March 2015 Archives

During the month of February 2013, Burger King's Twitter account was hacked; in what appeared to be amusing to the outside world, it was no laughing matter to those handling Burger King's social media programs at the time.

The first noticeable change was the cover page: gone was the Burger King logo and slogan, which was replaced by "news" that the company was sold to McDonald's:


It was a short lived flurry of tweets, some of which were obscene and unkind:


Burger King's competitors also had some words of support for the company:

McDonald's tweeted,

"We empathize with our @BurgerKing counterparts. Rest assured, we had nothing to do with the hacking."

"My real life nightmare is playing out"

wrote Wendy's social media worker Amy Rose Brown.

It's interesting that Twitter was the only compromised account for the company; its Facebook account remained unharmed.

Clearly the company continually monitors its social media and was quickly able to identify the issue and resolve it before things got too out of hand.

Crisis averted, but it's a good lesson on the importance of monitoring social media sites on a continual basis - hackers can easily create havoc quickly!

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Contrary to popular thinking, content is not king and cold calling is not dead.

Some marketers have begun to think if they do a great job at B2B social media, then qualified prospects will rain in. Grizzled sales veterans contend it's still all about building personal relationships.

The fact is, building and nurturing a business-to-business pipeline requires a delicate balance of both new social media approaches and old school prospecting.

Most companies don't get "invited to the party" because prospects don't even know you exist. While the search engine optimization (SEO) value of your content can generate leads, you will grow old waiting for it to fuel a solid pipeline.

You need to develop and qualify a prospect list and reach out to them with a thought-provoking combination of traditional mail, email and phone calls. Occasionally you will get lucky and reach a prospect with an immediate need.

But more often, if there is a glimmer of interest, the prospect becomes aware of you and will begin to pay attention to your content - either passively as you email it to them, or actively following you on Twitter, LinkedIn or your blog.

And so begins the nurturing process. When they click through an email or retweet a post, your sales team takes notice.

They happen to leave messages with prospects about the very topic they expressed interest in. The dance continues until you raise their level of interest and interaction or you get a definite "no."

Any shred of new information, whether it's a development in their company or a manner in which they respond, informs your next move.

If there is no response, back them off to a maintenance level of contact and move on to another manageable wave on your list.

There is no substitute for old school prospecting.

But it is a wasted effort today if it's not supported by rich content. That's where social media marketing champions are exactly right - B2B prospects will do their homework.

(They do want to feel like connecting with you was their idea. That's fine, we won't tell them differently!)

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

Many years ago, a favorite cousin decided to open a pizza shop. Everyone told her that she made the best pizza in the world - and she did! Even though a pizza shop is a great business idea, I just wish I could have convinced her that the public doesn't want to buy "the best pizza in the world".

The public wants to buy "the most convenient pizza in the world," which is why there are so many pizza shops. When people are hungry for pizza, they don't want to wait!

Too Few Buyers
Unfortunately for my cousin, she lost everything to her great business idea. But it wasn't because people didn't like her pizza. They loved it! It's just that not enough people bought her pizza.

What really sunk her business was her marketing plan.

She invested huge chunks of money in the wrong marketing tactics.

For example, she thought ads in the Sunday newspaper would make the phone ring. They did, but not enough to justify the cost of the ads.

She either didn't know about door hangers - which actually do sell pizza for a fraction of the cost of other advertising - or she considered them unworthy of her product.

I understand, but I wish I didn't.

Listen to the Public
People often complain that franchises have dumbed down product quality. Even if that's true, the public isn't complaining!

And that's what you need to understand about business ideas and franchises. Selling "the best" of anything isn't necessarily the goal, at least not anymore. But less than the best doesn't mean it's bad, either. It just means the public has spoken. And you need to listen!

Marketing is the key that unlocks the vault to the public's desires, and money. And the franchise company that understands that is a contender for your investment dollars!

And now that I've spoken, I'm calling my favorite franchised pizza shop . . . I know they listen!

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]

There is a lot of nonsense written by smart people about storytelling.

And, most of their talk is just a story - not worth listening to. Nobody uses a story to show why storytelling is more convincing than any other expository form. They just tell us that it is. Crap, I say.

But, Roger Schank is very different.

He is worth listening to.

Roger Schank explains the deep reasons that we have to tell stories.

The smartest thing Roger says - on why one way dialogues don't convince is this:

At around 2:48, on listening to a lecture, a version of a one way dialogue, Roger shows that the audience has a terrible problem of focus:

"This puts you in an awkward position as I talk, because you can either be thinking about what you think or you can be listening to me but you can't do both."

