Tag Archive | "Marketing"

Building a Local Marketing Strategy for Franchises [Guide Sneak Peek]

Posted by MiriamEllis

A roller is a good tool for painting a house in big, broad strokes. But creating a masterpiece of art requires finer brushes.

Franchises face a unique challenge here: they know how to market at the national level, but often lack the detailed tools for reaching their local customers at a granular level. Google has stated that localization of search results is the greatest form of personalization they currently engage in. For franchises, where local sensitivity is lacking in the marketing plan, opportunity is being lost.

Don’t settle for this. Know that less-motivated competitors are losing this opportunity, too. This creates a large, blank canvas for a franchise you’re marketing to paint a new picture which takes state, regional and community nuances into account.

One famous example of localized marketing is McDonald’s offering SPAM in Hawaii and green chile cheeseburgers in New Mexico. For your franchise, it could revolve around customizing content for regional language differences (sub sandwich vs. po’ boy), or knowing when to promote seasonal merchandise at which locations (California vs. North Dakota weather).

What you need is marketing plan capable of scaling from national priorities to hyperlocal customers. Want the complete strategy now?

Get The Practical Guide to Franchise Marketing

From paint roller to sumi-e brush: A franchise marketing plan

Today, we’ll explore the basics of getting to know your local customers, so that your national franchise can customize how you serve them. Build a strategy around the following:



Your step-by-step guide to how to create a local marketing strategy

Finding your target audience

First, you need to understand who your customers are. If you have an existing franchise, you can do this fairly easily by simply observing or asking them. You might run an online survey, or you might do some quick spot interviews right in your place of business. What you want to work out is:

  • Demographics: What are the common ages, genders, income levels, and other relevant characteristics of your customers.
  • Psychographics: How do your customers think? What are their attitudes, behaviors and beliefs as they relate to your franchise?
  • Pain points: What problems do your customers have that you could potentially solve? Maybe they want to eat healthy but have no time. Maybe they want a gym that will help them become better athletes.
  • Consumption habits: How do your customers decide where to buy? Are they online? Do they have smartphones? Do they prioritize reviews/recommendations? Do they like video, or podcasts? Which social platforms do they frequent? What events do they attend?

Understanding the customer’s journey

Marketers spend a lot of time thinking about what we call the “customer journey.” This is just another way of saying we want to understand what happens between us and customers before they know our brand exist, after they discover it, up until they buy, and then beyond.

The best way to do this is to divide that experience into steps, understanding that some people will drop out of the process at every stage. Most corporate franchisers will recognize this as the “sales funnel.”

Here’s a simplified version of a sales funnel. Take the time to determine what happens at each stage in your own customers’ experience, and you’ll be a long way toward understanding how you can influence and help customers from one step to the next. 

Mapping a sales funnel


  1. Awareness
    This is where a customer first discovers you exist and starts to form an opinion about you based on what they see. Often, this is managed by the activities being conducted by corporate franchisors (like a national TV ad campaign). But, it can also happen through franchisee-generated references and referrals (like a searcher discovering you via a Google Maps search on their phone).
  2. Discovery
    This is where a customer has already absorbed information about you and your product and begins to actively try to learn more about it. This stage often encompasses online research. It local word-of-mouth queries between potential customers and their friends and family.
  3. Evaluation
    This is where a customer has decided to probably purchase something similar to what you offer, but is trying to decide where to buy. They might stop by your business in this stage, or they may give you a call. They might visit your online website or listings to look at your hours, or menu or price list. This stage is influenced by both franchisor and franchisee activity.
  4. Intent
    Now the customer has decided to buy from you — which means they are your customer to lose. Franchisors can lose them at this stage through misinformation in the brand’s local business listings — like incorrect hours or bad directions that lead customers to the wrong place and cause them to give up. Franchisees could lose the business through poor on-premises experiences — like uncleanliness, long wait times, low inventory, pricing, or poor customer service.
  5. Purchase
    This is where the transaction takes place, and is generally entirely within the control of the franchisee.
  6. Loyalty
    This stage determines whether the customer will return to buy again, and whether or not they will become an advocate for your business, give you good reviews, or rate you poorly. Again, this is typically within the control of the franchisee unless the issue is a decision made at the franchisor level, such as product/menu, pricing or policy.

Sometimes this whole funnel can take place in the time it takes to spot a sign for ice cream and purchase a double scoop sundae. Sometimes it may take weeks, as your customers labor over the right financial advisor to choose.

Understanding how your customer is thinking and what goes into making the decision to use you is important and will guide decision-making and sales activity at both the franchisor and franchisee levels.

