ZIP codes represent a familiar area to us, even though that was not the U.S. Post Office’s intent when creating the system. ZIP codes were designed primarily as a delivery mechanism – to help with efficiency.

In business mapping software, ZIP codes take on several key roles:

  • ZIP codes represent boundaries of town and city areas generally associated with Post Office facilities.
  • ZIP code points represent significant mail-stop delivery points, usually big buildings or campus drop-off points. Learn more about point ZIP codes.
  • ZIP codes serve as a geographic platform for representing data – demographic, business, medical, and almost any kind of data associated with a location.

Spatial Searches

Using mapping software, multiple ZIP codes can be banded together as areas of interest through spatial searches. Polygon or Radius lassos gather a group of ZIPs together and set up a section or region of ZIPs for analysis, sales, or franchise territory creation.

Gathered ZIP codes can be viewed as a group, color-coded to reflect demography, or queried to describe the characteristics of an area that might be relevant to a business, cultural, or government topic.

MapBusinessOnline includes a complete set of ZIP code boundary and point ZIP codes for users to query, use as a platform for analysis, or build colorful and informative map projects. Read more about mapping with ZIP codes and how MapBusinessOnline provides a ZIP code boundary map layer.

Here’s a list of everyday ZIP code mapping operations that MapBusinessOnline users most often conduct using the tool:

A ZIP code is a repository of business data waiting to be accessed and organized through business mapping software.

The Power of the ZIP

As you can see, business mapping software provides various ZIP-related solutions the average business person can apply to their map work. Still, I have found the most powerful ZIP code-related capability in MapBusinessOnline to be the ability to pull from many or all of the features together in search of a solution to a business problem.

Market Analysis is a great example. When a business person needs to understand a marketing problem, they must consider various factors (in no particular order).

  • Product features.
  • Customer demand.
  • Product supply and inventory.
  • Google Adwords.
  • Search Engine Optimization and Inbound Marketing.
  • Competitor status.
  • Selling channels.
  • Supply chain.
  • Prospecting & lead generation.
  • Marketing channels.
  • Customer characteristics.
  • Product packaging.
  • Focus groups.
  • Trade shows.
  • Word-of-mouth marketing.
  • Social media marketing.
  • Influencers and industry advocates.
  • Email, phone outreach.
  • Technical Support.
  • The Sales Department.
  • Positioning Statement.

The list goes on. Business Mapping software, through location placement, can bridge and connect many of these marketing factors, creating a full-featured location-based analysis with a visual and data table view of the business at hand.

At this location-based analysis level, the ZIP code rises to the revelatory level in its ability to expose details about the area in question. Demographic data, historical sales data, retail statistics, a plethora of industry facts, and political information lie within the ZIP code’s DNA, all ripe for analysis.

The ZIP code becomes a crucible of data that a savvy marketing tech can penetrate and organize to benefit a business challenge or marketing campaign. The lowly ZIP code allows the map viewer to probe for information about its associated population. Just as the color spectrum of a distant star informs the gazing astronomer of its chemical makeup, the ZIP code shares information that can be useful for market analysis:

  • Voting trends.
  • Population concentrations by age, ethnicity, or income levels.
  • Number of businesses by ZIP code.
  • Marital status and family makeup statistics.
  • Consumer expenditure trends.
  • Expendable income estimates.
  • Insurance statistics.

A ZIP Code contains a wealth of data.

A ZIP code can be viewed as a data repository. Access to ZIP code characteristics through a mapping application provides a window into the nature of an area or population. This spectrum of data becomes invaluable to businesses that cater to the public.

Retailers, rental agencies, service providers, restaurants, franchise businesses, and a host of stores, facilities, and organizations leverage such data for planning purposes, campaign management, and expansion planning using business mapping software.

Sign up for a trial subscription with MapBusinessOnline today and explore the possible data layers available for your ZIP code. Train your personal radio telescope on your most valuable ZIP code to learn what drives your business and will help secure your future.




Posted in Business Mapping Software blog post, Franchise Mapping, Sales and marketing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Generate and Assign Sales Leads

Every business has a sales manager whose job is to grow sales. The challenge of generating the right sales leads is critical to the process of successful sales growth. 

In sourcing those sales leads, matching selected leads with the right target market for your products and services is extremely important. Providing your sales team with well-targeted sales leads keeps your team focused on growing sales, not distracted by leads that go nowhere, wasting time and money. 