So, how do you chose the stories you want to tell?

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]

In this day and age, 95% of customers turn to the Internet to quickly find products and services -- and that includes finding a local business provides them. The importance of having a website for your brand franchise is a no-brainer, but should local franchisees have a website, too?

One of the great things about franchises is they have national brand recognition and local identities, so they can connect with their individual communities while also staying at the forefront of customers' thoughts. However, the challenge becomes defining the local identity of each franchisees location all within the established brand.

When local franchisees plan to market themselves online, they may turn to practices that the franchisor needs to oversee so there are no mixed brand messages in the market. What I'm referring to is franchisees having their own website, separate from the established franchise website. Not only will this cause customer confusion over which site is the main one, but it will cause customers to lose trust in the franchise as a whole. After all, 73% of customers lose trust in a brand when there is incorrect listing information on the Internet.

The danger zone

While it may seem like a good idea for franchisees to have their own website -- a place for local customers to quickly find them -- it will spread the overall brand thinly across the web and franchisors will lose control of managing their online reputation.

If each franchisee maintains their own website, each will both look different and present different messages vs. what the franchise as a brand is promoting. Let's use Planet Fitness as an example. They promote their gyms as "judgement-free" zones, a selling point to those who are intimidated by the avid gym-goer. If every Planet Fitness location put out their own website, the core message would get lost. Even simple typos such as, "judgement-free zoo," has the possibility to damage the brand, franchisor and franchisee across the web.

In addition to inconsistent and incorrect messaging, individually-maintained franchisee sites will cause the main franchise website to get lost in the crowd and confuse the customer. For example, there may be a franchisee that is killing it with their SEO, so much so that they overshadow other franchisees (and possibly locations closer to a searcher). The situation becomes more complicated franchisees run Ad Word campaigns because they will entering into a bidding-war for the same keyword -- a waste of valuable marketing dollars.

The easiest and simplest plan is to eliminate local websites and focus on the main website with a local approach.

Out of danger + into the community

Keeping your brand message consistent can be as easy as 1-2-3 when it comes to local marketing.


1. Provide an online marketing strategy

Whether you want to give your franchisees some freedom in their marketing, or lay out the entire strategy for them, it all starts with a structure. Share the marketing guidelines, clearly delegate responsibilities and provide them with the materials and information they need to be successful.

A great place to start is with individual location listing pages on the main franchise website. By providing each franchisee with a place to house their NAP (name, address, phone), you will help establish SEO that each location can contribute to.

2. Distribute brand guidelines

In addition to providing a marketing strategy, distribute brand guidelines that each franchisee should follow in order to eliminate confusion about the ultimate franchise goal (like the one mentioned with Planet Fitness).

A consistent message across the franchisees creates a strong base for each location to build their local marketing on.

The brand guidelines should cover how the slogan and logo can be used and establish the voice and tone for the franchise as a whole.

3. Maintain consistent support

To keep the brand strong across all locations, you should consistently share the brand message and always provide answers to franchisees who have questions. By providing support, you will be able to track the who may not be complying with the guidelines -- and reach out to them and provide alternatives in order to maintain the brand and prevent damage.

A small thing, such as a separate franchisee website, can start brand damage and lead to bigger issues across the franchise. By evaluating your own franchise website (and the local location pages you provide to your franchisees), you can present a consistent brand message nationally and locally, all while growing your online customer base.

Many franchisors don't have systems in place that enable their franchisees to control their own local online marketing activities.

LocalVox provides franchises from all industries -- from furniture retailers to grocery stores -- with software that lets franchisees contribute to their local online marketing and still allows the franchisor to monitor franchisee activities and control larger brand-building campaigns.

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]

For more information on how we can help your franchise, please contact us and we would be happy to give you a demo.

The post Prevent Brand Damage With a Complete Franchise Website appeared first on LocalVox.

Your customers hold the secret of lowering advertising costs and increasing revenue in the palm of their hands.

Text message marketing, being called the single most effective marketing medium of all time by some, is taking the world by storm and it's not hard to see why:

1. 91% of US Residents and 77% of the world population own a mobile phone with Text Messaging capabilities.
2. 97% of all Text Messages are read by the recipient within 3 minutes of being sent.

Can you imagine being able to reach your customer base within 3 minutes, any day of the week? The results can be amazing.

When leveraged properly, text messaging campaigns have seen response rates climb above 30%. This number alone can shed light on why 89% of major brands have been marketing on mobile devices since 2008.

The benefits of text message marketing do not just apply to the younger generation. According to M:Media , 39% of text Messengers in the United States are over 35 years old and 69% are over 25.

