How to Approach Online Franchise Marketing

Franchise marketing in general can be a pretty tricky proposition. How much money, time, and effort should you devote to franchise marketing? How much should you research the marketing plans of other franchises? How much of what they have done is applicable to your franchise? What is the geographic region that your marketing should cover? And how much should you focus on marketing your franchise online?

For the purposes of this post, franchise marketing will refer to the marketing of your franchise location to the end consumer of your product or service.  This is not to be confused with marketing the franchise opportunity so candidates can evaluate your business and look to purchase a franchise and become a franchisee.  That being said, lets get back to the matter at hand.  It’s difficult to know the answers to the questions above because the answers to all these questions will depend on the type of franchise you have, who your customers are and where they are located. But with respect to the last question, online marketing is crucial to the success of your franchise. This article will look at the some of the ways you can approach online franchise marketing.

Your Franchisee Website

Your franchise website is good starting place to examine approaches to franchise marketing. As stated above, it is imperative that your franchise marketing strategy relies heavily on its online presence, and that begins with your website.

Many franchisors have a single page dedicated to each franchise location.  This may be a cost effective strategy to start with, or a strategy that can be useful if the company’s brand is very well known.  It is cost effective because it doesn’t take much to manage a single page dedicated per location.  The content is limited and easy to update and website maintenance can be done system wide fairly easily.  It is good for larger brands because they are already well known and people will often search by brand name.  There is no need to have a more robust local presence because they already have brand equity and awareness in the local market.

Some franchisors, especially service based brands, or new brands that are not well known, may find it beneficial to build out a more robust micro-site for each location.  This helps in having more content that can be customized for the local market and that can help with Search Engine Optimization for more generic keywords that are not brand specific.

Search Engine Optimization

Marketing has changed a lot over the decades. It’s no longer about taking an ad out in the local newspaper for your franchise. It’s not even about pop-up ads on websites either. Far more important is Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

SEO is a way to design your website and its content such that it makes your website appear higher in online searches for a set of keywords that describe your product or service.  Single page websites per location (talked about above) may be limited in this because there is only so much content you can stuff into one page.  In addition, that page will likely rank for only a few keywords.  Having a multiple pages dedicated to a franchisee location will allow for more content and more keywords to possibly rank.

Social Media

Social media is not merely another platform on which you can advertise your franchise. Social media is more important than ever to franchise marketing because it allows you to monitor and adjust conversations about your franchise. If a disgruntled customer tweets something negative about your franchise, you can address that customer right away and track small problems before they become big ones.  There are great tools to listen to the sentiment of your end customers so you can deal with any concerns quickly.  In addition, a franchisee can benefit from bringing in his/her reviews from the social review sites to display on their franchisee website. This helps user experience and will help in increasing the conversion from visitor to lead.

Mobile devices

As mentioned earlier, franchise marketing has changed a lot over the decades. But it’s also changed a lot in the past five years. Today, 30-50% of the traffic on your website is coming from mobile devices. If you don’t have a site that is optimized for mobile viewing and access, you can kiss those leads goodbye.  Google’s preferred protocol it to build your sites using a responsive design.   This will ensure that you have a site that is attractive and engaging on all platforms and screen sizes.  In addition, if your services are often searched on mobile devices and having that user see your add while they are within a certain proximity of your location is important to you, then ensure you are bidding higher for ads on mobile devices when someone is within a certain radius. This gets users the ads at the ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth).

Clicktecs

All of this can be very hard to keep track of. Franchise marketing is just one aspect of your business, and important though it is, you still have to focus on actually making the product or providing the service that is key to making your business run. At Clicktecs we can do all of the above things to guarantee that your online franchise marketing plan is crisp, efficient, and successful at engaging the highest possible number of leads online. To learn more, please contact us today!

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How to Devise a Digital Marketing Plan for a Franchise

It is 2016. The internet is kind of important now and it’s not going away anytime soon. This statement is not controversial in the least; anybody who would deny the importance of the internet is clearly insane. And yet still, many businesses and franchises move ahead with marketing plans that are straight out of 1994. To properly and effectively market your franchise you need to devise a specialized digital marketing plan. But what is the best way to do this? Well, read on and discover how to devise a digital marketing plan for your franchise!

