Twitter vs Facebook: Which Social Networking Site is Best for Your Business?

Twitter vs Facebook: Which Social Networking Site is Best for Your Business.

50% of American adults are regular users of social networking sites. This is an extremely open market for businesses, both large and small to take advantage of. From the smallest of start ups, to the largest of corporations, all businesses should take advantage of the market by Facebook sharing and tweeting their latest updates and offers, keeping consumers updated and informed on their business’ latest activity.

In addition to this, the fastest growing demographic using social networks is between the ages of 36-49. Studies show that this demographic is the most likely to spend their money online, and possess the highest “spending power”.

User Demographic

Twitter includes a proportional split within the gender of users, with 48% of regular users being male, with 52% female users. Facebook has a higher proportion of female users, with 54% compared to 46% male users. Check out our blog post on 5 Quick Ways to Increase Facebook Engagement in 2014.

In addition to this, Twitter has a younger user base, whereas Facebook users tend to have a higher proportion of older users. One of the highest variations is within the 18-22 years old demographic, with an almost 10% higher ratio of young adults using Twitter rather than Facebook. Twitter users and Facebook users also seem to have a very similar levels of education, however Twitter has a higher ratio of well-to-do users, earning more than $75,000 which may partly be attributable to the higher celebrity usage rate.

Networking Power

It would seem that Facebook is the more powerful tool to network your brand, with 80% of daily users reporting that they use Facebook most to connect with their favorite brand, as compared to only 6% of Twitter users. Facebook users are also more likely to friend their favorite brand on Facebook than a Twitter user is to follow their favorite brand. Many Facebook users that do friend brands do it either for exclusive deals and offers or because they are current customers as compared to Twitter users. Facebook users also tend to be more likely to purchase something that they see on Facebook as compared to Twitter users.

However, Twitter’s real time news feed nature holds limitless possibilities for businesses to instantly deliver the latest information to their followers. Twitter is also fast growing, especially in the United States where Facebook usage has stagnated. Twitter also allows marketers to find followers and potential consumers within their niche, thereby creating positive networking and potential interest and allowing business owners to interact with potential clients.

Twitter vs Facebook: Which Social Networking Site is Best for Your Business?

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About the Author : Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmi

Jamshaid Hashmi - Founder and CEO of ClickTecsA serial entrepreneur with extensive background in franchising and interests in multiple online business channels, Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmi has played an instrumental role in the franchise development and success of an international franchise company. His most recent entrepreneurial interests include launching ClickTecs, a Digital Marketing company specializing in Search Engine Marketing and Social Media Marketing as well as Website and Mobile Application development. In 2007 he co-founded Search Result, an online marketing company that supplies services to Internet Marketing Consultants. A sought after public speaker, Jam has been the featured keynote at many franchise conferences and international summits. He regularly trains ‘C’ Level Executives and supports both new and seasoned business owners on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Optimization, Mobile Marketing, Brand Reputation Management and Conversion & Measurement through web analytics. When he’s not scaling the heights of the Internet world, Jam ‘unwinds’ on extreme thrill-seeking adventures from the jungles of the Amazon to the highest summits. His passions include working with NGOs on humanitarian missions to areas around the world affected by disasters and poverty.

 
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The New Linkedin Publishing Platform is Here!

In today’s professional environment, LinkedIn is one of the most powerful tools to make your mark on the business world. Boasting a membership of almost 300 million professionals worldwide, the focus on professional life differentiates LinkedIn from other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

One of the newest and most exciting features that LinkedIn has developed has many users buzzing: the LinkedIn Publishing Platform. The new feature allows you to post content, build a following and promote your brand and your work to potential clients, future employers and influential decision makers in your industry.

The platform is not available for everyone with a profile just yet, with LinkedIn allowing access to only a select number of users before eventually rolling out the feature to everyone. You can tell if your profile allows you to publish on the LinkedIn publishing platform by looking for the “pencil” on your status update bar. If you don’t have the feature on your profile, you can get on the waiting list by filling this form.  Register to become a Linkedin Publisher

LinkedIn has stated that the average “influencer” post could get as many as 31, 000 views, 250 likes and 80 comments. Influencer posts show great potential in their ability to drive reader engagement and visitors to the influencer’s profile. When you compare this large organic reach to the smaller one of popular social networking site Facebook, it is evident that LinkedIn should be the most important part of your content marketing approach. The platform can give you the opportunity to expand your reach, however, it is crucial to create high quality content that sets you apart from the rest. Here are some tips on getting the most out of these new features and making your content and profile stand out from the rest.

#1 Publish Relevant and Interesting Content on the Linkedin Publishing Platform

Create a plan. What content do you believe would be the most relevant to your target audience? Try putting a plan in place before you start writing and be sure to have sufficient knowledge on the topic you are writing about.

With many professionals and experts potentially reading your posts, it is important not to make mistakes by providing incorrect information or making small grammatical errors that put off the reader.

