Blog, Franchise Recruitment, Marketing

The 2019 Annual Franchise Development Report found that 58% of recruitment budgets for the year went towards digital spending with 14% of that money dedicated to franchise websites. If you want results, a great franchise website is the answer, but building a franchise site is very different from a consumer site. Understanding and planning for those differences in your franchise site is vital to securing quality leads and conversions.

What Information Should You Include

Consider your sales strategy. Will you nurture? Filter? Engage? Whichever strategy you choose will determine what information you should be providing. A filter strategy, for example, might include a detailed form with questions like financial eligibility to increase your lead quality. No matter what information you provide, from contact information to qualification parameters, it should always be up to date and accurate. Outdated information on your franchise website can risk your credibility and leave buyers wondering if this is the right investment for them.

Franchisees play a big role in the growth and success of your company. Making sure you are appealing to the right franchisees is crucial.  It isn’t enough to simply throw information on a page. You need the right information to attract the right franchisees, that includes what you don’t share. You want to engage potential buyers without overwhelming them. Use your sales strategy to determine what information is necessary for franchisees to know up front. Everything else can be shared throughout the onboarding process. 

Inspire Potential Franchises

One of the most important jobs of a franchise recruitment site is to inspire potential franchisees. If a buyer is left uninspired, they might move on. Buyers are signing up to make your company a big part of their lives and because of that they care about your story. Include a section on your site to tell that story and inspire potential franchisees. Videos are a great way to create that connection and help potential franchisees understand your brand. You can include videos of franchisee testimonials or even a ‘trailer’ of your company. Videos are quick and entertaining, but also establish an emotional connection. That emotional connection will help potential franchisees continue to stay interested in becoming a part of your company.

Consider Your Visual Layout

While brand alignment and aesthetics are important, the most valuable aspect of your franchise recruitment website is information. The visuals on your website should be more than flashy, they need to be valuable. Your website should be organized based on your individual franchise’s sales strategy. While being organized by sales strategy, it should also be easy for the potential franchisee to read and digest the information and do with it as they see fit. Visuals should also reflect that. For example, an infographic map with available territories is more useful on the franchise site than the consumer site. You will also have to decide whether you want your recruitment site to be a section off your consumer site, or its own independent site. If your sales strategy requires minimal information, a section off your consumer site may be the right choice; however, if you try to squeeze too much information on the page, it can quickly seem unprofessional or cluttered. With more information, it is better to go with an independent website.

Remember Who You Are Appealing To

The audience of the franchise site is going to be completely different from your consumer site. The website should reflect those differences. Whether they are in the interest/consideration stage or they are about to submit an interest form, your website should also appeal to every stage of the marketing funnel. For example, a “Frequently Asked Questions” page would appeal to those who are currently seeking more information but are not ready to make the full commitment. An “About Us” page will target someone in the awareness stage trying to learn more about your brand and how they can fit into your story. In addition to the audience differences, make sure that you consider your franchise structure. Are you looking for single-unit, multi-unit, or owner-operators? These key attributes are the difference between a lead and a new franchisee.

Looking for Effective Franchise Recruitment?

Although a franchise recruitment website may look different, it is still primarily about selling, but to a different audience. Iluma Agency works with you to identify your target prospects and custom tailor your website to reach new franchisees for your brand. Discover how we can attract and develop qualified franchise prospects, visit our website and contact us to learn how we can help you reach your franchise marketing goals. Be sure to follow us on social media for more franchise recruitment and marketing tips!

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Blog, Marketing

In today’s competitive franchise recruitment marketing space, your online presence plays a massive role. No matter the industry you serve, your website must speak to the customer and draw them in to learn more. Your franchise recruitment website is no different.

Nearly 70 percent of the B2B buying journey happens online—but it isn’t a linear process. Your prospect franchisees often start their journey online and then ping pong back and forth between personal interactions online, something like this:

  • Reach out for more information
  • Talk to sales
  • Go back to do more research online to validate findings
  • Start contract discussions
  • Return to online data once again to further validate findings

With that in mind, your website should be considered a central hub of your franchise recruitment marketing strategy. If you’re wondering whether or not it’s time for a new website, here are seven signs your website is outdated and keeping you from growing your brand.

