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forbids franchisees to have their own social media or websites, and you are forced to rely on the franchisors outdated site.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.
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.
About the Author : Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmi
A 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.