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Three Ways Your Franchise Marketing Is Falling Flat

via Forbes : Franchise marketing is, if nothing else, your ability to tell a truly compelling story. If done right, the program encourages folks to say, “I could see myself running the show in that restaurant, clothing store, etc.” The problem, however, is effectively touting that tale, especially to the right audience.

Too often, emerging franchise brands struggle to answer the common and inevitable upfront questions that have lasting implications on lead generation: Where can I find prospective franchisees? How can I get prospective franchisees attracted to buy my franchise? How much information should we share? What does my ideal candidate even look like?

That struggle often leads to disjointed efforts that yield minimal results and maximum frustration. Here’s how to break free of some of the most common mistakes of the self-made franchise marketer.

Your Personas Are Misaligned

Before any franchise begins marketing to its hopeful buyer, it’s essential to truly, madly and deeply understand who they are. Unfortunately, a rush to market can lead franchise brands to start letting efforts fly without taking the necessary steps to refine their ideal franchise lead. The result is often a mix of messages that lack a true target and do a poor job of pinpointing the audience where the message may resonate.

Not great, obviously. But no worries: Success is attainable by developing a true assessment of the potential franchise buyer. That assessment might include their needs and goals, as well your desired behaviors for a franchisee. If you have an emerging brand, you don’t have the luxury of looking to top performing franchisees already in your system as examples. But that doesn’t mean the best example doesn’t exist in self-examination.

What’s driven you to create this concept? What are your passions and personality type? How have your existing locations found success? Answers to those questions, in conjunction with some quality industry and competitive research, help to identify the perfect candidate over and over. These replicated profiles then become the model for any and all logical and emotionally–driven franchise messaging.

Your Social Ads Aren’t Properly Filtered

There are far too many filtering options on Facebook to callously deliver non-targeted ads, and then sit and wonder why they aren’t attracting the right audience. This is especially true in franchise marketing, where income level, location, education, interests and a host of other traits can make or break lead quality.

The solution: Understand your audience, then take the time to filter out the outside noise. Once you know who you’re targeting, you can get down to the nitty-gritty fun of A/B testing to examine which combinations of ad headlines, body copy, images, calls to action and value propositions work best for the audience.

Take caution when testing, of course. The last thing you want to do is make wholesale ad changes and fail to understand what actually made the difference in conversions. Start slowly, but be very well-defined with only a few disruptive experiments at a time.

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Your Content Isn’t Engaging Enough To Share

We’ve all heard “content is king” often enough to scream, but that doesn’t mean it’s still not as true today as it’s always been. Every new piece of content is one more indexed page for Google to explore and boost organic website traffic. The problem: Quality is often left on the curb at the expense to create those pages rapidly. In a world of immediacy, it’s easy to forget that SEO is a long-term play.

Where does that have the biggest implications? Social sharing.

While there’s debate about “social signals” affecting search rankings, it’s tough to ignore Searchmetrics’ research (download required) and Franchise Times columnist Mark Siebert’s suggestion that “some seven of the top 11 factors that affect your positioning on a search relate to social media signals.” In theory, content that receives a ton of social shares, likes, posts, etc., will “get an additional boost in perceived authority, as search engines assume there’s relevant and quality content. This suggests that searchers have the power to signal Google to give a particular shared article more credibility,” boosting the argument for high-quality and shareable content creation.

Bottom line: Don’t blog for the sake of blogging.

There’s much to be said for the complexities of franchise marketing, but making even small improvements in how you define and target your audience can make all the difference for an emerging franchise brand. Keep things simple and leverage the feedback you’ll inevitability receive via data to make steady strides forward.

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