Generating Franchise Leads with Digital Marketing

When you’re developing a franchise brand, your survival depends on your ability to generate leads. Your brand can’t grow without qualified franchisees — even if you’ve created a strong franchise offering. To succeed, you need an equally strong system for generating franchise leads.

Digital marketing will play a central role in this system. To attract, nurture, and convert the right franchise leads, you’ll need a comprehensive and multi-channel strategy, one that covers multiple digital touchpoints.

Let’s take a closer look at how to make this happen.

Why Digital for Franchise Lead Generation?

At this point, almost every major franchisor depends on digital marketing for leads. This change is reflective of a broader, global trend toward digital marketing. But in the world of franchising, the shift toward digital marketing is especially noteworthy.

Here are five of the biggest reasons why this is the case:

  • Digital marketing gives you access to the widest possible pool of franchise leads, across the widest possible geographic area.
  • Programmatic, dynamic, and retargeted digital ads provide a cost-effective way to target your most qualified leads.
  • Franchisees conduct extensive self-directed research before purchasing a franchise. The majority of this research is conducted online.
  • Digital analytics offer powerful, proven methods for tracking, measuring, and fine-tuning online lead generation campaigns.
  • A multi-touchpoint digital marketing strategy will anticipate questions, concerns, and needs, creating a near-frictionless sales funnel.

Digital Marketing Strategies for Franchise Leads

A franchise location is a major purchasing decision. Given the weight of this decision, the purchase journey for franchise leads is an exceptionally long process.

As a franchisor, you need to stay with your leads at every step of this process. To do so, you’ll need to cover a wide range of digital touchpoints. What’s more, you’ll need a comprehensive overall strategy for lead generation. This strategy will need to connect from touchpoint to touchpoint, creating a coordinated journey for your leads.

Here’s a look at how a range of digital marketing channels can help you generate franchise leads.

  • Website Design. Before purchasing a franchise business, most entrepreneurs go through an extensive, self-directed research process. This process typically involves several hours spent reviewing franchisor websites. In light of this, your website could be the most important weapon in your lead generation arsenal. The perfect website will be attractive, fast, and intuitive, and it will have resources for every stage (or nearly every stage) of your sales funnel.
  • SEO. When creating your brand’s website, you’ll want to invest in search engine optimized content. SEO is a particularly cost-effective strategy for franchise lead generation. Search volumes for industry-specific franchise keywords are relatively low, so there’s less competition for these keywords. At the same time, those search volumes include a significant share of qualified buyers.
  • PPC Advertising. As with SEO, paid advertising is another great way to target high-quality leads. Through keyword research, you can identify which search terms are most closely associated with the different stages of the sales funnel. You can then tailor your ads to mirror the purchase journey of your prospects, keeping friction to an absolute minimum.
  • Programmatic. Programmatic advertising can help you target leads with extraordinary precision. Programmatic ads target users based on their search behavior, browsing history, location, and other factors. This way, you can micro-target your highest-quality prospects. Even better, you can reconnect with leads at later stages of your funnel, providing content tailored to their needs and preferences.
  • Social Media. In the world of franchising, social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are the most powerful lead generation tools available. No other social networks compare in terms of quantity or quality of leads. Take the time to polish your personal and corporate profiles, target high-quality prospects with ads, connect with interested prospects via direct message, and qualify leads with paid ads that drive prospects to your website.

Each of these channels can be powerful tools for franchise lead generation. But that’s only true if they support and reinforce one another. To generate, cultivate, and convert high-quality leads, you’ll need to create a seamless journey: from point A to B to C.

To learn more about how Qiigo can help you achieve your Franchise Development goals through digital marketing, fill out the form below to  connect with one of our digital experts.

Digital Marketing for Restaurant Brands Part 2

In our first post on digital marketing for restaurant brands, we discussed the six courses you need for successful online marketing. We then detailed how to approach two of those six courses — search engine optimization (SEO) and local listings management — to help you build an effective organic web presence.

