Five Smart SEO Tactics Every Franchise Needs to Use

Effective digital marketing for a franchise all comes down to getting the right eyes on your website and driving traffic to your physical location. People may already know that your brand exists on a statewide or national level. What they may not know is that it exists right in their own neighborhood. That means that you’re going to want to put energy into being as local as possible when building an online presence and crafting marketing content. What does this look like? Using SEO to make your franchise location rise to the top of search rankings all comes down to using geographical keywords wisely and making your brand alive and active on the Internet.

Create a Domain Based on Your Location

Having a URL with the name of the city that your franchise is located in is going to automatically make your business easier to find. This is the first move to make if you’re serious about SEO. In addition, people searching for your business won’t have to visit a corporate website and search through the directory to try to discover if a location is available in their area.

Be as Local as Possible

While branding your franchise based on its geographical area is key, simply interjecting the name of a town or city into the content on your franchise’s website isn’t going to cut it. People are looking for personal, local experiences when they seek out businesses in their area. Adding keywords that demonstrate your franchise location’s unique connection to a town or city is a great way to engage your audience. Getting down to the exact neighborhood and street where your franchise is located is preferred over simply mentioning the city or town. You’ll want to utilize your business address, phone number and hours of operation as tools for differentiation.

Maximize Mobility

Most people are already out of the house and on the road when they’re looking up the address of a business in a town or city. This is why optimizing a website for mobile usage and using keywords that heavily utilize a franchise’s street location are essential. Include features like maps, photos, landmarks and directions that make the location of your franchise very easy to navigate to for someone who is in a hurry.

Seek Customer Reviews

A big part of your online and mobile energy should be focused on getting reviews from actual customers. Getting five stars and some nice words can instantly make your franchise seem more appealing when people come across your presence online. A highly reviewed company that shows up on a search engine makes people more likely to click on your website to learn more and actually consider choosing your business.

Be Social With the Neighborhood

Don’t rely on a corporate Facebook page or Instagram account to draw traffic to your neck of the woods. A franchise should have its own social media presence that has a unique personality. Visibility comes with activity on platforms like Facebook. Updating as often as possible can increase visibility for a franchise. What’s more, the customers who interact with your social media pages are actually doing most of the work for you because friends who are likely to also live in the local area will see your franchise’s postings when they are liked, shared or commented on. It’s important to have the name of the city that you’re located in as part of your title on any social media platforms you use. Social media should be used to highlight sales, events and daily happenings at your franchise location.

Alex Alexakis is a UI Designer, SEO addict that helps businesses with their branding and SEO through his business PixelChefs. After hours he likes good food, Weimaraners, and toy robots. He has boldly build digital businesses by designing for conversion and offering a no-nonsense approach to internet marketing.

How to Measure Customer Loyalty

Entrepreneurs are in the business of selling something, whether it’s a product or service, which means you can’t afford to ignore customer satisfaction. In order to understand how customer satisfaction impacts your business, you have to measure it, and this is where most companies begin wandering off into unhelpful territory. If you want a real (and perhaps very sobering) view of customer satisfaction, read on.

Frederick F. Reichheld is a customer loyalty guru and a Fellow at global management consulting firm Bain & Company who cracked this difficult nut in his Harvard Business Review article, The One Number You Need to Grow. What he lays out is a very compelling case for what question you should be asking your customers, the scale you use to measure it, and the way you interpret the results. 

Every company wants to see great customer satisfaction scores, which inevitably leads them to include people who are only barely satisfied in their count of those who are satisfied. This simply isn’t helpful because those barely satisfied customers are highly likely to switch to a competitor and aren’t serving as brand ambassadors. Reichheld argues you have to begin by asking the right question, which is this: “How likely is it that you would recommend [company X] to a friend or colleague?” That’s it – that’s the only question you need to ask because it gets at the key customer-related driver of growth and profitability, which is customer loyalty, not satisfaction per se. Your most loyal customers are those who are willing to recommend your company to others.

Now comes the response categories, and the recommendation here is to use an eleven-point scale numbered zero to ten, where zero is the negative end of the scale (not at all likely to recommend) and ten is the positive end of the scale (extremely likely to recommend). People intuitively understand this kind of scale. The zero is obvious, and then respondents are left with a ten-point scale, and people rank things out of ten all the time. It’s easy and intuitive. 

Then comes the part where you interpret the results. Keep in mind there are two goals here: To identify the people who are your most enthusiastic, loyal brand ambassadors and to avoid the grade-inflation that makes most measurement attempts worthless. Reichheld argues for grouping respondents into three categories. Those who give answers of nine or ten are the gold standard. They are your active promoters. You want all your customers in this category. Those who give a seven or eight are passively satisfied, so while you benefit from them purchasing your product or service, they aren’t actively engaged in promoting your brand. Everyone who gives a six or lower are interpreted as detractors. They are not only likely to switch to competitors but might even be angry and actively working against your company.