  1. Security and privacy are an issue

Online attacks and downtime from your website host can rob your franchise business of opportunities and leave you vulnerable to liability issues. Security is an aspect of websites that many companies don’t think about at the onset. Only once you experience an outage with your website host or a hacker threatens you with ransomware does security become a focus for many businesses.

But you don’t want to wait until you face an attack or liability to focus on your website’s security. Evaluate the security of your website host and content management system to decide if it’s time to upgrade.

  1. It lacks lead generation funnels

Because so much of the buying journey happens online, you need to think about how you turn website visitors into prospects and prospects into customers. Your website should guide visitors to the content that they need to know to learn more about your franchise offering.

Franchise recruitment websites should have a variety of ways to get in touch or learn more about you, including:

  • Contact forms
  • Lead magnet downloads (i.e., whitepapers, ebooks, guides, etc.)
  • Newsletter signup

When a visitor has a question, make it easy to find contact information by placing a link to your contact form on every page or along the sidebar. Lead magnets help you learn who is interested in your franchise and collect their contact information to offer more valuable content. And for those who are very early in the buying process, a simple newsletter signup form is ideal to invite visitors to stay in touch in a more passive way.

  1. The design is outdated

Website designs shift and change with time. And while you may not need to always have the most modern design, over time your website will become more and more dated. Today’s websites feature edge-to-edge imagery to maximize the space.

Even fonts change and need a good refresh. To feel good about choosing to work with your franchise business, a website visitor needs to know that you will adapt and grow with changes in the marketplace.

Sometimes franchises update their branding and their B2C website but neglect their franchise recruitment site. Keeping your franchise recruitment webpage consistent with the latest branding helps capitalize on brand recognition while demonstrating franchise marketing capacity.

  1. Mobile and tablet optimization is poor

When new devices hit the market, website optimization changes. If your website is not responsive based on the device size that someone is viewing your website from, it’s time to update your website.

Websites that render poorly on various devices make it difficult to read the text, interact with content and learn more about your business. Poor mobile optimization will also hurt your SEO and make it harder for potential investors to find you.

  1. Load times are slow

As technology improves, expectations for websites also change. If your website is outdated, it likely has slower load times than the industry standard. Those slow load times will hurt your SEO and lead your visitors to abandon your site before getting the content that they came for.

Old technology, such as Flash, can slow down your franchise recruitment website immensely. Evaluate your load times using Google’s PageSpeed Insights to learn more about your opportunities for improved load times.

  1. SEO is lacking or difficult to manage

Some website platforms lack the necessary tools to manage your SEO to ensure you show up when potential investors search for franchises like yours. You need full access to your website’s functions to ensure maximum optimization.

In some cases, your website template, content management system or format don’t meet today’s needs for customization to ensure your website’s SEO is at its best. That’s where a new franchise recruitment website can benefit your business.

  1. Your content is lacking or out of date

Just like technology has changed over the years, so has marketing content. New trends feature content that speaks directly to the customer in a friendly and easy-to-read manner. Many franchise recruitment websites also fall short in the quantity and quality of content they provide. Sharing the right information will help turn cold leads into warm leads and warm leads into hot leads while simultaneously helping you identify the most qualified candidates for your brand.  

While website content might sound like an easy fix, outdated templates and limited tools might make it challenging to format your website content in a modern and simple manner that your website visitors expect.

How to modernize your franchise recruitment website

iluma Agency offers marketing services tailored to meet the needs of franchise businesses, including franchise recruitment websites that offer the right content, design and security to ensure your success. Contact us to learn how we can help you reach your franchise marketing goals.

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Blog, Marketing

Location-based targeting has long been at the forefront of digital innovation, but as franchise marketing steps away from the one-size-fits-all approach, it has grown and evolved as a powerful strategy to create a true one-on-one audience experience.

“Don’t push people to where you want to be; meet them where they are.”

–Meghan Keaney Anderson, VP Marketing, Hubspot

As a franchise brand or location owner, it is in your best interest to reach the right audience at the right time and in the right location rather than advertising to everyone everywhere; it’s a smarter use of valuable marketing dollars.

