September 2013 Archives

If you're a franchise marketer, you know that Google has been making silent changes aimed at encrypting all organic search queries....except for advertising of course.

Some people have said it's Google trying to keep the NSA from spying on us all but most have said it's to increase the usage of their cash cow, Adwords. 

About 2 years ago, Google started encrypting searches for anyone that was logged into Google while they were searching.  

Google's reason was privacy.  

  • Google wanted to block anyone who might actually be listening in on a string of searches.  
  • Google also wanted to block publishers from seeing searches as some of them may have been too "private" to expose. 

Google says....

"We added SSL encryption for our signed-in search users in 2011, as well as searches from the Chrome omnibox earlier this year. We're now working to bring this extra protection to more users who are not signed in." 

Over the past two years there's been a steady movement up and to the right for the keywords that are "not provided" until recently a huge spike happened. See the chart below courtesy of a site called www.notprovidedcount.com

google-not-provided.png

So what does all this mean to the franchisee or franchisor?  Here are 4 takeaways.

1. Focus on Better Content

Even though secure searches seem aggravating to many people that do SEO, I think it's a move in the right direction.  This is really pushing the industry to focus on producing awesome content and meaningful social connections that truly transcend the keyword focused mentality.  Instead of pumping out 100′s of SEO driven blog posts that have ZERO value for the people reading them, how about you focus on your personas for once and answer some of their toughest questions.

2. Focus on Business Results

Franchise marketers should really be focusing on actual business objectives like local sales or obtaining new franchisees.  The disappearing keyword data is forcing  us, in a good way, to take a look at business results which is ultimately where we should be in the first place. 

3. Double Down on Paid Search or PPC

The "issue" at hand only affects free, organic traffic.  If your franchise uses Google Adwords, you're sitting on a gold mine of data.  I recommend linking your Adwords account to your Google Analytics account and use that data for future projects.

4. Measure Your Referral Traffic

If you're seeing some of your website pages getting more traffic than others (referral traffic from Google), you should be aware of the type of content that's on that page.  It could well be that those are the actual keywords that your prospects are looking for. 

If you want More Customers, Let's Talk about Our Services.

3 out of 5 searches are conducted on a mobile device*.

When it comes to being found by local consumers, mobile visibility is quickly becoming nearly as essential for a local business as having a business phone number.

The small screen size means a business has to show up among the top listings for its particular product or service, or risk never being found by their local customers using their mobile devices.

Getting the basics right is where businesses need to invest their efforts--from mobile optimized local landing pages, to verified business profiles across search, social, directory sites and mobile apps.

Join us on October 10th for our webinar where we will be discussing the importance of having a local mobile presence and the key differences for national brands and SMBs.

Register via Local Search Association.

Joan Immediato and Jack Rickenbach are the principals in Aranco Productions. Joan and Jack have attended almost every franchise convention in the last 30 years.

One of the products that Joan and Jack create caught my eye - it is a modern replacement for the business card and 60 second elevator pitch.

They call it the "VID-eCARD™".

Not sure about the name, but it is a short video embedded into what looks like business card. It is a terrific presentation.

Here is Joan to explain herself, on Vimeo site.

Joan Immediato presents Aranco Productions from Aranco Productions on Vimeo.

There are 5 neat uses here:

1. You could have this video hosted on your LinkedIn profile.

2. You could download the file on a memory stick to give to clients, with some supporting written documents.

3. You could use it to practice your elevator pitch.

4. You could use it as replacement for your LinkedIn business card for your Franchise Info articles.

5. You could have it as an app and share it.

Looks very cool & I must get one!

If you liked this, you should sign up for the LinkedIn Marketing & Advertising Tips from Franchise-Info newsletter.

Or, for more information on the Franchise-Info Business Directory, call Joe at 1-443-502-2636 or email Joe direct [email protected]

This post is the first of a four-part series co-written by Privy and On The Spot Systems to share some of the easiest and smartest ways to get new customers and turn them into repeat customers. 

In the daily grind of the business world sometimes it's easy to take certain 'best practices' for granted, so we've written a series of articles to review some of the key value-adding benefits of connecting online promotions, guest segments and guest satisfaction surveys within food service and restaurant businesses.

They will cover four steps: 

1. The Power of an Email Address

Every restaurant wants customer email addresses - but why?  Naturally, to reach out to consumers to inspire them to come visit your restaurant more frequently. 

The truth is, people don't want to hear from your restaurant unless you have something relevant to say. 

So, it's up to restaurants to understand what each individual customer appreciates so the messaging can be tailored to them. If your restaurant is able to do this successfully, you'll notice a un-take in your foot-traffic from customers returning more frequently.

But how do you collect email addresses and understand what each person behind the email address wants to hear?

2. Promotions Earn Email Addresses

Here's the short answer: offer a promotion in exchange for an email address and track where that person redeems the promotion.  People now do research online before they choose where to eat - that's why restaurants have websites, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and more.  Use these platforms to your advantage!  Use them to collect consumer contact information so you can own relationships with customers and get them to come back when you want, not only when they simply feel like it.

3. Surveys Earn Email Addresses

Are you already running mobile surveys to understand how your customers enjoyed (or didn't enjoy) your in-store experience? It's the same as a comment card, except for the 21st century.

Take the opportunity to ask customers for their email address within your mobile survey so you can both learn how to improve your in-store experience and collect information on a customer including the context of which location they visited, what meals they like to eat out, and what they liked or didn't like about your food.

4. You Must Track!

It's important that you track this information so you can begin to link important details about your customers, such as their contact information, what menu items they like, and which location they prefer to visit most frequently. This will enable you to effectively manage Step 2: Create strong customer segments.