The one number you need to grow is your net-promoters score – the percentage of your customers who are promoters minus the percentage of customers who are detractors. When you find ways to increase your net-promoter by simultaneously reducing the number of detractors and increasing the number promoters, your company will grow. 

If you’d like a more detailed treatment of this topic beyond the HBR article mentioned above, you might be interested in Reichholds related book, The Ultimate Question 2.0.

5 Ways to Select the Best Site For Your Franchise


If your franchise needs to attract walk-in customers, you must select its location with great care. A choice made in haste or without taking every possible factor into consideration can lead to lower than anticipated sales and even business failure.

Every new franchise that performs well owes a large part of its success to its location. Your proposed site must be easy to access. If you expect customers to come by car, you must ensure that there is adequate parking. You must also ascertain that the site attracts the sort of customer that you are targeting.

It is very easy to go wrong with site selection. A neighborhood that sees a lot of traffic may not necessarily be good for your business. Similarly, paying a high rent does not mean that your sales volumes will be high.

What are the precautions that you can take when selecting a location? Although there is no way to be absolutely sure that a particular site is the most appropriate for your business, there are some steps that you can take to avoid making the wrong choice.

1. Study the area

Some franchises need to be situated at a place that sees heavy pedestrian traffic. This is especially true for restaurants and retail stores. If your business falls into this category, you would have to spend a substantial amount on rent. Opting for a lower-priced location that is in an area that attracts fewer people will result in lower business volumes.

But if your business involves a different type of activity, say, selling auto parts to trade customers, it would make more sense to select a site where the rent is less.

If you like a particular location, spend some time at the site and in the immediate vicinity. This will give you the opportunity to observe the level of traffic at different times. You should also make it a point to see how your competition is faring in the area.

If the territory already has a large number of businesses offering similar products, you may find it difficult to attract customers. On the other hand, this could prove to be an advantage as well. All that you would have to do would be to lure customers away from the competition. 

2. Speak to other franchisees

You can gather some very useful information by speaking to other franchisees selling the same product. Try and talk to those who have established their businesses in the recent past. Ask them how they went about the process of selecting a location. The intelligence that they provide can be invaluable.

It will be useful to ask other franchisees about the positive aspects of their location and its drawbacks. You can use what you learn from them to avoid making the mistakes they committed.

Of course, it is important to approach those franchises that are located at some distance from your territory. They should not be your competitors. If they are, they may not be willing to talk openly to you.

3. Don’t exceed your budget

Arriving at the amount that you are willing to pay as rent for your franchise location can be tricky. An expensive location will attract more customers and generate greater volumes of business. This will allow you to bear a higher rent.

On the other hand, a site in an area that attracts fewer people will probably get you a lower number of customers, but it will be cheaper.

Choosing between the two can be difficult. While it may be safer to opt for the site with the lower rent, this is not necessarily the correct choice. In fact, the general rule that you should follow is to select a location with greater potential. The additional sales that you generate will justify the extra expenditure on rent.

But don’t go overboard and lease a place that will stretch your budget. Remember that you are making a long-term commitment. If the location is inappropriate, shifting to a new place will be both expensive and cumbersome.

4. Patience pays

Your franchisor will be in a hurry for you to start operations as soon as possible. The real estate agent who is handling the property that you are interested in will also be keen to finalize the transaction.

Don’t give in to the pressure that is put on you. After all, it is your money on the line. Selecting a property is possibly the most important decision regarding your franchise. Take out the time to check if the location that you have selected will remain as attractive several years into the future. Is there any new development proposed for the area? Verify this with local, regional, or state authorities.

If a new road comes up and blocks access to your site, your business may suffer. Similarly, a new mall in the vicinity may draw crowds away from your location.

5. Understand the legal implications

The lease agreement for the property that you finalize is a crucial document. It is important that you have professional help that you can rely on. Your attorney should be an expert on real estate as well as franchising.

Study the agreement yourself and seek an explanation for the clauses that you don’t understand. Many of the points listed in the agreement will have a financial implication. You must spend time on this subject. If you don’t, you may get an unpleasant surprise months or years later.

Ascertain the costs that you will be responsible for. There will be utility bills and property taxes to be paid. There will also be other expenses like insurance, maintenance, and repairs. It is essential that you know which expenses you have to bear and how much it will cost you on a monthly basis.

Use your negotiation skills

Make sure that you see several properties. Don’t let the realtor or the landlord know your preference. If the landlord realizes that you have made a decision, you will find it difficult to negotiate the rent downwards. You should shortlist at least three or four properties. This will strengthen your bargaining position and allow you to drive the rent down.

The success of your franchise depends to a great extent on the degree of care with which you select a location. You must ensure that you give this issue the attention that it deserves. 

