Franchise marketers, take heart! We have 5 great tips that will take your brand from so-so to super fab. Which ones do you need to do?
1. Claim Those Local Business Listings
It’s no surprise that a Connectivity blog post would start here, but we can’t help ourselves. It’s vital to claim local franchise business listings on sites such as Google, Yelp, Citysearch and Bing, plus any other directories that matter in your industry.
Correct business listings lead to customer delight because a quick mobile search directs them to your storefront (no wrong directions!) at the precise time your doors are open (no disappointed diners!) with perhaps a special discount offer (thanks, Yelp!).
Listing management is also the basic foundation of a successful SEO program. Each local franchise listing should include:
- Accurate data such as the business name, address and phone number
- Consistent naming conventions across all business directories: “Legacy Home Health Care” is not the same as “Legacy Home Care”
- Completed local profiles with categories, pictures, videos, coupons and keywords
Need a place to start with claiming profiles? Download Connectivity’s free guide “How to Claim Your Business on Google, Yelp and Facebook.”
Pro-Tip: Claiming business profiles is labor-intensive work! Let us know if the Connectivity in-house claiming team can help with this important task.)
2. Create a Website for the Mobile Masses
Google moved today to a policy of rewarding mobile-friendly websites with better mobile search results . Although some have called this day “Mobile-Geddon,” we think there’s still time to right the ship if you think your franchise is going overboard.
Franchise marketing teams should work with their website development firm to create a mobile responsive website that is optimized for mobile. If they haven’t yet, move this task to the top of your to-do list, especially if your franchise industry relies on mobile searches to bring in foot traffic.
3. Ask for Reviews (Pretty Please!)
There’s nothing like a glowing five-star review…and nothing as gut-punching as a one-star rant. You can’t ask for positive reviews (or pay for them!), but you can tell your customers that you are on Yelp and Facebook (or whatever platform you choose). If a new Yelp reviewer writes their first review, it may get caught in Yelp’s filter. Make sure to follow the customer on Yelp, and even encourage the reviewer to complete their Yelp profile, if they haven’t done so already.
In-store, on social media and in your marketing emails, make sure to let customers know that your business is on Yelp (and other sites). Connectivity’s new Review Solicitation feature will soon allow businesses to ask for feedback from customers, and then encourage the best of those reviews to be posted on the customer’s favorite review site.
Respond to the reviews you already have, both positive (say, “thank you!”) and negative (check out our blog post for multi-location brand review responses).
4. Create Community through Social Media
Social media offers a great place for authentic connection with fans of your franchise. Here are a few point to remember:
> Have conversations first, promotions second
> Post special insider information to reward loyal social media fans
> Maintain a regular posting schedule for all social channels
> Never argue or be defensive on social media. Take conversations offline as quickly as possible to resolve conflicts.
Remember that people follow your franchise on social media because they like it (or at the very least, hope to receive something free or a coupon). Treat your online audience like a valuable treasure. Offer exclusive discounts, promotions or simply interesting brand information.
5. Text Wisely, Text Briefly
Most every Tuesday at 2:02 p.m., my phone chimes with a text offer from the local take-and-bake pizza franchise Papa Murphy’s. The offer is a good one: a large, five-topping pizza for $10. Later in the day, when dinner is looming, it’s no surprise that a loaded $10 pizza that I can bake in my own oven comes to mind.
SMS marketing is in its infancy. Have you embraced it? From special promotions to coupon offers, quick SMS messages are a great vehicle to notify customers. Is inclement weather forecasted for your area? Send a “snow day” or “thunderstorm” offer from your quick service restaurant franchise to encourage walk-in traffic. Whatever offers you send, keep them short and to the point. Make the Call to Action obvious (and just choose one CTA!).
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Alex is Connectivity’s VP of Marketing.