Scoping out the competition

Most brands have already worked out their positioning with regard to other national brands, so this one is mainly for franchisees. Take some time to figure out who your direct competitors are in your local market. They might be other big brands, but there will also probably be local SMBs that are not on the corporate franchisor’s radar.

Understand:

  • Where they are stronger or weaker, compared to you
  • Who they attract, compared to you
  • How they are marketing their business

Having this information should help you to position yourself to win a bigger piece of the local pie. Is your competitor a gym that has better weight training and machines than you? Are they marketing mainly to younger men and athletes? Are they advertising on local radio? Perhaps you should double down on your cardio and yoga classes and try to attract more women or older clientele. Maybe adding some nutrition classes will encourage people trying to lose weight. And so on.

Building your authority

Once you’ve figured out who your customers are, how they buy, and how you plan to position your franchise in the local market, it’s time to put that plan into action by creating some content to support it.

For franchisors at corporate this means putting in the time to create an informative, interesting brand website with dynamic, engaging content. Your content should aim to educate, inform and/or entertain, rather than only sell. The more points of engagement your website offers to customers, the more reason they have to read, share, and link to your content, building authority. Your most valuable content will, of course, be the elements or pages that directly convert visitors into customers.

The content you put out over social media should follow this same precept, and lead back to your site as often as possible. Experts suggest that “60% of your posts you create should be engaging, timely content, 30% should be shared content, and only 10% should be promoting your products & services.” (Medium)

Invest some time in link building, in order to show Google’s algorithm how influential your site is and boost your authority and ranking.

Here are a few tips:

    • Use Moz’s “Find Opportunities” feature to locate sites which are linking to your competitors and not you (yet).
    • Look for people who are already referencing your site and ask them to hyperlink to you.
    • Do a little PR or news-making and ask articles to link to your site. (This is something local franchisees can excel at.)
    • Ask for links from local trade organizations, community organizations or commerce groups.
    • Sponsor events and ask for a link.
    • Start a scholarship and post it on local .edu sites.

Find out more about link building and unstructured citation and how to increase them in The Guide to Building Linked Unstructured Citations for Local SEO

Managing channels and budgets efficiently

Armed with good, authoritative content and an effective website, you’ll want to focus on how you manage all the channels available to you. This also includes managing your budget effectively. Most franchisor budgets are focused on the brand, and many franchisees don’t have a lot left over for local marketing, but here are some things to think about.

  • Listings first: Your listings aren’t expensive to manage, but they give your marketing it’s biggest overall value — in some cases literally guiding people to your registers. Make great local business listings your top priority.
  • Claim everything: Franchisors, be sure you are the one in control of your directory listings and social profiles. Complete your Google My Business profile and establish a presence on key social media and review platforms like Facebook and Yelp.
  • Budget wisely: Do the strategy work to understand who your customers are and how best to reach them before you allocate your franchisor or franchisee marketing dollars.


Pointillism for franchises

Adept franchise marketing requires the eye of Seurat: the ability to see life in hundreds of tiny points, making up a masterpiece. For you, franchise pointillism includes:

  • Points representing each customer
  • Points for the customer’s community, as a whole
  • Points representing your locations on the map
  • Points across the web where engagement happens
  • Points offline where engagement happens
  • Points of resource at all levels of the franchise, from franchisor to franchisee

Ready for expert help from Moz in seeing the finer points? Download your copy:

The Practical Guide to Franchise Marketing

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


Moz Blog

Posted in Latest NewsComments Off

The Unique World of Franchise Marketing [Guide Sneak Peek]

Posted by MiriamEllis


Image credit: Dion Gillard

Can franchises make good digital marketing agency clients? There are almost 750,000 of them in the US alone, employing some 9 million Americans. Chances are good you’ll have the opportunity to market a business with this specialized model at some point. In this structure:

The Franchisor grants permission to others to operate under its trademark, selling approved goods and services supported by an operating system and marketing.

The Franchisee is the person or group paying the franchisor for the right to use the trademark and the benefits of the operating system and marketing.

Seems simple enough. But it’s this structure that gives franchise marketing its unique complexities. For your agency, the challenge is that you can’t enter these marketing relationships equipped solely with your knowledge of corporate or local search marketing.

You need to deeply understand the setup to avoid bewilderment over why implementation bogs down with franchise clients and why players lose track of their roles, or even overwrite one another’s efforts.

In this post, we’ll give you some quick and useful coaching on the franchise model, but if your agency just got a phone call from Orangetheory or Smoothie King, you can get the bigger playbook right away.