If you don't have the most advanced customer tracking across all of your web properties and POS systems, don't worry!  There are other ways to segment your customers accurately and effectively.

5. Easy Tracking Tips

First, don't be overwhelmed by all the ways you could track customers; in reality there are only two ways you need to consider segmenting your audience of customers. One way is demographically - age, gender, zip code, etc. The other is contextually - are they a repeat customer? A first time visitor? Did someone refer them?

Do they follow you on social media or do they glance at your website from time to time?  Did they come on a whim or did they decide to visit because of an offer they received? The common denominator between all of these attributes is that your customers can answer these questions for you, even if your analytics tracking capabilities can't. 

Feeling overwhelmed? Try starting out by choosing just one demographic attribute and one contextual attribute. For example, say you want to segment customers based on their location for demographics, and based on if they are a repeat customer from a contextual standpoint. Many advanced mobile survey tools can automatically pinpoint the gps location of the respondent and the store location being critiqued, so you don't have to worry about that aspect.

And, if your POS analytics capabilities aren't set up to track metrics like repeat customers, that's okay. To make sure your data is completely fool-proof, don't be afraid to do the obvious- just ask! Simply build questions like 'How often do you visit our restaurant?' into your mobile customer satisfaction survey and email club signup form.

Once you collect contact information from various sources and build context around those customers, you will be able to create smart segments.

For more articles by Julie Ricchuito, please click here.

Yes, content is king. AND...using it properly through social networks is a crucial component of franchise growth.

Consumers today trust the information they find through social networks - what their peers have to say, the posts they find, the way franchises treat their audience - more than most other resources.

More than 70% of consumers purchase from brands they follow online.

So, what does this mean for franchises? They need to be using social networks properly. This means more than simply setting up a Facebook page. It means carefully choosing which networks to participate in and then engaging with them consistently.

The first step, of course, is selecting which networks are right for your franchise's participation.

Here are the issues.

1. Is your audience there? Is your competition there? If yes to both, you most certainly need to be there. If your audience is not there, it may not be a place you need to be.

2. Once you've decided where you need to be, you must determine whether to setup brand pages only or pages for each franchise location. This decision would ideally be part of setting up a whole-franchise online marketing model, created with input from franchisor and franchisees.

After you have pages setup, content is the new task at hand.

1. What types of content do you post and where? Different platforms require content to be presented in different ways. However, before deciding what goes where comes the process simply of identifying what types of content your audience would want to see from you.

2. Keep this in mind while creating content: limit self-promotion to less than 20% of your content. This means that if you put out 10 posts each week, only two of them would be "promotional" in nature. In our opinion, this is still too much.

We recommend staying under 10% and to focusing on how you can benefit your audience rather than how you can sell to them.

This does not mean hiding from your products and services, however. It simply means engaging with social media in such a way that you are focused on helping others rather than helping yourself.

For example, posting a photo of a newly created menu item with its ingredients (except for your secret ingredients, of course) is a great way to engage the audience. It is also helpful to them because they could try something similar on their own.

Realize here that you're not "giving it away" by giving them an idea for a recipe. You're inspiring them to create a delicious dish, and when they want the "real thing" they'll come see you.

Compare that with simply posting the photo with words such as, "Today only special - $9.95." That type of post feels very different. Instead of being inspiring it feels self-serving. The audience picks up on that.

Using that as a guide, consider the following: What could you post that would help your audience in some way?

  1. How can you inspire them?
  2. How can you inform them?
  3. How can you entertain them?
  4. How can you motivate them?
  5. How can you educate them?

And...how can you do those things by posting content that is relevant to your industry?

Consider media such as videos and images.

People love to be visually engaged. You may want to consider creating your own infographics or photo postcards, as well. Videos might be ones you create yourself, such as how-to tutorials or web TV episodes. They may also be entertaining clips from YouTube that you know your audience will enjoy.

Look around for quotes by other experts in your industry. Consider adding these quotes to images to make them more visual, too. Sharing the quotes form one of your own experts can be very effective, as well.

Locate articles that would be beneficial to your audience. LinkedIn can be a great resource for that, as well as other news sources.

Blog directories like alltop.com can also help you identify current articles and information.

You should also create your own content, post it on your blog and share on social media, as well. This is one of the best ways to establish your expertise and to link back to your website in a non-self-promotional sort of way.

Other types of content might include how-to tips and industry facts or statistics, and there are many, many others.

This is really just the beginning. Once you identify the types of content you want to share, posts must be created for unique audiences on each social network. The same content shouldn't go out to every social network because users want different things.

As a very brief overview, which is by no means exclusive and is only a starting point for a tailored investigation as to what YOUR audience would specifically be looking for on each platform, here are some hints:

1. Facebook users want to be engaged. Post lots of visuals. Speak to the heart. Entertain them. Make it personal. Ask them questions and encourage them to be part of the conversation.

2. Twitter users want quick, short bits that can sink in quickly. They like lots of quick tips and article links, and videos and images work here, too.

3. LinkedIn users want professional, educational resources. Think informative articles from well-respected sources.

4. Pinterest users want images, of course. Google Plus users want informative, mostly tech-related articles.

Content creation and distribution is just the beginning. Monitoring, engagement and customer service all go hand-in-hand to optimize your social media marketing. The foundation of online communication and relationship-building, however, is great content.

Once you have that, you have a great start!

For more of Frances Leary's marketing advice for franchises, click here.

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This page is an archive of entries from September 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

August 2013 is the previous archive.

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