How to Maximize User Buy-In for Franchise Clients You Service

As a follow up to our IFA Takeaway post, we thought this article from Dan Martin, CEO of IFx was appropriate. Maximizing your Franchisee’s buy-in is something  near and dear to every systems heart and this article gives you a great method of doing that.

 

 

The process flow necessary to achieve the highest franchisee buy-in incorporates franchisee (and/or FAC) INVOLVEMENT. It is critical for the franchisor to include their franchisees (or key franchisees or FAC) IN the process even if the franchisor knows that their franchisees will buy-into the innovation simply because it is the best thing for them.

Involving franchisees in the consideration of new products, services and/or innovations provides valuable input from franchisees. Further, politically it serves to empower franchisees.

The A-Z formula or process flow that relates to franchisee buy-in is based on INVOLVEMENT. The premise being: How often do franchisors turn to their franchisees and ask them what they think? Not often enough.

A. Consider a new product, service or innovation at the franchisor level

B. Build-in a component that benefits your franchise development efforts

C. Incorporate political, practical and legal elements at franchisor level

D. Incorporate political, practical and legal elements at franchisee level

E. Obtain buy-in from the franchisor’s management team

F. Incorporate tracking/analytics

G. Negotiate an individual or cumulative break

H. Provide the break back to the franchisee or;

I. Provide the break as a supplement to the National Ad Fund noted in FDD

J. Develop examples of the products/ service for FAC/ Beta Group

K. Indicate that their input in needed to determine viability

L. Encourage brand-specific input that based on political, practical, legal

M. Ecnourage input that you already know that answers to (trial lawyer)

N. Assemble Feedback

O. Make adjustments to the product/ service for pacification

P. Re-roll out to FAC/ Beta Group

Q. Obtain additional input/ testimonials

R. Channel introduction via existing franchisee(s) (not the franchisor only)

S. Name the product/ service so it’s unique to the brand

T. Refer to the renamed product/ service as an asset in operations

U. Implement the benefits for franchise development use

V. Provide self- analytic capabilities to franchisees to determine metrics

W. Incorporate micro and macro use reports (franchisees/ franchisor)

X. Incorporate micro/macro reports on cumulative break progress

Y. Further incentivise franchisees for breaks

Z. Publicize process, net benefits, analytics and breaks to franchise





About Dan

Dan Martin, CFE began his career in franchising in 1983. After a few years of working with some well known franchise organizations and franchise law firms, Dan decided to move to the next level and start his own Franchise Management & Marketing Firm that would ultimately result in a 300+ franchisor client base servicing 23,000+ franchisees in 23 countries. Dan has always recognized opportunities and capitalized on his knowledge of franchising and his desire to expand his knowledge base, as well as his company’s client base. Dan’s experience as both franchisee and franchisor is an absolutely invaluable combination that allows him the ability to recognize new opportunities, identify mission critical issues and develop powerful and practical strategies and solutions beneficial to virtually any type or size of franchise organization. For any inquiries e-mail Dan directly at dan@ifxonline.com

ElementsLocal Honored to be Part of GIFA

Elementslocal will be headed to the Google Headquarters, as part of the IFA and Google’s first annual Franchise Summit. Google and the International Franchise Association have joined forces to create an event with the newest insights to the franchise industry. It will be held March 29th.

Thanks to many people’s hard work at IFA as well as Lee Plave and Ken Colburn, Chairman of the IFA’s Social Media Task Force and IT Committee’s, this is sure to be a very exciting event.

If you cannot attend this event, let us know your burning questions and we’ll see what we can do about getting them answered by Google.

For more information about the event, click here https://sites.google.com/site/franchisesummit2013/home/section-one

ElementsLocal’s Top 10 Takeaways from IFA 2013.

 


By now everyone is back from IFA’s Annual Convention in Las Vegas and any embarrassment from attempted bull riding at FranJam is in the past… hopefully!

This year’s convention was stronger than ever, with higher attendance from suppliers as well as Franchises. Every speaker, from Dr. Rice and Mika Brzezinski to guest speakers for Facebook and Krispy Kreme were fantastic.

