We all know a business doesn’t blossom overnight, let alone a franchise. Once the signs are up and the staff is hired you can’t just sit around waiting for customers to walk in the door. Your first thought is probably to start advertising but there are a few steps before that. These steps will help you no matter whether you own a small business or franchise, or whether or not you have a marketing team working with you.
The first step would be to make your presence known in the most basic ways. Set up a Facebook page as well as a Twitter; depending on your type of business you could even make Instagram and Snapchat accounts as well. Follow competitors, similar businesses, major news sources, and big names with a lot of followers.
The next step is to create a Google My Business listing to put out your location, name, and contact information. Pictures and directions are an excellent inclusion too. This is especially essential to franchises because there will be other locations, perhaps pretty close by, that will come up with a simple search. You want to make sure people know that yours is closer and has a higher star rating.
Now, onto the big guys, the tools that will bring in the big business.
Google Review Generator
Every day, reviews are becoming more and more important to draw in business. They have also become more and more important to Google’s ranking system. Reviews are even more important to local businesses than, say, online only companies. Star rating is the number one factor that consumers use to judge a business and 40 percent say they form an opinion after reading just one to three reviews. It is likely that if three individuals who wrote similar reviews will have had the same experiences as the majority of your other customers.
Not only do collective online consumer reviews build trust with audiences and improve a businesses’ Search Engine Optimization, they provide the business with valuable insights into purchase research and decision making. Ideally, you will want more than five reviews above four stars.
At Franchise Marketing Group, our Review Generator setup and continuing services include using Constant Contact (CC) or MailChimp (MC) to create review campaigns that successfully market and promote obtaining customer reviews. The image below is an outline of how the Review Generator works in conjunction with the email campaign and Google reviews.
The following elements are included in FMG’s Review Generator:
- Client created email account in CC or MC (unless they already have one)
- Company-branded email template — design, messaging, and predefined customer call-to-action
- Automated, mobile-responsive, online workflow path for consumers to give feedback which the client can digitally capture and respond to
- Consumer emails collected via online form submission (automatically added to CC or MC)
- Review request sent automatically once form is submitted and email added to email platform
- Positive reviews are integrated with Google My Business in local listing
- Branded, mobile-responsive web page is included with a form for collecting negative reviews
- Ongoing account monitored reports on results are sent weekly to client email
Examples of the email request form, review request email, and Google review window:
Important Notes on Directory Listings
When dealing with directory listings, the biggest thing is making sure NAP is correct on your websites as well as other sites on the web. The more local citations you have, the more consistent your NAP listing information will be. You want to make sure your business is listed on any and all reputable directories (especially local and industry specified) like the local chamber of commerce, BBB, Yelp, foursquare.com, etc. The more of these you can get your listing on the better your SEO will be.
It is a pain and it’s tempting to use automated reports to keep track of it all because they are easy. Unfortunately, in this circumstance, easy means extremely inaccurate. At FMG we have actual human employees working on updating each individual listing on a daily basis.
Another factor in inaccuracies, as well as confusion to business owners, is that some listings have variations on wording in addresses that cannot be changed by anyone. A few examples of the listing, variation type (name/address/phone), and difference are below.
As you can see, these aren’t major changes but they do cause a bit of a panic. Stylistically you may not like the differences but, to our knowledge, they have shown no major discrepancies in rankings or consumer issues.