Savvy business owners, franchisors included, are turning to the Internet and social media to strengthen marketing and branding campaigns. The end goal of course is to increase lead generation and sales at the local level, as well as create brand awareness. However, it is nearly impossible to do this effectively without franchisee participation and support. As franchisees are already looking for ways to market their businesses online, and franchisors must ensure compliance in terms of regulation and branding, local online marketing must be approached with care.
As a franchisee, you have limited control over your online presence to limit the risk of compliance issues for the franchisor. However, your franchise agreement likely does leave some room for you to craft your own inbound marketing strategy that will not only produce the results you are looking for, but also maintain compliance with the terms of your franchise agreement.
Determine the End Goals
Before you can develop a plan of action, it is necessary to understand what you are attempting to accomplish. Create a plan you can update as you go. You do not necessarily have to invest in outside help, but make sure to get answers to important questions such as:
- What types of content is my target audience interested in?
- Where can I find my ideal customers online?
- What am I trying to accomplish?
- What metrics can I track to see how successful my efforts are?
Focus on Lead Generation
Your franchise needs qualified leads more than anything else. Chances are, you have a local website for your location. Talk with your franchisor to determine what you can do to the website yourself, and learn more about how to manage it on your own. Make sure the content is locally relevant and unique to the area as well as unique to what you would find on other franchise and oriented websites. Make sure the content focuses on clear calls to action. If you fail to address these issues, you will have a much more difficult time building traffic and converting leads into paying customers.
Register Your Business with Local Directories
Local directories such as Google Places™, Bing®, Yelp®, and Yahoo® can help boost your local franchises website in the search engine results pages. The inbound links to your website from these trusted traffic sources will not only help boost your overall search engine ranking, but will also help your customers find you. Many people search these directories to find a variety of things. Plus, because they are typically free for you as the business owner, there is no reason to avoid them.
Harness the Power of Analytics
Analytics tools will help you find out more about what your website users are doing when they visit your website. You can find out a variety of details including: how long someone spends on a page, where they came to the page from, the keywords being used to locate your website, where they are clicking on the web page, etc. All of this information can be used to determine the successes and failures of your inbound marketing approach. When something is going well, you know what to keep doing. If you notice something is not going as well as intended, you can take the necessary steps to adjust your marketing strategy to change the results.
Optimize Conversion Rates
Your conversion rate is the proportion of website visitors that turn into paying customers. The higher your conversion rate, the better. Optimizing your conversion rate doesn’t always have a clear-cut plan of action, but here are some things to review:
- Do you have a clear, easily located, call to action (CTA)?
- Is your site user friendly?
- Are your websites’ graphics relevant, and well-placed?
- Are your search engine optimization tactics working?
Adjust Marketing Strategies as Needed
If you found a great marketing strategy, use it as long as you possibly can. However, just because something works now, does not mean it will work forever. Keep an eye on those analytics, and make adjustments to your marketing strategy when needed to ensure you have a consistent flow of new and repeat customers to generate revenue for your business.
As a franchise owner, take advantage of any corporate marketing dollars that are available to you. If you are not ready doing this, you are missing out on the chance to grow your local franchise. These funds are basically free money from your franchisor dedicated to marketing and growing your business in your local area. You can use these dollars to build your inbound-marketing strategy, and you should be. These dollars can also be used to reach out to marketing specialists, as approved by your franchise agreement, to help you succeed.
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.Back