This is a guest blog post by Tom Evans, an Editor at Engage Web.
When it comes to being a franchisee, not only are you trying to make sure that the company as a whole prospers, but you also need to do well as an individual location. However, standing out from the crowd can often be difficult, especially if there are a number of connected franchisees nearby, but increasing your presence online can help.
While sandwich boards and posters can play their part locally, not to mention your franchisor’s general marketing, it is more effective to make sure customers are being funneled specifically your way. Luckily, the following tips should help you to get your franchise noticed online:
Optimize for Local
One of the most important steps for a franchisee to take when striving to be found on the web is to make sure search engines know of their location. Through a series of search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, your store will soon become much more visible to Google and the like, although it will take a little time at first.
There are a number of tools that can make this easier, including Google My Business. This service has been designed with local in mind, so that customers can quickly find suggestions for companies near to them that meet their queries. This is great for individual franchisees, as anyone looking for their product or service in the area will be directed right to their location.
Of course, one great way for a franchisee to reach out to customers is via social media, although it does take a little more subtlety than you may think. Most franchisors will allow their individual locations to develop a social presence, but checking the contract or speaking to head office is probably still a wise move. Once established, it is best to steer clear of a constant stream of sales posts, as anyone following your account could feel a little barraged by it all.
As a rule of thumb, franchisees should have only around 20% of their statuses focused on promotional activities, while the remaining 80% can be dedicated to providing content that social subscribers will find interesting and entertaining. Even if this information does not relate directly to your location, engaging followers in this way can help them to think favorably of you, making them more likely to stop on by when they want your services.
This can also involve the occasional customer retweet, especially if they are saying how much they loved visiting your location. However, if any negative comments arise, it is best to handle this professionally, as ignoring the problem can just make it worse.
When it comes to marketing your franchise location online, having other people talk about you is just as important as broadcasting content yourself. Luckily, getting your name out there can be a lot easier than it appears, especially if you engage with customers in a friendly, professional way.
Reviews of businesses on the internet have taken off in a big way of late, so you want to be in a great position to get people commenting positively about your franchise location in particular. Quality customer service and going the extra mile is a great place to start, although you could also leave comment cards asking people to engage with your social account. Happy clients can then take to the web and social media to talk about the great job that you and your staff are doing.
Getting involved with one or two local events can also help, as the added publicity from these occasions is sure to put your location on the map among locals.
Therefore, just by following these three simple tips, your franchise location is sure to be the go-to place in your community before too long.
Tom Evans is an Editor at Engage Web, a digital marketing agency specializing in the franchise sector. Engage Web has developed a bespoke digital marketing model for franchises, FranchiseXcel, which has helped franchises grow online within the U.K., U.S.A., Canada, and Australia.