We unpeeled the many layers of franchise marketing today at the Connectivity “Must-Do Digital Marketing for Franchises” webinar. Franchise marketing goes way back and while a lot of it worked for a long time, as we all know, we’re now living it up in a digital age. What’s a franchise marketer to do? Plenty, it turns out.
Liane Caruso, President of CRUSH Agency was our presenter along with Connectivity Content Marketing Manager Josh Ades. Below are some key takeaways from our webinar conversation, plus the recording and a SlideShare presentation.
Key Takeaway #1: Don’t Step into the Franchise Marketing Graveyard
Okay, the title of this takeaway would be more appropriate for an October webinar, but stay with us. Franchise marketing grew up in the heyday of tactics like these. They may have once worked well, but now it’s (mostly) hard to quantify the results they bring:
- Direct mail
- Grassroots marketing/outreach
- Cold calling
- Newspaper advertising
- Magazine/publication advertising
- Radio advertising
After this list, Liane stepped us through what may still be beneficial for franchises to pursue (with a few caveats).
- Direct mail. Since there is less direct mail these days, a well-designed piece of “real mail” with a great CTA has a chance of being noticed.
- Grassroots marketing/outreach. Franchises can excel at this because they have a built-in local fan base for their brand. Sponsoring local 5Ks, offering free items for breakfast, family nights or anything else creative offers franchisees a great way to get to know their local community.
- Magazine/publication advertising. Yoga studios, hair salons and other personal services are great candidates for the local magazine ad buy.
- Community newspapers. Inexpensive and with a built-in local audience, this ad buy is usually fairly tame but can bring great results. Use a special phone number, cut out coupon or URL to track ROI.
Takeaway #2: Use a Franchise Digital Marketing Checklist
Liane shared a great list with us for getting franchise digital marketing on track (or back on track!). Hopefully, the corporate office is addressing these important steps, perhaps in conjunction with the franchisees or (more likely) on their own.
- Manage Online Listings. Be easy to find! Have great SEO.
- Manage Online Reviews. Control brand reputation. Appear higher in search. Use feedback to improve as a business.
- Get Social. Be more visible to current and potential customers.
As you might expect, we think #1 and #2 are pretty big deals and #3 is super important, too. To sum up this section of the webinar, it’s all about giving the search engines what they need so your franchise appears higher in search, customers get what they want and you dip a toe in the deep end of the brand management pool.
Takeaway #3: Digital Marketing Brings Them to Your Door
For this segment of the webinar, Liane and Josh presented some great stats about mobile search and how prevalent it is in consumers’ lives. We get that. We all have our phones close by so we can grab them to search “Sushi near me.” But our webinar hosts also underscored the many ways that digital marketing leads people right through our doors.
For instance, if a local franchise pizza chain has about five online reviews that are four stars, it will be ranked lower in search than the pizza place down the street with 15 reviews and a so-so 3.5 star rating. That’s right. Google ranks your awesome business lower in search because less people have reviewed it.
Other tidbits include:
- Online reviews provide a variety of keywords that may help with SEO.
- Google relies on people to give it information via checkins and reviews.
- The more people that click your website, the higher in search it will rank on Google.
What were your takeaways? Tell us in the comments!
Jennifer is a Content Strategist for Connectivity.