Download The Practical Guide to Franchise Marketing

Roles and goals make franchises unique clients


Image credit: woodleywonderworks

Imagine a post-game locker room scene. On the field, all players seemed united by the goal of winning. But now, at different press conferences, the owner is saying the coach failed to meet standards, the coach is saying the owner should keep his opinions to himself, and several of the star players are saying they didn’t get the ball enough.

Franchises can be just like that when there’s confusion over roles and goals. Read on to get a peek into the playbook we’ve prepared to help the team as a whole work better together:



This post is excerpted from our new primer: The Practical Guide to Franchise Marketing.

Franchise marketing is a unique kind of activity. It does share a lot of qualities with corporate marketing (on the awareness side) and with SMB marketing (on the local side) but as we noted earlier, it’s sort of a joint custody arrangement that — like all custody arrangements — can get contentious at times.

Everyone wants the best for the brand, but everyone’s “best” is very much a matter of their own perspective and goals. Typically in this arrangement, there are at least two stakeholders, though sometimes there are more. The stakeholders and their goals tend to play out as follows:

Corporate Franchisor goals

  • Creating a strong brand to license more franchisors.
  • Controlling that brand so it isn’t negatively impacted.
  • Supporting franchisees with strong branding and resources so they succeed.

Master Franchisor goals

  • Working with corporate to protect the brand.
  • Licensing more local franchisors.
  • Supporting franchisees with resources so they succeed.

Regional or Area Franchisee goals

  • Driving customer traffic and revenue at individual locations.
  • Growing their portfolio of locations.
  • Supporting location managers with resources so they succeed.

Owner/Operator Franchisee goals

  • Increasing location(s) foot traffic.
  • Increasing location(s) revenue.
  • Building customer loyalty at the location(s).

In what ways is franchise marketing different from corporate or standard SMB marketing? There are some unique challenges that franchisors and franchisees face which are worth unpacking. Some of them are:

    • Conflicting goals between franchisor/franchisee
    • Faster turnover of locations and addresses
    • Different opening hours, menus and promotions from location to location
    • Unique local sales and marketing opportunities and challenges
    • Competitors on both the brand side but also among local SMBs
    • Lack of clearly defined marketing roles causing work to be overwritten, duplicated, or even neglected


    Getting your agency’s head in the game


    Image credit: yourgoodpaljoe

    Your agency can be a better coach to franchises by having a playbook that respects how they differ from corporate or SMB clients at the very outset. But differences don’t have to equal weaknesses. Are you ready to draft a game plan that draws from the strengths of both franchisors and franchisees? 

    The Practical Guide to Franchise Marketing

    Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


    Moz Blog

    Posted in Latest NewsComments Off

    Parse.ly looks to solve content marketing attribution challenges

    A conversions report details which content converts the most users, which content contributes to the most conversions and the types of conversions.



    Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


    Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

    More Articles

    Posted in Latest NewsComments Off

    The Three Key Elements of Influential Digital Marketing

    Ever see a numbered headline like the one above and try to guess what the three things are? Sometimes it’s…

    The post The Three Key Elements of Influential Digital Marketing appeared first on Copyblogger.


    Copyblogger

    More Articles

    Posted in Latest NewsComments Off

    Franchise Marketing: How People Buy Now

    Posted by MiriamEllis

    This post contains an excerpt from our new primer: The Practical Guide to Franchise Marketing.

    Planet Fitness, Great Clips, Ace Hardware… you can imagine the sense of achievement the leadership of these famous franchises must enjoy in making it to the top of lists like Entrepreneur’s 500. Behind the scenes of success, all competitive franchisors and franchisees have had to manage a major shift — one that centers on customers and their radically altered consumer journeys.

    Research online, buy offline. Always-on laptops and constant companion smartphones are where fingers do the walking now, before feet cross the franchise threshold. Statistics tell the story of a public that searches online prior to the 90% of purchases they still make in physical stores.

    And while opportunity abounds, “being there” for the customers wherever they are in their journey has presented unique challenges for franchises. Who manages which stage of the journey? Franchisor or franchisee? Getting it right means meeting new shopping habits head-on, and re-establishing clear sight-lines and guidelines for all contributors to the franchise’s ultimate success.

    Over the next few weeks, we’ll be publishing a series of articles dedicated to franchises. Want all the info now? Download The Practical Guide to Franchise Marketing:

    Download now



    Seeing the Shift

    Whoever your franchise’s customers are, demographically, we can tell you one thing: they aren’t buying the same way they were ten, or even five years ago. For one thing, they used to decide to buy at your business as they browsed shelves or a menu. Now, 82% of smartphone users consult their devices before making an in-store purchase. Thank you, digital marketing!

    Traditionally, online marketing wasn’t something that franchisees had to think much about. And that was sort of a good thing because everyone knew their lane.

    • Franchisors handled national or regional marketing through broadcast, print, and other media. They also handled digital marketing — which, within recent recall, consisted mainly of a website, social media accounts, and paid search.
    • Franchisees managed the local beat with coupons, flyers, direct mail, and other community and word-of-mouth marketing efforts.

    Then people started shopping differently and traditional lanes began merging. Customers started using online directories to get information. They started using online listings for discovering local businesses “near me” on a map. They started reading online reviews to make choices. They started browsing online inventories or menus in advance. They started using cell phones to make reservations, click to call you, or to get a digital voice assistant like Siri or Alexa to give them directions to the nearest and best local option.

    Suddenly, what used to be a “worldwide” resource — the internet — began to be a local resource, too. And a really powerful one. People were finding, choosing, and building relationships online not just with the national brand, but with local shops, services and restaurants, often making choices in advance and showing up merely to purchase the products or services they want.

    Stats State the Case

    Consider how these statistics are impacting every franchise:

    • 76% of people who search for something nearby on their smartphone visit a related business within a day, and 28% of those searches result in a purchase. – Google
    • 88% of shoppers regularly or occasionally browse products online before purchasing them in a store. – Adweek
    • 45% of brick-and-mortar sales in 2018 started with an online review — a 15% year-over-year increase from 2017. – Bazaarvoice
    • According to Google, “near me” mobile searches that contain a variant of “can I buy” or “to buy” have grown over 500% in the past two years, and we’ve seen a 900% growth in mobile search for “___near me today/tonight.” – Google
    • Search interest in ”open now” has increased 300% in the past two years. – Google

    These are huge changes — and not ones the franchise model was entirely ready for.

    There used to be a clear geographic split between a franchise’s corporate awareness marketing and franchisee local sales marketing that was easy to understand. But the above statistics tell new tales. Now there is an immediacy and urgency to the way customers search and shop that’s blurring old lines.



    Ace is the place with the helpful hardware folks

    Even a memorable jingle like this one goes nowhere unless the franchisor/franchisee partnership is solid. How do customers know a brand like Ace stands by its slogan when they see a national TV campaign like this one which strives to distinguish the franchise from understaffed big box home improvement stores?

    Customers feel the nation-wide promise come true as soon as they walk into an Ace location:

    • Place located where the internet said it was? Check!
    • Abundance of staff? Check!
    • Friendly? Check!
    • Online purchase ready for pickup? Check!
    • Trust earned? Check!

    A brand promo only works when all sides are equally committed to making each location of the business visible, accessible, and trusted. This joint effort applies to every aspect of how the business is marketed. From leadership to door greeter, everyone has a role to play. It’s defining those roles that can make or break the brand in the new consumer environment.

    We’ll be exploring the nuts and bolts of building ideal partnerships in future installments of this series. Up next is The Unique World of Franchise Marketing. Keep an eye out for it on the blog at the end of the month!

    Don’t want to wait for the blog posts to come out? Download your copy now of our comprehensive look at unique franchise challenges and benefits: 

    Get my copy

    Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


    Moz Blog

    Posted in Latest NewsComments Off

    The Betty Crocker Secret to Email Marketing that People Want

    You’ve heard it a thousand times: The money’s in the list. If you’re serious about your digital business, you need…

    The post The Betty Crocker Secret to Email Marketing that People Want appeared first on Copyblogger.


    Copyblogger

    Posted in Latest NewsComments Off

    In a World, Where Your Marketing Is Too Intelligent to Ignore …

    You have the opportunity to help your ideal prospects with the problems they struggle with or the desires they’d like…

    The post In a World, Where Your Marketing Is Too Intelligent to Ignore … appeared first on Copyblogger.


    Copyblogger

    Posted in Latest NewsComments Off

    Marketing 101: What is baking in?

    Daniel Burstein explains what exactly is meant by “baking in” in a business and marketing context.
    MarketingSherpa Blog

    Posted in Latest NewsComments Off

    What You Need, When You Need It: Vital Digital Marketing and Sales Training

    Copyblogger has always been a place that encourages creativity. We want to help people have creative careers and do meaningful…

    The post What You Need, When You Need It: Vital Digital Marketing and Sales Training appeared first on Copyblogger.


    Copyblogger

    Posted in Latest NewsComments Off

    Does Your Marketing Copy Have Earfeel?

    Great advertising and branding doesn’t just get a point across. It gets the earfeel just right.
    MarketingSherpa Blog

    Posted in Latest NewsComments Off

    Advert