In a campaign targeting men and women ages 25-54, Carrabba's Italian Grill, hoped to achieve a 5% response rate for their text messaging efforts. The goal of the campaign was to have their current customers join a new appreciation club. Four weeks later with 443 responses, they had soared past that goal to a rate of 35%.

Restaurants are not the only industries to benefit from this type of marketing channel. In fact, marketing is not the only use for text messaging.

Fire and Rescue squads, stationed in Blaine, WA, lowered their operating cost by eliminating their pager bill completely. They were able to do this by utilizing text messaging.

As many people are discovering with their lack of internet presence, failure to act can be one of the most detrimental decisions made in business. Your competitors may not have already discovered this revenue increasing tool, but, with the exponential expected growth of mobile marketing, they are sure to do so soon. You cannot afford to miss this marketing phenomenon.

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]

If you are a small business owner or a self-employed professional, and you are reading this post, then you've heard (probably numerous times over) that you should be including social media in some way in your marketing. For some of you, you are also hearing that social media should be used in your customer relations.

But beyond this vague knowledge, when it comes to the implementation, many of you are getting it wrong, and you may not realize just how much your social media efforts are actually cutting in to your income when they supposedly should be increasing it.

A Few Words About Where I am Coming From...

The idea for this post has actually been percolating for some time. It all started with a recent interview I did about content marketing for small businesses working with limited resources. That got the wheels spinning. Then, I wrote a post a few weeks back about why some small businesses should not actively market themselves on location-based social media platforms. Finally, over the past week, I've been mulling over a book put together by Danny Iny over at Firepole Marketing called, Engagement from Scratch which offers a ton of insight about how business owners can build a loyal and engaged online audience (a big shout out to Ti Roberts who alerted me to this great free resource.)

I want to start off by saying that I have nothing against social media for business owners. On the contrary, I fully believe that with the right approach, businesses can use various social media platforms to increase sales, improve customer experience, and gain immensely valuable market feedback.

What I do have a problem with is the way these platforms are being thrown at small business owners as the holy grail of accomplishing all the things just mentioned above. And a holy grail social media is not.

There's a great deal of social media hype out there- a lot of it baseless. I believe that many social media evangelists are playing on the vulnerabilities that small businesses tend to have, such as limited resources, limited experience, and limited reach.

There is also a physiological component here: many small business owners and self employed professionals don't fully recognize the value that they have to offer their customers and thus are looking for ways to compensate, to add some extra appeal to their offerings. Social media savvy has somehow become this elusive stamp of competence and quality.

The result is that there is a literal movement of businesses and individuals who are going through a lot of hoops, spending a great deal of time and money, and many are technically making all the "right" moves on social media, yet they ultimately end up unsuccessful. For all the success stories out there, we just can't push under the rug the thousands and thousands of individuals and small businesses and even big businesses, that were unsuccessful in their social media campaigns- regardless of the platform.

Where are they going wrong? The vast majority of the time, I've found that it's a matter of perspective.

Social media at its core is a medium of communication and information sharing. It canenhance what already exists to build something greater, much like binoculars or a microscope can enhance your sight- it can extend your reach, improve your customer response time and effectiveness, help you learn about your customers, and market trends. But we have to get away from this Social Media God complex. Social media alone cannot do all these things and especially not for free. If you're blind, don't bother looking through a pair of binoculars...

It boggles my mind how this message can still be promoted.

To the extent that business use these platforms to merely amplify their message and reach, to the extent that they truly understand what works and what doesn't in terms of marketing in our Internet-based world, and to the extent that they truly try to connect to their customers, to address the actual flesh and blood people behind those social media accounts, online purchases, and survey responses, to that extent they will be successful.

It doesn't matter which platforms are trending, what matters is how the actual business is able to use that platform to connect to current and potential customers. Expect that some social media platforms will work, others not. It's highly individual. It has to do with not only the kind of business and industry involved, but also the market demographics as well as the unique personalities, skills, and available resources of the people who own and work in the business. It's like trying to use binoculars when you should be using a microscope or at least a magnifying glass, and then wondering why you can't see anything.

Realize that the rules of doing business have stayed the same even as they have changed. What I mean is that the fundamentals of marketing, networking, building customer loyalty, etc. These still exist, and they will always exist. All that has really changed is that we now have tools to enhance and target our message, to extend our services, and connect with others.

Once you as a small business owner or self employed professional understand this, you'll begin to realize that customer loyalty hasn't died, for example. The fundamental rules still hold. The goal remains to build a real following of people who like what you have to offer, who feel in some way connected to your brand, and who will want (by themselves) to further that connection through repeat purchases. This has been happening way before the days of the Internet and social media. Think: Coca Cola and Nike.