Programmatic geofencing has revolutionized location-based marketing, as it gives franchises the opportunity to serve digital ads to mobile users within specific locations that data flags as relevant to their business. Through this tactic, prospects meeting your target demographic criteria who physically walk into geofenced areas or event spaces with a GPS enabled device may be shown your ads for up to 30 days. During this period, these display ads appear on unique websites and at different times depending on each prospect’s personal browsing and conversion behaviors.

These 5 uses of geofence ads are making programmatic geofencing increasingly worthwhile within the franchise marketing space:

  1. Directly target your competitors’ customers and prospects.

Whether you’re a fitness franchise or beauty business in the health and wellness space or currently trying to expand your youth-focused education franchise, franchise businesses are popping up everywhere, offering consumers more options—and providing franchise brands with tougher competition—than ever before.

Take 10 seconds to note your top 3 to 5 competing brands or local businesses. Now imagine being able to reach and influence every customer or member who walks into those competing locations. Geofencing lets you do this, and you can even track how many of your competitors’ customers visited your business after seeing your competing ad.

If you’re ready to run a competitor-focused geofencing campaign, be sure to leverage an enticing offer that rivals what your competitors are offering to their customers, members, and prospects, creating a sense of urgency to visit your brand’s business location instead.

  1. Meet your prospects at their favorite restaurants, stores, concerts, and sporting events.

Popular locations and events serve as prime opportunities to capture possible consumers that will be interested in your product or service.

Has your marketing data shown that most of your customers or members shop at Whole Foods? Use geofencing to target similar qualified prospects who physically walk into a local Whole Foods grocery store.

Does part of your franchise presales campaign include sponsoring a tabling event at a community 5K race? A geofencing campaign can ensure that anyone who is present at the event continues seeing your ads well afterward, until they take action.

Looking to bolster your franchise recruitment efforts and attract more qualified franchise prospects? Geofencing enables physically targeting attendees of franchise conventions like the IFA conference and MUFC as well as trade shows specific to your industry.

  1. Increase the lifetime value of current customers and prospects.

Geofencing doesn’t just have to target other business and event areas; you also have the option of fencing your own franchise locations in order to show ads to current customers and prospects who physically entered and purchased or browsed your products or services. This allows you to stay top of mind, build loyalty by thanking them and promoting a rewards program, and encourage repeat visits through a trackable limited-time discount code they can use next time.

  1. Win big from an addressable win-back campaign.

From customers who haven’t visited or purchased in a long time to ex-members who cancelled their membership, addressable geofencing allows you to digitally show ads across all their household or business devices by targeting their specific addresses. Be sure to use a compelling offer and message that motivates them to give your business another chance—but sometimes your previous customers just need a reminder that they used to love your product or service.

  1. Measure online-to-offline conversions.

In traditional digital marketing, we can use lead forms and landing pages to get some sense of direct ad campaign results—but many prospective customers could see an ad on Facebook, skip filling out a lead form, independently scope out your social media and Yelp reviews, then call or show up at your location if and when they decide to buy. Even though the ad created that customer lead, it’s not tracked as a lead, thus losing some visibility into the overall campaign performance.

Geofencing allows greater lead tracking, even when a prospect takes other actions between seeing your ad and purchasing. Setting your physical location as the “Conversion Zone” enables identifying how many of the individuals who saw your geofencing ad eventually enter your location, thus providing franchisees with a better sense of marketing ROI.

How will your franchise brand benefit?

Hyperlocal geofencing has proven tremendous value as it bridges the physical and digital divide to create unique opportunities for consumers by providing them with relevant ads based on their location, interest and behaviors. In today’s mobile-driven world, there’s no doubt that geofencing will only become more prevalent, with early adapters standing to gain the most from this cutting-edge digital trend.

A franchise-focused digital agency partner can deliver highly effective hyperlocal geofence marketing campaigns that are custom-tailored to your brand and the unique market of every franchise location, so your corporate team and franchise owners can focus on operations. iluma Agency’s comprehensive integrated digital marketing program maximizes reach, engagement, conversions, and profitability for franchise brands.