Also, make sure your content does not sound too much like a sales pitch. LinkedIn has made it clear in the past that any sales oriented content on the publishing platform will not be tolerated. If you do want to make a sales pitch, the advertising platform is the best option.

LinkedIn also provides helpful guidelines in their help centre about what you can publish. You can use this as a reference to understand how to frame your content and make it resonate with your target audience.

Actually writing and posting the article that you have written on the LinkedIn publishing platform is simple and user friendly. On the LinkedIn homepage there is pencil icon at the very top of the status update bar. Usually you would use this pencil icon to share an update, however now with the latest update when you click the pencil icon you will see an option called “publishing editor”. This is where you create the content post on the publishing platform.

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LinkedIn publishing editor is very straightforward, being almost identical to your generic Word press editor or Microsoft Word program. Here you can type out or paste your content piece into the editor. After you have done this, you can format it right there. Below is an example of what your post should look like in the editor:

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Before you hit publish, review your post for any grammar and spelling mistakes by using the preview option. However, if you happen to not catch every mistake you can always go back and use the edit function to edit your post at any time after posting.

Like on other social networks, people have short attention spans and want to consume information quickly. Although it is up to you to experiment with your parameters and determine what fits you, your profile and your audience best, I would recommend keeping posts between 500-700 words and publishing regularly, preferably weekly if possible. Also create content that is pleasing to the eye and easy to read. Add compelling headlines, eye-catching images to your post or bold any text that you may feel is important. One of the other methods you can use to enhance the appearance of your content is to include Youtube videos or Slideshare presentations. This will engage the audience further and capture their attention.

LinkedIn does not have a bio section. It is thus necessary for you to include your own small bio piece at the end of each post. Write a paragraph about who you are, what you do and who you help. Also, if possible, include a link to your website or blog. This is most necessary because if anyone such an influential decision maker or potential future employer is impressed with your content piece, they can view more of your work and maybe even get in touch with you. Here’s an example:

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When you see what content has worked the best for you, take some time out and review posts from your favourite LinkedIn influencers and competitors. Find out which content brings them the most views and engagements. Recognize their posting schedule. Use this information to create tactics for your own posting schedule and content strategy. Seeing what works for others can give you an idea of what people are willing to engage with the most and helps you recognize the best way to appeal to your audience.

#2 Promote your Post

Maximizing your reach and reader engagement not only inside LinkedIn, but outside as well, is important when posting content on the publishing platform. Share your post on all your social media accounts whether it is LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook or even Twitter.

Sharing your content piece via these social networking sites adds to the credibility of your post. It also brings more potential viewership to your post by encouraging more shares and engagement from across the web. Make the most of your resources: in your bio include a link to your Google+ account. Also, include a LinkedIn link on your Google+ account as one of the sites that you contribute to. This ensures that Google will pick up your authorship profile for your LinkedIn posts.

Viewer engagement is important because it sends social signals to Google’s search algorithm and increases your visibility in online searches thereby bringing even more viewership and exposure to your content piece

#3 How to Properly Manage Comments on Your Post

Once you have written your relevant article, promoted it and people have begun to read it, it is of utmost importance to check the comments your post receives! Every post has a Comments section, where you can interact with any LinkedIn members who have started a discussion or given you feedback.

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More times than not, people who will comment on your post will be people who you are not currently connected to on LinkedIn, meaning your post is getting more visibility outside of your already existing network. This means your profile is too! Don’t forget to hide or flag any spam comments that you may receive, as they can be a deterrent to potential viewers of your content who wish to comment.

#4 How to Evaluate the Performance of your Content piece

One of the best features of the new publishing platform is the ability to see how many views, social media “shares” and comments your post generates. Identify how well your content is doing with your target audience by comparing posts to see which ones performed better than others. This becomes even more valuable as you post more content pieces.

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#5 If possible, include a link to your Own Personal Blog

One of the most important things to remember is that you don’t own your LinkedIn presence or the content that is associated with it. This is why I recommend that you publish the original post to your own blog first, before publishing it to your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn shouldn’t be your only content publishing hub. Treat is as a place where you can further showcase your professional content from your own blog.

This new feature from LinkedIn holds great promise for marketers who are looking to promote themselves and their work, and the publishing platform feature will hold great promise to their content marketing strategies. By following the guidelines mentioned above you will notice a huge bump in the influence of your profile and the reach of your work. Using my own example, I have noticed the feature being a huge factor in the increase of my network by providing more readership and engagement with professionals from my industry and I can say that I have greatly benefited from the LinkedIn publishing platform. What do you think about the new feature? How has your experience been so far? I look forward to any feedback in the comments below.