What has changed is that there's a lot more noise, customers are spending a significant amount of their time online (as opposed to off-line) doing a variety of tasks; social circles have expanded in ways never before possible; many barriers have come down between businesses and customers, between peers, between those who are formally educated and those who are not; and the pace of life has quickened.

You have to adapt your marketing and customer service strategies so that they can accommodate these trends- among others. But if you come in with the right perspective, and you do the work, not only can you build and engaged audience of customers, but your customers will own their loyalty more since they must make a more active choice to follow your brand, and that act of making an active choice is a very, very powerful thing.

Bottom line: small businesses and self-employed professionals who use social media as an enhancement, who do the research to see what works and what doesn't, they will ultimately catapult their businesses to levels never thought possible.

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]

LinkedIn wants to be part of your breakfast.

You know that part where you open your tablet, review the news in Pulse. Or you might be looking at your LinkedIn update stream on your home page.

Both Pulse and your LinkedIn stream of news have more noise than the Wall Street Journal, right now. But you are in more control of what you read.

How Print Made Money

The advertorial in a print magazine was deliberately made to look similar in type to the editorial page. Although titled "Advertisement", some readers who regularly ignored display ads were interested in the conversational format of the advertorial. So, they read & some bought.

The newspaper made money matching a supplier with a customer.

LinkedIn is doing something similar. It is allowing franchise brands to post their advertorials directly into your LinkedIn update stream.

These sponsored updates are different from the LinkedIn paid ads which you see around the edge of the LinkedIn, usually in widget on the right hand side.

Our Tests with Sponsored Updates & Buying Impressions

Last year, when the sponsored update program Joe and I tried out some of the features out -using our company page.

We were interested in acquiring a larger reach for our contributors, by buying impresssions.

First, buying impressions is relatively simple to do.

You figure out what your target audience is, fill in a few buttons and then you are presented with screen that looks like this.


Ok, this campaign would cost us $23.74 for each 1,000 impressions we want to buy.

We are targeting the 104k LinkedIn users in Restaurant or Hospitality industry, Senior Director or VP and above. We are also targeting it to the people who are in business development, sales or marketing. Director level or higher.

So, 10K impressions would cost us $237.40.

And 100 click throughs, or direct responses, would cost $629.00

Is this a good deal?

It is a brilliant deal, compared to the alternative of using press release software. Which many franchisors are using to get their name out there.

Prices for Press Release Software

If your franchise brand is using press release software, what does it cost & what do you get?

Here is typical price list.

press release software price.png

So which franchisors are spending money on press release software?

Well, put in "franchise" in the searchbox and you will be a list of franchisors trying to get their name out using press release software.

Here is a typical press release, from Launch Trampoline.

Launch Trampoline.png

Ok because they have embedded video, we can calculate that they spent at least $500 to use the software. This one time.

But who the heck is going to read this?

1. You have to get the piece picked up by a local journalist.

2. You have to get the local journalist to find the piece interesting.

3. The local journalist has to decide that they have space to run the article as placement.

Finally, you need qualified buyers -either consumer or business- to look at the article. Which will run without the video in most cases.

Worse, is that if you do all this & the time isn't right for your reader, you have wasted your advertising budget.

The LinkedIn Advantage - Sponsored Updates - Direct to Reader

If you are targetting a professional audience, then the largest group of readers is on LinkedIn.

1. You can target the exact group of readers you want. No waiting around for a journalist, their editor and the paperboy to deliver your message.

2. You can send them messages with rich content, like videos.

3. You can keep in touch, once they have read your message or viewed your video. Because your customers buy when it is convenient from them & not when it is convenient for you.

Making an Impression on LinkedIn

When your brand needs to make an impression in LinkedIn, send me an email in LinkedIn. Use the title "I want to make an impression."

Or, you can just sign up for more of our ideas about how to publish on LinkedIn. Just click here and Mail Chimp will take over. Thanks. Oh, and we never give out your email.

This is how "advertising" is described on Wikipedia:

"...a form of marketing communication used to encourage, persuade, or manipulate an audience (viewers, readers or listeners; sometimes a specific group) to take or continue to take some action. Most commonly, the desired result is to drive consumer behavior with respect to a commercial offering..."


While social media does, in fact, persuade and encourage audiences, the idea that it should be used intentionally in that way to "manipulate" an audience to take action seems an affront to the very idea of being social.

Then again...perhaps social circumstances do often by their very nature lead to manipulative situations. From the sandbox to the schoolyard to the workplace...manipulation occurs all over.

