The concept of franchising has been experiencing dramatic growth in recent years.

A well-established brand, followed by a successful business model and all the support franchisers provide gives the new franchises a solid ground to grow.

But, as the competition is fierce in every industry, even a franchise business built on the strong foundations of a world-famous brand can face a downfall if it doesn’t stand out from the crowd, especially at a local level.

One of the best ways to achieve recognition and success locally is by using digital marketing. The research shows digital marketing channels such as referrals, social media, PPC, and SEO are highly efficient when it comes to generating new prospects, leaving behind all the other digital marketing strategies.

This is what you should focus on in order to grow your franchise business.

Local SEO

The franchiser reputation won’t mean a lot if your name isn’t showing up in local searches, so your main goal is to rank well in the local search for your niche, and preferably get your way into Google Local Pack.

Stats show that 46% of all Google queries are searching for local information, while 86% try to find a business location using Google Maps.

To make sure you do well in local searches, there are several leads for you to follow:

  • Ensure that your name, address, and telephone number (NAP) are correct and consistent in all online local directories which matter to your industry;
  • Claim your Google My Business listing and include all the relevant info you can, such as payment options, street-view, and business hours;
  • Get reviews on your search and social media profiles;
  • Optimize your content to include a geo-targeted service page, maps with your location, and other content relevant to prospects;
  • Be consistent in building reputable local links.

One more tip – as digital personal assistants are becoming increasingly popular, try to optimize your content to voice search queries too.

Use social media channels

There are almost 3.5 billion social media users worldwide, and more than half of them rely on social media when researching a product or a service. Being present on social media is thus a requirement and not an option.

The fastest growing franchises are thriving because they leverage the power of social media to attract new prospects, gain better brand visibility, and form quality relationships with their prospects.

If you are running a local franchise business, make sure not to depend on social media channels of your franchiser, because the content they provide is never going to be as relevant to your customers as the local content you create.

Try to build a corporate location page on Facebook, for example, and use this space as much as you can for sharing content your prospects may find relevant and useful.

To make the best of this virtual community you are trying to expand, make sure to take the following tips into account:

  • Get to know your target audience and tailor the content you are sharing to their needs
  • Don’t be too salesy or pushy with your content
  • Engage your prospects with social media contests or quizzes
  • Share videos, images, and infographics
  • Show your human side by posting behind the scenes photos of yourself and your staff.

Always keep in mind that the values and message you share must be consistent with the brand you are representing, so ask the franchiser to provide you with branding materials and guidelines for each step of the communication.

Power of referrals

Many franchise businesses use referrals to get new prospects, as they are at the top of your marketing funnel and beat other lead generation channels.

By responding to both the negative and positive comments and reviews promptly, you will show your customers that you care and establish your position as a credible and trustworthy business.

This is extremely important, as research claims that more than 70% of users who have positive social media experience with the brand are likely to buy from it and recommend the brand to their friends and families.

Try to motivate your satisfied customers to leave reviews, either on social media or on review websites, so that you gain better recognition at a local level.

Use the social mention tools to search for the people who are discussing your brand. This way, you will be aware of any crisis the minute it occurs and even anticipate it, and be able to respond timely by solving the problem which will increase your customer satisfaction.

Use paid search

Pay-per-click advertising is an important part of your digital marketing strategy, as statistics show that  65% of high-intent searches result in clicking on the paid advertisement. By using PPC, you will appear in Google searches and boost both the visibility of your local franchise and the visibility of the franchiser.

When advertising a local franchise, be sure to use targeted local keywords, in order to attract local customers. Also, consider paying for advertisements on social media channels too, as their organic reach is very limited.

With the use of the right digital marketing strategies, your name and reputation will ring in any potential customer’s ears. Be sure to maintain the brand consistency across all digital media channels, and deliver superb, useful, and relevant content.