It encompasses every aspect of your Brand.
In franchising, the web is paramount to building a business. Arguably, the web is both tactical and holistic. Though CPLs are an important aspect of building and scaling your franchise development strategy, it is no longer sufficient to view this channel as a "lead source" based on CPL. More appropriately, the web is a foundational aspect of your Brand, engaging and informing prospects along their journey.
Lets view examples of those in Franchising doing it right »
Doing it Right
A very short and anecdotal opinion on cost per lead.
Many in the franchise development world were schooled by sages of franchising with the methodology that generating leads for the dev sales team is ALL about volume. Inspire (or Kill) those development guys and gals with LEAD VOLUME and they'll close deals through their sales skills, organic lift from store referrals and your leads.
Then, sales teams will demand more leads and the franchise world will perpetually grow. The birth of the $50 franchise development lead was born! And along the way, though the sales team may have a lot of weeds to sort through, it works - just look at the data!
Our thinking differs. This guide is focused on taking two key steps to improve your Brand in 2015; educating your executive team and building a web experience that is rooted and flexible.
We must reset our assumption that the Internet is not a channel, but the channel.
Franchise Update continues to report on the web. Get a snapshot here.
Figure out how the Internet works before listening to enterprise sales and slick buzz words.
Build executive understanding of the web.
With a most simplistic mindset, the web is made up of publishers (they place stuff online), Brands (they sell stuff) and users (they consume the publishers and brands' stuff). What's challenged this mindset is the birth of easy publishing tools (WordPress), writers that need jobs (the Great Recession), and a diminishing barrier to entry to own and validate Brands; all while every demo, geo and person who has buying capital is connected, at all times.
I haven't seen a study, but I suggest that 9.8 in 10 of all new franchisees have a smartphone within reach that is connected to the web.
Action Item 1: Collaboration
All departments should build under the same Brand strategy.
It's all about owning traffic. Your teams must be on the same train track, though each discipline may have its own train car (PR, Consumer Marketing, Local Marketing, Development). This can be done by investing in tools that allow for cross channel collaboration. Many good ones exist that are built to improve collaboration. At Thought House, we use Asana to collaborate internally and encourage our clients to adopt as well.
Action Item 2: Competition
Share of voice from online traffic is publisher and brand agnostic.
Anyone who has a website and garners traffic-share online is a competitor (for more insight on this topic read about the challenges the New Republic faces after Chris Hughes decided to "better monetize subscribers"). Therefore, why are you allowing other Publishers (like Portals) to use your Brand to generate traffic? A recent search study for a client, measuring impression share online against competitors showed that top competitors bidding on "branded and industry keywords" were not franchisors and rather were Portals.
Here is the screenshot. Clearly, the competition is between Brands and portals. What is limited, in fact, is competition among Franchise Brands.
Action Item 3: Operation
Tips to operate like an editorial team.
Operate a portion of your marketing and communications strategy (at least 20%) like a publishing company.
Determine how to make these things happen in your organization.
...And Everything is Local.
Franchising brands are built for many different reasons and have varying degrees of success, but they are all local. As prospects meet and engage with you online, their journey to open a new business and impact their local community begins. Getting beyond "leads and lead volume" will improve your ability to convert, find better candidates, and grow your business.
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