If you have any lessons learned from IFA, we would love to hear them. Here are our top 10 takeaways from the convention:

  1. On Change Management – Gordon Logan, CEO of Sport Clips suggested that we look to Kaizen (改善?), Japanese for “improvement”, or “change for the better” referring to philosophy or practices that focus upon continuous improvement of processes in manufacturing, engineering, and business management. While speaking at the session titled ‘C-Level Franchise Executive Issues’ Gordon repeatedly encouraged everyone to find the opportunity in change, not the challenge… so we don’t look at change as being scary. This couldn’t be more sage advice in a time of such change!
  2. On Understanding - Susan Black-Beth reminded us of Stephen Covey’s saying: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Thank you Susan.
  3. On The Ideal Fan - Jessie Dwyer, from Facebook, warned us of creating a fan base that is potentially toxic. He suggested investing in quality connections, not customers who want free stuff, because on Facebook, and everywhere else throughout the social graph, your connections tell your story online.
  4. On the Future of Search We heard from several marketing experts, including our own Michael Boyer and Steve Bridge, that keywords are dead… long live user intent. Digital marketing has become more about engaging content, and providing ways of allowing your customers to create that content, than simply pushing out messages. As a result, digital marketers have to be aware of how complex SEO has become and how sophisticated Google is in looking past mere keywords and understanding the ‘intent’ of your webpages, so they can continue delivering the most relevant content to their users.
  5. On Your Future Customer – At the Tech Summit Jeff Fromm, from Barkley, Inc, spoke about the keys to connecting with millennials being value, price, share worthiness, or peer acceptance, and the ability for them to participate. This is the future!
  6. On Your Next Ad Dollar – Much was discussed about Location Based Marketing, or using real-time location, or geo-aware, data from a consumers mobile device to deliver targeted messaged based on proximity to a specific location.
  7. On Technology – Paul Segreto, CEO of Franchise Foundry, discussed his concept of Integrated Franchise Marketing & Development and not falling behind on the technology curve. He suggested that an integrated marketing plan will provide you more automation, insight across your enterprise and ease of use by everyone involved. Go Paul!
  8. On Building a Business – Tom Feltenstein reminded us the true nature of business, “Recruiting is your most important decision! You don’t build business; people build business, hire better people!” 
  9. On Customer Satisfaction – John Hewitt, CEO of Liberty Tax, in that same session, reminded us that we never meet customer expectations… we either fail to meet them or we exceed them. I’m also looking forward to reading the book he suggested, titled What’s Your Purple Goldfish?: How to Win Customers and Influence Word of Mouth. I’m looking forward to getting my copy from Amazon soon. 
  10. On Focus - When a panel of experts was asked what a CEO should focus on… a resounding response suggested: vision, leadership and the morale of your customers and employees. You can’t beat that!

These were just a few of the many great takeaways we got from IFA this year. We would love to hear yours.

 

ElementsLocal Delivers aid to Victims of Hurricane Sandy

This weekend the ElementsLocal team on the east coast delivered aid to the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Shannon Burroughs, Systems Architect, noted “That amount of people volunteering down at the Jersey shore and throughout the state / country was a wonderful thing to see (especially for the kids).”

Shannon and his family about to deliver donated goods.

“One lesson re-learned under an unexpected circumstance was that requirements and delivery commitments need to be written down and confirmed by both parties.  Our group delivered over 60,000 pounds of goods.  When we arrived, the mayor and local residents started to help us unload… to be stopped after about 1 hour of unloading.  I just happened to be near Senator Allen when the Mayor and a group of residence started complaining / arguing with the senator that they expected and wanted different goods: products and goods that we didn’t have.   While poor planning and communication left a bad taste for a few,  a couple of us worked with the Senator, Mayor, and local 1st responders to coordinate the delivery of the remaining goods throughout the region to many other locations that needed and wanted what we had to offer.  I still have one trailer attached to my truck for delivery to the Pines Community Center near little egg harbor when they can accept it sometime this week…. completing the distribution goal” Burroughs shared.

If anyone would like to contribute to the relief efforts please visit:

www.RedCross.org, www.RedCrossBlood.org, or call 1-800-RED-CROSS

How Franchising Embraces SoLoMo

How Franchising Embraces SoLoMo

If you’re reading this from a mobile device, kudos! If not, that’s OK too, but recent research shows you will be soon.

SoLoMo, the acronym used for the convergence of social, local, mobile marketing is quickly gaining momentum and importance for many Franchise organizations.

What Is SoLoMo?

At every turn Franchise brands are seeing the convergence of SoLoMo, whether it’s their customers consulting their smartphone and social media to help influence their buying decision, or simply watching their mobile traffic increase at dramatic rates.

And it’s not going to slow down because customers now demand a location aware, real-time experience, while consulting their social networks, on the go!

Is This Just Another Fad?

SoLoMo began with a notable movement to ‘get local’ several years back. Most Franchise systems have recognized that movement and have done a great job of localizing their online presence for each of their Franchisees. This was a huge shift for Franchises, having historically focused on projecting their large national presence. However, Google has made it inescapable and imperative for the world to get Local.

From there, social media became an important factor of online marketing for businesses. It experienced a slower start because similar to how some doubted the value of business websites in the 90’s, many businesses sat on the sidelines with social media. But eventually it has become obvious that social media was an imperative as well.

So when mobile came along, businesses listened much more closely to the predictions from experts about how it would change the digital landscape.

