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.

 

How to Maintain a Positive Online Reputation

Now that 2013 is in full swing,  more than ever we are representing ourselves 24 hours a day, 7 days a week whether we realize it or not. Between Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs etc., our names are out there for the World Wide Web to see. To each entrepreneur’s benefit, this means MARKETING. How do you maintain a positive online reputation? One of the easiest ways is to steer clear from the mistakes that businesses make to RUIN that reputation. Below is a list of what TO DO and what NOT TO DO:

    • Do you have a personal Facebook account as well as business account? Either be sure your personal page is strictly private or be your own monitor. You are selling yourself as well as the product/ service that your business provides. Anything you put out in the internet universe can never be removed. Deletion is an option, but once out there, it’s out there.  Respect  yourself and always keep that business hat on. Make sure that friendly banter between you and your cousin doesn’t cross the line and leads any potential customers astray. Same rule goes with all other social media outlets, if you would not represent your business in that light then don’t represent yourself in that light. You are your business, take pride in your posts.

 

    • Have you ever entered your own name in Google or Bing? It’s ok, everyone does it. Next time you do, take the opportunity to see what others see: search your business name as well as your name.  Make note of the results.  Here at ElementsLocal we use a Social Media Manager to track communications about business.  The search could produce anything from customer reviews of your business, to that old website you created back in 2002. Take the opportunity to cancel any old accounts and remove yourself from any unwanted attention. Interact with customers, thank them for positive feedback and respectfully resolve any negative issues.

 

    • Do you feel very strongly about a current event? Don’t be afraid to express your opinion. Rule of thumb: stay positive. A close minded negative post could drive any potential customers away, but a positive opinion could open up your personal brand. Personable posts separate you from a faceless name. There is nothing wrong with healthy discussion about the latest controversy in the news. Negative rants on the other hand will likely steer people away. Once again, you represent your business. If you are negative, it will reflect on your business.

 

    • On the note of your opinions: be weary of talking about yourself too much. When posting, take a minute to flip the script. IF YOU were online how much do you want to read about one individual?  Personally, I could talk all day if you let me. How soon would you stop caring about what I have to say? How soon until I am that post that you skip or heaven forbid, unfollow? Not to say that you don’t have an interesting life and people aren’t curious about what you have to say. They are. Just not 100% of the time. You already know how to engage your audience, now keep their attention. What would interest you? What would keep interested? References to a new article or intriguing conversation that corresponds to your business or personal interest keep your persona fresh and your followers coming back for more.

All in all remember this: YOU create and maintain your brand. If you take pride in yourself and your business, your reputation will grow in a positive way.
Google

Chrome moving to Secure Search



According to The Chromium Blog, Chrome is now following the likes of Firefox 14 and Safari in IOS6 by moving to a secure Google search. While this may be good for privacy, is it bad for business?
Now, the keywords a user inputs while searching through the Chrome URL bar can only be seen by Google and the user themselves. The keyword information of this query is not passed onto the resulting websites’ analytics program.

Keyword research is one of the most substantial activities in the SEO world. Using the right keywords can greatly increase your websites’ activity with not only more customers, but more correctly targeted customers.

As part of our monthly reports here at ElementsLocal, we include a chart of the most effective keywords on the target website. In the past year, one phrase has become more and more prolific: “not provided”.

What causes “not provided”?
When a potential customer enters the keyword term “dog beds” into a normal Google search, they will see a list of results of potential websites. The user will then proceed to click on one of the URLs which then refers them to the page on a website having to do with dog beds.  Under normal conditions, Google will report that keyword term “dog beds” to the resulting websites’ traffic analytics.

What happens when a customer is using a secure search? Those keywords are essentially hidden and the referring URL looks as if it came directly from Google.  Web analytic programs will then view the visit as an organic search and list the keyword as “not provided”, giving the company no keyword data to help understand how the visitor found their website making traditional keyword SEO that much more difficult.

Originally, only users logged into their Google account would have their search terms hidden which affected only 9% of the total Google queries.  Then searches through the Firefox 14 & IOS6 began using secure search and stopped passing keyword data as well.  Now the Chrome browser has followed suit and so the question is, when will all keyword data stop being passed to web analytics software?

Secure search will protect user data from getting passed indiscriminately, but for businesses it may be more difficult to determine keyword success. It is worth mentioning that Google AdWords does have access to secure search keyword data and Webmaster Tools has recently added valuable keyword ranking information, but in the not too distant future we could see all keyword data dropping from traditional analytic systems.

 

 

 

Jeremy LaDuque to be on Franchise Today Show

On January 17th, ElementsLocal’s Jeremy LaDuque will be on Franchise Today online’s radio show.

“Franchise Today is hosted by Paul Segreto, President and CEO at Franchise Foundry. Paul’s unique perspective and extensive industry experience provides the foundation for relevant discussions about franchising and franchise best practices. Weekly guests include some of the brightest minds in the franchise world, with specific expertise and experience within various areas of franchising. Other features include Franchise News, as reported by the leading franchise publications, the IFA Corner, news and events from the International Franchise Association, and “Are You Kidding Me?”, eye-opening and thought-provoking insight into the comical, and sometimes illogical side of franchising. Franchise Today airs LIVE every Thursday at 11 AM CT / 12 PM ET with archived segments available on-demand.”

Early next year, Franchise Today will have a four part series called Promoting Your Brand. Jeremy will be on Thursday January 17th discussing local marketing, and local websites, etc.

Other guests will include:

  • Steve Greenbaum of PostNet discussing his Undercover Boss experience.
  • Sherri Fishman of Fishman PR
  • Sandy Lechner of SproutLoud

 

Please visit http://www.blogtalkradio.com/franchisetodayshow  and tune in for this informative series.

 

 

ElementsLocal’s Article in Franchising World

infographic-ensuring-website-mobile-friendlyElementsLocal’s COO Michael Boyer’s article Ensuring Your Website is Mobile-Friendly was recently published in Franchising World Magazine.

Making sure your website is mobile-ready is vital to reaching and engaging with your customers online.

“If your customers can’t find your company or engage with your brand on mobile devices, then you’re not getting your business across to an ever-increasing audience” Michael declares.

In this article Michael  teaches:

  • The value of targeting the right mobile devices
  •  The essential tools to evaluate your website on mobile devices
  •  The experience when extending your brand to mobile devices
  •  User navigation
  •  Reporting analytics and conversion tracking
  • How to look ahead and keep on top of the ever changing social media environment

 

To check out the full article go to  page 22 in the December 2012 issue of Franchising World  .


ElementsLocal’s Social Media Manager Integration Announcement

Another great element has been added our Social Media Manager Dashboard: the addition of Google+.

With similar abilities as using the Facebook on our Social Media Manager Dashboard, this Google+ integration will include the ability to:

  • Manage your Google+ Page
  • Publish updates, statuses, links and photographs on your Google+ Page
  • Oversee and respond to your Google+ Page connections
  • Delete your own posts/ comments
  • Delete any comments made by others on your Google+ Page
  • Acquire analytics and reports



For more info about our Social Media Manager, and all of the recent integrations please contact:

Mike Bruton

mbruton@elementslocal.com

(805)547-1160 Ext 210

ElementsLocal’s Social Media Manager Android App Update

Recently, ElementLocal’s Social Media Manager announced the launch of their new app for Android, and it is free to all Social Media Manager users.

This app will allow you the convenience of using your Social Media Manager on the go. With this app you have the ability to:

  • Update all your social networks at once
  • Obtain your Social Media Manager address book
  • Save unfinished posts
  • Manage the scheduling of your messages
  • Share photos via your social networks
  • View reports and statistics

For more information on this new app for Android and our Social Media Manager please contact:

Michael Bruton

mbruton@elementslocal.com

(805)547-1160 Ext. 210

 

Elements Local’s Social Media Manager Advances

Elements Local’s Social Media Manager has advanced another step further, integrating Instagram into its dashboard.

Previously, the use of Facebook Photo Albums has been a beneficial tool used by our clients. With the addition of Instagram, clients get more options to expand their brand and make their social media presence more dynamic.

