Effectively Delivering Your Marketing Messages
Franchises must figure out how to deliver a great experience to customers who access their websites using mobile devices.
In the 1990s, customer engagement became a 24/7, 365-day venture due to the rise of the World Wide Web. We forget this now, but at the time, this change in the way businesses engaged with customers was revolutionary.
Today, that same magnitude of revolution is upon us, with the ascent of social media and mobile devices − both smartphones and tablets alike. And with this revolution, franchises are faced with ever increasing complexities of how to effectively deliver marketing messages.
Your brand, arguably your most important asset, is being stretched and pulled in every direction, across every marketing channel and is subject to the full transparency and scrutiny of every customer.
How do you keep your brand ahead of this curve and effectively deliver your marketing message? Keeping up with mobile and social venues is a start, but these are just facets of the biggest challenge facing franchises everywhere – omni-channel marketing.
Omni-channel marketing is a modern approach to creating a seamless consumer experience across all available customer channels. This could include a business’ website, its email marketing campaigns, what is being talking about on social media, and yes, even the experience in brick and mortar properties. For franchisors, it’s about putting franchisees in a position to be relevant and able to effectively engage with prospective customers across each digital venue.
Let’s look at three trends occurring today that are shaping omni-channel marketing:
1. Modern Marketing Means Mobile-Friendly
The “Mobile Revolution” is staggering. According to a 2013 Pew Internet study, adoption rates are soaring, and when you consider that 56 percent of American adults are smartphone owners and 34 percent own a tablet device, simply providing a good mobile experience doesn’t quite cut it anymore. Instead, franchises must figure out how to deliver a great experience to customers who access their websites using mobile devices.
How franchises adjust to the mobile revolution will weigh heavily on their ability to effectively deliver marketing messages. A 2012 Google study found that 72 percent of customers expect companies to have a mobile-friendly website. Perhaps more importantly, failure to adjust to the smart device boom can be very harmful to brand preservation. In a recent eConsultancy survey, 55 percent of customers said that a poor mobile experience on a website can actually hurt their opinion of a company’s brand.
The key to piecing together the mobile puzzle is optimizing your franchisees’ websites for any device – regardless of its screen size – by using a coding methodology called responsive web design.
With responsive web design, a website will automatically detect the screen size of the device accessing it and triggering content to adjust accordingly. The appropriate content reconfiguration ensures the right user experience is delivered to the right device. This way, whether a customer is using an iPad, smartphone or traditional desktop computer to visit your website, the proper information and optimal experience is delivered. Even better, responsive design can future proof your website against new devices and screen sizes introduced to the marketplace.
The benefits to optimizing your website for the mobile revolution are enormous. A 2012 Arbitron and Edison survey states that 91 percent of smartphone users have their devices within arm’s reach 24 hours a day. Moreover, according to a 2013 Google study, nine out of 10 searches conducted on smartphones result in an action, for example, a store visit, online purchase and others. With a responsive website, franchisees will be able to engage customers anywhere, anytime.
2. Automatically Market the Right Content, to the Right Audience, at the Right Time
It’s no secret that your most desired customers surfing the web value their own time. From a technology perspective, anything your franchisees can do to expedite customer engagement, and convenience, is pivotal to success. One way to do so is by leveraging your web platform to enable the delivery of targeted content.
Targeted or “persuasive” content is technology that automatically displays relevant information to website visitors based on what they are likely looking for. Targeted content can be dynamically generated and seamlessly presented to customers based on anything from whichever device they are using (i.e., laptop or smartphone), to their navigation behavior, to the search terms they queried on Google or Bing to access your site, as well as other key demographics. Persuasive content can be a critical tool that helps franchisees deliver personalized customer experiences, ultimately allowing visitors to immediately see the content they want.
Here’s an example: You’re a franchisee of a lighting supply company that distributes all types of lighting solutions – home, business, indoor and outdoor. A prospective customer looking for “indoor lighting fixtures” on Google finds the search result for your website and clicks on the link. Embedded search technology enables your website to immediately recognize the origin of the source traffic, the search term used, and instantly display the indoor lighting products in your store catalog rather than, for example, products for outdoor lighting. This targeted display of product content offers a better user experience and caters to that prospective customer’s specific needs.
Leveraging this type of technology that easily works in concert with customer goals, eliminates barriers and automates the ability to deliver the most relevant marketing message to your customer.
3. Deploying Individual Websites for Franchisees
At this juncture, most corporate marketing franchise teams are familiar with “Glocalization,” a term detailing a franchise’s ability to market its global brand reach at a local level. