To compete in the franchise business, it’s vital that you have a strong online marketing strategy. More people start their search for opportunities on the Internet and you need a strong online presence in order to generate quality leads and increase franchise sales. There are many different ways to help your franchise get noticed online. Here are 11 different strategies that you should consider as you start to flesh out your franchise digital marketing strategy.
1. Paid Advertising
Paid advertising platforms like pay per click advertising (Google, Bing) and social media advertising (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN) can help your business drive targeted traffic to your website. The great thing about these advertising platforms is that you can target either specific keywords or audiences. This allows businesses to see strong ROI numbers compared to many other forms of advertising.
Facebook and other social media sites have seen an increase of usage over the past five years. This is the reason why over 90% of marketers are running some kind of promotion on the platform. The same study shows that the average B2B cost per click is $2.52 and a $23.77 cost per action which is a very respectable number. Keep in mind that this is simply the average and you can do better than these numbers with the right targeting, optimization, and strategy.
2. Lead Nurturing and Email Marketing
Part of making your franchise marketing online strategy work is generating leads. It’s hard to convert large sales and complicated products/services in the first visit. That’s why most franchise businesses focus on generating leads so that they can follow up with interested prospects. The problem is that their lead nurturing and email marketing strategy is seriously lacking.
Oracle’s study shows that 82% of marketers saw moderately successful to successful results from their lead nurturing campaigns. They also reported that email marketing was the best channel for lead nurturing. So in order to get more of your leads to convert, you need to come up a lead nurturing process and use proper email marketing techniques (subject line testing, optimizing send times, advanced personalization with CRM platforms, etc.).
3. Social Media
Another proven franchise marketing online strategy is social media. In fact, it’s the second biggest lead generator for franchises right after referrals. Even if you don’t have a big advertising budget for paid campaigns, there is still a big opportunity with social media if you use the right strategies. But it’s important to understand that social media is just as demanding as other digital marketing strategies.
Marketing your franchise online through social media requires many things. You’ll need to build an audience, keep followers engaged, develop a relationship with your prospects/customers, and establish a strong brand. This will involve many things like publishing great content, scheduling posts, replying to followers/mentions, and fleshing out your brand identity.
4. Content Marketing
Content marketing is probably not the first place franchise owners look at when they think about marketing their business online. But you should strongly consider it as content marketing can generate three times more leads at a 62% lower cost. Content marketing also goes hand in hand with social media and SEO (due to the links that are built). The idea is to use relevant and high quality content to draw in more blog readers, followers, and email leads. Using tools like BuzzSumo are great ways to come up with good content topics.
5. Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
While SEO has always been a great way to generate traffic and leads, it can be very competitive for popular franchise searches. A good alternative to this strategy is to use local SEO. It makes sense because many franchises are locally based and many franchises searches are location searches. Search Engine Land reports that franchises can get the most out of local SEO by focusing on three elements. This includes managing local business data, creating unique local business pages, and monitoring reputation.
6. Online Press
Online press is just as important as offline press. You can get noticed online by reaching out to the proper channels. Of course, there are online press releases that will get your story distributed to many news outlets. But there are also big opportunities in getting featured on podcasts, YouTube channels, industry sites, and community blogs. In fact, it might be easier to get featured online than offline. It also has the added benefit of impacting your SEO campaign.
7. Website Remodel
A common mistake you’ll see in the franchise industry in a poor website design. Many franchise businesses have outdated designs that make their business appear like it’s straight from the 90’s. With 94% of the first impression being strictly design based, you need to make sure that your website is up to par. You need to make sure that your website has a strong and unique design that helps sell your brand. It also needs to be modern, clean, easy to use, and have clear call to actions.
Recommended reading: Here’s the real reasons your website needs a redesign
8. Mobile Optimization
To expand on your website design, you need to make sure that your website is optimized for mobile devices. With over 45% of traffic coming from either mobile phones or tablets, it’s essential that your website is responsive. But a responsive website is often not enough. There needs to be more effort put into optimizing things like load times, navigation, and formatting to provide a truly great mobile experience to potential investors.
Recommended reading: Mobile Web Design Tips To Increase Conversions and Mobile SEO
9. Partnerships and Referrals
As mentioned earlier, partnerships with other businesses and referrals are the biggest drivers of leads for franchises at 63%. Although this is seen as a mostly offline activity, all aspects of marketing your franchise online should cover both mediums. There are many websites that you can reach out to set up deals. You can also run an online referral program where you can pay referrers on a flat/percentage commission or lead basis.
10. Reputation Management
As a franchise, it’s important that you instill confidence in potential investors. Getting a lot of traffic is good but what good is it if your brand is associated with negative sentiment. You want to look through review sites to eliminate false complaints and reply to negative feedback positively. You need to be active on social media to respond to mentions and jump on press opportunities. Reputation management is key to a successful local SEO campaign but it is also essential if you want to compete with similar franchises.
11. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
One part of marketing your franchise is bringing in traffic. The other part is converting that traffic into leads. Regardless of the strategy you’re using to generate traffic, you should always be working to improve your conversion rates. It’s reported that businesses that are seeing better conversion rates conduct 50% more tests and constancy explore different ways to improve conversion. If your conversion rates are low or at the industry average, you probably need to invest more your CRO efforts. At the end of the day, the ultimate goal is to increase franchise sales.
All of these strategies will help you establish your franchise business online. The key to coming up with a solid franchise digital marketing plan is implementing one at a time. Start by mastering one online marketing strategy and move on to the next. Some strategies like local SEO, content marketing and social media will work in a synergistic manner. So that’s something to think about when considering what strategies to execute.