Today, SoLoMo is spreading like wildfire because the fuel of social and local are being ignited by the explosion of mobile traffic, which is on the rise at a pace two to three times of the local and social movements.

The bottom line is that your Franchise system needs to 1) be local 2) engaged in social media and 3) thinking about how to mobilize everything.

Customers are thinking, acting and doing things while on the go, with access to their social networks as well as location apps that take advantage of proximity.

Where Does a Franchise Start?

A Franchise system should start thinking of SoLoMo by breaking it down into its respective components. By looking at each component individually, you can amplify
the opportunities you may introduce from that one component. And once all three components are addressed you will then have the proper infrastructure and culture to take full advantage of SoLoMo. Some things to think about regarding each:

  •      Local… is your web presence optimized for local search and are you showing up locally  If the answer to this is no, then you should consider starting here.
  •     Social… are you actively engaged in social media? Is your organization embracing social media and are you fostering a culture of transparency and engagement? If not, there are tremendous tools available now to embrace and engage with social media. Tools that provide centralized control as well as automation and brand management so you can properly introduce social media across your Franchise system.
  •     Mobile… did you know some Franchises have seen their mobile traffic go from 0% to 30% and 40% of their total traffic this year? How much of your web traffic is coming from mobile devices?

 

Where these three components converge, is where SoLoMo lives. Once you have a handle on all three individually, you’ll start thinking about the consumer experience and how dynamic the opportunities are where social, mobile and local converge. You’ll begin asking about the customer experience and whether it’s meaningful, is there a reason for someone to return, is there a way to engage them and get them to share their experience with their friends?

You’ll begin to see the growing sophistication of location-based communications all working together to give customers a real time, socially engaged, mobile experience.

Ultimately, the question to think about is whether there’s a gap that exists between your customers expectations and their experiences when it comes to your social, local and mobile presence?

The Importance of Customer Reviews In Your Local Online Marketing

The benefits of customer feedback are overwhelmingly positive to any business. Using feedback and reviews from your customers you can improve your operations, correct shortcomings, and simply provide you the insight to deliver an outstanding product or service as well as customer service.

But how valuable are those customer reviews and recommendations in your local online marketing?

Lets start with how valuable customer reviews are in your local marketing campaigns. One of the biggest benefits to online reviews is attaining higher rank in local search engine results. By getting customer reviews in your Google+ Local Pages as well as other local directories, your Google+ Local Pages will receive higher rankings in Google’s local search results. The more positive reviews you have, the better you will rank against your local competition.

 
Getting customer reviews in other directories, such as Yelp and Bing, is equally valuable. Not only will you increase your search results with those directories, there is also a benefit from directories sharing reviews with one another, for instance, Yelp is feeding its online reviews of restaurants and merchants to the Bing search engine.

The most well known example of this was Yelp reviews showing up on Google. And while Yelp reviews are no longer displayed on Google+ Local Page’s they still have value.  Existing reviews in external websites like Yelp help build your company’s brand recognition as well as acting as a ‘citation’.

Citations are defined as “mentions” of your business name and contact information on other web pages, even if there is no link to your website. An example of a citation might be an online yellow pages directory where your business is listed, but not linked to.

Citations essentially get you recognized- and more often than not, Google will rank a brand name business that it recognizes over a company it has never heard of before- because they assume that if they have been exposed to the brand previously, there is a better chance that the business is stable and real.  The same goes for the business’ physical location in the Google+ Local Page. Google uses external citations of the business (such as those found on Yelp) to confirm that the business has accurate contact information, because Google wants to deliver the results that they think are most accurate.

Another great benefit of customer reviews is that you can place them on your website. Creating a page for reviews and testimonials on your website can have several significant benefits.  In the first place, having testimonials on your website will help convince other potential clients to use your service by demonstrating the value you are delivering to your previous customers.  Secondly, new testimonials on your website add localized copy for the search engines to index and link to.  Finally, you can micro-format your customer reviews and testimonials.  Micro-formatting will help Google understand what these testimonials are and act as ‘off-site citations’ for your Google+ Local Page.  If you can aggregate these reviews into specific services or products, Google can display that micro-formatted data directly in their search results.  Websites with micro-formatted displays in Google’s main search have been shown to have increased click-through rates.

So, how can you automate it so you have a steady stream of customer reviews going to your local marketing campaigns, on websites, social media, mobile and directories?

That will be the topic for our upcoming joint webinar with Listen360. Join the experts from both Listen360 and ElementsLocal on August 29th to learn more about how to leverage your customer reviews in your local online marketing. Click here to sign up >>

The New Face of Google Reviews

Are you one of the many businesses that have seen your reviews disappear from your Google+ Local page?  We know this is causing great concern among business owners, as customer reviews are key to bringing in new business and a great way to set yourself apart from your competitors.

What is Google up to?