To learn how iluma Agency can make your brand shine with our proven franchise development services, contact us today.

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Corporate Marketing, Marketing

Is your franchise on track for smart growth in 2020 and beyond?

How do you reach your goals in franchise development when success looks different at the national and local levels? While the franchisor focuses on the big picture—attracting potential franchisees, accessing new markets, and increasing brand awareness—franchisees are eager for local lead generation and rapid customer acquisition, with their needs changing based on DMA, stage of growth, and single versus regional co-op strategy.

Although zors and zees have different responsibilities and motivations, a multi-unit brand succeeds when each part works well together. A healthy franchise reaches its comprehensive goals by designing systems that help all members of your brand’s network meet their mark.

This franchise marketing infographic demonstrates the complex and often competing needs of franchisor, franchisee, and customer. Address these needs head-on and make 2020 the year you check these success-determining tasks off your list.

Want a checklist that’s custom-tailored to your brand and your goals? Let us know, and we’ll create it for you.

With more than 10 years of experience working with dozens of franchise brands, iluma Agency understands the unique needs of franchisors and franchisees and has built its teams and processes to serve as an extension of yours. To learn how we can holistically facilitate all areas of your brand’s network and help scale your franchise business, please contact us or book a free brand health consultation today.

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Blog, Franchise Development, In The News, Marketing

Our team has assembled a list of franchise marketing articles worth consideration as you position your brand to reach its goals in growth and revenue in 2020 and beyond. From buttoning up your franchise recruitment strategy to leveraging the power of online conversation at the local level, a holistic franchise marketing campaign won’t ignore these powerful trends.


Successfully Marketing Your Franchise Opportunity

Forbes

The evolving digital marketing landscape has changed the way we need to reach and attract qualified new franchisees. From determining your franchise recruitment marketing budget to seeking new franchisee prospects within your current customer base, one of the best tips in this article is to clean up your brand’s online presence across all platforms before spending marketing dollars. Today’s savvy modern investor will check website content, review site responsiveness, and social media posting consistency before even expressing interest in your franchise opportunity.

Earning Five Stars

International Franchise Association
iluma Agency has been an IFA member since 2017.

As a franchisor, keep these three things in mind: 1) the majority of customers across all your locations expect a response to their Google review within a week; 2) approximately 80% of prospects will check reviews before deciding to try or buy; and 3) implementing a review monitoring process will provide valuable operations insight to dozens or hundreds of locations that would otherwise be impossible to visit and monitor yourself in person. If online reputation management is not currently part of both your local franchise marketing and franchise recruitment considerations, it should be.

Leverage Franchise Locations and Employees as Advocates

Sprout Social
iluma Agency uses Sprout Social to manage franchise social media content publishing, engagement, and review response.

Equipping your franchise brand with a well-planned employee advocacy program can make your franchisees’ marketing endeavors more cost-effective and successful. Brand messaging posted by employees sees nearly 25% more shares than other brand content and has even been linked to influencing new customers with a higher retention rate and longer lifetime value. Implementing a reward system to encourage employees to spread brand awareness can help transmit a sense of authenticity across your brand. Paired with high-quality and consistent brand messaging and social media content, you will generate unique and meaningful human engagement in saturated and highly competitive markets.

Establish brand standards, plus ‘why’ behind them
Franchise Times

Defining the difference between innovating within the brand and violating brand standards, makes it easier to enforce brand guidelines and may save you from time-consuming backtracking in the future. Being able to communicate the value of the proven, consistent brand your zees bought into—along with the adverse effects of an inconsistent customer experience—will help shift brand policing to proactive and constructive brand building. Follow this one up by reading this article about “glocalization” by Mike Kehoe, and consider creating a franchise Facebook Group as a way to communicate with your franchisees.

Maximize Local Franchise Awareness During Pre-Sales
iluma Agency

One of the best times for a new franchise location to reach their local market and create a big impact with an efficient marketing spend is before opening—or even before beginning construction. A regimented and replicable pre-sales marketing plan can help franchisees grow your brand. Building this into your franchisee onboarding process can also help attract new franchisees as you seek franchise recruitment and brand expansion.