Another step in lead sourcing is the distribution of leads across the sales force. Each salesperson must be assigned the correct set of leads, address-matched for their geographic placement, and weighted by sales potential for workload and compensation equity.  

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a sales and marketing tool that offers a reliable source for sales leads, assigns leads to the sales force by territory, and includes the ability to visualize them geographically? If we have piqued your interest, read on. 

Review Your Target Market Requirements 

Let’s imagine you manage sales for an automotive parts wholesaler with a three-warehouse distribution network. You direct a sales team of nine people, each serving an assigned geographic territory based on a 30-minute driving time from their respective warehouse locations. Your target market is Automotive Repair Shops within a 30-minute driving time of each warehouse location. 

Identify Target Markets Using Drive Time Polygons 

Create three 30-minute drive time zones around your warehouse locations using a business mapping tool such as MapBusinessOnline. These drive time zones represent your core market areas. Three of your salespeople are assigned to each target market area. 

Three 30-minute drive time target markets centered around Manchester, NH, Worcester, MA, and Hartford, CT warehouse locations.

Search for Leads 

Search the Business Listings provided within MapBusinessOnline by industry looking for Automotive Repair Shops located within your defined 30-minute driving time polygon.  

Next, further refine your search by limiting the contacts to one primary contact and for automotive shops that generate $250,000 to $1 million in annual sales. Filtering leads helps to limit the number of contact options, saving time and allowing your team to focus on the optimum target customer size or sweet spot.  

Visually review found leads on the map: 

A 30-minute drive time polygon with MapBusinessOnline business listing leads, downloaded by area.

Review lead details in the data view: 

A datasheet table view of business listing leads in MapBusinessOnline.

Assign Leads to the Sales Reps 

As a sales manager, you’ve assigned a set of ZIP codes to each salesperson as their sales territory: 

A typical territory import spreadsheet.

You can then import the sales territory assignment spreadsheet into the map: 

Three ZIP code-based drive times territories created using MapBusinessOnline.

Now you can use the territory map to assign automatically found leads to salespeople within each territory: 

Warehouse 3 market area is divided into three roughly equal ZIP code-based territories.

Territory managers ensure leads are distributed and balanced, with roughly equal workloads and compensation payouts. You can also address the area overlap issue using the sales territory map. 

Share Leads With the Sales Team 

You can share the assigned leads with each salesperson by sending them a CSV file or by providing access to the shared map in MapBusinessOnline. 

Salespeople will manage their days using shared maps in MapBusinessOnline to: 

  • Generate optimized vehicle routes with time window support. 
  • Look up contact information in the lead dataset. 
  • Monitor monthly progress against sales goals based on associated account potential. 
  • Suggest additional leads be included in the dataset based on customer feedback or field observations. 


Armed with fresh leads, your sales team is ready to reach out to lead contacts, establish appointments, and sell. As you await results and the next steps from your team, you can use the mapping application to explore new market areas for business expansion, analyze competitor positions, and plan for the future. After all, sales growth is always the goal, but at least now you have a process to make sales success the likely outcome. 

Request a MapBusinessOnline lead generation web demo. 


Posted in A story, Business Mapping Software blog post, Franchise Mapping, How to instruction, Sales and marketing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A MapBusinessOnline Workflow for Your Consideration

MapBusinessOnline includes various tools designed to help you develop a business mapping workflow. The critical tools I use when developing business maps are:

  • Map & Data Edit Properties – Use these tools to adjust the look and feel of your map layers. Adjust boundary color and thickness. Adjust fill transparency and color. Labeling options are available here. Learn more.
  • Save Map Button – The Save Button allows you to save a map as a template, preventing accidental overwrites of your work. Territory creators should save map work as a My Template to protect their time investment. The Save function also allows you to open a map you wish to copy and save under another name, saving lots of time.
  • Share Map Button – Here, a user can select to share a map Publicly for view-only situations or Privately for collaborative map editing.
  • Adding Datasets to the Map – Almost all users import location data for use on their business maps. Easily import a spreadsheet of customers or resources and view it on a map to reveal concentrations, gaps, or other business patterns.
  • Color Code Symbols – Adjust symbols, size, and color to highlight concepts critical to your business needs. Learn more.