About the Author : Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmi

Jamshaid Hashmi - Founder and CEO of ClickTecsA serial entrepreneur with extensive background in franchising and interests in multiple online business channels, Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmi has played an instrumental role in the franchise development and success of an international franchise company. His most recent entrepreneurial interests include launching ClickTecs, a Digital Marketing company specializing in Search Engine Marketing and Social Media Marketing as well as Website and Mobile Application development. In 2007 he co-founded Search Result, an online marketing company that supplies services to Internet Marketing Consultants. A sought after public speaker, Jam has been the featured keynote at many franchise conferences and international summits. He regularly trains ‘C’ Level Executives and supports both new and seasoned business owners on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Optimization, Mobile Marketing, Brand Reputation Management and Conversion & Measurement through web analytics. When he’s not scaling the heights of the Internet world, Jam ‘unwinds’ on extreme thrill-seeking adventures from the jungles of the Amazon to the highest summits. His passions include working with NGOs on humanitarian missions to areas around the world affected by disasters and poverty.

 
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Digital Franchising Marketing Tips that Will Keep You ahead of Your Competition

When franchise prospects are doing their research to decide on which opportunity to pursue, they turn to the Internet to learn more about you and your competitions’ brands. The Internet influenced the decision of 42 percent of people researching franchises, according to a report released this year. However, when you factor in online advertising and the influence of social media on buying decisions, we estimate that you could probably even double that percentage.
Social media influences the future purchasing decisions of three out of four B2B buyers, one study found. Franchise prospects are bypassing the traditional sales process and going by word of mouth, online reviews, and the knowledge of their peers. With the effect the Internet is having on franchise success, franchising marketing online is more important than ever.

Prospects Are Looking for Content

By the time prospects reach out to you to receive more information about your opportunity, up to 80 percent of the purchasing process is already over. To find relevant content, your prospects are combing the Internet. The searches range from the hyper local keywords, such as “burger franchise in Michigan for under $200K,” to looking at their local market and a specific brand of interest to general searches, such as “sandwich franchise” or “best franchise opportunities.”
Your franchise needs to come up in these searches. Your prospects want to find trusted sources of information when they search online. Having a separate page on your main website summarizing the opportunity is no longer the best practice. Potential buyers want real insider info, a way to do their due diligence without a pushy salesperson calling five times a day, and comprehensive content.

Adapt or Become Irrelevant

About once every day, Google changes their search algorithms. This means you need to adapt your digital franchising marketing. Many franchise systems and marketers saw their search rankings plummet overnight after Google’s recent Panda and Hummingbird updates. However, relevant, consistent, awesome, sharable content that your potential franchisees want to see, like that produced by ClickTec’s team of expert SEO writers, continues to remain at the top of the search results despite any changes Google has made over the years.
As your site is developing content, here are some things you should be sure to include:

  • Keep your blog updated continuously with about two to four posts per week. Video is also important
  • Provide financial information. Prospects want to know if you are in their price range.
  • Give an inside look at the inner workings of your franchise.
  • Different parts of the sales funnel should be represented in your content.
  • Offer a variety of downloads, such as e-books and brochures.
  • Throughout the website, tell your brand’s story.

Once you have your content, it is important to also develop your distribution channels. This not only includes posting on Facebook, tweeting, or updating other social media, but it also includes paid promotion, which gives the organic momentum a bit of a boost.

Improving Content Marketing

Once you recognize the importance of stepping up your content marketing game, you may wonder what the best strategy is for developing an online franchising marketing plan and implementing it. In order to do this, you either need someone within your organization who has the knowledge and background to step up and own it, or you can turn to a digital marketing agency, such as ClickTecs.
A franchise system that has a dedicated content marketing guru on their side, whether it is a VP of Marketing or a third party expert, will always be more effective than a franchisor who does not. Once you find the person for the job, you need to take the time to determine your goals. Often times, these goals are any combination of retain customers, generate more leads, build your brand, or help generate more traffic to the franchisees.

What Resources Do You Have?

You may not realize it, but you possibly already have a lot of content that could be repurposed to improve your company’s SEO ranking. Find out if you have employees internally who already blog and see if they would be willing to contribute their writing to the site. Just be sure that the content is 100 percent original or else it may actually hurt your search page ranking.
You must be smart about where you spend your time if you have limited resources on your marketing team. ClickTecs often has to come in to help with tactics and strategy because several of our clients simply do not have staff that is knowledgeable in this emerging field.
If you are on the fence about whether or not you have the team to handle digital franchising marketing on your own, consider the following questions

  • How often and how many newsletters do you want to create?
  • Do you have the software and equipment to produce all the content you want? If not, how much will it cost?
  • How many people on your team can dedicate time to creating quality content? And, do they have the skills to produce the content?
  • Are there other projects coming up that are likely to deprioritize content creation?
  • With what frequency will you update the blog?

A team with experience working with other franchisors in every area relating to digital marketing may be the best choice for you if you are finding that implementing a full digital franchising marketing plan is overwhelming. Calling in the professionals will pay off quickly with the increase is sales conversions.