Google is trying to purify their reviews to stop spammers from posting fake reviews (think of Google acting like Yelp).  In this purification process, legitimate reviews from real clients are being removed.  We are not sure what criteria are being used to keep or pull reviews.  ElementsLocal has conducted research from our client base.  Those reviews that are posted from IP addresses closer to the business address seem to be “sticking.”  This is not true in all cases.  It would seem that Google might be seeing reviews as truly “local.”  Some of the blogs we’ve read suggest reviews seem to be sticking if the reviewer has a public presence on their Google+ account and are using tags (keywords) within the review themselves.

Google Employee Stephan S has posted Places Forum post to report, “missing” reviews confirming that Google has started to remove reviews:

“As mentioned in this forum previously, we’re currently experiencing an issue that is preventing us from showing some reviews on Place pages. We’re working to correct this issue as soon as possible, and apologize for the inconvenience and frustration this has caused some of you.
However, please remember that there are various reasons why reviews may not appear. We’re continuing to do our best to ensure that the reviews in our system are legitimate and high-quality. To protect both business owners and customers, we have systems in place that may remove individual reviews, and with the revised review policies we released a few months ago we have taken a stronger stance against spam and other forms of abuse. So while some of you are seeing fewer reviews because of the aforementioned error, many of you are experiencing removed reviews because they have been removed by our systems.  We acknowledge that sometimes our algorithms may flag and remove legitimate reviews in our effort to combat abuse, but believe that overall, these measures are helping to ensure that the reviews appearing on Place pages are authentic, relevant and useful.”

What does this mean for the future?

Business owners need to be prepared for some of their reviews to disappear.  It also means that a plan needs to be implemented to gain high quality reviews from local clients.

New research suggests that 72% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations from friends*.  Here are some other interesting finds:
+ 16% of consumers said they used the Internet every week to find local businesses (vs. 9% in 2010)
+27% of consumers regularly use online reviews to determine which local business to use (vs. 22% in 2010)
+5% of consumers read between 2-10 reviews (vs.58% in 2010)
+52% of consumers are more likely to use a local business if they have positive reviews

*Source: Local Consumer Review Survey 2012.

Consumers are placing a greater emphasis on online reviews and are placing more confidence in them.

If you do not have a strategy for online reviews, make sure to sign up to our next webinar on August 15th on Integrating Your Online Reviews With Your Local Online Presence.

10 Questions to Qualify ANY Franchise Opportunity

Here at ElementsLOCAL we have used this list as our mantra when working with franchise systems. We do this to keep everyone’s interests in mind; from the franchisor down to the franchisee. What is your favorite business mantra? Comment below, we’d love to hear it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Google Converts Google Places into Google+ Local

Franchise online marketers are now overseeing an empire, not a kingdom. How true this is in today’s interconnected world! Your empire is everywhere your customers are… and believe me they’re everywhere!

On May 30th Google converted 80 million Google Places pages into Google+ Local pages!  The old static Google Places page will now be a more dynamic social environment where business owners can engage with customers and friends can recommend local businesses based on their own personal experiences.

How will franchise marketers handle this, how do you manage the new Google+ Local pages, how will Google+ users be affected. Our team has been working on a special Webinar presentation to answer these questions and more. Click here to sign up now
Here’s a brief overview of what’s new and what’s changing:

  •     The substitution of the new Google+ Local pages for Google Places pages
  •     The appearance of a “Local” tab within Google+
  •     The integration and free availability of Zagat reviews
  •     The integration of Google+ Local pages across Google properties (search, Maps, mobile)
  •     Integration of a circles filter to find reviews/recommendations  from friends/family/colleagues

 

What’s Critical to Know:

You will still be able to manage your Google+ Local page through the Google Places dashboard for the foreseeable future
You will still be able to respond to reviews through the Google Places dashboard
Existing Google+ business pages will eventually get linked to matching new Google+ Local pages
In your Places dashboard, clicking on “view” or “see your listings…” is still directing users to the old Google Places pages.  Google is working on this

Here is What Google Says About Managing Your Google+ Local Page

“Continue to manage through Google Places for Business

If you are a business owner, you should continue to manage your information in Google Places for Business. You’ll still be able to verify your basic listing data, make updates, and respond to reviews. For those who use AdWords Express, your ads will operate as normal as they’ll automatically redirect people to the destination you selected, or your current listing.” See http://googleandyourbusiness.blogspot.com/

How Will Existing Google+ Users be Affected

For Google+ users, Google has added a new tab to the sidebar of the Google+ page named ‘Local’.  Clicking that local tab will allow the logged in Google+ user to find local businesses that interest them based on their friends reviews or check-ins (coming soon) to these businesses.  This logged in search will include the previously mentioned social filters and new Zagat ratings to produce a rich, personally customized search experience.

To see an introductory video on the new Google+ Local pages click here