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

Pinterest drives more traffic than Google+, LinkedIn, MySpace YouTube, and Reddit – Is It Something You Should Consider to Share Your Franchises Brand Image?

Pinterest is a new(er) social media site that could very well help you get the desired “local” exposure as well as engagement for your franchise.  Read on to see how companies like Lands’ End to Facebook are using Pinterest to their advantage.

Pinterest is a new, innovative and exciting site that allows its users to ‘Pin’ images from anywhere online. It has quickly become a large social community of people who like to view the world through imagery.  Pinterest is built upon SHARING.  Sharing personally built life categories with personally built content.

The best thing about Pinterest is the ability to get personal with others. For a business that could be showing and demonstrating their products and services to customers in a whole new way. This is a great platform to establish franchisees local presence through the personal ‘boards’ in Pinterest.

One of the biggest advantages to Pinterest is the demographic that has made the site so popular. The site caters to a female audience (reportedly nearing 70 percent), most of whom are under the age of 45. This much sought after demographic can play a key part in the purchasing decisions of the average American household and your bottom line.

How can your franchise brand use an image sharing website?

Whether you sell something that’s exciting, seemingly uninteresting or especially offer a unique service that’s hard to understand Pinterest will make it exciting and simple to understand through imagery. W a bit of creativity and research you’re bound to find a way to use the new platform.  Especially if you use Pinterest to invite your customers into your personal franchise business or local franchise life.

Here are some creative ways to establish your brand locally with Pinterest

Hold a Contest

One creative way to utilize Pinterest is to hold a contest. Lands’ End recently held a contest they coined: “Pin It to Win It”. Participants were encouraged to browse the Lands’ End site, create pins of items they liked and the most creative and stylish entries won prizes. This kind of contest can engage your audience and also gets them to your site, browsing your products and linking to them!

A hair and beauty franchise could give a demonstration on quick hair styles or hold a contest as such while a food and beverage franchise could hold a local photo at the location contest. Again, creativity and making the contest unique with a local twist would be advantageous.

Conduct Market Research

Have plans to revamp services or products in 2012?  Why not test out new products or even your upcoming ad campaign on Pinterest?

Other brands have started using Pinterest as a platform to conduct market research or test product launches. In a recent Mashable post, one creative suggestion was to use Pinterest as sort of a social online focus group to see first-hand reactions, on a platform not as inundated as Facebook.

Feature Customers

One way to appeal to this demographic is to play to their vanity. Feature customers on your Pins, especially if you have a clothing boutique or store. “Customer A paired these shoes, belt and top to create this stylish winter cocktail party look!”. Showcase customer purchases that exemplify their style or pin photos of products that go well together and that customer X recommends.

Present Concepts in a New Way

Pinterest allows you to add contributors to your boards. Have a few team members put together a storyboard on Pinterest to present to a customer. Or co-Pin with a customer to create a board full of ideas for their next event or shopping spree.

If the product or idea is presented in a clean, simple and creative way using Pinterest it can stand a chance of being better received. Not only that, it allows you to creatively engage with customers and prospects can see too!

Put a Face to Your Franchise Brand

Personalizing and localizing your brand can be a hard thing to do with plain ol’ web copy. Use Pinterest to showcase your brand uniquely, what makes you different, what your brand stands for and use it as an opportunity to highlight your employees too. Putting a face to your brand is key to localizing your brand and easily done with Pinterest.

Promote Your Franchise Image Content

A franchise brand could start a board on  infographics.  Feature all of your image content in one place for easy access.

Infographics, product photos and your own photography can be featured. Do your research and see how other brands are using Pinterest to share their image content.

Pinterest can help a customer see the full picture of their needs before they even know they need it. Pin photos of activities in the area and how they relate to your franchise, landscape photos, photos of the local business and of course the staff. The possibilities really can be endless.

These are just a few of the creative ways your franchise brand can use Pinterest to spark interest and engage with customers. And to wet your palate for Pinterest even more, check out the announcement from Facebook – 60 new and exciting apps were unveiled including a Pinterest app.