When Is It Time to Leave Your Digital Marketing Agency?
Franchising.com

For franchise brands seeking frictionless communication and consistency across hundreds of locations, the importance of a good working relationship with your local marketing agency partner is paramount. If you have doubts about your current agency or agencies, consider their transparency and responsiveness in communication as well as their knowledge and use of data-driven technology and best practices.

With more than 10 years of experience helping franchise brands shine, iluma’s team of franchise focused marketing experts are fully immersed in the evolving trends of local franchise marketing and franchise recruitment. Please contact us for more information about working with us to grow your franchise.

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Blog, Marketing

The digital marketing landscape is continuously evolving, presenting new opportunities for savvy franchise brands to grow at the local level and beyond. Now that we’re well into 2019, it’s time to take a step back and revisit core marketing activities. This doesn’t always mean scrapping the old for the new, but it’s worth examining how we’ve leveraged certain advertising platforms in the past, how we’re applying marketing strategy today, and how we might be better served by shifting our approach in the future.

“You shouldn’t do things differently just because they’re different. They need to be… better.” -Elon Musk

Business is increasingly competitive. Whether your franchise is a gym, spa, tutoring center, or health food store, your franchisees depend on differentiation and data-backed marketing decisions to help them stand out from the crowd and focus on their bottom line. To retain and attract customers in 2019 and beyond, franchise brands are gravitating toward an omni-channel approach, focusing on providing a seamless customer experience as the backbone to their integrated, multiple marketing channel communication.

Here are 10 of the most relevant omni-channel trends we expect to help excel franchise growth this year:

1. Geofencing: Through GPS technology, we can draw a virtual boundary to define a location where we want to serve digital ads to smartphone users, such as a competing franchise, a store where qualified leads are likely to shop, or an event like a Marathon or Convention that they’re likely to attend. Once a target prospect physically enters that zone, we can continue to show them ads for up to 30 days. In addition to linking to a lead-focused landing page for conversion, this hyperlocal targeting even allows us to set a “conversion zone” so we can track if someone who saw the ad eventually visits one of your franchise locations.

2. Programmatic video: “Cable cutters” and “cable nevers” represent a generational shift—turning to video streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube instead of cable TV. These platforms present a cost-effective opportunity for franchise locations to deliver localized video ad content to their target audience

3. Second screen content recognition: We live in an era of mobile multi-tasking, casually scrolling through Instagram on our mobile devices while checking work emails on a laptop in front of your TV. Ads can be served to a smart phone based on recognition of content being watched on a separate TV screen. While it may be overly expensive and impossible to advertise on popular prime time shows, marketing through a separate device during shows popular with your prospects can be quite cost efficient and effective.

4. Artificial intelligence: Machine learning about audience, behavior, and results helps us systematically lower cost per lead for a more efficient and effective marketing campaign, meaning franchisees can get more for bang for their buck.

5. Voice search:
Products like Alexa have become a household staple. When customers ask for a local product or service recommendation (“What’s the best gym near me?”), will your franchise location be mentioned? Boosting online presence through local listings, search engine optimized blog content, and community engagement via Yelp reviews and social media comments are contributing factors that can help improve voice search rankings.

6. Chat bots: The modern consumer expects instant gratification. They want information when and where they need it. With so many platforms to manage, it can be difficult for the staff of a local franchise business to be responsive on all platforms in a timely manner. Thoughtfully programmed chat bots can automatically respond to customers and prospects in a way that considers their behaviors and needs. These should be used as a supplement—not a replacement—to live customer service.

“Instead of using technology to automate processes, think about using technology to enhance human interaction.” -Tony Zambito

7. Email marketing: Email marketing is by no means new, but instead of using email to sell, franchise brands should move toward email as a nurturing device. Focus on making customers feel good about being customers. Showcase the experience with the brand. Potential new customers won’t want to miss out; your brand will sell itself.

8. Employee advocacy:
Not only are employees’ part of what make a brand and each franchise location special, most employees also have their own network of social media followers. Are your franchisees’ employees equipped to effectively communicate your brand?

