Identifying Tactics and Strategies for Franchises
Effective and efficient marketing is the lifeblood for franchisee lead generation. For franchise marketing strategies that continually struggle to meet the lead generation goals for the organization and its franchisees, or franchisors that rely heavily on traditional media for new prospects and brand awareness, the website strategy may be the issue that needs further examination.
Symptoms of a poor and inefficient marketing strategy include reliance on costly traditional media channels (i.e. print media, TV, Radio), poor or low overall ROI on marketing spend, high acquisition cost per customer, consistently seeing smaller competitors rank higher in search results in Google, Yahoo, or Bing, or a complete absence or very poor ranking of the company’s website when searching for it online.
Generally with most franchise marketing systems the franchisor maintains a central command and control system for most if not all advertising and marketing decisions for its franchisees throughout the country, including online marketing. From this central command and control structure comes a centralized single national website from which each franchisee or location gets a single page under the corporate umbrella for SEO efforts.
The problem with this strategy for an individual franchise is that it severely handicaps search engine optimization efforts (SEO) and online marketing, lead generation efforts, and sales growth online. A single web page under the main corporate website representing a single franchise location in a competitive metro market cannot be an effective Internet marketing tactic, and certainly not an effective local lead generation tactic. National centralized website marketing significantly handicaps online lead generation efforts.
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Two main reasons the national centralized website strategy is ineffective includes, significant changes in how search engines display search results, and changes in consumer behavior. First, it is not possible to rank more than a handful of keyword phrases with a single page. In addition, search engines like lots of fresh new content which is not possible with the single page strategy.
The second main reason includes consumer behavior changes. The last 5 years have seen monumental changes in how consumers research and find products and services. No longer are consumers going to the Yellow Pages (there are actually death watches for the Yellow Pages), or responding directly to a TV commercial or a print ad. Customers go to the web and without a good search presence brands will not only lose leads driven from traditional media efforts, but most likely drive the lead to the competitor who does have an effective SEO and SEM strategy.
Consider the ubiquity with which we have access to the Internet. Your customer consumes media on 4 screens (desktops and laptops, tablets, Smartphones, and TVs) and 3 out of four of these screens are online. Consumer behavior has fundamentally changed for good, as Jake Sorofman from Gartner asserts, “Search and the social web have shifted the balance, and completely changed how businesses market their products. Digital marketing is the engine of growth for your business, now [and] in the near future.”
The solution to the centralized franchise website strategy is to implement a decentralized regional online marketing strategy with stand alone URLs nationwide for each region that provides for a localized platform for online growth while still maintaining brand control.
Here’s what implementing this strategy will do for your franchise:
- Revenue growth that will scare even your biggest competitors (even in highly competitive markets, and regardless of whether you are the underdog in the market, the data show at least 30% or more increases in revenue, and cash flow improvements that will allow you to invest in new locations)
- Increases in ROI on marketing spend (you will obliterate your cost per lead and lower it by 75% or more)
- Eliminate 50% or more of marketing and advertising expenses (WHILE still growing revenue faster than your competitors)
- Improve staffing (because you will have more consistent lead generation and sales you will be able to hire with greater confidence)
- Brand recognition growth that will crush your competitors and have investors asking you where to sign up (your search footprint will grow at least 7 times greater than what it is now)