Franchises face many unique issues. Even though you have backing from a larger corporation, there are numerous variables you have to be aware of that ensure your business succeeds. Failed franchises happen for plenty of reasons, with some blaming their poor location or their competitors being in their immediate vicinity. More often than not, however, these franchises fail because of marketing issues.
Digital Marketing Issues Within Franchises
When you’re essentially a small business working under the guise of a larger company, it’s easy to forget about simple marketing practices. You may try to lean on the promotional efforts of your umbrella company, but there are a few issues with that way of thinking.
No Local Focus
The truth is, most franchises are more interested in boosting overall sales, rather than the performance of individual locations. Corporate won’t really take certain local interests into consideration, like cultural differences, patrons that speak a different language, and the demographic of certain location services.
Additionally, local SEO is virtually non-existent at the corporate level, which makes maintaining visibility a challenge. For example, say you own a fast-food franchise in the Boston area, and someone types in “burgers Boston area” to Google. If you don’t have local SEO on your side, your franchise locations won’t show up in the search results.
Risk of Infighting
From an outside perspective, seeing 10 of the same store in a town just looks like that large company has 10 locations. While this is technically true, it’s very likely these different locations have different franchise owners.
Every location that a franchise owner doesn’t manage is considered competition, which leads to infighting in the company. This might make different franchises reluctant to market too heavily. Any disparity in marketing efforts could drive more traffic to a specific location, thus risking unwanted infighting.
Franchisees may not have access to the marketing and sales data housed at the corporate level. This can make it hard for them to understand how to interpret marketing success or figure out what they need to change to make profitable and lasting connections.
5 Reasons Why Franchises Need SEO
Despite these common issues that come with franchises, you can’t let them deter you from marketing your location entirely. Doing so may cause even more problems for your business. When done correctly, SEO for franchises can improve their brand recognition in the area and increase their sales.
Here are five reasons why franchises need SEO:
1. Engage Local Areas
Customers resonate with marketing messages that are tailored to their interests. Think about it, if a franchisee’s umbrella company reaches across all of the United States and Canada, you’ll need to have very different messaging approaches.
What works with the cafe dwelling demographic of Brooklyn will not work with the people way up north in Yellowknife. Using these targeted messages combined with local SEO search terms will ensure you reach the people you want to.
2. Get the Edge On Competitors
The reality is that either your competitors are using local SEO or are soon to start. If you’re not using SEO now, you’ll quickly fall behind in the race for customers. Putting in the effort now will help you attract leads and work your way to the top of the search result pages. Then you won’t have to worry about other franchises, companies, or local businesses taking away your customers.
3. Provide Relevant Messaging
What may be relevant for one location won’t necessarily be relevant for another. For example, a certain promotion may be going on for franchises in Wyoming but not for your stores in Nebraska.
Using local SEO in your content will help you to handle any possible discrepancies, like the one previously mentioned, that could otherwise be interpreted as false advertising. Conversely, local SEO also allows you to promote events for your specific franchise.
4. Keep Your Marketing Momentum
Gathering momentum with a small business can be an incredibly long process. But opening a franchise is different. You’ll be riding on the coattails of all of the marketing efforts and brand momentum the corporation started all those years ago. SEO will help amplify that momentum by introducing organic search into the mix, which brings your business’s website to the top of search results. You can use paid advertising, or PPC, to achieve similar results, but 70-80 percent of searches only pay attention to organic search results anyway.
5. Establish a Long-Term Strategy
SEO is a long-term strategy—it requires patience, consistency, and effort. Depending on your competition and the quality of content you produce, it will take a few months before you see the results from SEO.
But that’s far from a bad thing. With as much time as it takes to see those results, it takes a similarly long time for those results to go away. It’s hard to get knocked down on the results list after you’ve already been ranking in the top 3 for so long. This provides some stability in your marketing plan: when big campaigns can have varying results, you can have confidence that your SEO is doing its job.
Amplify Your Franchise With SEO Marketing
SEO marketing should never be an afterthought. You need to take marketing initiatives today if you want your franchise to be as successful as possible. Using SEO marketing is the most effective way to tell local audiences that you’re open for business and are ready to offer a quality product or service.
Big Leap knows how to help franchises. In the past, we’ve helped franchises like Alphagraphics unify their brand voice across their local businesses and boost their organic traffic by 105%. And with over 10 years in the SEO business, we know all the tricks to target your local area, no matter where you are.
Contact Big Leap today to find out what an SEO marketing plan will look like for you.