Does that make it right?

The sandbox is really for playing, getting to know one another, learning and growing. The fact that sometimes one or another participant may manipulate another doesn't alter the initial intent of the sandbox itself. The sandbox is still a "good" place, a place for fun, laughter and friendship.

So is social media.

As users and as professional organizations, we cannot allow the fact that some companies may use social platforms for their own manipulative purposes to shape what social media truly is.

We cannot give those manipulators that power.

And, most important...we cannot be those manipulators.

Social media provides an opportunity for companies to build trust with their audiences, to be truthful with them, to provide their audience with real value that will encourage and support them.

Companies that recognize that have a great opportunity to create social platforms that will take relationships with their clients to entirely new levels.

So, think of social media not as advertising but as an opportunity to communicate with your audience.

Instead of trying to "manipulate" them into buying your product or service, use your expertise to help solve their problems now. Share your knowledge, and when they come to place where they need to invest in what you offer, they'll have no other thought but turning to you as their solution.

Don't persuade them with deals. Dig deeper. Show them the more that you are. Show them WHO you an organization and a team of people.

You're not a "company" with deals. You're a group of people who have come together to help solve the problems your audience has.

Only you can do it the way you do it, and as they get to know you they'll see just that.

>Don't advertise.

Be authentic. Be yourself. Be real. And have fun in the sandbox.

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]

LED Source- the Franchisor's Vendor

My client LED Source is an awesome company that has now been valued very highly by the "right people".

They are a franchisor & also a vendor to franchisors, retrofitting lighting for great chains like Massage Envy and Starbucks.

We will ALL eventually need LED lighting so they are out there promoting themselves on both levels. They are a terrific futuristic franchise opportunity and at the same time franchisors and chains, such as Starbucks, need to be retrofitted with all new lighting.

But how to go after a Starbucks type entity when you think "hey I'm just a small company?"

Be a small company that ROARS!

If you can make an intelligent presentation as to the whys, wheres, how tos and in LED Source's case, the tax credits the customer will receive, you can pitch anyone. It just takes tenacity and an intelligent, succinct "pitch".

Window Genie- 3M Partnership

Another great example is another terrific client of Sanderson & Associates: Cincinnati based Window Genie.

Window Genie has reached an agreement with 3M Company to provide a residential window film solution as part of the company's lauded Envision™ line of films. The partnership will provide Window Genie, a franchise chain with over 200 units that provides window cleaning and window tinting to homes in more than 24 states, an opportunity to service over 125,000 residential customers with window film that reduces fading, heat and glare and can help lower utility bills.

Beginning April 1, Window Genie franchisees will offer the residential Envision™ film options that include clear view, glare control, sun block and shade offerings. The film options range from 70%-40% for total solar energy rejection (TSER), a quality which stands to save homeowners significantly on their utility bills.

Window Genie's partnership with 3M is the result of two years of discussions between the companies, initiated by Window Genie.

"We approached 3M two years ago actively seeking the partnership," said Ken Fisk, vice president of operations for Window Genie.

"We believed Window Genie's reputation as an established residential home service business put us in a great position to illustrate to 3M the value of forming a partnership with us.

Through two years of conversations pertaining to the opportunity 3M had to penetrate the residential market through a partnership with Window Genie, a company with over 125,000 residential customers in our database, both parties agreed it was mutually beneficial to move forward."

"The partnership is mutually beneficial," said Fisk.

"While Window Genie is able to further customer satisfaction by providing a highly recognizable brand of top quality window film, 3M is able to successfully penetrate the residential market and build brand awareness for their line of residential film among Window Genie's customers that span over 200 markets in 24 states."

For years 3M's line of Envision™ Wrap Films has been an industry favorite, earning commendations for its high performance, sustainable materials and comprehensive warranty.

Founded in 1994 by Rik Nonelle, Window Genie recently appeared on Inc. Magazine's 2014 Inc. 5000 list and on Entrepreneur Magazine's list of top 100 home-based franchises. The partnership stands to benefit Window Genie franchisees every bit as it will benefit customers," said Fisk.

"We look forward to improved training and support by providing one brand of film to our franchise partners," said Fisk. "We believe it will help streamline systems and enable growth with a more successful method of coaching throughout the entire Window Genie system."


Window Genie is a mobile cleaning services company focused primarily on its "big three" services: window cleaning, window tinting and pressure washing. The company also offers, among many other services, dryer vent cleaning, chandelier cleaning and gutter cleaning and re-securing.