9. Social media metrics:
Paid lead-gen campaigns can be measured in terms of direct ROI. What about organic social media content? We can spend an unlimited amount of time creating, curating, and publishing content, but how valuable is your Facebook profile? Are your Instagram posts working? Social media analytics can reveal top performing posts, trends in engagement, viral impressions through shares and extended networking, audience demographics, hash tag performance, Instagram Stories interactions, and more. In addition to enhancing future content, social media metrics can help you gain an emotional understanding of your customers and prospects that can help inform success of marketing on all other platforms.

“People spend money when and where they feel good.” -Walt Disney

10. Honesty and authenticity: In light of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and increasing public debate regarding Facebook’s use of personal data, franchise brands should strive for honesty. When using landing pages or lead forms to capture contact information, be clear about how their information will be used. Today’s consumer knows they are being marketed to, so there’s no need to hide your intent. That being said, in a world full of ads (and customers who have learned to ignore ads), bringing a more authentic look and feel to your digital marketing campaigns can help your brand stand out from the crowd.

Your 2019 Franchise Marketing Checklist

Are you ready for your franchise brand to shine?

  • Platforms: Robust but integrated online presence. Continue using paid ads and organic social media content while incorporating new technology like programmatic video ads and chat bots.
  • Targeting: Hyperlocal growth through geofencing for big-scale growth.
  • Content: Be authentic and honest. Leverage real customers and staff.
  • Data: Beyond cost per lead, use social media metrics to gain valuable emotional insight.
  • Management: Collaborate with an agency partner for consistent success across hundreds of individual franchise locations.

Iluma Agency’s team of franchise marketing experts help franchisees execute global branding at the hyperlocal level. We’re excited to help brands take advantage of the digital marketing tools and trends that will directly benefit your unique needs and goals. Please contact us or book a call for more information about working with us.

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Blog, Marketing

As social media marketing becomes increasingly competitive and over-saturated, franchisees are finding it challenging to use platforms like Facebook and Instagram effectively. Combined with brand parameters that may at times feel restrictive to their content (relative to non-franchise local businesses), franchisees often become discouraged and may fail to recognize the importance of local content marketing to gain brand exposure, build loyal relationships with followers and grow their business. By posting content that their members are compelled to share, franchisees will experience extra visibility at no cost. With the right tools and tactics, they can earn more social likes and shares to increase their digital presence—all while staying perfectly on brand.

Use Facebook’s algorithm to your advantage

In January 2018, Facebook changed its algorithm to prioritize “meaningful interactions,” which includes posts from “friends, family and groups.” Facebook intended to filter out “less public content” or, at least, limit it. For businesses, this generally made it more difficult to gain visibility without investing ad spend to boost posts. But for the social media savvy, this change isn’t a challenge but rather an opportunity.

Franchisees can gain the upper hand by focusing on content that sparks interaction among their local community and customer base. Meaningful interactions count toward your engagement, which makes Facebook’s algorithm favor you and show your posts to more people in the future.

Dare to engage your audience

Increase interaction by sharing and posting user-generated content. People love being recognized by the brands and businesses they care about. Your followers will feel like you care about them and in return may even share your content with their followers. Feel free to shout-out your biggest fans and share the love.

To stand out from other businesses on social media and encourage reciprocal communication rather than just talking at your followers, consider asking questions and using fun prompts relevant to your customers’ interests that will give them a chance to be in the spotlight. Although cheap, point-blank calls to action like “share if you agree” or “use the reactions to vote” are judged unfavorably by Facebook’s most recent algorithm update, there are plenty of ways to stir up a conversation naturally. Your customers and followers are just waiting for the opportunity to share things about themselves, engage with your business, and interact with one another.

Keep up with your followers

While the content you share says a lot about your business, what your customers are saying about you matters even more—and your response to them probably matters the most. By constantly monitoring your local social media channels and responding to all comments, messages, and reviews, you are gaining more insight into what your customers are interested in, building loyalty among your followers, and even encouraging others to join in the conversation. Social media users crave more personal interactions—and you have the opportunity to provide exactly that.

Developments in technology have increased the viability of practicing social listening, responding to comments and reviews, and tracking hashtags, tags, and mentions from multiple social platforms across hundreds of franchise locations.

