Too often franchisees wait on head office to send new customers through the door, or think they need more budget to get more from their franchise local area marketing. That’s not the case.
As franchisees you need to use your unique position as holders of the customer relationship to help execute the local area marketing. These three tactics do just that.
The great thing about these tactics is they’re free and you can put them into practice TODAY.
1. Ask for online reviews from happy customers
Online reviews matter. A recent Dimensional Research survey found 90% of consumers said online reviews influence buying decisions!
Google any business these days and there’s a star rating right there.
It’s bad in that it’s unfair.
Of the thousands of customers you’ve had, there’s likely to be less than 30 people (sometimes less than 10) that contribute to a star rating for your franchise location. And that’s the rating all prospective online customers see.
It’s good in that it’s easy to influence your rating. 90% of consumers said online reviews influence buying decisions.
You do this by asking. And you ask right after an exceptionally good customer experience or interaction.
It might be after a great gym class when endorphins are running high. Or in a restaurant after you’ve served a great meal (and got the baby chair without asking). It could even be a follow up email from the travel agency after the holiday of a lifetime.
The point is, you know when is the right time to ask. Just do it with some tact. Customers will know if their experience was contrived just to get a favourable review. Make sure it’s genuine and don’t be pushy when asking for online reviews.
Also, be specific in asking where you want the review. It might be Google reviews, or if you’re a food business, Zomato or Yelp etc. If you’re not sure what matters most to your franchise local area marketing, quiz some customers to see what they looked at.
Having favourable online reviews can make a huge difference to the amount of business you generate from online leads. And you can influence your rating within days.
2. Tagging customers on facebook
Tagging customers in your posts is brilliant because it extends the reach of your posts, and puts you in front of non-customers. How?
Firstly, let’s talk about reach. A standard business facebook post will be seen some of the businesses followers. Why only some? Because the average facebook follower has too many ‘friends’ and follows too many brands to see all the posts. And facebook’s algorithm prioritises posts from family and friends over businesses.
By tagging a customer, facebook’s algorithm increases the posts ‘airtime’ by putting your franchise location in front of the tagged customer’s Facebook ‘friends’.
And because their Facebook friends are not likely to be followers of your business, you just got yourself a whole lot of free exposure and brand consideration. It’s a great way to extend your franchise local area marketing online.
You can also tag staff members too to get much of the same benefits.
Examples of when to tag customers
- Customer testimonials/success stories
- Heartfelt shout-outs to customers you love seeing every day
- Playful, tongue-in-cheek awards (e.g. ‘world’s messiest eater’)
- Birthdays/anniversaries/milestones (to show your customers are part of the family)
When it comes to tagging customers on facebook there are a few guidelines to follow.
Firstly, ask for permission. Verbally is fine, no need to bring in the lawyers. And let them know the nature of the post they’ll be tagged in.
Keep your approach bright and breezy, don’t be formal, you’ll weird them out.
You really should have rapport with any customer you’re familiar enough to be using on social media anyway.
On Facebook you can tag customers by:
- The Facebook page owner becoming friends with the customer on facebook first. They can then tag them in any posts. Just tell the customer you’re linking up on Facebook and send them the invite while you are face-to-face.
- You can also ask the customer to tag themselves in the post. Again, try to get them to do it right away.
3. Using humor on outdoor signage
One of the best ways to get ‘cut-through’ with a local audience is to use humor on outdoor signage. It could be topical and based on a recent event, or something only locals would ‘get’.
There are several benefits to being funny. Firstly, it makes you more likeable and more approachable. Secondly, it creates word of mouth and often spurs viral online behaviour.
In terms of the topic you choose to dial in on, it might be an extreme weather event, a controversial new building in town, or a local sports team. Or just something to put a smile on the face of passers-by.
Looking at the example above, you know there’s a queue of people taking photos and sharing on social media. Again, a great way to extend the digital reach of your franchise local area marketing.
Disclaimer: Obviously there’s something to be said here for good judgement when deciding what’s acceptable and what’s not.
If you’re not sure, run it by head office first. Especially if your sense of humour is darker than average. Like these guys:
It’s not all about budget
As these three examples show, franchise local area marketing doesn’t just come down to budget.
Often the things that generate word-of-mouth and convert new customers cost nothing at all. And it’s these things that can make the difference between a generic franchise location and a true local institution.