Window Genie services primarily residential customers, as well as small offices and commercial spaces. The company currently has 72 franchise owners operating more than 200 units in 24 states, and expects to grow to 100 franchisees by the end of 2015 and over 300 within five years. Target markets include California, New York and Florida. For more information, visit


Founded in 2005, LED Source® is North America's first franchisor of LED lighting. The company supplies high quality LED lighting products to a variety of spaces, and specializes in design, support, development, project management and financing through its Retrofit, Architectural, Entertainment and National Accounts divisions.

In 2012, LED Source launched LouMan Money®, a private-labeled finance program that affords companies an LED lighting upgrade without tying up capital or using existing lines of credit. For more information and/or about franchising opportunities, please visit

There are two basic Trade Show strategies: Gather or Filter.

If your primary objective is increasing brand recognition, getting the word out about a new product, or attracting the majority of the show's attendees, you probably want to gather.

If your objective is to attract top prospects, increase face time with highly qualified buyers, or search for those hard-to-find A-level leads, you probably want to filter (a technique that places quantity on the back burner, opting instead for fewer, but more qualified, leads).

The following tactics will help you implement the approach you choose, and ultimately land you the quantity and quality of leads you're looking for.

Option 1: Gather

If you're looking to create a rush to your booth, you'll want to let everyone know what you've got planned. Pre-show e-mail campaigns are designed to do just that: reach as many people as possible for as little as possible. Send e-mails introducing your company and letting attendees know where your booth is located and why they should add it to their must-see lists.

To gather attendees at your booth, you need to create a reason for them to come. Build traffic by distributing promotional items, hosting an in-booth contest, activity, or presentation -- anything that will pique attendees' curiosity and get them into your exhibit.

The layout of your booth should be open and inviting: no walls that block attendees, no imposing barriers such as counters or tables. Signage should be bold and eye catching. If there's not a line or crowd in your booth at all times, you're doing something wrong.

Your booth staff should be trained to collect leads efficiently. Now is not the time for long sales pitches; you're focusing on the sound-bite speech. And, with so many attendees expected to pass through your exhibit, a quick, reliable lead-capture system is vital.

Option 2: Filter

The first step when filtering attendees is to determine whether there are enough valuable leads attending the show to make it worth your while to exhibit. If there are, then you'll need to find out who those leads are, design a marketing strategy to reach those individuals, and get enough of them to visit your booth -- and ultimately purchase your product or service -- to pay for your presence at the trade show.

At the least, you must identify and contact the attendees you'd like to see and let them know you'll be at the show. At best, you can set up appointments ahead of time with key prospects and VIP clients.

If you're not sure who your top prospects are, devise a plan to cull those few qualified attendees from the herd. E-mail all attendees a link to a Web site where you pre-qualify leads via an online survey. Then target the most promising respondents.

While no one wants to be seen as unfriendly on the trade show floor, your booth should not go out of its way to attract everyone. Here, barriers to entry are not only acceptable, they might even be preferable. Meeting rooms are probably necessary. Signage should allow attendees to self qualify rather than attracting every Tom, Dick, and Harry.

Consider a high-priced or high-quality promotional giveaway, something of greater value than the branded pens or T-shirts you might use if you were gathering. Remember, since you're exclusively focusing on a handful of attendees, you can afford to spend more per attendee than if you were targeting the show's entire pre-registration list.

"Ask Trade Show Bob" is a simple dial-up service that allows anyone to call me, any time, whenever a little exhibit expertise is needed. Whether you're having trouble planning your exhibit, measuring its effectiveness -- heck, if you just need to know who to call to get your exhibit electric turned on call him.

(You'll get 30 minutes of on-the-fly strategic and/or tactical trade show advice for just $69.00 per 30-minute session. Bob is available any time, day or night, before, during or after your show. )

For the 5 Most Fascinating Stories in Franchising, a weekly report, click here & sign up.

A Fish Story

When I was much younger, my grandfather used to take my younger brother and me fishing. Fishing on one of the lakes in the interior of B.C.

We would get up at 5:00 am to help Grandpa Webster pack up the Ford Camper. Drive for what seemed like 12 hours, but was only 3 or 4.

Grandpa had his favorite lakes. In the 1940's, Al Webster was running a hotel at 100 Mile House in the interior of B.C. So, Al knew a lot about hunting & fishing.

The lakes he liked were accessible only by logging roads. Roads which were not maintained. Sometimes nothing more than 2 deep ruts into the bush.

When we arrived at camp, my brother and I were eager to go fishing right away.

But, we had to wait until the next morning.

Grandpa would wake us at 4:00 a.m. And it was chilly -even in the summer- on those mountain lakes that early in the morning.