Today, we’re looking at courses three and four: pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and social media. Both courses play a crucial role in the overall meal, but they require distinctly different ingredients and skillsets.

PPC Campaigns Deliver Patrons to Your Doorstep

While SEO and PPC both fall under the umbrella of search engine marketing, they are mirror images of one another in a number of ways. SEO is an organic strategy that requires substantial time and effort, yet it pays off with long-lasting results. PPC is a paid tool that delivers immediate, in-the-moment results.

Despite these differences — or, to be more accurate, because of them — a successful search engine marketing strategy will draw on SEO and PPC. Just as two contrasting ingredients come together and accent one another’s strengths, SEO and PPC complement each other to form a greater whole.

PPC can also be used independent of SEO, via display ads or social media ads. When building a PPC strategy for your restaurant brand, you’ll need to look at four important things:

  • PPC Channels. Google AdWords, which is the largest and most popular PPC network, gives you a range of choices for where to feature your ads. Google Search and Google Maps are two of the most popular venues for restaurants, though many also find success through the Google Display Network and through non-Google PPC properties, like Facebook and Instagram.
  • Keyword Targeting. AdWords will display ads to users based on which keywords those users are searching for, so the success of your ads will largely depend on which keywords you target. Finding the right keywords — ones with significant traffic and high-ROI — requires initial keyword research, followed by fine-tuning based on your campaign analytics.
  • Compelling Content. Creating an effective PPC ad is a combination of art and science. As with keyword targeting, it’s important that you track and measure your ads to see which types of messaging resonates most with users. If you’re running a PPC campaign through Google AdWords, ad extensions — which allow you to include things like your address, your phone number, or an app link — can elevate your ad to another level.
  • Targeting Your Audience. PPC networks give users the ability to target users in a number of ways. Two of the best targeting methods for restaurant brands are via device and location. Users tend to use mobile devices for restaurant-related searches, and most restaurant customers can be found within a one-mile radius of the restaurant itself.

Beyond the ads themselves, you will also need to craft effective landing pages and establish a workable system for tracking and measuring your PPC campaigns. Depending on the size and structure of your brand, you may also need to coordinate with individual locations who wish to operate their own PPC campaigns, or who want a degree of control over PPC ads within their territory.

#SharePlates: Cook Up Business on Social Media

Social media is a crucial component of digital marketing for restaurant brands, offering a venue to interact directly with your patrons and establish the voice of your company. Despite the importance of social media, some smaller chains underestimate the challenges presented by social media.

Many make the mistake of not defining and refining heir voice, undermining the image they’ve worked hard to build in other areas. Some oversaturate their feeds with promotional posts, missing the opportunity to build a connection with customers. Others simply miss the mark, using slang in forced ways, making jokes that fall flat, or shoehorning trending topics into their posts.

Here are a few different ways that restaurant brands can build a stronger, more effective presence on social media:

  • Focus on the networks that work best for your business. Right now, Instagram and Facebook are the two most important social networks for most restaurants. Food photography on Instagram is a great venue for generating awareness, while Facebook gives customers one-stop place to check out your business before making a visit.
  • Create a mix of engaging and promotional content. For every promotional post, you should have two to three posts that are focused on engagement. Food photography — the more creative and indulgent, the better — does especially well on social media. Another smart strategy for individual locations is to highlight community events and organizations.
  • Build a strategy for brand-level and location-level accounts. Most social media networks pose an issue for multi-location brands, forcing them to create independent accounts for their corporate brand and individual locations. Facebook, however, make this process easy, offering the ability to create an brand-level page with control location-level pages.
  • Help customers find important information. Facebook has become a go-to source of information for users who are researching restaurants. As such, it’s important that you include detailed information on both your brand-level and location-level pages. Facebook makes this particularly easy for location-level pages, with the option to post your hours, address, phone number, website, menu, and more.

Social media is not only a great place to generate buzz and attract new customers. It’s also an ideal venue for interacting with existing patrons and managing your reputation by soliciting and responding to online reviews.

