- By Colleen McNamara
In preparation for IFA 2017, we hopped on Twitter last week for an hour, talking about local search challenges and solutions unique to franchises, franchisors and franchisees. Our expert panelist Andrew Shotland had plenty of interesting things to stay about the state of local for multi-location (and multi-owner) brands, alongside our CEO Mohannad El-Barachi and VP of Partnerships and Platforms Brad Wing. If you missed it, check out our roundup here.
Q1: What’s the biggest challenge franchisors face in planning & executing their marketing initiatives?
Andrew Shotland: Herding kittens. So many comm/alignment issues btwn corp & franchisees.
Brad Wing: Streamlining activities & strategy & staying on corp message. Finding the global brand and local need balance.
Mohannad El-Barachi: Logistically managing NAP info for hundreds of individual locations in a unified way.
Q2: What’s the biggest challenge franchisees face in dealing with corporate when creating a local marketing strategy?
Andrew Shotland: Regular consistent communication = best tool. With franchise clients we hold regular webinars to answer qs, share best practices.
Brad Wing: They know what their local consumers want think headquarters can be disconnected from the everyday.
Mohannad El-Barachi: Infusing local flair into overarching corporate marketing objectives – staying true to brand but also true to your location.
Q3: Do you recommend specific tools to help coalesce the operations between franchisers and franchisees?
Andrew Shotland: Dont rely on corp for everythng. Often see locations complain corp not driving leads but not doing much to improve their lead flow.
Brad Wing: Tools to automate franchisors marketing initiatives: Hubspot for email & SweetIQ for reviews & listings & analytics.
Mohannad El-Barachi: Obviously SweetIQ for listings, reviews, attribution! Key to look for tools that enable API integration.
Q4: What’s the single-most important aspect franchise marketers should focus on in 2017? Why? #SweetIQChat
Andrew Shotland: While digital is not the only thing; we often see big gap btween franchisee expectations & corp expertise in digital.
Brad Wing: Think mobile-first. Buyers search nearby; and use maps & car nav to find local immediately. @ThinkWithGoogle calls this “micro-moments.”
Mohannad El-Barachi: Personalization. Incorporate key messages from corp. brand + combine with localized knowledge you have about your clients.
Q5: How should franchises approach managing online reviews?
Andrew Shotland: Monitor. Don’t freak out over bad ones. Respond to the sane complainers. Ask happy customers for reviews.
Brad Wing: Monitor EVERY review that comes in from ALL locations! Show you care about consumers, you must engage & respond!
Mohannad El-Barachi: Knowledge is key: track reviews at the store level but also zoom out to understand your brand sentiment overall.
You might also like…5 Star Treatment: Easy Ways to get More Online Reviews
Q6: A friend is interested in becoming a franchisee for a huge brand. What advice do you give them?
Andrew Shotland: Do ton of due diligence first. Talk to several franchisees. Get clear understanding of digital marketing commitment/expertise.
Brad Wing: Know your #local demographic. Understand your shoppers & their desires. Uncover ways to bring nearby people to your store.
Mohannad El-Barachi: Optimize technology + franchise clout to amplify your marketing initiatives and get involved in your community
Q7: What characteristics should franchisors look for when choosing a local marketing management tool?
Andrew Shotland: Does it do what I need? Is it easy to use/cost-effective? Who is going to run it? Do they know what they are doing?
Brad Wing: Ease of use, automation, ability to manage multiple locations in one dashboard, actionable data and analytics.
Mohannad El-Barachi: API integration, Ability to delegate management to individual owners + actionable insights from local data.
Q8: Name a type of marketing initiative that franchises can plan on a large scale, but promote with their franchisees? #SweetIQChat
Andrew Shotland: Certainly listings management. Review generation. Site optimization. Those are some of the big ones.
Brad Wing: Build something unique to stand apart from your competitor, something you can own & go omnichannel (e.g. @A&W #hormonefree campaign.)
Mohannad El-Barachi: Digital initiatives put in place to gather personalized information on your clients e.g loyalty program promotions.
Q9: How do you add a “local” element to your franchise marketing strategies while staying true to the brand?
Andrew Shotland: You can customize events – even national ones – at local level & are great for SEO – links, citations, content, social, etc.
Brad Wing: Launch franchise-wide campaign: personalize per-location & make tweaks on offers different to appeal to local crowd.
Mohannad El-Barachi: Use your “local” voice on social, and include localized offers and promotions on your local listings.
Follow @MySweetIQ on Twitter and join in on our next Twitter chat.