When I sold my UPS Store in 2006, blogs were being used mainly as personal journals and a way for people to communicate with family and friends.
Fast forward 5 years later, blogging has proven to be a powerful marketing tool used not only by large corporations, but also by small entrepreneurs, freelance workers, and professionals.
But from what I’ve observed, the franchisee community as a whole has not embraced blogging as quickly and enthusiastically.
Are you a current franchise owner without a dedicated blog for your business? If you answered yes, this post is lovingly dedicated to you and to all the other hardworking franchise owners who are still not blogging. In my opinion, you are missing out on a golden opportunity to take your businesses to the next level.
Here are just 5 reasons why I believe you should be blogging:
1. To connect with customers – Writing a blog is more than just launching a website and forgetting about it. A real blog is one that is updated frequently and allows readers to comment on posts.
This makes a blog the perfect venue for you to have a conversation with your customers. Use your blog to get to know them, get feedback from them, and learn what you can do to keep them happy.
This is especially true for multi-unit and absentee franchise owners, who are away from their stores most of the time.
2. To increase your chances of being found by Google – When potential customers search for your business on Google, chances are they will only find the website of your franchisor.
Of course, they can do a store location search on the corporate website to find you, but they will be exposed to all other stores in your area as well. Since all stores get equal exposure on the corporate website, it’s hard to stand out.
We want potential customers to choose your store over all the others. If you have a blog that is updated frequently, you increase the odds that your store will appear on the front page of Google whenever a customer searches for a franchise location in your city.
3. To increase your profile in the community and build goodwill – A blog gives you a platform to write about issues facing your neighborhood — issues that affect your store and your customers.
Your blog can be a safe place where the community can come together to discuss these issues. This can increase your profile and standing in the community and keep you top of mind when residents have a need for the product or service that you offer.
A blog is also the perfect excuse for you to really get to know other businesses in your area. Most small businesses would appreciate being featured in a well regarded business blog, and this can result in more referrals to your business and positive word-of-mouth.
4. To cultivate your business creativity – In order to succeed in franchising, the franchisee must be able to follow a set and proven business process and system. Uniformity and consistency is preferred over creativity and thinking out of the box.
A blog is the perfect venue for you to flex your creative muscle — you can experiment with the look and feel of your blog, you can have fun with photos and videos, and you can play with your writing style.
But more than that, running a blog is similar to having a sideline business. This is where you have the opportunity to experiment with marketing and promotional strategies without being confined by a predetermined system
5. Generate Additional Revenue – I don’t want you to get too excited by the idea of ditching your franchise and becoming a full time blogger. That may be a path for a few of you. But the main objective of the franchisee blog is to enhance your current business.
Having said this, a blog can be a source of some pocket money as well. Your blog can include Google Adsense ads, which generate a few dollars and cents whenever a visitor clicks on a text or display ad that appears on your blog.
Eventually, if you get enough traffic, you can consider selling ads or paid reviews to other businesses in your community.
You can also invite your franchisor to advertise on your blog. And if you are lucky enough to have a reader who is interested in opening his or her own franchise location, most franchisors will pay a referral fee if the person introduced ends up signing a new franchise agreement.
Blogging is a long-term commitment. My hope is that, through this blog, we can help each other stay motivated and learn from each other’s blogging journeys.
Are you a franchisee blogger? What other benefits to blogging have you enjoyed?