The above business map tools help me get started building a business map.  I can import data, select map layers, adjust transparency, color shade all map layers, and import data based on the map’s purpose and the business ideas that need to be communicated.

My workflow on a new map project goes something like this:

  1. Check for an existing My Map or Map Template approximating my current map project.
  2. Clean up any unnecessary data layers and save the opened My Map or Map Template as a new My Map for your new map project.
  3. Fine-tune your new map. When the map reaches a final stage or at the end of the session, be sure to save it. Click the Save button; MapBusinessOnline does not autosave.
  4. Prepare maps for Sharing or Map Image creation.
    1. Make sure the spelling and grammar are correct.
    2. Avoid map clutter, obnoxious colors, and symbols.
    3. Ask yourself if your business map addresses the primary reasons for creating the map.
  5. Save your map.

Once I have my basic map layout established with some relevant data and map layers added, I always save the map as a My Template map for any significant project to protect it from overwriting. ‘How does overwriting occur?’ you might ask. Good question.

Overwriting Maps

Overwriting means you or somebody acting as you got into your account, accessed your business map, and saved changes you did not approve.

Often, this happens when legitimate subscribers allow others to access their MapBusinessOnline account by sharing credentials. Do not do this. Sharing credentials and editing privileges violates the MapBusinessOnline terms of use and jeopardizes your map integrity.

When we get an email, chat, or phone call stating a map is missing, we know that credentials have been shared. Please seek to understand your business’s mapping requirements and purchase the requisite number of licenses to support that need.

That said, you also might overwrite a map if you neglect to save your map regularly. MapBusinessOnline does not autosave. If you enjoy leaving your computer on at night and haven’t saved your work, there’s a disaster in your future. Save your work.

We have recently added a stop-gap measure to the map-saving process where users logging in to another user’s subscription using shared credentials (don’t do that) will be alerted that overwriting the map version is about to take place.

Reuse from Templates

Templating your maps means you can easily access a protected map and resave the template as another My Map to create new works using an existing map design. I do this often. Templating lets me quickly access color coding and demographic themes for new map work. If you’ve got a map scheme that works effectively, by all means, copy the map for new works.

A repurposed brewery supply franchise map using MapBusinessOnline.

The above map is a template I might reuse to take advantage of:

  • A demographic background theme that I like.
  • Import data already color-coded in a scheme that fits my new project.
  • Territory map work that I can save time by simply copying a map template.

Sometimes, I’ll open a working My Map map and quickly Save it under a new name to generate a new map for a similar business issue. For instance, I often set up a map’s ZIP code layer to reflect a relevant demographic color scheme based on population or income levels. That demographically themed ZIP code layer will likely be helpful with other map concepts.

Generating Map Images

Business map images are great for insertion into presentations or business proposals. Franchise businesses use business maps to define franchisee operating conditions in contracts. Maps help to define complex business issues clearly. Sometimes, a map expresses complexity neatly all by itself. At other times, maps are best used in conjunction with other presentation tools.

The MapBusinessOnline Export Map Image button lets users export maps as KML, Jpeg, or PNG image files.  KML is useful for business map users who have a map application with web posting ability but without the ability to create compelling business maps.  You can create your fancy business map in MapBusinessOnline, export a KML file, and then import that map into Google Maps and many other KML-supporting applications.

Data Enhancements

In addition to importing your own location data into your business map, MapBusinessOnline includes access to Business Listings, demographic, and geographic datasets. For example, you could add critical resource data to your map as business listings color-code ZIP codes based on population or income levels and export an imported data set with additional relevant jurisdiction data such as counties or Census tracts.

Employed Labor Theme & Homeless Beds Heat Map

Take advantage of workflow shortcuts whenever possible to save time and minimize map clutter.

Posted in Business Mapping Software blog post, Franchise Mapping, How to instruction, Sales and marketing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Gathering & Exporting ZIP Codes by County

Every couple of months, here at Business Mapping Software Central, we get this inquiry via chat or email, “How do I export all of the ZIP codes bounded by a county or a set of counties?”

This is entirely doable in MapBusinessOnline, but it is more complex than simply exporting ZIP codes segmented by territory – which is pretty straightforward and noted below. To Export ZIP Codes by ZIP Code Territory:

  1. In the Data Window, select the ZIP code layer
  2. Click the Export button on the far right of the Data Window Toolbar.
  3. Select the options you prefer for export and click Next.
  4. Save the file.