Host and promote events

From an open house to grand opening, workshops, anniversary parties and beyond, hosting a local event as a franchisee is an ideal opportunity to ramp up your social media exposure.

Start by creating a Facebook event page and be sure to promote it on-location as well. Any time your customers or followers RSVP via Facebook, all of their Facebook followers are notified about the event.

Posting content from the event itself, especially photos showing your customers and followers, will likely be shared on their profiles for all their friends to see. During an event hosted at your franchise location, encourage Facebook check-ins—which essentially let your customer’s friends know they visited your business.

Consistency is key

In the media world, one day you’re in and the next day you’re not. That’s why it’s important to post constantly and consistently. You have to remain cohesive and gain the attention of your followers. The more consistently you post, the easier it is to stay relevant, on trend, and top of mind. As you build a history of content, you gain valuable insight about the types of social posts that win the most engagement, shares, and visibility.

Never lose sight of your vision

While engaging with your followers is highly encouraged, all interactions should primarily align with your brand’s overall vision. Not only do you want to avoid confusing your audience and driving them away; by transmitting a consistent message, you are gaining more credibility from your audience, as well as increasing retention. The more on brand your business stays, the more identifiable you will become. And the more on brand dozens or hundreds of locations stay, the more identifiable your local business will become on a national or even global scale.

While optimizing your social media content can increase valuable web traffic and brand exposure, quite possibly the most important benefit is the relationships built between franchise businesses and their followers. As the digital world has become an overwhelming and intimidating place, consumers are straying away from sales pitches and looking for more authentic engagement from brands.

At iluma Agency, we enjoy helping hundreds of franchisees use social media to connect with their customers and qualified prospects. For a digital marketing approach tailored to your brand and your local market, please reach out to our team.

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Blog, Marketing

Since its launch in October 2010, Instagram has steadily evolved into a vital digital marketing tool for franchises to grow their social media presence and brand—especially at the local level. With nearly 1 billion active users, and especially popular with millennials, savvy businesses are catching on: They can use this platform to command attention from their target audience and separate themselves from the crowd. Now, as Instagram’s “Stories” feature gains increasing popularity, franchise business growth can happen in new ways.

Show the personal side of your business.

In a market saturated by companies seemingly selling the same product or service, your target audience learns to recognize (and ignore) traditional ads. From fun filters to Gifs, and even Boomerang videos, Instagram Stories lets you amp up your content with creative flare.

Show your company’s human side by using these features:

  • Filters
  • Text
  • Stickers
  • Gifs
  • Freehand drawing
  • Boomerangs
  • Location stickers
  • Hashtags
  • Music

Stand out from the “white noise” of endless social media and create Instagram Stories your followers will take the time to watch. Get creative:

  • DIY tutorials
  • Behind-the-scenes footage
  • Staff takeovers
  • Exclusive Stories-only promotions

By infusing content with humor and originality, B2C companies are able to show a side of them that reduces fear of trial and helps build lasting relationships.

New features are continuously being rolled out, so be sure to check your phone for Instagram updates.

Be interactive to reinforce a strong sense of community.

With the addition of “polling” and “question” features, Instagram Stories has given its massive platform the feel of a small, tight-knit community.

The polling option allows your followers to vote for their favorite choice or select from pre-set answers (which could be as simple as “yes” or “no”) or even on a slider scale. As soon as they select an answer, they’ll be shown a screen that shows the most up-to-date poll results from everyone who answered. The questions option flips it around and allows your followers to send you questions to answer.

These options are especially appealing for membership-based franchises, including the hundreds of Orangetheory Fitness studios we work with. For a fitness franchise like Orangetheory, building a supportive sense of community both in studio and online is essential so members never feel alone on their fitness journey. The interactive component of Instagram Stories keeps members engaged and reminds them that they are part of something bigger than themselves.

No matter how near or far your customer is, you can make them feel included and involved—and even like they play a larger role in company decision making. Using Instagram Stories helps you reinforce the sense of belonging that customers so often crave from their favorite brand.

Leave a lasting impression.

