Serve Up a Dynamic Mix of Corporate and Local Marketing for Your QSR

Employing the tried-and-true processes of SEO and social marketing can drive high-quality franchise leads and help franchisees reap the benefits of a full restaurant.

 
By Matthew Jonas
 

For franchise industry titans with great brand recognition like McDonald’s, Burger King and Taco Bell, marketing comes easily. Potential franchisees are inundated with brand messages each time they switch on the television, and can find themselves looking through pages of franchise information before they even realize what they’re doing. 

 
For the rest of the 160,000-plus quick service restaurants across the United States, attracting franchise leads and driving customer foot traffic requires much more than a 30-second television ad. 
 
But, with 50 million people served daily across all QSRs, and 44 percent of consumers headed to their favorite spot at least once a week, smaller franchisors looking for quality franchise leads and consumer recognition have a much bigger pool to work with than they realize. The trick is serving up the right mix of corporate and local marketing to get the brand recognition for which they hunger. 
 

SEO, served up hot

SEO is all about improving your position on Google by delivering the most relevant results for people exploring QSR ownership opportunities. The higher your Google ranking, the more validation and authority you achieve for your brand, which can have a profound impact on franchise lead generation and greatly increase your chance of being regarded as a viable franchise opportunity. 
 
Research shows that, on average, 71 percent of Google searchers clicked on the links featured on page 1 of their search results, while pages 2 and 3 only generate a single-digit percent of the clicks. 
 
Consistently posting new blogs, updating core pages, adding videos, and offering robust industry information — all optimized to answer searchers’ questions and customized to a specific radius — can help your franchise get to and stay at the top of Google searches. 
 
When we consider local marketing through SEO, it’s worth noting that “near me” searches doubled in 2015. By optimizing for “near me” and “nearby” search terms, you increase your chances of capturing local searchers, whether for franchise lead generation or consumer marketing. 
 
These additional simple optimization tips can go a long way toward increasing your overall traffic:
  • Feature the essentials: Your business name, address and phone number must be frequently displayed on your site, more than just on the “contact us” page.
  • Use Google to your advantage: Ensure your business is indexed on Google My Business — an easy way to drive local online visibility.
  • Ask for reviews: Provide top-notch service, then encourage consumers to discuss their experience via Google reviews to impact local map rankings.
  • Be known for something: Perfect a dish and feature it loudly. If curly fries are your specialty, be sure that when a searcher types “curly fries
  • near me,” your QSR is in the top spot. 
 

Social eating 

Facebook adds a half-million new users each day; 6,000 Tweets are sent every second; and 450 million professionals maintain LinkedIn accounts. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that social media marketing is not optional for any business. 
 
Not only is a social presence necessary to help a business articulate its core values, share news about the company’s success, and boast testimonials from customers and other franchise owners, it’s also critical in showcasing your brand persona. Don’t forget that a strong social media presence has the potential to drive sales and is a great place to target franchise recruits.
 
Outside of the two juggernauts of Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn stands as another valuable resource that is too often ignored. On that professional platform, value lies in engaging in discussions with like-minded business professionals and companies through targeted custom audience campaigns. 
 
By identifying keywords, building relevant connections, and creating content that is interesting to your target audience, franchise lead generation can be vastly improved with a thoughtful LinkedIn strategy. 
 
These social networking sites also offer powerful advertising options that allow you to target a desired audience through a plethora of demographics, interests, behaviors and more. The options are so seemingly endless, they can even include targeting specific life events to catch the audience at the perfect purchase point.
 
Additionally, even for the smallest QSR, a local social media advertising campaign is a great marketing strategy. Budgets are customizable, helping franchise owners spend wisely, and targeting a specific audience with keywords offers a direct link to drive an action for the social user. For franchisees, local growth through Facebook ads works well when targeting ZIP codes you hope to reach.  

 

Essential ingredients

The QSR industry accounts for more than 50 percent of sales in the entire restaurant sector, meaning the opportunity to succeed in both franchise lead generation and consumer traffic is vast, as is the competition. 
For franchisors, prioritizing SEO and social media advertising is essential in creating a viable lead-generation vehicle. For franchisees looking to grow locally, the combination of driving sales by optimizing “near me” searches and managing a branded social presence, while strategically allocating ad dollars, can make their lead cup overflow. 
 
Stick to the tried-and-true processes of SEO and social marketing, occasionally experiment intelligently, and watch as those high-quality franchise leads roll in while your franchisees reap the benefits of a
full restaurant. 
 
 
Matthew Jonas is the President of TopFire Media. 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.