7 Productivity Hacks for Entrepreneurs

When I recently wrote about 5 Time Management Hacks for Entrepreneurs, it immediately became clear to me that people were hungry for more, so I’ve put together a more extensive list of productivity hacks for entrepreneurs. These are all tactics, strategies, and tips that have been used by successful entrepreneurs to significantly boost their productivity. Which ones sound like they could work for you?

1. Plan in Smaller Increments

When every minute counts, organizing your day by hour or even half-hour increments simply isn’t good enough. Try using 15-minute or even 10-minute increments to plan your day – it will quickly reveal where and how you might tend to waste precious time. And yes, nearly all the productivity hacks listed here have to do with making the most of your time. 

2. Make Meetings Shorter

The dreaded hour-long default in many calendars mentioned above has resulted in the assumption that most meetings are going to run for at least an hour, but many successful entrepreneurs have found that most of their meetings can accomplish their agendas in far less, often as little as 30 or even 15 minutes.

3. Leverage Your Calendar

Most people live under the dictates of some kind of to-do list. You need one to know what you have to do, and prioritizing it can be something of an art, but if you stop at the list you’re missing out on operationalizing it. That’s where the calendar comes in. You have to figure out exactly when and where you’re going to actually do the prioritized tasks by putting them on your calendar. This will immediately show you what’s realistic in terms of getting things done each day and transform your to-do list from a pie-in-the-sky dream to concrete action plan. 

4. Establish a Consistent Morning Routine

Highly successful entrepreneurs tend to follow a strict morning routine. They get up at the same time every morning, and it’s usually pretty early. These morning routines often includes both exercise, which gets the blood flowing to your brain for increased focus, and checking in on various information sources in the form of blogs or social media feeds related to their business.

5. Disciplined Email

Constantly checking your email becomes a time-sink that can be hard to overcome. Successful entrepreneurs figure out how to tame the email beast. They ignore it completely when focusing on an especially important task. They also limit how often they check it – establishing three or four small blocks of time in day rather than being constantly dialed into it. 

6. The Art of Delegation and Saying No

Part of being a successful entrepreneur is putting together a great team of people – let them step and share the load. Anything that can be delegated should be delegated so you can focus on the most important work. Your ability to say “No” is also key – taking on more than is possible for you to do will hurt all your work.

7. Figure Out What Helps You Focus

Experiment with all sorts of different things to find out what sorts tactics help you focus when you need to. For some it’s listening to music. For others it’s being completely isolated away from distractions. Some need to be in a peaceful setting with lots of natural light and nature in view. Figure out what works for you and stick with it when you need to focus. 

These are some of the best productivity hacks you’ll find among successful entrepreneurs. None of them are rocket science, but they do take a consistent commitment to realize their full benefits. Do this and you’ll be on a solid path to success in 2017.

5 Signs Your Resume Screams ‘Entrepreneur’

 

Finding a career you’re truly passionate about can be challenging.

If you’re like most people, you were brought up to believe there was only one way to succeed in life: to get an education, get a steady job working for a respected company, and live happily ever after.

As we all know, this isn’t often the case – especially not today.

Most people don’t realize they’re not meant to work for others

 

Whether you’re a mid-career professional making a career change, a veteran transitioning to civilian life, or a college graduate, sending out resume after resume to jobs you may never enjoy can be a draining experience.

(And that’s before you even begin working one of these jobs.)

For most people, they don’t see that they’re meant to work for themselves – though what they subconsciously write about themselves in their resume, and where their past has taken them, can reveal a lot about where they’re destined to go.

Here are 5 Signs Your Resume Screams ‘Entrepreneur’:

1. Leadership Experience. You led teams that succeeded, whether in the workplace, military, sports teams, or elsewhere. Others looked up to you to guide them to success. Entrepreneurs are natural-born leaders – they make everyone else around them better, as they work towards a greater goal.

 

2. You Got Fired or Quit Jobs. Many entrepreneurs struggle to hold jobs working for others, because it goes against their inner grain. Instead of listening to the commands of others, entrepreneurs want to forge their own course of success. This can often lead to getting fired or quitting jobs easily.

3. Unique Design/Layout. Entrepreneurs love to be different, because that’s what makes the best businesses so successful. Sometimes without knowing it, their resumes will have a unique design/layout that almost gives them their own personal brand to stand out from the pack.

4. Creative-Thinking, Problem-Solving Skills. Do you highlight your creative-thinking and problem-solving skills? That means you thrive at finding solutions under pressure – something entrepreneurs need to have to survive in business.

5. Wide-Ranging Areas of Expertise. You’re not knowledgeable in one or two areas – it seems you’re an expert in many. For entrepreneurs, they need to wear many different hats to keep their business running smoothly. This could be a sign for you to take an exit route on applying for jobs, and to become an entrepreneur.

To learn more about entrepreneurship through franchising, attend our free monthly webinar, Franchise Ownership as a More Stable Career Path. The webinar is free, but you need to pre-register, which you can do online by clicking on the linked seminar title.

You may also register by calling 866-246-2884.