The Bottom Line

Nowadays, your franchising marketing can be aided with so many different kinds of software, solutions, and strategies. It is essential that the goals of your franchise are matched by the solution you choose. As you may have gathered, there is no “one size fits all” solution. If you want a third party that stays ahead of the trends to help you navigate the content creation landscape or you just need a consultant, ClickTecs has the expertise and knowledge to make your franchise a giant online.
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About the Author : Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmi

Jamshaid Hashmi - Founder and CEO of ClickTecsA serial entrepreneur with extensive background in franchising and interests in multiple online business channels, Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmi has played an instrumental role in the franchise development and success of an international franchise company. His most recent entrepreneurial interests include launching ClickTecs, a Digital Marketing company specializing in Search Engine Marketing and Social Media Marketing as well as Website and Mobile Application development. In 2007 he co-founded Search Result, an online marketing company that supplies services to Internet Marketing Consultants. A sought after public speaker, Jam has been the featured keynote at many franchise conferences and international summits. He regularly trains ‘C’ Level Executives and supports both new and seasoned business owners on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Optimization, Mobile Marketing, Brand Reputation Management and Conversion & Measurement through web analytics. When he’s not scaling the heights of the Internet world, Jam ‘unwinds’ on extreme thrill-seeking adventures from the jungles of the Amazon to the highest summits. His passions include working with NGOs on humanitarian missions to areas around the world affected by disasters and poverty.

 
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What is Responsive Web Design? The Responsive Web Design Revolution

Smartphone manufacturers are continuously coming out with new screen sizes, and web designers are constantly trying to offer designs that can render correctly on these various screens.  This has led to the emergence of Responsive Web Design.

What is Responsive Web Design?

It is an approach that aims at crafting websites in a manner that provides an optimal viewing experience over a wide range of devices and responds to the user’s behavior based on not only the screen size, but also the platform and orientation of the device.

In order to answer the question ‘What is a Responsive Responsive Web Design?’  I created an infographic.

What is Responsive Web Design? The Responsive Web Design Revolution

Conclusion:

With more and more people using smartphones to surf the web every day, it is essential to have a Website Design that can adapt itself to multiple screen sizes.  A site with Responsive Design therefore can look good on any device and not just on a desktop.

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About the Author : Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmi

Jamshaid Hashmi - Founder and CEO of ClickTecsA serial entrepreneur with extensive background in franchising and interests in multiple online business channels, Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmi has played an instrumental role in the franchise development and success of an international franchise company. His most recent entrepreneurial interests include launching ClickTecs, a Digital Marketing company specializing in Search Engine Marketing and Social Media Marketing as well as Website and Mobile Application development. In 2007 he co-founded Search Result, an online marketing company that supplies services to Internet Marketing Consultants. A sought after public speaker, Jam has been the featured keynote at many franchise conferences and international summits. He regularly trains ‘C’ Level Executives and supports both new and seasoned business owners on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Optimization, Mobile Marketing, Brand Reputation Management and Conversion & Measurement through web analytics. When he’s not scaling the heights of the Internet world, Jam ‘unwinds’ on extreme thrill-seeking adventures from the jungles of the Amazon to the highest summits. His passions include working with NGOs on humanitarian missions to areas around the world affected by disasters and poverty.

 
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Franchisee Marketing: What You Must Know To Be Effective Online

Before visiting a local business, as many as 96 percent of consumers look online according to Google. This proportion varies by industry, but you can rest assured that the Internet is used in the purchasing process for a great majority of consumers. Before they decide where to go to lunch, they look at your menu at their desks. As they plan their shopping trips, they compare prices at your store with those of your competitors. And, as they driver around town, they check your hours on their phones.

Online marketing is approached by franchisors in several different ways. With some, you can create your own website within the corporate usage and style parameters using software provided to you. Some allow franchisees to manage their own website by providing you with a page for your location on the corporate website. Out of fear that a franchisee’s website may not fit the corporate brand or that they may compete with the national site, other franchisors do not allow franchisees to have their own websites at all.

Getting the Most from Online Marketing

Online marketing should be an integral part of any franchisee marketing plan. To help you get started, ClickTecs has put together this list of tips:

  • Know What You Are Getting into – You will be at a disadvantage compared to your tech savvy competitors if the franchisor forbids franchisees to have their own social media or websites, and you are forced to rely on the franchisors outdated site. Before you choose a franchise business opportunity, take this into consideration.
  • Do Not Break the Rules – Once you sign a contract, you cannot overlook the franchisor’s rules about internet use. Despite what many franchisees may believe, businesses do not have to respect your right to free speech. Franchisors are completely free to set rules on franchisee marketing.
  • Use Everything that Is Offered to You – Franchisees often fail to take advantage of all of the great tools franchisors offer them. This is a mistake. Put in the effort to do an outstanding job with your web presence if you can create a custom website with corporate branding or a page for your location at the corporate site. In your own social media or website, use the national marketing assets to the best effect if you are on your own with online franchisee marketing.
  • Social Media Is a Must – You may be able to establish a web presence with a Facebook page, Twitter account, blog, or some other social media platform if the franchisor does not allow franchisees to build websites. And, even if they do allow individual websites, to drive traffic to it, it is still smart to use social media. Franchisees are often allowed to create their own pages on social media sites, though there are some that do not. With social media, you can do focused local franchisee marketing.
  • Pay Per Click (PPC) May Be Worth the Investment – You can drive traffic to your franchisee page on the corporate site or your own website with PPC. And, even if the franchisor does not allow independent websites, you may be permitted to make sales pages to which you can drive traffic.