Similar to Snapchat, content uploaded to Instagram Stories disappears after 24 hours—unless you take advantage of Instagram’s latest update: Story Highlights.

Story Highlights let you upload past stories for permanent display in a special section at the top of your profile. You can completely customize your Story Highlights section to exude a more cohesive and on-brand look.

Likely the first thing potential new customers see when visiting your profile, Instagram Story Highlights are an opportunity to showcase videos that elevate your brand.

Master Instagram’s algorithm.

Instagram’s complicated and unchronological algorithm attempts to compile a unique feed of content for every user based on their app activity. It works on a ranking system, primarily based on three factors: interest, recency, and relationship. This sounds great in theory, but a business who doesn’t spark interaction and engagement will find it challenging to gain more followers and will be seen less and less by the followers they already have.

Staying top of mind is key. By generating Instagram Stories your followers love to watch and interact with, the boost in engagement results in additional exposure for your Instagram content—and additional exposure for your brand.

Tell your story.

Social media is changing the way we interact with others—and that’s not a bad thing. Instagram Stories has opened up the lines of communication between businesses and their audiences and has created a distinct opportunity to ascertain a strong relationship with both clients and prospects. As brand awareness continues to serve an essential role in franchise growth, staying up to date with the latest social media marketing trends and creating your digital footprint is a necessity, not an option.

For innovative social media marketing strategy and management custom tailored to your franchise brand, schedule a call with our team.

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Marketing

Learn how to utilize this powerful marketing tool to generate valuable business growth across platforms.


Think about your marketing goals. You want to generate leads, increase awareness of your brand, keep current customers interested in your products, and pump up the profit.


You’re posting and engaging with customers on social media, running digital ads to reach new eyes, and using “grass roots” marketing such as flyer distribution and local event sponsorship. But if you’ve overlooked email marketing, you’re missing an integral part of your comprehensive marketing strategy.


Email marketing alone boasts the ability to promote your brand and products or services, but here are 6 ways a consistent email plan helps you reap even more success from your other marketing endeavors:

1. Nurture leads.

Studies and reports about e-consumer behavior suggest that customers do their research and take their time with the decision to buy. Capturing them as a lead isn’t enough. Email provides a constant line of communication and allows you to share additional resources with them, from testimonials and reviews to social media stories and news coverage.


2. Convert leads.

Emails that utilize strategic calls to action can guide a potential customer through to the buying or sign-up process. They’ve already expressed interest. Stay top of mind and keep sending them emails until they buy. Then keep sending emails until they buy again. If they’re members who’ve already signed up, encourage them to buy the swag, sign up for that extra class, and refer their friends.


3. Boost social media engagement.

Platforms like Facebook and Instagram use an algorithm that limits organic reach so your posts are only shown to a small percentage of your followers. Boosting engagement (likes, comments, etc.) triggers the algorithm to share your posts with more people. More people seeing your posts leads to more people sharing your posts with their own networks. And even for those who already know and follow you, seeing your posts ensures you stay top of mind. Emails can link to social media and generate clicks through to your profiles for additional engagement.


4. Improve Google search rankings.

Emails that promote blogs or other website content can increase traffic to your website, which is beneficial for SEO. Most people won’t even go past the first page of search results when looking for a business or product, so anything you can do to boost your search ranking can help new customers find you.  


5. Develop your online reputation with positive reviews.

By including screen captures of positive reviews that have been left on Yelp, Google, and Facebook, you can encourage other satisfied members to also take the time to leave a review. These positive reviews will seriously aide your online reputation management efforts and demonstrate credibility to anyone who’s considering trying your product or service for the first time.


6. Build recognition and sentiment so “grass roots” efforts work better.

Consider a lead or member who has received consistent emails from you. One small moment of recognition when he or she sees your logo on a billboard and suddenly it becomes a full conversation with friends and family members you haven’t reached before. Equipped with the information and fun content you’ve provided through emails, he or she becomes a knowledgeable ambassador for your product or service.


Email marketing is a powerful profit-generating tool that deserves recognition, utilization, and optimization. If you are interested in an integrated email marketing strategy developed specifically for your brand or business, along with full production and management, please contact iluma Agency at 786-703-3083.

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