A picture is worth a thousand words, in Pinterest’s case, an image could be the local exposure your franchise brand is needing to establish that local location to generate more leads.

Here is a great article on Pinterest’s popularity and it’s ability to drive traffic:

Brought to you by ElementsLocal – the leader in branding your franchise locally.

Franchise Online Marketing Outlook for 2012: Creating an Adaptive Marketing Platform

Reflecting back is more than just remembering where you wanted to be. It’s an eye opener about how dramatically the sands shifted under your feet in 2011 and a clear sign 2012 will be no different.

For Franchise Marketers Google introduced significant changes to the way it displays and delivers search results. Many franchise marketers had to quickly react to the importance of social media, blogging and directories. Our own vision of being a complete solution for franchise online marketing was expanded to include new best of breed partners in directory submission and social media. Our dashboard reflects the integrated nature of how pay-per-click, organic search and directories (such as Google Places) inter-relate and converge.

This being said, what does 2012 hold in store for Franchise online marketing? Seeing future trends is exactly what we need to do in order to anticipate change and be at the top of our game.

It’s not just about how to show up, attract and sell to consumers today, but next month, next year and years to come.  Lets transcend ideas like “social network” and “search engine” and focus  on consumers and technologies. Will we be using a search engine like Google in 5 years? Will we be using desktop computers in 5 years? What will future social networks look like? Answers to those questions are answers to the future of marketing and customer engagement.

Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon and plenty of other large companies are innovating at amazing speed to gain control of our attention. Some are doing it through devices, some through content, others through infrastructure.

So, what is message we got from 2011? Change… we must take a critical look at what it will take to adapt to change.  Rather than jumping from one place to the next in your franchise online marketing plan, consider developing an adaptive model that allows for rapid assimilation of new technologies and trends.

Creating an adaptive model assumes that you will have to adopt new technologies or new methodologies. Is your company an early adopter? Have you taken on the risk of adopting a technology platform before everyone else? Or have you given up first mover advantage because you felt it was going to be too expensive or time consuming. Continue reading

Thinking beyond SEO: Website Attention = Retention

Beyond SEO

Franchise online marketing strategy is as much about engaging the visitors on your website as it is about building traffic and search engine optimization.

The goal of online marketing is to convert leads into business.  Beyond all of the SEO work to get people to your website you must also pay attention to the content, layout and aesthetic appeal of your website in order to turn attention into conversion and even better… retention (which is driving people back to your site again and again).

Here are some actions you can take today that will optimize your online marketing:Franchise Online Marketing

  • Make sure that any links that lead visitors off of your website open in new windows. Do not direct traffic off of your webiste.  Ushering people off of your website is not productive.  By opening links in new windows,  your website will still be up when they close that window.  This is also applicable to your social media icons. Make sure they open in a new window as well.  Keep the traffic on your site as long as possible.
  • Be aware of the users display.  Remember, an increasing number of people are viewing your website on mobile, or handheld devices.  Recent studies show that mobile traffic is on the rise, so having a strategy for a mobile friendly website both at the national and local levels is a must for 2012.
  • Review your website for deficiencies regularly.   It may be just as easy as mending broken paths or replacing broken code. Again your site is only as legitimate as it is functional. Use websites like to validate your website and find issues with it.

Following these simple suggestions will garner results. You will see a decrease in your bounce rate (visitors to your website who land on a webpage and leave without clicking deeper into your website) and an increase in the amount of time visitors spend on your website, the amount of content that they will read and ultimately the number of leads will you receive from your website.

Learn more about refining your Franchise Online Marketing by attending our Franchise Online Marketing Webinar on January 18th at 12:00 p.m. CST.  For more information visit : ElementsLocal Webinar – Franchise Online Marketing Tactics

ELEMENTS Launches New Technology: Franchises Can Automatically Create and Control Facebook Fan Pages for Every Location

San Luis Obispo, CA, October 15, 2010 — ELEMENTS, Inc., an industry leader in franchise online marketing and developers of the ElementsLocal™ online marketing solution announced today the release of its latest technology enhancement that allows Franchise marketers to develop and control branded  Facebook Fan pages for every one of their  franchisee location.

“This is a breakthrough technology for Franchise marketers struggling to launch a successful Facebook marketing campaign. Today, Franchise marketers fear issues like protecting their brand and successfully providing franchisees Facebook Fan pages,” said Jeremy LaDuque, CEO of ELEMENTS.

If trends continue, early next year Facebook should reach over 600 million members and over 3 million businesses will be marketing through the Facebook platform. Nobody denies the benefits that a well-managed viral inducing Facebook campaign can have on any given product or brand, but what most miss is that Facebook can be leveraged to build awareness for your brand, drive traffic to your website and generate new sales for your business.

ELEMENTS, supports clients such as Maaco, Sport Clips, Glass Doctor, and franchisees of Jiffy Lube and Curves, and plans on releasing this technology to its current clients this month.

“Franchisors will be able to do things they’ve only dreamed of,” says LaDuque, as the new technology will support:

- Automatically creating a Facebook Fan page for every franchisee;
- Giving the Franchisor Administrative rights over all Fan pages;
- Allowing the Franchisor to take down or put up any Fan page at will;
- And allowing the Franchisor to post to all franchisee Fan pages at once.

Franchisors are searching for ways to use Social media  to increase sales, Elements feels one of most valuable features of its new technology is the ability to redirect anyone searching for your franchise in Facebook to individual franchisee websites that contain their own Facebook Fan pages, where customers can engage with that franchisees website.

“As search engines, social media and mobile marketing converge to create more and more opportunities for businesses, franchises in particular are increasingly challenged to maintain their brand, monitor their reputation and leverage new opportunities to their advantage. This new technology is a great leap forward to allow franchises to control their brand and provide more marketing opportunity to their franchisees,” says LaDuque.

Social Media Is Important, But So is Local Search

Social Media Is Important, But So is Local Search

With all the hype about social media and speculation that mobile is where everything’s moving, it’s difficult to determine what is most important to your Internet marketing strategy.

The most important thing you can do is allow your audience to drive your decisions and not the latest and greatest technology. While many businesses may be pushing their brands and establishing themselves in social media, research by the Kelsey Group shows that over 57% of people online are performing local searches. And if you’re curious about where those people are clicking, a research study done by Cornell University showed that the top 3 Google results get 79% of all of the clicks.

So, how do you get to the top 3 in Google?

In order to achieve high local rankings for each of your franchise locations it is important for the search engines to know about each physical location and that each physical location is relevant and popular enough to make the top 3 spots in the search results.

Below are just a few key strategies any franchise can leverage to ensure the localized search results that will produce the most local leads.

Local Websites

Consider having a unique website for each franchisee, with its own domain name and the ability for the franchisee to update it. By giving the franchisee control of a portion of the website allows them to tell their story and is enough information to make that franchise location’s website unique from other franchisee’s websites and stand out from their local competitors.

Domain Names

Also consider having a separate domain name per franchise location. By having its own domain name you can use a ‘keyword rich’ name which will garner you greater search relevance for your top keywords and also allow you to create a ‘back link’ strategy by linking all of franchise location websites to each other. There are several ways of choosing how to optimize your domain name for local search, but doing so is important because Google puts a lot of weight on a domain name when deciding where a website should rank.

Local Optimization

Another essential key to ensure high localized search engine rankings is optimizing the page contents of a website for product, brand and location.  This means that on your franchise location’s website you should include location keywords into appropriate links, titles, meta-tags and images.  Another great tip is to place the address of the franchise location at the top of every web page as it allows search engines to easily find that physical location and give your website higher location relevance because of it.

Off Site Localization

Lastly it helps to have other sites linking to your website and your physical location.  Get your franchise locations reviewed in Yelp.  Submit the franchise location to directories like Google Places, Yahoo Local and  The more websites linking to your website and physical location the better as those links will help increase your stature as a local business that is both relevant and popular.

These are just a few tips on how to improve your local search. It can be overwhelming when dealing with hundreds or even thousands of franchisees and websites, but a properly developed local websites program that brings in more leads and provides other value added services such as email messaging and social media, is bound to have an extremely high adoption rate amongst your franchisees.