We’ll be talking more about reputation management in Part 3 of this series. In the meantime, we invite you to savor the above information and digest its importance between courses.

Digital Marketing for Restaurant Franchise Brands

One of the best things about being part of a restaurant franchise is the brand name recognition that individual locations receive. The franchisor leads the overall marketing initiatives, to which franchisees contribute, thereby relieving the stress and time it would take for them to go it alone.

But, don’t forget you will need to pepper in a little local flavor that speaks directly to each location’s community of foodies! This local approach along with the support of corporate marketing efforts will help locations to generate new and repeat business.

 

A Six Course Meal

For multi-location restaurant brands, having the right pairing of digital marketing tools is vital to building a strong localized online presence. With current and potential customers all searching in different ways, it can be an ongoing challenge to stay top of mind and visible to your audience. Ensuring that your digital marketing efforts are driving more hungry consumers to your front door requires a comprehensive strategy that includes:

 

Pay Per Click

SEO

Social Media

Local Listings and Reviews Management

Website

Programmatic

Seasoning with SEO for Multi-Locations

There is a lot to unpack in the six course meal so today we’ll focus on a couple of the most important elements, SEO and Local Listings.

 

For multi-location businesses, challenges with localized SEO often arise at the corporate level. A common strategy is to list all their locations’ information on one master landing page. This is not really the best idea for effective SEO. It is recommended to create separate, optimized pages for each restaurant location because, let’s face it, the favorite appetizer in New York City may not be the same in Phoenix.

 

Your franchisees’ individual location page is a sort of microsite giving them a community brand that can be used to create relevant content to entice the locals to come in for a taste! So, keeping that in mind you want to include location specific information on each location page including:

 

  • Location information, directions, and a Google map
  • Food specialties
  • Local testimonials – people want to be heard
  • Social media connections (be sure to include local listings such as Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, Big Places, Apple Maps, and City Grid)
  • Restaurant affiliated or sponsored events at the local level

 

You’ll also want to focus on adding localized content on a regular schedule. Any content should be focused on keywords and geographies that are relevant to each location. If day to day operations keep your franchisees too busy to develop content, you can hire a professional writer. Many digital marketing agencies, including Qiigo, offer professional writing services as part of their SEO package.

 

Confirm Listing Information for Full Flavor Results

After location pages have been optimized, there are some additionals things that should not be overlooked. Directory site listings for each location should be claimed and all information should be verified. Look for the following points:

 

    • Verify each location’s information (Name, address, phone number) and ensure it matches across all directories
    • Confirm operation hours
    • Respond to reviews (Flattering or not, reviews can be your benchmark between “good” and “great” customer satisfaction)
    • Current photos. Take photos of a “full” restaurant with people enjoying themselves.

 

In the End – Digital Marketing Is a Delicious Dessert

You now have an excellent foundation to get your restaurant’s locations noticed. Be sure to continue to link to other businesses, local and community events, and most importantly update your content often! Nothing turns off foodies like the sale old, same old.

 

Local SEO for multiple locations can be a lot of work to set up and maintain, but the payoff is worth it. There are lots of tools out there to help you manage your efforts and a qualified digital marketing partner can help you to refine your strategy.

 

Bon appétit!

 

Learn more about digital marketing solutions for Franchise Restaurant Brands and schedule your free demo.

 

The Real Silver Bullet in Marketing

Ideas about digital marketingAre you searching for your marketing silver bullet? You know, the one tool, strategy, or tactic that will increase leads and make sales go through the roof?

 

Most of us have at one time or another, and it would certainly make marketing easier. Truth is, one simple solution doesn’t exist. The combination that will pay off in the long run, the real silver bullet in marketing, is building an effective marketing strategy with a solid execution process.

 

Building Your Silver Bullet

An effective marketing strategy should include a variety of fundamental tools and tactics used in unison to accomplish a major goal. Start building your marketing silver bullet with these key strategies:

 

  • Focus on opportunities that are most likely to result in profitable customers. Identify your ideal customers, along with their wants, and needs to build a target customer profile. Don’t waste time on opportunities that don’t fit your target customer profile.
  • Track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Track KPIs, such as organic and paid traffic, customer acquisition cost, social traffic, and email marketing campaigns so you can make adjustments when needed, such as allocating resources to profitable tactics and away from underperforming ones.
  • Use technology to your advantage. Personalize your approach, qualify opportunities, and measure the effectiveness of your process with technology for more efficient sales and marketing processes.  
  • Define a systematic sales process based on your ideal customer’s buying journey. Every customer goes through a process, or “journey” before they make a purchase, including your ideal customer. Awareness (they realize they have a problem), consideration (they define and research their problem), and decision (they decide how to solve their problem). Know the buying journey of your ideal customer, and build your sales process around it.
  • Have a consistent message. Having a consistent message across various marketing channels makes your brand more recognizable, and in turn, more dependable.
  • Use multiple marketing channels to reach your ideal customer. Don’t put all your marketing eggs in one basket. Instead, use multiple channels, such as paid advertising, inbound marketing, networking, email prospecting, and referral sales. Ideally, the consistent message follows your ideal customer through their buying journey and across multiple marketing channels.

 

Consistently executing on these fundamental marketing strategies will create the magic silver bullet you’re looking for, and pay off in the long run.

 

Overcoming the Franchise Local Store Marketing Challenge

local store marketing by qiigoWhen you own a franchise business, local store marketing can be a major stumbling block. Brands sometimes balk at the granular level of work that local store marketing demands, while franchise owners can be scared off by the resources and patience required for local campaigns.

But local marketing shouldn’t be a challenge for franchise locations, and these days, it doesn’t have to be. As more and more customers turn to their phones and their laptops for brand research and purchasing decisions, new streams have made local marketing easier and more cost-effective for brands and franchisees alike. By harnessing a mix of digital and traditional strategies for local store marketing, franchise locations can turn the local marketing challenge into a major opportunity.

Digital Local Store Marketing Streams

Whether you run a restaurant, an auto service center, or a cleaning service, your customers are trying to find you online. These days, the majority of customers rely on the internet to discover local businesses and research purchasing decisions. That has opened up major opportunities for brands and franchisees alike, offering new, cost-effective streams for targeting and capturing local customers.

  • Local SEO: Local search engine optimization (SEO) is a crucial part of any local digital marketing strategy, and it’s one of the most cost-effective local marketing strategies for brands to incorporate into their national marketing budget.
  • Local Listings Management: Keeping your local store information accurate across search engines is crucial for when customers are looking up your business online. Local listing management work can be conducted cooperatively at the brand level or locally by locations. However, most brands find that there is synergy by managing local listings at the brand level.
  • Social Media: Social media is a great tool for franchisees to incorporate into their local store marketing strategy. Whether you’re looking to respond directly to customers or get the word out about your latest promotion, social media platforms can be invaluable.
  • Targeted Ads: Geo-targeted ads are an excellent way to zero-in on your target customers and can be incorporated into national campaigns, allowing brands to show ads only in the vicinity of local stores.

Of course, local store marketing efforts can also incorporate other methods to reach local audiences. Businesses can also get active in their local communities by sponsoring sports teams, local schools, and popular events to give back and create a local presence.

Be Cohesive with National & Local Marketing

When marketing for local stores, brands should create a cohesive strategy that allows local stores to harness the brand awareness generated by national campaigns. That means taking a long, hard look at which aspects of local marketing brands can perform better on the national level and then giving franchisees the information and resources they need to use those efforts as a springboard for their own, individual efforts.

This might mean a brand-wide effort to optimize your franchisees’ websites for local search, then creating templated materials for local campaigns. It could mean creating opt-in promotions for franchisees, then supporting participating locations with locally-optimized paid search campaigns. Or it might mean coordinated social media campaigns designed to amplify national marketing efforts on a local level.