 

Franchise marketing plans

Franchise marketing plans have been around just about as long as franchises have, but digital marketing is still a relatively recent development, and what’s more, it is always changing. The truth is, a successful digital marketing plan is so much more involved and intricate than just transferring an offline plan to digital media. There are a great many factors to consider. Such as:

 

Website design and development

Today, the first time most people come in contact with your franchise is when they visit your website. Your website is the first thing most potential customers will see, so you have got to impress them. But a good website is so much more than flashy and crisp graphics. You have to consider functionality, content, and even little things like font choice can be crucial. And that’s just how your website will appear on laptops and desktops, to say nothing of your mobile presence, which today, is just as, if not even more, important than a landing page. A well-thought out mobile marketing strategy is a key part of any modern day franchise marketing plan, as is mobile application development.  A word of warning before you allow all your franchisees to go rampant on social media is to have a social media marketing policy.  This will serve as a set of guidelines for the franchisees to ensure everyone is consistent with their brand messaging on social media.

 

Optimization

Another key component of a digital franchise marketing plan has to do with optimizing your content. Both Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Optimization (SMO) are great tools that, when used correctly, get the maximum amount of attention for your franchise. SEO utilises keywords to increase your business’s visibility in search engines. SMO will get your franchise noticed on social media, help you engage with customers, and heighten your brand awareness.  Often multi-unit franchises will face the challenge of having unique content for each of their locations.  If investment can’t be made to customize all local content, then at the very minimum correct canonical tags need to be placed on duplicate content at the franchisee sites to ensure Google doesn’t penalize multiple submissions of the same page.

 

Online Reputation Management

When crafting a digital franchise marketing plan you have to consider your online reputation. How to establish one? How to maintain a positive association?And how to deal with any problems that may arise? Online reputation management is all about measuring, monitoring, tracking, and creating constructive conversations about your brand, largely through social media. It can be difficult to stay on top of at times, but you need a good online reputation management strategy if your digital franchise marketing plan is to succeed.  There are many tools available to listen and the sophisticated franchisors are going one step further and using an online review generation and management system to help increase review on the social sites such as Yelp, Google My Business and others.  These reviews help with local search optimization and can also be brought back into a franchisee’s site and displayed using API feeds for better visitor experience and validation.

 

And more

These points are only some of the pillars needed to construct a great digital franchise marketing strategy. How can you stay on top of all this? This is a simple buy vs build decision.  Either you spend the man hours doing it yourself, or you can engage with a franchise marketing agency that can help manage the digital marketing for your franchises.  Contact ClickTecs today to see how we have helped numerous franchises with their digital marketing plans at the franchisor and franchisee levels.

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Some Commonly Overlooked Keys to Successful Franchise Development

To succeed with your franchise development you must work hard. But hard work isn’t everything. Some believe that if they work hard and render a quality product or service, successful Franchise Development is bound to follow. However, this sadly not true. It’s not enough to work hard, you must also work smart. You must consider all the matters and issues that are integral to franchise development.

Here are some overlooked keys to franchise development.

Establish an online presence

It’s not enough to just have a website that extolls the virtues of your products or services with a little tab somewhere that says, “Become a franchisee today!”. You need to appropriately display the different facets of your business and funnel people to the proper pages accordingly. You need to have a special Franchise Development website dedicated to your corporate attributes. One where those interested in purchasing a franchise can learn why your brand or company is a great investment and what they need to do to get on board.

In addition to this, many people rely on service/product rating sites to get advice. If you don’t monitor the internet chatter about your business, things can get out of hand. You need to respond to and engage with your customers online because a bad reputation on the internet will definitely hamper franchise development.Individuals decide to purchase a franchise partly based on the demand and brand name of that service, in addition to the financial viability of the franchise model. You may have a well-thought out and enticing franchise model, but this will do little to encourage individuals to purchase a franchise if the online reputation of your product is largely negative.

Content is critical

Now that you’ve established a Franchise Development website for your brand, what do you put on it? A blog is a great idea. You have to keep your site supplied with a regular flow of good, professionally written content to continuously drive traffic to your business.This traffic has to be geared towards someone looking to purchase a franchise.

The best way to gear this specific traffic is to employ SEO (search engine optimization). If your blog posts focus on important keywords related to your franchise opportunity, then anybody who searches for these terms will be likely to stumble upon your site.

Unity and Coherence

Many people are attracted to franchising because it allows them a level of independence and autonomy. But you must always reinforce that your franchisees are part of a bigger setup. You should stress to potential franchisees that they will be part of a successful and recognized brand. And that if they wish to maximize the success of their individual branch, they must adopt the qualities and techniques that you have decided should be uniform throughout your company. Franchise development is not just about quantity. Yes, you want to award franchises to as many interested individuals who are willing and qualified to buy them, but you have to ensure unity and coherence throughout your whole network of franchises in order to grow in a sustainable and successful manner.

Work with the best

To succeed with your Franchise Development plan, you should use all the help you can get. At ClickTecs, we can help you with franchise development lead generation or franchise development marketing.  To learn more about how we can boost your Franchise Development, please contact us today!

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Google is the undisputed king of search engines. It is imperative that a website is not only well designed, but Google friendly as well. Having a Google friendly site will ensure that your target audience can easily locate you on the World Wide Web. Here are some franchise website design tips:

Things to avoid: The first step to designing a Google friendly franchise website is to know what not to do. The days of keyword stuffing and making specialized crawler pages are long gone. These are practices that Google define as deceptive and you will be penalized. It could even hurt your future chances of appearing on top of a search. When a franchise looks to design its website, they should be careful about the SEO company they hire. There are a lot of companies that guarantees results; but a true professional can increase the sites flow and content while realizing that results cannot be guaranteed.  In fact a page out of Google’s webmaster guidelines states,

“Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google. There is no priority submit for Google.” https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35291

Another thing to avoid is having multiple pages with the same content and different URLs.  This problem is very prevalent, especially in the Franchise sector where consistency of branding and messaging is very important.  It is very common to find multiple franchisee websites saying the exact same thing.  This duplicate content can cause SEO penalties and many franchisors are not even aware of the opportunity lost.  The gold standard solution is to have unique content per franchisee to overcome this issue, however that can get impractical especially if you have hundreds of locations offering the same services.  The best way to overcome this issue and build franchisee sites that are SEO friendly is the appropriate use of canonical tags.

 Content: Google emphasizes that having high quality content, especially on your homepage, is the most important factor in designing a Google friendly site. Have sniper like precision with the usage of your keywords, have a rich attractive template and have informative content that a visitor will find invigorating. Utilize the new javascript and HTML formats to create a cover interface which is attractive yet fluent. Design a page that is Google bot friendly. Do not block any sections of the page, so that you can allow the bot to do its job, and let your content do the talking. Having relevant content will drive more visitors to your website and will attract other related websites to you. A rule of thumb is to have at least 200-300+ words of content written around the specific theme that is your franchise, and keep the keyword density between 2-3%, repeated in headers, tagged in images and highlighted in text.

 Linking: Link your pages from other associated websites. This shows that others value your website and it draws more visitors to your page. If you are linked from other pages, it increases the chances of the Google bot finding your website and increases your domain authority.  Quality and relevance of links will yield the greatest impact.You should also design your franchise website with internal links, to make it easier to navigate and to make it more user friendly. Link your site to all your social media outlets. More than 30% of the traffic that comes to your site actually comes through the social media outlets. It also makes it easier for Google to find you.

 Multiple Platforms: Design a web template that is easily accessible across multiple platforms. It is an increasing trend that franchise development websites, or any websites for that matter, are getting more potential customers browsing the sites on the go from hand held devices. Mobile friendliness is actually one of Google’s main criteria when ranking websites. Creating a web design that is responsive and can easily accessible through all desktop and hand held devices are a key marketing tool. Google has actually gone and taken a stance to say that responsive designs are the preferred protocol for Google when it comes to designing a site that is SEO friendly.

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Franchise website design doesn’t necessarily follow the same structure as other businesses.  However, for franchises and for any businesses to have a great web design, it has to be Google friendly. If you are not friends with Google, your online adventure may be short lived. Give us a call today for more information about our award winning franchise development website design!

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Top-5-Franchise-Marketing-Mistakes

When you think of a franchise, one of the first things that may pop into your mind is a superpower of a business. A multi-faceted distribution channels with regional or national reach that has a consistent brand experience. Yet, franchises also make mistakes, especially when it comes to marketing.

Here are 5 franchise marketing mistakes that end up costing money

Lack of Cohesion: A local franchise should be clear with its marketing material. Quite often, their marketing strategy is not a unified front. A new franchisee should always look to apply the core values of the brand into its individual marketing strategy. This creates a general level of consistency in franchise marketing efforts and does a better job of making the material clear to the target audience. If the franchisor has a strong social media outlet, new franchisees should be taught how to use the already present framework, through a social media usage policy, rather than attempt to branch off on their own. Often franchises forget to integrate new franchisees into a cohesive social media marketing strategy.

Micro-sites: Franchises make the mistake of not having micro-sites for their separate branches. This reduces the flow of traffic to particular outlets due to the lack of localized content that is required by the search engines. This can hurt the franchise in the long run because of a reduced local footprint. The main website for a franchise should contain micro-sites for all of its separate locations. This way, customers can view reviews and marketing content of franchise locations close to them and may be even pick a favorite location. Having the micro-sites helps to improve the franchisees local presence and increases marketing reach.

Respond to the online Community: A staggering 79% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Ignoring any responses from the online community is disastrous for any marketing strategy. When franchises are marketing, they often forget to respond to queries, reviews or complaints online. Given the value of online reviews, this is suicidal. A lack of online responsiveness also shows the target audience that the business is not really concerned about the customer base.

Lack of Content: The term ‘content is king’ is an overused term, but it still cannot be emphasized enough. In terms of franchise marketing, a major problem is often a lack of content. This problem is perpetuated because unique fresh content is required for all locations. Consumers like being informed, as this gives them a sense of control. If the content is thin, the marketing strategy online will fall flat.

SEO: This is a common mistake among big franchises. If they have an established name they tend to concentrate more their branded keyword strategies. In today’s world, users are searching for your products or services in a variety of ways, using a variety of keywords. In order to stay relevant in the conversation, your keyword and content strategy has to evolve beyond your branded keywords.

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Our team at ClickTecs faces these marketing challenges from franchise brands big and small. What marketing challenges is your franchise brand facing. Let us know as we may have a solution that fits your needs.

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How to Create a Successful Franchise Marketing Strategy

You can come up with the most innovative ideas or you can even sell the best products, but, that really means nothing if you’re unable to effectively market your products and services. Figuring out how to master a marketing strategy for the purposes of growing your franchise is crucial when it comes to the success of your franchise system. Firstly, let’s establish what a franchise really is. A franchise is a business in which a business owner sells the rights to their business model and logo to third parties, called franchisees. A third party gets authorization from a company to conduct commercial ventures under their brand logo and model. It is a common method used by a company to get a greater market share while minimizing their own risks. The big question is, how do you create a successful marketing strategy for your franchises?

Website Optimization:

Optimizing your website is a great start to the success of your franchise. Nowadays, consumers are gravitating towards the internet in hopes of finding what they’re looking for. Every reputable franchise has a website that has been search engine optimized. This allows for Google to crawl and index your website, which then grants you with the opportunity to appear on the organic section of many search engines. In simpler terms, if your website is optimized for the major search engines (Google, Yahoo and Bing), anybody who types in your product or service, will likely see your website appear on the first page. This takes time, talent and patience. Franchises that have been around for years are now on the first page of Google due to their effort to improve the optimization of their website. The key is to make sure your website is easily navigable and informs the customer of the areas in which you service. Always ensure to include call to action buttons throughout your website, otherwise, you may find yourself with zero to no leads.

Master Social Media:

Understanding how to generate leads and create brand awareness through the major social media sites is extremely important. A franchise marketing strategy must include the many ways in which you can increase your cash flow through social media platforms such as; Google+, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Many franchise owners hire social media experts for the purpose of receiving maximum results.  A clearly defined social media policy should be put together through the franchisors and franchisees must comply and follow those guidelines to ensure brand continuity.

Advertising:

Advertising is one of the most important components in your entire franchise marketing strategy. As there will be thousands of businesses like yours, you’ll need to prove to your targeted market why they should choose you over everybody else. When it comes to advertising, many franchise owners start off with Google ads, retargeting, banner ads, flyers, brochures, email marketing, direct mail, public relations and newspaper ads. Once your business begins to establish itself, you can even try to create a commercial. A good franchisor will publish approved advertising pieces and strategies through a digital library that franchisees can access.  This helps ensure that the advertising message is within acceptable guidelines and takes some of the work away from the individual franchisees.

Master Your Franchise Marketing Strategy With Us

By adhering to advice above, you can begin to build the digital footprint of your franchise network. Our experts at ClickTecs are knowledgeable, experienced and ready to assist you with your franchise marketing needs. Give us a call today for more information.

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Why Automation will Change Your Future in Marketing

Marketing automation is becoming the system of record for modern marketers. It’s the place where they can manage all their data and create a rich profile of their target buyers. It saves time, makes money, and it has a place in all of the noteworthy “marketing trends” articles published throughout the year. It’s estimated that marketing automation companies will collectively generate over 4 billion in revenue by the end of the year generated by a variety of companies, from financial institutions to franchisors.

But why should you care about marketing automation?

What is Marketing Automation?

To put it simply, marketing automation is software used to automate marketing processes. Like project management software, it can do many things at once of just a few, things such as customer segmentation, customer data integration, and campaign management. At its most basic utility, marketing automation software is there to handle processes that would otherwise require a person to do them manually. One early example of this is mass-email software.