Instagram is a photo sharing social network recently purchased by Facebook in April of 2012. Through this service, the user has the ability to take photographs, apply a digital filter, and share it with other users. There are over 100 million registered users as of today.

The integration will bring features such as:

  • managing photos
  • viewing photos
  • liking photos
  • commenting on photos
  • following, and unfollowing other users
  • as well as building Instagram reports

 

The integration of Google+ is in the works.

If you have any questions about signing up with Elements and our Social Media Manager Dashboard, please call Mike Bruton  at (805) 547-1160 ext 210, or email him at mbruton@elementslocal.com

ElementsLocal™ Launches 980 Mobile Websites for Sport Clips, Inc.

PRWeb – Tue, Oct 30, 2012

One of America’s Fastest Growing Franchises Chooses ElementsLocal™ Franchise Online Marketing Software for Mobile Website Management. Sport Clips, Inc. Launches 980+ Mobile Websites.

San Luis Obispo, CA (PRWEB) October 30, 2012

Sport Clips Haircuts, the nation’s leading provider of haircuts for men and boys with more than 980 locations, chose the ElementsLocal franchise marketing platform to manage and deploy 980 Mobile websites to drive their mobile marketing strategy. Each Sport Clips location now has a dedicated, mobile site with features such as Click-To-Call, Hours, Directions, Local Promotions, and more.

With nearly 50% of its website traffic coming from mobile devices, Sport Clips locations will certainly capitalize on the new mobile friendly sites. “This will allow Sport Clips to extend its MVP experience to its clients’ mobile devices,” says, Michael Boyer, COO of ElementsLocal.

The implementation of hyper-“localization” for Sport Clips’ franchise business requires a unique approach to online marketing, which is an everyday solution that ElementsLocal provides its 8000+ clients. By partnering with ElementsLocal, Sport Clips’ rapid growth has been able to consistently take advantage of the latest trends in technology.
Sport Clips is headquartered in Georgetown, Texas and was established in 1995 by founder and CEO Gordon Logan. The franchise ranks in Entrepreneur Magazine’s top 20 “fastest growing franchises” and in the top 100 in the “Franchise 500”, in the top 10 in Forbes’ “Top 20 Franchises To Start”, and in the top 50 in Dun & Bradstreet’s AllBusiness.com “2012 AllBusiness AllStars”. Sport Clips is the “Official Haircutter” of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and offers veterans preferential pricing on haircuts and franchises. Their “Help-A-Hero” program has donated more than three-quarters of a million dollars to help soldiers overseas and in hospitals call home through the VFW’s Operation Uplink. Sport Clips is a proud sponsor of Joe Gibbs Racing’s NASCAR drivers, Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin, and holds partnerships with several NCAA programs, and teams in the National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB), and National Hockey League (NHL). To learn about franchise opportunities click here, and for locations throughout the United States, visit SportClips.com.
ElementsLocal is a software company with 13 years’ experience building online marketing tools. In 2007, we created ElementsLocal, franchise online marketing software. Over 3,500 clients currently use this software platform to manage their local online marketing activities. Based in San Luis Obispo, CA, ElementsLocal clients include Home Helpers, Glass Doctor, CertaPro Painters, Floor Coverings International, Curves, Jiffy Lube, Sport Clips, Pearl Vision, Lens Crafters among others.

ElementsLocal’s executive team is available for speaking engagements and article contributions related to innovative franchise online marketing strategies.

We provide an online marketing platform to over 8,000 Franchisees worldwide. We speak on this topic regularly and would be interested in speaking at your event. We typically speak from a ‘Best Practice’ perspective and fuse online marketing expertise with our deep understanding of franchising. We are currently attending and/or speaking at: Fransummit, IFX Conference, International Franchise Association, and annual conferences for the Dwyer Group, Sport Clips, Service Brands, and Snap Fitness.

To coordinate, please contact Chad Jordan at (805) 547-1160, ext 211 or cjordan(at)elementslocal(dot)com

Chad Jordan
ElementsLocal, Inc.
(805) 547-1160 ext 211