The world is an ever-changing place, and communication continues to morph. nowhere is this truer than in the franchise sales department.  The franchise sales process has changed from a franchisor-directed, controlled process where the prospect primarily gets the information the franchisor wants when the franchisor wants to a buyer-directed internet research process where the franchisor must fight to even stay in the loop, let alone be at the helm. This changing landscape affects the entire sales process, and future articles will address the changes to the sales process. Today, however, we will look at the changes the franchisor must make to how marketing and lead procurement is done. Not everything in the lead procurement process will change. In order to get on the prospect’s radar, franchisors must have a strong presence where people are looking when they are considering a franchise opportunity.  Online add portals and franchise shows are still a must. The question is, what happens once they notice you? How does a franchisor control the conversation in the Information Age? The answer, in part, is content marketing. Content marketing allows a franchisor to control the conversation by serving up the content that the prospect finds during their due diligence process. By using a multi-channeled approach, including an online blog, press releases, social media, email campaigns, and portal and other advertisements, the franchisor can present a favorable and coherent story of your brand.

Social MediaFacebook Logo

If your brand has a social media presence already, then your franchise development can springboard off of that. After all, your customer base is already interested in your product, you should offer them your franchise product as well. In order to use social media to properly tell your franchise story, you need to generate content that your Facebook fans read and share. If you can get your fans to consistently share your content, your fan base will grow exponentially.   For more details on how to engage a social media audience, check out how to get 1000 Facebook likes (temporarly moved to free franchising tips!) and Capitalizing on your Facebook Following.

Blog

A blog allows you to tell whatever story you want; it doesn’t have to be responsive to any external stimuli. That is why blogs are powerful tools in the hands of the right marketer. However, a blog that doesn’t provide relevant and fresh content is a waste of time. Your brand messaging must be woven subtly into the blog, rather than using your blog as an advertising platform. Think about the blog post you are reading right now; what is the impetus behind its creation? What is the brand messaging? Again, a blog must provide relevant and interesting content first, with the brand needs and messaging second.

Pay Per Click

The search behemoth, Google, constantly changes the rules. I don’t blame them; there is a saying in the tech world “innovate or die”, and Google certainly isn’t going to die! As they change the way they rank pages, however, more and more companies struggle to rank organically. PPC allows you to pay for a taste of that front-page ranking while you are still trying to figure out how to get there the “legitimate” way. It also allows you to test if you are trying to rank for the correct words or phrases, and allows you to measure your website’s ability to retain and convert traffic. By using PPC, you control, at least in part, what message the consumer sees first when they research your company.

Press Releases

A consistent PR campaign gives your company credibility and allows you seed search results with your story, again shaping the prospect’s interaction. By consistently generating interesting and engaging press releases, the franchisor appears to be news-worthy, engaging, and in motion; all attractive qualities to a prospective buyer. Use a PR redistributor that has consistent reach and engagement, which can get your releases picked up by multiple news sites.

Re-deployment

In today’s digital world, we all know that negative content can live forever. So, too, can positive content. Using re-deployment tactics, you can continue to get mileage out of your great content over and over. If you write an amazing blog post, you can tweet about it, link to it from Facebook, issue a press release, and even submit it to online magazines. The same great post can be used over and over, though different platforms, and reach and engage new audiences every time.   Content marketing must be a major focus of every that who is trying to generate new leads. Every advertisement, press release, or portal listing should be done through the lens of content marketing; how does this spend help us mold and control the story our prospects hear?

Hopefully this article brings some light to content marketing, and how it can be used in franchising. If you want to learn more about this, or about how to franchise a business, please don’t hesitate to drop us an email or give us a call!