Marketing automation in the broadest sense encompasses marketing campaigns across all channels including direct mail, phone campaigns, social, and mobile initiatives. If you’re reading this it’s likely what you’re interested in is the digital applications and you want to know why there’s so many people talking about it.

Why is Marketing Automation Important?

If you’re looking to be successful in franchising, you’re going to be using marketing automation at some point. The more you or your company begin to see ROI on digital campaigns and engagement efforts, you will reach a point where you need to have a system that makes everything easier. If people and companies are using automation services more, it means more people are starting to truly understand digital marketing and that’s a good sign.

Why do some people have a hard time with it, and why does it take so long to adapt? The short answer is that people do it incorrectly. Automation is supposed to make things simpler, but it’s sometimes used to make things bigger and more complicated it is doomed to fail. A franchisor dealing with an array of franchisees and locations needs a streamlined process to allowing them to address the larger goals, and this is true of any large organization.

What Automation Platforms can I use?

The most important thing to understand about automating your marketing is that it isn’t a magic wand. Users who cite problems with automation software often do so because they started with no good leads and thought it would help them get more.

Automation software makes a complicated system easier, it is not a substitute for a planned system. It saves you time and energy with something you already do, but if you don’t have effective procedures in place you will experience diminished returns.

That being said, different marketing automation platforms are designed for different types of businesses. It’s critical that your business research marketing automation options – tools like HubSpot, Act-On, infusionsoft and others- to figure out which one is the best fit.

The team at ClickTecs helps determine the right tool for your needs and helps your marketing campaigns integrate with these tools.  Check out http://clicktecs.com for more information on what marketing automation can do for your business.

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franchise website awards

 

Mississauga based company ClickTecs has earned the top spot in the 1851 Franchise Magazine’s Development Website Awards for a franchise website that they created Mosquito Joe Franchising LLC. www.mosquitojoefranchise.com

Each year the magazine awards spots to the top 40 franchise websites rating the criteria of: motivating content, ease of application, usability, UL/UX design, site performance and SEO. There are hundreds of applications for this prestigious recognition. The 40 finalists are then judged and ranked by four industry experts.

This year’s judging panel included Sean Fitzgerald of 1851 Franchise Magazine, Nick Powills of No Limit Agency, Todd Bingham of FranNet and Keith Gerson of FranConnect. Feedback on the Mosquito Joe Franchise website included the following comment: “Terrific call to action combined with wonderful use of video imagery. The flow of the site is stellar. Providing information in multiple ways to suit the user is smart.”

“Just making it into the top 40 is a great accomplishment,” says ClickTecs CEO, Jam Hashmi. “We are beyond thrilled to take the number one position.”

The Mosquito Joe website created by the Canadian company scored an impressive 8.7 out of 10 overall, with its highest rankings being a 9.5 in usability and an 8.9 in ease of application.

In the franchise industry, having a strong web presence, good search engine optimization and a high level of user friendliness is critical. Most potential franchisees nowadays will get their first impression of a franchisor through the company website. It must clearly explain the business model, the product/service and the overall opportunity in a clear and compelling manner if the entrepreneur is to give it further consideration for investment. If the site looks amateur, uninviting or is difficult to navigate, most investors will not take the next step in contacting the franchisor.

These are all concepts that the team at ClickTecs clearly has a good understanding of. ClickTecs is a digital marketing and web development agency that operates exclusively within the franchise niche, serving many small start-up clients as well as nationally recognizable names like CarStar, Great Clips, Pioneer Energy and FranNet.

“We have worked very hard to become the go to agency for franchises is Canada and the United States for website design and search engine optimization,” says Hashmi, “being recognized by 1851 Magazine is one more confirmation that we have reached that goal. Our client, Mosquito Joe is extremely proud as well to have the winning franchise website.”

Mosquito Joe is a Virginia based outdoor pest control franchise operating in markets across the United States. www.mosquitojoe.com

Franchisors interested in a new design or re-design of their website should contact info@clicktecs.com

Find the full list of finalists and commentary from the website awards at 1851franchise.com.

About the Author : Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmi

Jamshaid-Jam-Hashmi-200x200A 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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As we speak, there are thousands of qualified potential franchisees searching the internet for their next business venture. If you’re a franchisor, that is good news. But not so fast – before you start to celebrate the digital age of selling franchises, you need to understand a thing or two about online marketing and recruitment of new franchisees. You need to know how to attract them to your business before they are lost to your competitors.

Continue reading Finding the Best Franchisees Through Online Marketing

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Developing a Social Media Marketing Plan for 2015

Developing a Social Media Marketing Plan for 2015

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