We would dress in several layers over our pyjamas. Get into the back of his 15' boat and go trolling.

Grandpa had 50HP Mercury, which he hated because it wouldn't go slow enough to troll properly he said. But, he needed its power when we had to get off the lake in a hurry.

We would troll in and out of the bays. Until we found where a school of fish was feeding.

And, then if we were lucky, all hell would break loose.

Catch 4, 6, or even 10 lake trout or salmon within 18 minutes.

Fish for eating. Fish to be flash frozen back at camp. Not for catch and release. My grandfather despised trophy fishing.

But, most of the time we weren't lucky. We were just bored.

Catching, reeling in and netting a lake trout is fun.

Trolling up and down a cold lake in the morning's damp mist and not getting a nibble for several hours? Not so much fun.

Back then we didn't have the technology that fishermen have today.

We couldn't afford a depth finder. Grandpa wasn't impressed with such tools. He preferred to determine the depth of the lake by measuring how long it took for our lines to hit bottom.

Then, we would reel in and come up to the exact right depth. Or sometimes not. We always blamed it on the lousy lures, when we returned to camp without any fish.

I really wanted a depth finder back then. If only just to break up the boredom.

Well, I told you that story just to tell you another. This time about content marketing.

Using content marketing articles to attract leads has a lot in common with fishing.

With content marketing & fishing there is the potential for a lot of boredom.

You think that every flashy article will lure all the right people to your offer. And for the most part, you are not right.

And a few times, fewer than you would like, your content does work. It lures the right people to the offer on your website. And the fish are biting.

A Depth Finder for Content Marketing - Google Analytics

So wouldn't it be nice to have something like a depth finder for your content marketing articles.

How much should it cost, do you think?

How well it would it work?

Could it be simple to set up?

Cheap, good & simple are not usually found together.

Yet, this is exactly what implementing Google Analytics on your website will give you. A cheap, good & simple "depth finder".

I had demonstrated for you a neat application using Google Analytics which showed you the best place to put your links on your website.

Remember too, we had talked about the attention economy -where you trade your knowledge for their email and name.

Now, let's put both ideas together.

Find the right places to fish for leads. And lure them to an irresistible offer on your website.

1. How much attention does the typical content marketing article attract on Franchise-Info attract?

Ok, so for a month this article attracted a little over 80 readers. People who spent on average 4:47 minutes reading the article.

fish 1.png

That is pretty good.

But, you can see that for most of the month the article attracted zero attention --it was all bunched into a couple of days.

You wouldn't expect to get a lot of leads from this article. It just doesn't create enough attention.

2. A month's worth of attention.

The next article is significantly better, but not as common.

fish 1.png

You can see that for the month of March, this article continually attracted attention.

In fact, this article garnered 750 readers who spent an average time of 4:33 minutes reading it.

Ok, that author had 750 people knocking on her door asking for more. Those would be great leads.

At the very least, for that month of March, the author could have connected with those readers who looked at the author's LinkedIn profile.

3. One year's worth of attention.

Now, our next example is even better. And rarer, too. It is almost the ideal content marketing piece.

For an entire year, this article attracted attention.

fish 1.png

Over 1800 readers for the entire year, and each reader spent 5:55 minutes reading the article.

Now, that is a terrific amount of attention. It is a great lead generating article. Hopefully, the author had a great offer to make in exchange for all that attention!

4. The Energizer Bunny of Content Marketing Articles

Finally, we have an article which just keeps on going, and going, creating quality leads each month. Month in and month out.

This article attracted over 6,000 readers, 6,159, last year. And since it was published in August, 2013, the article has been read by 9,013 readers.

fish 1.png

And we have collected a lot of leads from this article's success.

None of this is difficult. Google Analytics is easy and free to implement.

The Moral of the Fish Story

To have your prospect know, then like and finally trust you, you need a plan.

Part of that plan is convert some attention into people who like you enough to give you their name/email in exchange for some of your knowledge.

So, when a lot of people do finally pay attention to a specific article, make sure you are giving them something in return.

Or you will return to camp without any fish.

Recommendations and so much more ...

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

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

It's no secret that a great sales team has a significant impact on the number of franchisee leads your company produces, but a strategic franchise public relations plan can also play a vital role in lead generation.

When done correctly, content marketing generates three times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, according to a recent study by Demand Metric.

At Ripley PR, we know just how important it is to develop relevant content and optimize it for the most impact with your target audience.

