There’s no denying that franchises are an integral part of the American economy. In 2021 alone, franchise owners opened over 26,000 new locations, created over 800,000 jobs, and contributed a whopping $477 billion to the US GDP.
The franchise model is so successful because it’s mutually beneficial — franchisees get to use a proven business plan and brand name to generate profits. They then kick a portion of their profits up to the franchise owner. The franchise owner reinvests some of these profits in the corporate marketing strategy, driving more leads for franchise locations.
But without one critical component, your franchise marketing strategy can fall apart. I don’t mean to sound like a high school football coach in a Disney movie, but teamwork is the glue that holds everything together. Your marketing team needs to prove that it’s driving high-quality leads to franchise locations. Your locations, in return, need to ensure they’re converting those leads and providing an experience that lives up to your brand standards. Without both sides holding up their end of the bargain, you’ll damage trust and miss out on revenue.
In this blog, I share the marketing strategies that leading franchises are using in 2022. I also share how franchise marketers are using conversation intelligence to improve collaboration with their franchise locations — proving the quality of the phone leads they drive, measuring call conversion rates, and quickly detecting customer experience issues.
1. Optimize Your Google Business Profiles for Each Location
When consumers are looking for a local business, they often start their buying journey with a search. In fact, 46% of all Google searches have local intent. Therefore, it’s critical that your business ranks high in the search results — if you don’t, people will have a hard time finding you. They’ll likely choose a competitor who ranks higher.
One of the easiest ways to rank higher for local search is to create Google Business Profiles (formerly known as Google My Business) for each of your business locations. When consumers run a local search, Google Business Profile listings are often among the top results. These listings provide a quick overview of your business on the SERP, including its address, hours of operation, Google rating, and a click-to-call button. Clicking into the individual listings provides additional information like reviews, photos, directions, and a link to your company website.
To ensure your Google Business Profile listings rank well in local searches, you need to include information that is accurate, complete, and helpful. First, make sure your addresses, hours of operation, and phone number are up-to-date. In addition, including appealing photos on your profile can help you tell the story of your business and increase engagement. Finally, you’ll need to have a strong review management strategy in place (more on this next) — your star rating and quantity of reviews are key ranking factors for your Google Business Profile page. You can learn more about how to improve your Google Business Profile ranking on this Google FAQs page.
One of the most common next actions after engaging with a Google My Business Listing is to call. 24% of people who click a Google Business Profile call directly from the listing. To get attribution for these calls and track the resulting conversions, marketers are placing call tracking phone numbers in their Google Business Profile listings. With a call tracking solution, you can see the quantity and quality of calls driven by each listing. With these insights, you can report your full SEO performance and make optimizations to your Google Business Profiles to drive higher-quality phone calls.
Don’t worry: adding DNI (Dynamic Number Insertion) trackable phone numbers to your website and listings doesn’t harm your SEO. It will not interfere with Google’s NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) ranking factors.
2. Manage Your Online Reputation
Your online presence can have a major impact on buying decisions — especially since consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling trust for a business. If your brand image doesn’t meet the mark the first time around, people are unlikely to give you a second chance. And, as mentioned above, reviews are one of the most important ranking factors for Google Business Profiles and other local listing sites.
To ensure your brand’s online presence is credible and trustworthy, you should employ a reputation management strategy. Below are some quick tips you can use to manage your online reputation:
- Audit your current reviews to understand what people are saying about your business
- Implement an online review strategy and respond to every review openly and honestly
- Encourage satisfied customers to leave a review
- Monitor your brand’s social media channels
- Own page one of the search results for branded terms
- Develop a public relations strategy that aligns with your brand values
- Use insights from phone conversations to prevent negative reviews
- Provide outstanding service that gives customers a reason to review you
Check out our blog, 8 Steps to Improve Your Online Reputation Right Now, for a deep dive on this topic.
3. Send Your Audience Local Campaigns Targeted to Their Geographic Region
As companies mine increasing amounts of personal data, consumers expect personalized experiences in return. When you deliver seamless experiences that make customers feel valued and known, you’re more likely to earn their business. In fact, 99% of marketers say personalization helps advance customer relationships, with 78% claiming it has a“strong” or “extremely strong” impact.
For multi-location and franchise marketers, it can be especially impactful to give customers ads personalized to their nearest franchise location. This is because buyer personas can differ across locations. People face different problems in different geographical regions and their cultures and idioms can differ as well. Targeting everyone with the same value proposition and language, therefore, can cause your messaging to come across as inauthentic or tone-deaf.
For instance, a national lawn care franchise should promote drastically different services to customers in Minnesota versus Florida. Mosquito control would be a critical service to promote to Florida residents, whereas Minnesota residents would be more interested in ice melting services. Understanding these differing needs and value propositions is critical to engaging your audience.
To execute local campaigns via email, you should segment your contact list by their “home” location. You can then send out targeted email campaigns for each region — this will allow you to highlight local specials and promotions as well as events that may be happening nearby. To target your audience with local search or display advertisements, you can plug in your segmented email list or simply use your ad platform’s geo-targeting features.
4. Track the Phone Call Conversions Driven by Each of Your Marketing Channels
Phone calls are often the most valuable leads for multi-location and franchise marketers. According to Forrester, 84% of marketers report phone calls have higher conversion rates with larger order value (AOV) compared to other forms of engagement. To get full visibility into phone lead volume, top franchises use call tracking.
Franchises that lack call tracking data face several challenges. First, the hundreds or thousands of franchise locations have no way of knowing if leads are being generated, the quality of those leads, or if the leads are being converted to sales. At the same time, corporate marketing doesn’t know if franchisees are capitalizing on the leads they’re being sent. This creates a lot of finger-pointing and friction, damaging relationships and making it hard to reach your revenue potential.
By using Invoca’s conversation intelligence solution, Miracle-Ear can drive and track high-value franchise leads, resulting in a reduction in contact center costs, increased efficiency, and double-digit improvement in digital marketing performance within the first three months of use. Miracle-Ear realized a 15% increase in call efficiency, 65% reduction in spam calls, and a 16% improvement in media efficiency. Want to learn more? Watch the video below.
5. Use Insights from Phone Conversations to Improve the Buyer Experience at Your Locations
According to our recent Buyer Experience Benchmark Report, 68% of consumers say phone calls are their preferred way to contact a business. Consumers like the reassurance that speaking to a live agent can provide — they also like the ability to ask specific questions about their purchase that may not be available online.
These phone conversations are a valuable source of insights for marketers — your consumers are literally telling you what they want and how to meet their needs. To harness this data, leading franchise marketers are tapping into these conversations with conversation intelligence tools like Invoca.
With conversation intelligence, you can see exactly how many of the phone leads you drive are being converted by your locations. You can also detect issues that may be harming your conversion rates — for example, there’s an issue with your online shopping cart, one of your locations is understaffed, or callers are being routed inefficiently. Rather than sifting through individual call transcriptions, conversation intelligence allows you to set up AI-powered signals to automatically detect trends or search your transcriptions at scale.
When you act on conversation intelligence data, you can quickly correct experience issues at your franchise locations before they affect more customers. This will allow you to increase conversion rates, ensure a consistent brand experience across all locations, and get one step ahead of negative reviews on your Google Business Profile and other listing sites.
You can also use Invoca’s Lost Sales Recovery feature to get a list of all your missed calls, organized by which are most likely to be quality leads. This will allow you to prioritize your follow-ups and recapture opportunities that may have been lost from customer experience issues.