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Marketing is, if nothing else, a fine balancing act of allocating resources and budget across seemingly endless channels to effectively reach an audience. So, determining a media mix that reaches that audience and result in robust franchise leads is paramount, especially for an emerging franchise brand with even more limited resources.
Here’s the thing – reps from every marketing channel, whether public relations, email campaigns, social advertising, trade shows, or even brokers will tout how awesome their lead generation prowess is. And, they’ll be right. At least until they tout their way or the highway, at which point, the conversation goes astray.
That’s because the best marketing plans consider any and all factors when allocating marketing budget, with the final path depending heavily on the nature of the business.
The point is, there’s comprehensive approach to how every franchisor should allocate their franchise marketing budget, but for emerging brands with little room for error, it’s essential to pick a path a make it count. Spreading a small budget thin for the sake of having a wide presence is a recipe for mediocrity.
Here are few of my favorites, and why they make sense for the emerging franchise brand.
Let’s say you chose Facebook as your social strategy focus. Awesome choice – Facebook’s audience is huge (more than 2 billion by last count). Savvy marketers know that the best way to generate the highest quality leads is through better targeting and Facebook is second to none in targeting capabilities. Whether it be via relationship status, income, interests, behaviors, demographics, location, career, or any other number of parameters, marketers can hone in on a specific target with a very specific message.
To leverage those filters, it’s best to develop targeted personas that drive your marketing strategy. These personas should include a detailed assessment of needs, goals, pain points and behaviors of the potential lead. Keep in mind, that audiences are consistently evolving, and personas should do the same. Yes, narrowing that market requires more upfront work to build candidate profiles, but that legwork can and will make a difference in the quality of leads being generated, leading to more productive conversations and eventual growth. And, because of the narrowed market, Facebook leads are not only among the most qualified we’ve identified, but also some of the least expensive.
Additionally, Facebook’s robust A/B testing helps marketers examine which combinations of ad headlines, body copy, images, call-to-actions and value propositions work best for a target audience. This type of testing is perfect for a tight budget.
It only takes one stat to explain the importance of SEO optimization for emerging franchise brands: More than 71 percent of Google searches generated clicks on the first page of search results, with a steep drop off on pages two and three, at just six percent.
Properly optimizing for SEO means understanding that doing so is shooting at a moving target, and a one-time website design and optimization won’t cut it. But, by understanding the biggest search ranking factors, a franchisor can implement a sound strategy to keep their site up-to-date and consistently optimized. That strategy should start with content, first and foremost.
Put simply, for every new blog, landing page, or keyword-optimized page on a franchise recruiting website, a marketer introduces another opportunity to rank well for specific queries and keywords. However, the days of keyword stuffing are long gone, and a thorough examination of one topic via natural language far outweighs the benefits of keyword-heavy content.
Truth be told, the best approach to franchise marketing is integrated, with multiple services and channels being utilized with each other to drive conversions. But, absent an unlimited pool of resources – or even a team that could support rapid growth – the focus should be on those channels that drive the highest quality, most budget-friendly leads.
Matthew Jonas is the president of TopFire Media, an award-winning integrated public relations and digital marketing agency specializing in franchise marketing and consumer branding. Together with the leaders of iFranchise Group and Franchise Dynamics, Jonas established TopFire Media to provide a strategic and synchronized method for digital marketing in the franchise industry. As a digital marketing strategist with more than a decade of in-depth experience in SEO and PPC, social media publishing, conversion based marketing, inbound marketing, sales management, and online lead generation, Jonas has built a career dedicated to delivering an integrated marketing approach that achieves client success and long-term relationships.