Content Marketing

Whether you are a franchisor or a franchisee, building contextual, sharable, fresh content is needed these days to be successful online, plus it is a good business practice. When it comes to supporting franchisee marketing, some franchisors have entire content marketing teams that help the local franchisees market their business by creating social media offers, targeted emails, and local content. If this is not the case, then the franchisee needs to pick up the slack.

Franchisees generally want to incorporate local happenings and news into their content marketing efforts, since your clientele is local and this content will be relevant to their interests. To help you with more ideas for generating content, ClickTecs has put together a few topics that tend to garner a fair amount of attention when covered in your blog, a must for all franchisees.

  • Define What Sets You apart from Competitors – Franchisees and franchisors are worried by this strategy. They do not want to write about their competitors. However, your franchise is being compared to other similar businesses by potential clients in your area. By owning this content, you can control what information your prospects are getting.
  • Local Laws – This is a smart tactic to use if you are in an industry that requires permitting before you can perform your services. For example, potential clients may search for “Toronto Remodeling Laws” before they begin remodeling. If you are a remodeling franchise with a blog about local ordinances, you will likely show up high in the search results.
  • “What Is the Best…” – People are always searching questions like “what is the best remodeling business in Toronto?” You can substitute any industry for “remodeling” or town for “Toronto.” When you have a landing page or blog on this topic, you will be one of the first things people see when they ask Google this question.

Are You Ready to Get Started?

Does this sound exciting? Are you ready to start pumping out content for your business’s blog and social media? Be forewarned: after understanding the benefits, most franchisees jump on board with content marketing. However, within a month or so, the fire goes out, and they only post occasionally throughout the year. To be successful, you need to stay on top of it.

If at some point the task of creating original and engaging content three or more times per week starts to wear on you, and your franchisor is not providing you with content, ClickTecs can step in and take care of everything. We have an experienced team of writers who can provide informative content on any topic and optimize it for the search engines, so traffic will be flocking to your site. The content we provide also tastefully promotes your business without coming off as promotional material.

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About the Author : Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmi

Jamshaid Hashmi - Founder and CEO of ClickTecsA serial entrepreneur with extensive background in franchising and interests in multiple online business channels, Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmi has played an instrumental role in the franchise development and success of an international franchise company. His most recent entrepreneurial interests include launching ClickTecs, a Digital Marketing company specializing in Search Engine Marketing and Social Media Marketing as well as Website and Mobile Application development. In 2007 he co-founded Search Result, an online marketing company that supplies services to Internet Marketing Consultants. A sought after public speaker, Jam has been the featured keynote at many franchise conferences and international summits. He regularly trains ‘C’ Level Executives and supports both new and seasoned business owners on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Optimization, Mobile Marketing, Brand Reputation Management and Conversion & Measurement through web analytics. When he’s not scaling the heights of the Internet world, Jam ‘unwinds’ on extreme thrill-seeking adventures from the jungles of the Amazon to the highest summits. His passions include working with NGOs on humanitarian missions to areas around the world affected by disasters and poverty.

 
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4 Things Franchise Marketing Systems Must Have

4 Things Franchise Marketing Systems Must Have

One of the greatest strengths of franchising is the mandatory centralized marketing programs, or franchise marketing systems. There is much greater marketing power when the funds from all of the franchises in a system are pooled. Things that no single franchisee could do, such as run a worldwide ad campaign, are now possible with money from the central fund. Also, an individual owner could not create the level of quality and impact of the advertising materials produced when the franchisor enlists the help of experts, such as ClickTecs.

Since franchisees sometimes feel that the pooled funds are not being spent the way they feel they should be, this money can also become a source of conflict. In any franchise marketing systems, this can be a big issue. And, this issue is often compounded when consumer confidence is low and all advertising is producing less of a return on investment.

This makes it essential for a franchisor to have outstanding franchise marketing systems in place to keep the confidence of current franchise owners and to attract new ones. To help you with this, ClickTecs has put together this list of 4 qualities present in a good franchise marketing program.