We've highlighted three key PR tools that will help to increase leads:

  • Press Releases: Building brand equity is important, and using non-paid avenues helps add to the credibility of your company. From new hires to new locations, a PR agency can help you determine news worthy stories that will keep your franchise's name in relevant news outlets and at the top of mind of potential leads.
  • Blogs: According to WebDAM, B2B companies that blog generate 67 percent more leads than companies that don't. A PR firm will not only develop the blogs for you, but we also understand the importance of SEO and keywords that improve your overall ranking in search results.
  • Discovery Days: Face time is valuable, especially with potential franchisees that are on the fence. Hosting a discovery day allows them to see the type of franchise that you own, and a PR firm can not only help in the planning of the event but also get the word out to key media contacts that will reach your target audience.

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]

Ripley PR understands the importance of lead generation to the overall success of your franchise, and we specialize in helping franchisors improve sales through a comprehensive B2B public relations strategy. Contact us today to get started on a plan that will compliment your current sales strategy.

Franchises have the best of both worlds: they can combine local and national marketing strategies to spur growth.

The franchisor will create the overall marketing plan and blanket customers at a national level, while each individual franchisee will take that plan and execute at the local level so it has a measurable impact in the community.

However, not every franchise is not capitalizing on this strategic advantage.

Typically, a franchisor's national marketing plan includes advertising, email campaigns, television and radio commercials, online marketing, social media (around the central brand) public relations and direct mail. All of these channels are great for creating and building brand awareness at the national level, but none of these activities actually connect the brand to local communities.

When it comes to the local level, franchisors should rely on and support franchisees because they have the necessary connections needed to grow the business.

While franchisees have the upper hand in local marketing, more than 50% of franchisees feel their franchisors aren't providing them with the support they need to be successful.

While franchisees are dependent on franchisors for certain activities, there are some proactive steps that local franchisees can take to grow their business at the local level.

Local listings put your business front and center

One of the easiest ways a franchisee can contribute to local marketing is through local listings in online directories. Being listed in online directories such as Google and Yelp will give franchisees more online visibility and drive more traffic back to the franchisor's main website, thus upping SEO (search engine optimization).

Currently 51% of consumers search for local businesses on-the-go, making local listings in online directories an important part of any local marketing plan. The consistent visibility online directories provide franchisees will keep the business at the top of customers minds.

A good example of a local franchisee listing in an online directory is Subway. As you can see below, Subway's local listing brought it to the top of a mobile search page for "sandwich shop."

Responding to reviews in a timely manner

Local listings will certainly help SEO, but they aren't the only contributing factor -- reviews are also critical to the SEO mix. If you read our Google My Business blog post, you know that Google (and many other directories) will link your listings to reviews, making reviews an integral part of a local marketing strategy.

At a time when 88% of people trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends, best practices recommend that franchisees respond to both positive and negative reviews in a timely manner in order to get the most out of review sites. While a franchisee might be discouraged by seeing a bad review, they need not give up. Studies show that 30% of reviews will turn positive if the business simply responds to the unhappy customer (and it might even be removed).

For example, this AMC movie theater could have improved their Yelp rating from the start if they simply responded. While the movie theater is lucky that the reviewer updated the review independently, it would have demonstrated good customer service if AMC had responded.

Form an online community with social media

An online community might seem like something a franchisor should manage, but when it comes to specific questions and quick responses, franchisees reign supreme.

First, let's dispel a myth about franchises: that franchisors (a national brand with a large marketing budget) and franchisees (local business with limited resources) are on different capability playing fields when it comes to marketing. National brands miss 86% of the feedback on social media channels, meaning your franchise could be missing major opportunities on social.

A good way to ensure your franchise doesn't miss any feedback is to turn the management of online communities over to those who are actually part of the community -- the franchisee. Not only will the franchisee be quicker to respond and engage with community members, they have a vested interest in the success of the online community: it means more business for their location.

I found an interesting post about how a Holiday Inn in Rockland, M.A. combines social and community by showcasing a local chef's availability for weddings.

For any of these measures to be successful, there needs to be clear direction to the franchisee on how to proceed. It is the responsibility of the franchisor to create a consistent brand image across all franchises. While local marketing will help create a local identity for each franchisee, there needs to be a strong brand that seen at every location.

For a guide successful local franchise marketing strategies, check out our white paper, Who Owns Local Marketing? Examining the Franchisor/Franchisee Gap. This white paper explores how multi-unit enterprises and franchises can monetize local internet marketing and how to narrow the growing gap between corporate HQ and local retail locations.

For the 5 Most Fascinating Stories in Franchising, a weekly report, click here & sign up.

The post See Franchise Growth With Local Marketing appeared first on LocalVox.

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