Exporting ZIP codes by ZIP Territory in MapBusinessOnline.

MapBusinessOnline includes multiple map alignment layers for both map visualizations and territory creation. Map alignment layers in MapBusinessOnline include ZIP codes, city limits, counties, states, MSAs, congressional districts, and Census tracts.

Occasionally, users request the process of exporting ZIP codes by County. It seems appropriate to dedicate a blog to the subject.

Exporting all ZIP codes or a subset of ZIP codes by County is an advanced operation in MapBusinessOnline. This ZIP code mapping process requires several extra steps.

The Down and Dirty Option

If it’s just one County, you can always turn on the ZIP code and County layers, adjust for transparency, and then use a polygon Search Tool to lasso all the ZIP codes. Save the file as a CSV; faster than you can say, ‘Bob’s your uncle,’ you get a list of ZIP codes associated with a county or even a group of counties.

For more complex County pulls, I recommend creating territories out of Counties. You can then export the ZIP codes based on the Territory or Territories.

However, because ZIP codes and Counties do not align perfectly and are a many-to-one data relationship, you must upload our complete numeric Boundary and Point ZIP code dataset. Read more about Point ZIP codes here.

Show Me All My ZIPs by County
In MapBusinessOnline, there is a way to query each territory and generate a list of all ZIP codes – boundary or point-based – within that territory. To accommodate this analysis, we’ve included a dataset of all ZIP codes in the MapBusinessOnline Dataset import process.

  1. First, import that complete ZIP code list. Click the Datasets button – under the Adding to Map section of the Master Toolbar.
  2. In the Select Data dialogue page, choose the Public Data option.
  3. Scroll through the data options to the bottom and select ‘Zip Codes 2023 (Jan)‘ or a more recent version,  then process by hitting Plot. This puts the entire ZIP code list in your map as a point layer. Every ZIP code in the nation is on the map, point, or boundary, represented by a dot. In Map and Data, you can uncheck the ZIP Codes 2023 layer to get all those ZIP code points off the map. Alternatively, you can make the symbols really tiny.
  4. With the County Layer turned on in Map and Data, create a territory or series of territories out of the counties you are interested in searching for ZIP codes.
  5. In the Data Window drop-down, select the imported ZIP code layer – ZIP Codes layer. (Do not select the usual ZIP code layer.)
  6. Click the Export button on the far right of the Data Window Toolbar.
  7. Choose to Export Records Only Assigned to a Territory
  8. Click Next to Process the Export and Save your work.

That exported spreadsheet has a list of all the ZIP codes exported and segmented by County Territories. You’re a hero. The crowd goes wild. Your spouse acknowledges your achievement at the Thanksgiving dinner table. (I can dream, can’t I?)

Posted in Business Mapping Software blog post, How to instruction | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Adding Relevant Value to Your Territory Map Project

Territory mapping is perhaps MapBusinessOnline’s most popular and powerful feature. Thousands of users apply MapBusinessOnline toward territory creation out of ZIP codes, counties, and other map alignment layers. Territories define areas of accountability and create market analysis zones.

MapBusinessOnline supports territory creation for sales organizations, franchise businesses, and service companies. But once a territory is created, what additional map features can be added to a business map to improve a territory map’s usability and functionality? How can we add value to our territory maps without overwhelming the map viewer?

Simply put, we add map features only to complement and support the map’s purpose. Never add data, map layers, or text that distracts the viewer from the task at hand.

Import Location Data

Customer and prospect data are two valuable location datasets any map user can import to enhance their business territory map. Visualizing customer and prospective customer locations overlaid on a territory map is a robust and informative way to define accountability and reveal an area’s business potential.

Whether your territory maps support sales, franchise business, or service accounts, every business needs to organize its business geography into sections to manage all tasks effectively. Territories divvy the work among a team of salespeople, franchisees, or service techs. Adding customer and prospect address data to the territory map is a no-brainer.

Other location datasets can provide value – consider location data of industry resources or store locations. Just keep the data imports relevant. Read on for more addon layers that benefit territory mapping.

Jurisdiction Geographies

Counties, city limits, and ZIP codes are the most popular map layers for creating MapBusinessOnline territories. But these jurisdictions or administrative geographies are also beneficial as demographic presentation units.