1.      Get the Splits Right

There are three things that marketing fund money is primarily used for. The costs of producing advertising materials, such as direct mail, television and radio ads, website content, guest blog content, etc., are covered. Next, placing advertisements in various media for the benefit of the contributing franchisees is paid for. Finally, the administration of the marketing effort by internally or by an agency is covered.

Not enough money being spent in one of these areas and too much in another is a common complaint from franchisees. High quality promotional materials, for example, must be produced from the fund. Issues arise however when there is not enough money left to deliver beautifully crafted materials to consumers after all of the money is spent on production.

These two needs clearly need to have a reasonable balance. The amount spent on advertisement to attract customers versus the amount spent on advertisements to build the brand can be another source for conflict. Franchisees strongly favor attracting customers, whereas marketing department executives want to build the brand. Having franchise marketing systems in place that balance all of the above needs will keep conflict to a minimum.

2.      Ask Franchisees

Start asking franchisees what they think of the franchise marketing systems if you want to get an idea of how happy they are. There are few things closer to the franchise owner’s heart than marketing, so they will be very forthcoming on the topic. To find out what they specifically think, ask pointed questions that get at how they think the marketing is helping bring customers through the door and what they think of the brand.

For the required marketing fund, ask franchisees if they believe they are getting good value. If not, ask why not. You can safely assume some changes need to be made if you consistently hear about the same issues and concerns from the franchisees. Before you hurt your brand and scare off new franchise owners, make those changes.

Of course, it is also great to hear that the franchisees are happy with how their marketing funds are being spent, and this is often the case. But, it is also important to take the time to make sure the franchisees are happy because they are essentially your customers.

3.      Clearly Document Your Efforts

The franchisor must carefully document the elements of their franchise marketing systems. Since this is what franchisees are going to be looking at most closely, you need to be able to show them where their money is going. Also, a less confidential version of your marketing documentation should be available to share with potential franchisees.

Well-documented franchise marketing systems include not only how much was spent on various strategies, but it should also include performance markers showing how effective each campaign was. If a campaign or strategy was ineffective, then that should be noted and there should be a plan for the future.

4.      Use the Latest Technology

It seems like new technologies are popping up just about every day to help you and your franchisees stretch their marketing dollars. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not staying on top of these trends and taking advantage of them. After all, franchisors who do not change with the times often go out of business.

For example, to most of us, it is a no brainer that if you are in business you have a website. In addition, you should have websites for each of the franchisees to assist them with their local marketing. A national vendor can handle the barebones portion of getting the website up and running, but it also needs to cater to the local market.

One method used in franchise marketing systems is to give each franchisee a subdomain of the main corporate site. For example, if ClickTecs were to have a franchise location in Vancouver, the address for the subdomain may be www.vancouver.clicktecs.com.

ClickTecs has many years of experience creating websites for the franchisor and franchisees. Part of our process is to make sure that the sites are optimized for search engines (SEO) and for social media (SMO). Our experts closely follow and test what works and what does not when it comes to getting your website to show up high in the search rankings.

One method that is very successful is filling your website with rich, original content, such as blog posts or articles, that users will find useful. ClickTecs has a knowledgeable team of writers who have master the art of writing to appeal to users and search engines alike. Not only that, they can incorporate your franchise into their content and make you look good no matter what industry you are in.

Make your franchisees happy and building your brand by making ClickTecs an integral part of your franchise marketing system.

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About the Author : Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmi

Jamshaid Hashmi - Founder and CEO of ClickTecsA serial entrepreneur with extensive background in franchising and interests in multiple online business channels, Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmi has played an instrumental role in the franchise development and success of an international franchise company. His most recent entrepreneurial interests include launching ClickTecs, a Digital Marketing company specializing in Search Engine Marketing and Social Media Marketing as well as Website and Mobile Application development. In 2007 he co-founded Search Result, an online marketing company that supplies services to Internet Marketing Consultants. A sought after public speaker, Jam has been the featured keynote at many franchise conferences and international summits. He regularly trains ‘C’ Level Executives and supports both new and seasoned business owners on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Optimization, Mobile Marketing, Brand Reputation Management and Conversion & Measurement through web analytics. When he’s not scaling the heights of the Internet world, Jam ‘unwinds’ on extreme thrill-seeking adventures from the jungles of the Amazon to the highest summits. His passions include working with NGOs on humanitarian missions to areas around the world affected by disasters and poverty.

 
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Step 1 for a Franchise Entrepreneur : Crafting an Expert Franchise Marketing Plan

These days, if you are like most entrepreneurs or franchisors, you have probably received a lot of different sales pitches. Web designers and search engine optimizers will tell you your site is not more useful than a store in the middle of the Pacific Ocean if it does not show up on the first page of a Google search. Also, your website has to be optimized for mobile devices in today’s world. They will tell you the key to achieving your goals is optimizing both your mobile and original sites, or have a mobile responsive site design (preferred by Google for search) so you can get a 2 for 1 deal on optimization.

Public relations is the cornerstone for an effective franchise marketing plan that generates leads. At least, this is what a PR person will tell you. After all, you can get increased franchise sales with good publicity provided by third party credibility.

A skilled videographer may pitch that 28 percent of all Google search results are now YouTube links. Consequently, you can increase your sales by up to 25 percent or more by creating high quality videos. Plus, if one of those videos goes viral, it can have more impact than any advertising dollars possibly could.

When making buying decisions, today’s buyers rely on the suggestions from their networks and friends according to social media firms. You are lost if you are not engaging these folks. The key to growth is social media, not only for the consumer side of the business but also the franchise development side.

And, when you hear from an ad agency, they will tell you that public relations cannot be relied on. Placements are unpredictable, stories have no call to action, and the press is fickle. They will tell you lead flow is the ticket with advertising using portals, pay per click, and some print media.

So, which of these methods is right? They all are. They are also all wrong to the extent that they preach a myopic focus.

Choosing How to Allocate Your Resources

You do not have an unlimited budget for your franchise marketing plan if you are like every other franchisor. To achieve your goals, you have to choose carefully how you allocate your resources across different media channels based on their potential for returns.  For a lot of franchisors, this means allocating scarce resources across diverse media.

The starting point is to set specific goals as part of your franchise marketing planning process. These goals may include, but are not limited to, any of the following guidelines singularly or in combination: customer retention, new franchisee acquisition, building the brand, and new customer acquisition. With each of your goals, be very specific. For example, come up with precise numbers for how many franchisees you want to add and where you want to add them.

You also need to understand your target franchisee. Find out which of your competitors they most often look at, what they read, how old they are, what drives their decision processes, how well educated they are, and if they are tech savvy.

Your current situation should also be part of your assessment. Figure out how you are going to differentiate yourself from your competitors. For promotional efforts, you need to know what in house resources you have and their capabilities. You need a budget. Plus, you need to make an honest appraisal of your website and marketing materials. Long story short, you need to start with a franchise marketing plan in order to prioritize the use of your resources.

The Web Is the Way to Go

Your first priority should be your website if you are a franchisor. Your website will serve as the hub of almost all of your marketing efforts. You will send people there with your online advertising. Links that lead them there will be created with your public relations efforts. Social media, video, and SEO are all designed to send people to your site. Despite all of this, one of the most underdeveloped marketing assets for a lot of franchisors still continues to be their website.

Keep in mind that search optimization is often theme based and domain focused.   This means in an ideal world, you should have a dedicated consumer site on one url and a dedicated franchise site on another url.  You should link the two together so traffic can flow.  It is no myth that the largest referrer of traffic and leads to your FD site is often your consumer site.

Start with your website if it is not very good. You do not want to skimp on this. If you have a fifteen year old nephew who is a computer whiz, this does not necessarily mean he should develop your website. This is not the time to cut corners.

An overarching content strategy communicating your unique selling propositions should be a part of any good website. However, you want visitors to the site to interact with you, so the site should not have so much information that they will not need to. Your website should provide a value proposition that motivates visitors to share their contact information, and it should have many capture mechanisms to obtain leads.

Your website should seek to maximize the number of qualified leads, not just any leads. To drive specific traffic to your site, you need to have landing pages optimized around your keyword phrases and keywords. These keyword densities should never exceed five percent, or else your site may be penalized by Google.

Digital Marketing Agencies

If you are like most franchisors, this all may seem a bit overwhelming. You may not have the expertise on staff that can maximize your online marketing. Fortunately, there are digital marketing agencies like ClickTecs that focus on nothing but designing websites that are optimized for social media (SMO), search engines (SEO), and mobile devices. In addition, they can manage your online reputation and get you started with pay per click marketing, if you have the budget for it.

SEO is one of ClickTecs’ main specialties. By filling your site with original, useful content relevant to your industry, the search engines will reward you with a prime spot high in the search results. We have a team of talented writers that can craft high quality articles on any topic and that will make your company look good. Not only will the search engines give you a good ranking for having content users want, but the content will be shared on social media, and there is always the chance it could go viral.

The bottom line is digital marketing is a much too important part of any franchise marketing plan to be left to amateurs. If you do not have an expert on staff, or even if you do, you should strongly consider enlisting the help of professionals.  What do you think the first steps for a new entrepreneur should be?

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About the Author : Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmi

Jamshaid Hashmi - Founder and CEO of ClickTecsA serial entrepreneur with extensive background in franchising and interests in multiple online business channels, Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmi has played an instrumental role in the franchise development and success of an international franchise company. His most recent entrepreneurial interests include launching ClickTecs, a Digital Marketing company specializing in Search Engine Marketing and Social Media Marketing as well as Website and Mobile Application development. In 2007 he co-founded Search Result, an online marketing company that supplies services to Internet Marketing Consultants. A sought after public speaker, Jam has been the featured keynote at many franchise conferences and international summits. He regularly trains ‘C’ Level Executives and supports both new and seasoned business owners on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Optimization, Mobile Marketing, Brand Reputation Management and Conversion & Measurement through web analytics. When he’s not scaling the heights of the Internet world, Jam ‘unwinds’ on extreme thrill-seeking adventures from the jungles of the Amazon to the highest summits. His passions include working with NGOs on humanitarian missions to areas around the world affected by disasters and poverty.

 
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ClickTecs Google Partner

We are pleased to announce today the final ‘inking’ of our Google Partnership.  ClickTecs has now become one of the few exclusive agencies headquartered in Mississauga, Canada and servicing the Franchise Sector, that is an official Google Partner.  Although this is a great achievement for our staff, we wanted you to know that it was the trust and belief of our Clients that helped us get there.  We wanted to briefly tell you what was involved in the Google Partnership and more about what the Google Partnership means for you and your business.

What is a Google Partner?

Google has monetized its Search Engine by offering advertising opportunities.  Over the years, Google has invested a lot in making their system for Google Adwords more effective.  Since advertising on Google is a dynamic and changing area, it is often very time consuming for businesses to manage it in-house.  This has led to the emergence of many ‘Digital Marketing Agencies’ or ‘Online Agencies’.  These agencies promise to help get businesses to the ‘top of Google’ and leverage the other paid advertising opportunities offered by it.

Since there is no license requirement to advertise on Google, how does a business that wants to invest in paid advertising differentiate between professional providers of this service and those who simply don’t know what they are doing?  In reality, anyone can spend OPM (Other People’s Money) in Adwords, for better or worst, so what can Google do to prevent this Wild Wild West phenomenon?

The Google Partner Program offers every agency to prove they can meet the strict criteria set by Google to qualify to sport the Google Partner Badge.

Here are the criteria for becoming an official Google Partner:

1)   Google Adwords Certification Tests
The first step to becoming an official Google Partner is to pass a series of tests.  To fulfill the certification requirement, your agency needs at least one of its affiliated members to be AdWords certified. To get certified, an individual must pass the Fundamentals exam and one of the two advanced exams — either the Advanced Search or Advanced Display exam.  These exams are timed and the pass mark is not 50% like they did in school.  It requires you to get an ‘A’ in order to pass the exam.

2)   Minimum Book of Business

Having an active and healthy book of business lets Google know that an agency will stand the test of time. Google checks an Agencies My Client Center (MCC) account to see if it meets their criteria in the following areas:

  • Min Spend : At least US $10,000 in total AdWords spend over the last 90 calendar days.  This is designed to ensure you are retaining clients and not having a high turnover.
  • Min Activity: Spend activity in at least 60 of the last 90 days.  This is designed to show you are constantly in the account updating and enhancing the campaigns.  Simply put you can’t ‘set it and forget it’.
  • Min Longevity: MCC is at least 90 days old.  Shows you have been doing this for a while and are consistent.

3)   Best Practices and Audit

In the accounts an agency manages, they need to demonstrate that they are maximizing the ROI and performance of the campaigns.  Google watches the activity in the account to ensure that you are indeed following best practices.  They are looking to make sure that someone is not just using the basic setup and dumping money into the account.  They want to see some advanced techniques, calibrating the ad spend, maximizing the CTR etc.  Basically squeezing every ounce of juice out of client’s marketing dollars to maximize clicks and conversions.

So for those businesses looking at investing in Google’s paid advertising program, you should definitely consider working with someone that can brandish the Google Partner Badge and has earned Partner Status. This can be determined by clicking on the badge and going to the companies Google+ Page which is linked to their Google Partner Status.  You can find ours here, ClickTecs Official Google Partner

ClickTecs is Now An Official Google Partner!
The badge recognizes companies that excel with Google’s products. Their businesses are healthy, their customers are happy, and they use Google best practices.

_________________________________________________________________________________

About the Author : Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmi

Jamshaid Hashmi - Founder and CEO of ClickTecsA serial entrepreneur with extensive background in franchising and interests in multiple online business channels, Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmi has played an instrumental role in the franchise development and success of an international franchise company. His most recent entrepreneurial interests include launching ClickTecs, a Digital Marketing company specializing in Search Engine Marketing and Social Media Marketing as well as Website and Mobile Application development. In 2007 he co-founded  Search Result, an online marketing company that supplies services to Internet Marketing Consultants. A sought after public speaker, Jam has been the featured keynote at many franchise conferences and international summits. He regularly trains ‘C’ Level Executives and supports both new and seasoned business owners on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Optimization, Mobile Marketing, Brand Reputation Management and Conversion & Measurement through web analytics. When he’s not scaling the heights of the Internet world, Jam ‘unwinds’ on extreme thrill-seeking adventures from the jungles of the Amazon to the highest summits. His passions include working with NGOs on humanitarian missions to areas around the world affected by disasters and poverty.

 
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