For franchisees, it means evaluating how far your brand’s national marketing efforts can take you, then looking for the smartest, most cost-effective ways to build on those efforts in your local market. Remember that local store marketing is typically a long-haul operation — one that requires tenacity and patience to pay off. But whether you’re capturing first-time customers through a new promotion, building your local presence by sponsoring a Little League team, or helping your customers find you by building your brand’s local search presence, the results are worth it.

Local store marketing is a breeze for brands and franchisees alike when they choose Qiigo. Call us today at (888) 673-1212 and find out how you can unlock your brand’s local potential with a comprehensive digital game plan.

 

Can Facebook Help You Find Your Dream Job?

facebook vs linkedin for job postingsThis fall, Facebook has changed the way professionals approach social media. In early November, TechCrunch announced that Facebook was testing a new “Jobs” tab that companies could use to create job postings. This feature would allow companies to create job postings and promote those postings on users’ timelines, allowing brands to recruit directly through Facebook.

With this update, Facebook is positioned for a bare-knuckle fight with Microsoft, which is finalizing its $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn this quarter. Until now, LinkedIn has been the white-collar worker’s go-to social network for job hunting, recruiting, and making new professional connections.

Unsure what to make of this latest social development? Here are the quick facts that brands need to know…

Effects Felt by Job Seekers and Employers

Facebook’s entry into the job market is likely to create ripples across the professional world, affecting seekers and employers alike.

Given Facebook’s 1.6 billion user base, it’s unlikely that employers will pass up the chance to harness Facebook as a recruitment platform. Many brands — particularly small businesses — already use Facebook to announce and promote their job openings. But with the added functionality of Facebook’s “Jobs” tab, you can expect that number to substantially increase.

There’s a lot for recruiters to like about the new “Jobs” tab. Job postings generated through this tab will have a distinct appearance compared to normal posts. In the same way that “Life Events” posts have a unique timeline appearance, “Jobs” posts will be easy for users to identify when they appear. Posts are also formatted differently, with built-in fields for a position’s title, salary, and hours. Brands will be able to harness Facebook’s powerful targeting algorithms to have their postings appear on the timelines of top candidates.

For job seekers, there are also clear benefits. Facebook users will see more relevant job postings, and will be able to apply to job posting more easily. When users click an “Apply Now” button on a job posting, their application will be generated using their Facebook information, making it easier to fill out and submit their application. As Facebook becomes more widely used as a recruitment tool, users on the job market will be able to tailor their profiles to ensure they are seeing the kinds of postings they want on their timelines.

Measuring Facebook “Jobs” Against LinkedIn

Facebook’s success as a recruitment platform will hinge on how it stacks up against LinkedIn. While Facebook has been able to chip away — or wipe out — it’s competition in other social niches, LinkedIn has maintained a comfortable hold on the professional market over the past half-decade. Now that Microsoft has added LinkedIn to its portfolio, its unlikely the network will go down without a fight.

Functionality concerns with Facebook “Jobs” may give LinkedIn an edge. One big concern with Facebook’s new feature is that job applications are received as messages, meaning they’ll end up lumped in with customer feedback and complaints. LinkedIn also possesses a built-in user base and reputation among the professional set. Plus, users seem to prefer separate personal and professional social networks, using Facebook for friends and LinkedIn for the office.

But in the end, sheer numbers might spell defeat for LinkedIn. In the United States alone, Facebook has nearly three times as many active users as LinkedIn, with 155 million compared to 55 million. More telling is the amount of time users spend on each network. While LinkedIn users spend 356 million minutes a month on the network, users spend a staggering 53.5 billion minutes per month on Facebook.

Granted, much of users’ time on Facebook is spent reading articles, sharing photos, or responding to friends’ comments. But the fact remains that even frequent LinkedIn users generally spend more time on their Facebook timeline than they do looking at LinkedIn. And when finding more talent means reaching more eyeballs, that gives Facebook the clear edge.

Whether you’re searching for new customers or new workers, getting noticed on social media isn’t always easy. But with the Qiigo’s digital marketing experts on your team, reaching your target market is a piece of cake. Call us today at (888) 673-1212 to find out how our team can help your brand conquer the social landscape.