Major urban areas, simply because of their concentration of population, provide territory maps with a way to segment and organize map-based market analysis. MapBusiness Online’s city limits map layer can quickly identify areas of optimum sales potential based on demographic data such as overall population, high-income levels, or population by age group, depending on what categories best fit a product or service’s marketing target.

In this way, city limits are an essential territory map addon for companies selling products nationwide, enabling fast identification of the top ten or twenty urban areas for further study. From that point on, the analysis can get more granular. Further investigation will expose nuances in city limits where New York City boroughs and Los Angeles neighborhoods must be accommodated.

When considering city limits, consider how sprawling the urban area may be. Consider Houston’s sprawl, Dallas and Washington D.C.’s wealthy suburbs,  and how San Francisco and San Hose are two distinct and vibrant market areas in many instances. City limits data can be supplemented with ZIP code analysis around extra large urban areas or areas where product interest runs exceptionally high. Don’t be afraid to drill down into smaller geographies for deeper analysis.

Number of Households by City with Income Over $200,000.

Demographic Mapping

Understanding a geography’s key demographic characteristics helps marketing and salespeople plan campaigns. Some territory maps can benefit from a simple thematic map background based on a key demographic. Population is a popular demographic theme, but variations by ethnicity, age, or gender may be more appropriate depending on the product or services involved.

Thematic maps apply color coding by ZIP codes or counties based on demographic data. Keep those color options simple – perhaps only three shades of blue or red – to make that background easy to understand and allow the viewer’s eyes to focus on critical customer data or other map details pertinent to the map’s purpose. An excellent thematic map background informs without distraction.

Demographic data can also be appended to any map layer and territory labels in MapBusinessOnline. These label addons display within map layer text boxes and provide the map viewer with more information about the demographic character of an area of interest. For example, ZIP code map layers can identify the population of any given ZIP code right beneath the ZIP code label.

Let ZIP Codes inform your map audience.

Extra Map Layers

Territory maps can sometimes benefit from other map layers. MapBusinessOnline provides access to additional geographies, including Census tracts, congressional districts, and Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs).

These extra map layers are located under the Adding to Map section of the Master Toolbar. Here, you will also find the Highway Map Layer. Highways are a nice orienting layer for large regions or whole country maps.

A map viewer may find the appearance of Route 95 helpful while taking in a map presentation of the new area of growth projected by the executive team. Always avoid making your map audience feel lost when viewing a map. The last thing you want during a map presentation is to have someone on the executive team wondering where the hell they are.

Bob’s lost again.

GPS Tracks

Sales territories often encompass a traveling employee’s route area. Route efficiencies are subject to stop-off requirements, scheduled appointments, and emergency dispatches. Still, all repeated routes are subject to review for expense reductions where possible. I am always amazed at the business that supports overlapping traveling employees, crisscrossing each other’s tracks as they go through their daily routes.

MapBusinessOnline supports the import of GPS route files. Any traveling employee can track their travel by uploading a free route tracking app onto their cell phone. These GPS tracks are exportable in CSV or basic spreadsheet format and are easily imported into MapBusinessOnline.

GPS track files, once imported, can be color-shaded and symbolized for optimum display purposes. Multiple CSV file imports can be overlaid on the territory map to analyze travel patterns and coverage areas.

GPS track files are uploaded to a business map for review.

MapBusinessOnline only allows one user-generated route file at a time in the Route Window. The import of GPS track files allows business map users to view multiple tracks and a MapBusinessOnline route all on the same map project. This works well for travel efficiency studies, expense analysis, and territory balancing.

Further map combinations can be achieved using the Microsoft Snippet tool or other screen capture applications. This would be the approach I would take for generating PowerPoint Presentations. For instance, I would use the Snippet tool to:

  • Capture Data Window data views and Map Visualizations at the same time.
  • Overlay additional, non-cartographic imagery on top of a map view.
  • Generate focused zoomed-in area of interest images with no other distractions.

Get creative with your territory map addons to enhance the overall value of your map for your map-viewing audience. Keep your map uncluttered, and your additions focus on the map project’s purpose; your viewers will love you for it, and so will Bob.

Go to to learn more.

Posted in Business Mapping Software blog post, Franchise Mapping, How to instruction, Sales and marketing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment