The Fundamentals Of Online Marketing For Franchises
Author Lee Betts demystifies the science behind online marketing for franchise businesses. Lee is a Digital Marketing Strategist at Realize Online, a leading SEO agency in Melbourne with a portfolio of SEO clients including the largest home business franchise company in the world.
The vast majority of buyers use online search before making a purchase, so online marketing is key when it comes to the success of your franchise.
Online marketing for franchises can be a minefield. Not only do you have to contend with the huge range of tactics of digital marketing mediums (SEO, Adwords, Social Media, Emailing Marketing, Content Markting etc), you have to apply those to your main business, each individual franchisee and also to help sell new franchises.
National / International Online Marketing Campaigns
It’s essential that your franchise has a strong brand and a strong online presence. Without a strong online presence, your brand will struggle to gain credibility and attract enough customers to feed your franchisees and encourage new prospective franchisees to take the leap.
SEO needs to be done at a national/international level. Your website should be professionally designed and structured and your content should be comprehensive, relevant and unique. All of your pages should undergo ‘on-page’ optimisation and your website should be regularly checked to ensure it meets all of Google’s recommendations. ‘Off-page’ optimisation should be used to strengthen the trust rank of your website and content marketing /blog writing should be used to support your SEO.
Google Adwords & Bing Ads
For most franchise businesses, Google Adwords and Bing Ads should be used at a national level to drive sales leads. Campaigns can be designed to suit your budget and results and conversions can be tracked to ensure the campaigns are achieving a good return on investment (ROI).
Email marketing and lead generaton/tracking can be used at a national level to keep in touch with followers and previous customers and to identify hot leads and turn them into paying customers.
Automated marketing solutions such as Infusionsoft allow you to manage leads and convert them into customers on a huge scale with minimal effort.
Social Media isn’t just important for keeping in touch with your followers, it can help boost your SEO too. Google favours sites that have lots of social sharing, so make sure you’re active on social media and that you’re sharing engaging, sharable content with your followers.
Different social networking sites work best in different industries. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus and YouTube are the ones I recommend using to get started.
A social media management tool such as Hootsuite can be used to save time.
People that have already visited your website are often more likely to purchase than new visitors. Remarketing is a great way to target previous website visitors. Remarketing clicks are often cheap and can be cleverly designed to entice prospective customers.
Local / Individual Franchise Online Marketing Campaigns
Even with a strong national digital marketing campaign, individual franchises can do a number of things to increase their online presence for local searches.
Your website needs location specific pages for each franchise to promote your business in that area. Pages should be optimised to target the most searched for key words/phrases.
Google My Business
Each franchise needs a Google My Business listings. Each listing must be optimised. Business that have a physical store front must be set up as ‘Storefront Locations’. Businesses that service customers at their address only must be set up as ‘Service Area Businesses’. Google’s bulk upload tool can be used to save time.
Google Adwords & Bing Ads
Pay per click campaigns can be used to target local search phrases. Budgets will be much smaller and regular optimisation of keywords is recommended to avoid low quality traffic.
We do not recommend that individual franchises have their own social media pages. It can confuse customers and Google and duplicate work.
Online Marketing For New Franchise Sales
Once you’ve mastered the above, you’re franchises will sell themselves. However there is still a lot you can do online to dramatically increase leads. Thousands of people every month search online for franchise opportunities and you want to do everything you can to make sure they check out your business.
Your website should have a specific section dedicated to selling franchises. The pages in this section should be optimised and content marketing strategies should be used to regularly support the keywords you are targeting.
Google Adwords & Bing Ads
Adwords campaigns can be used to specifically target the thousands of customers who are searching for franchises in your industry. If you’re a building franchising company in Melbourne, target phrases such as ‘building franchises Melbourne’. Clicks will be expensive, so be sure to monitor the campaigns regularly to avoid spending on non-related keywords.
Use your national social media channels to run paid Facebook Adverts targeting individuals with an interest in entrepreneurship and business.
Again, remarketing can be used to attract back prospective customers and convert them into new franchisees.
If you signed up for Infusionsoft or a similar service for your national sales campaign, you can use the same account to set up a automated drip campaign for prospective customers.
Realize Online are a specialist provider of online marketing and SEO for franchises.