Qiigo Attends 2015 Franchise Consumer Marketing Conference

fcmc

The 2015 Franchise Consumer Marketing Conference was held June 23 and 24, 2015 at the InterContinental in Buckhead, Georgia. The theme of this year’s conference was “Where Old School Marketing Meets New School Technology”. Qiigo is pleased to have attended this year’s conference as a Silver Sponsor.

fran consumer marketing

The 2015 Franchise Consumer Marketing Conference was the 5th annual event. Topics covered at this year’s conference included How to Choose a Technology Company, Brand Reputation Management Boot Camp, and a wide variety of breakout sessions. Attendees were also able to attend two keynote addresses and a variety of networking events over the two day conference.

franchise consumer marketing

Representing Qiigo at this year’s conference were Zach Dickens, Vice President, and Mark Ihlenburg, Director of Operations. “We look forward to attending this conference each year. The Franchise Consumer Marketing Conference allows us to interact with marketing executives from leading franchise brands,” explains Zach Dickens. “Learning about the challenges brands face and their marketing goals
helps us to provide more robust solutions to our clients.”

Digital Dominates Franchise Marketing Budgets

franchise

Digital marketing is growing by leaps and bounds with digital expected to capture 25% of ad spend market share by 2016. Even with this growth, small business owners have been slow to adopt digital marketing practices. Comparatively, franchise owners are showing their entrepreneurial spirit by quickly adopting digital marketing strategies.

A recent study by BIA/Kelsey shows franchisees are expected to spend more than 40% of their marketing budget on digital in 2015. This represents a 10% increase over 2014 and is substantially more than the typical small business owner expects to spend on digital marketing this year.

The franchise industry is coming off its fourth consecutive year of growth with approximately 770 million US franchise locations generating roughly $839 billion in revenues in 2014. This represents a 4% increase in revenue generation over 2013.

This growth has encouraged franchisees to increase marketing budgets with many showing an interest and focus on digital marketing initiatives. According to BIA/Kelsey, the average marketing spend by franchise owners was $87,000. This was a 50% increase over the 2013 average.

Why are franchisees adopting digital media at such a high rate? Much of it has to do with the relationship between the franchise owner and the parent brand. Franchise brands provide individual location owners with access to digital agencies, like Qiigo, allowing franchisees to adopt new and innovative marketing strategies at a faster rate than their independent counterparts.

Additionally, franchise owners report a high satisfaction rate with the relationships they maintain with their digital marketing agency. Loyalty is high with 88% reporting they are either “very satisfied” or “extremely satisfied” with their digital agency.

Qiigo is proud to partner with leading national brands to provide comprehensive digital marketing solutions. Our expertise in local franchise marketing including local search, directory management, and reputation management has made us a trusted partner for national brands and their locations across the country. Call Qiigo today at (404) 496-6841 to begin a digital marketing partnership.

Franchise Marketing Playbook Now Available

fran marketing playbook

Google has recently released its first Franchise Marketing Playbook. Qiigo is proud to have been a partner in the creation of the Franchise Marketing Playbook.

The Playbook is designed to provide strategies for addressing common local advertising challenges faced by franchisees. This step by step guide can help franchisees optimize their digital presence while increasing their return on investment for key digital marketing strategies. Strategies and best practices have been gathered from experts working within the franchise community, including Qiigo.

“We are thrilled to have played a part in creating the new Franchise Marketing Playbook,” remarked Rick Batchelor, Qiigo CEO. “Our work with franchisors and franchisees across a wide range of industries has made Qiigo the trusted choice for digital marketing solutions.” Qiigo provides strategies for managing online directory listings on pages 40 through 43 of the Marketing Playbook.

With tips for franchise development, search, display and mobile marketing, franchisor and franchisee specific strategies, and more, the Franchise Marketing Playbook is filled with a wealth of information to help your business grow.

View the Franchise Marketing Playbook here.