How do people discover, research, and engage with local businesses today?
A. Search engines like Google
B. Social media sites like Facebook
C. Online review sites like Yelp
D. A business’ website
It’s a trick question. It's all of the above!
So why do the vast majority of franchise businesses insist on taking a one-size-fits-all approach to digital marketing? I talk to hundreds of franchise executives every year, and most sit on one end of the digital marketing spectrum or the other.
On the one extreme, franchisors pour all their attention and resources into their website (or websites), neglecting advertising and lead-generation strategies that deliver highly-qualified traffic...
On the other extreme, franchisors over-invest in a single digital channel (usually PPC, sometimes Facebook) and wonder why they aren’t getting enough sales each month...
When franchises use limited digital marketing channels, they limit their opportunities for new business.
Why? Because consumers’ online activity isn’t linear.
In today’s “always-on” environment, people are influenced by the messages they receive across a number of digital touchpoints.
Let’s look at an example…
Sandra’s customer journey is more complex than you think
Sandra is planning to repaint her house and, in a moment of inspiration, goes online to research potential color combinations.
After a quick Google search, she finds a helpful blog post titled “How to Find the Right Color Scheme for Every Room in Your Home.” The post is authored by an interior painting franchise located right in her community—No-Hassle Painting of Valencia, California.
Over the next few days, Sandra starts seeing ads for No-Hassle Painting on other websites she visits, and even sees a couple of ads for the franchise while checking her Gmail.
The ads—in conjunction with the article she read—spark Sandra’s curiosity, so she decides to learn more about the company. She Googles “No-Hassle Painting, Valencia”, sees the Google My Business (maps) listing with lots of good reviews, and then and clicks on the first website result she finds (a pay-per-click ad).
Sandra is impressed with the business’ website and, when combined with all the other touchpoints and exposure over the last several days, decides to sign up for a free consultation right there.
So what was it that resulted in the lead conversion?
The email ads?
The number of positive reviews?
The “last click” generated by PPC?
While No-Hassle Painting will credit this lead to their PPC campaign, Sandra’s customer journey actually started way before that as she meandered from the blog, to the retargeted ads, to the Gmail ads, to Google My Business, and finally to a PPC ad.
This complicated journey is reflective of today’s consumer experience online, and it’s why omnichannel marketing is so important for franchises looking to increase their sales in the years ahead.