The Digital Edge: How Websites, Social Media and Email Marketing Can Boost Your Bottom Line
To succeed and grow your business, stay abreast of emerging technology and tailor your marketing to consumers at the right time with the right message using the right channel.
By Amanda Brief
It’s no secret that the digital landscape has changed the marketing game for franchisors. Today, potential customers navigate the online kingdom through myriad different channels and devices. As a result, it’s more important than ever for franchisors to rethink their marketing strategy in order to break from the clutter and grab the attention of their best customers.
First, create a brand-consistent website
The key to becoming discoverable starts with a brand-consistent website. As a franchisor, think of your website as your virtual storefront. It should place your franchise in a national context with content and messaging that is consistent across your network. Your website should also include content that appeals to consumers by emphasizing the services, terminology and values that matter most in your franchise community. Ensure your customers can find you by adding keywords and phrases relevant to your business. Remember, write for the customer first, then the search engines.
• Distributed marketing: Your website should be optimized to expose localized and national content to search engines.
• Responsive design: Build your site so that the content adjusts to suit virtually any size screen.
Change the way you do email marketing
The advent of wearable technology and smart devices has caused a major shift in the way that people engage with email marketing. Consumers can now sort through emails with the swipe of a finger while commuting or working out at the gym. According to Pew Research Center, 52 percent of cell phone owners use their mobile devices to send or receive emails. As a result, franchisors need to design responsive email templates that can be opened on any device.
Franchisors must also pay attention to the type of email messages that they are sending to potential customers throughout the day. If you’re looking to promote a flash-sale deal for your franchise network, engagement levels are likely to rise if you send the email outside of traditional work hours when consumers are away from their desks and not easily distracted with work-related matters. On the other hand, if you’re looking to send a survey email, your response rate will likely be higher when consumers are navigating their inboxes from desktop computers as it is harder to complete a survey from a mobile device or tablet.
Prepare to target different audiences with social media
It is important to note that consumers navigate social media sites differently across the board. For example, one consumer may use Facebook to skim industry news while another may use it to connect with peers. Therefore, franchisors must rethink their social media strategy in order to captivate their audiences in the networking sites that matter most to them.
Having trouble figuring out how your target audience uses social media? Quick tip: Take a look at how your competitor is leveraging social channels. If you see that it garners strong engagement after posting a promo code on Twitter, you may want to test Twitter as a revenue-generating tool.
Social media behavior also fluctuates depending on a number of demographic factors. According to the Pew Research Center, Facebook remains the No. 1 social media site; however, photo sharing apps such as Instagram continue to rise for adults ages 18 to 29. If you’re operating a local gym targeting 18 to 34 year olds, you may want to consider using Instagram to promote your franchise network in order to drive new leads.
It’s important to note that gender also plays a key role in social media behavior. According to Business Insider, men are more likely to use Twitter and LinkedIn while women are more likely to use photo-sharing sites such as Pinterest and Instagram. These factors should play a role in your decision to launch promotions and contests through social media.
Of course, you also need to establish your presence and build a foundation of followers so that promotions actually reach people. Share fresh content across your social networking site and use catchy headlines to attract the attention of your consumers. Need some inspiration? Engage your social users by sharing how-to articles and asking trivia questions.
Technology will continue to evolve
The digital landscape changes each day with the influx of new technology and applications. What once was popular today (remember MySpace?) may be obsolete tomorrow. In order to succeed as a franchise and grow your business, you must stay abreast of emerging technology trends and tailor your marketing activities so that they hit consumers at the right time with the right message using the right channel.
Amanda Brief is marketing manager for Yodle. Find her at fransocial.franchise.org.