As a franchisee, you get a lot more support in running your business than you would if your location was an independent brand, but you’re still responsible for much of the day-to-day of running a business. Keeping the books, hiring and firing, managing staff, and customer service all fall to you. And, to some extent, so can local digital marketing.
When you own a franchise, the general public sees your business as one branch of a large (sometimes giant) company. But you’re not just competing for business with other companies in your industry — you’re also competing with your company’s other franchise locations nearby.
Some of what makes your franchise location more popular than other locations of the same franchise are out of your control — for example, if your franchise has the better location, you’ll likely see more business even without putting extra effort into digital marketing.
But you can use search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), and social media engagement to attract more customers, and carve out a niche for your specific franchise location in your community.
Social Media Is Your Friend
Social media may be the most powerful digital advertising and customer relationship management tool you have at your disposal. When a local business owner publicly declares an unsavoury political opinion or flaunts local public health guidelines, users take to the business’s Facebook page or Twitter to express their displeasure in the form of negative comments and bad reviews. But you can use your location’s social media presence to strengthen your relationships with customers and drive more traffic to your location.
People spend an average of 58 minutes a day on Facebook, so make sure your location has a Facebook page. Engage customers by sharing relevant, valuable content — videos are especially engaging for online audiences. Share photos of events at your location, staff hard at work, and regular customers enjoying your products and services. Respond to customers’ posts, reviews, and messages in a professional and courteous manner.
You Need to Come In at the Top of Search Rankings
Most people aren’t going to look beyond the first page of search returns when searching for a product or service online, so if you want to catch the eye of locals looking for your products or services, you need to appear on the first page of search returns. Here’s where it can be valuable to spring for paid digital marketing for franchises.
Consistently coming in at the top of search returns requires both a combination of paid, targeted advertising on social media and organic search returns. You’ll need to create a regular stream of original, SEO-optimized content for your location’s website or microsite and social media pages, and most franchise owners don’t have the time to create multiple blog posts and videos a week, and that’s what it takes to draw in fresh traffic from search results.
Google will penalize sites that post duplicate content, or content that doesn’t create value for users or even sites that have too many internal links. It can be hard to wrap your head around SEO strategies and techniques if you’re not a professional.
In addition to helping with content marketing, a professional SEO service can help you optimize your location’s website for local search with schema markup. Schema markup is a means of adding data-rich tags to your website’s HTML code, in order to give search engines more detailed information about your business and create the most accurate search returns possible.
This location-specific, structured data can include information about your local business type, location, products and services, prices, inventory status, and customer reviews. For example, if you’ve searched for local restaurants recently, you’ve probably seen that some returns contain estimated price information and a five-star rating based on Google reviews.
This is the kind of data you can add to your search returns by using schema markup to optimize your website’s HTML code.
Local digital marketing can do a lot to bring new business into your franchise location. With help from the right professionals, you can see increases in customer engagement and get more bodies through the front door — and that can translate to increased revenues and a stronger, longer-lasting local reputation.