Mastering local marketing can be a challenge for franchise brands. While the digital revolution has made some marketing efforts easier, with four in five consumers turning to their phone first to shop, it has also highlighted the need to intercept consumers on their new digital paths to purchase.
For a prioritized head start, here are six local digital marketing tactics that can help franchisors drive local sales and increase consumer awareness:
Manage Local Listings and Location
According to Google, location is one of the top factors when determining relevant search results. So while it may seem basic, updating and maintaining online business listings is extremely important for franchisors. This includes your business name, hours of operation, address, phone number, and description on main sites, including Google, Facebook, and others. Enter complete data, verify your locations, and keep your hours of operation accurate, especially around the holidays or other special events. Ensuring your information is accurate will give potential customers confidence that directions to your location will be accurate, and that you’ll be open when they get there.
Use Local Landing Pages Within Your Corporate Site
Many franchisees like to have independent sites because it makes it easy for them to provide personalized local content, but these pages often lack the authority needed to get to the top of a results page. Having a local landing page, or microsite, off a corporate website can give franchisees a nice boost in search authority, and if franchisors provide franchisees the flexibility to localize their landing pages, this partnership can elevate the value of the entire site.
Understand Your Industry’s Top Aggregator Sites
While showing up in search results is important, it’s just as important to show up in popular apps and tools that consumers frequently turn to when searching for your type of products or services. Mobile apps such as TripAdvisor, Foursquare, and Yelp are popular destinations for consumers, and since these sites employ their own marketing efforts, targeted consumers return on a regular basis for fresh content. Position your franchise within your industry’s top aggregator sites to capture a great source of consumer traffic and local branding.
Employ Paid Search
Bidding on relevant keywords continues to be one of the fastest and most effective ways to engage with consumers looking for your type of goods or services. Franchisees looking to highlight their locations can utilize Google’s Local Extensions option. Other options include Customer Match and Remarketing Lists for Search Ads, which allow brands to use previous behavior and consumer insights to change bids and messaging. However you decide to tackle paid search, remember to measure and monitor the success of your efforts by using call tracking, analytics, or unique option codes.
Drive and Monitor User Reviews
Online reviews are modern day word-of-mouth, and one consumer’s negative experience can be magnified in today’s digital age. Franchisors can help their brand and franchisees by monitoring brand mentions on popular sites such as Google, Twitter, and Facebook. It’s also important to drive consumer feedback. Franchisors can provide tools to spark social engagement, including digital tools, traditional printed materials, point-of-sale signage, table tents, or mail inserts. While every business strives for positive feedback, not everyone has something great to say, and that’s okay. Most consumers realize that it’s impossible to please everyone all the time, and if someone has had a bad experience, feedback provides you with an opportunity to remedy the situation if warranted, while demonstrating to potential customers that you care about their satisfaction.
The cost of converting a new customer is usually far greater than retaining a current customer. To drive loyalty for your brand and keep customers coming back, there are a variety of tactics that can be used by franchisors, including email campaigns, engaging with consumers via social media, and delivering on the brand promise.
These digital marketing tactics can drive local sales and increase consumer awareness, but to truly know what works for you and your franchisees, always measure results and adjust to optimize your efforts.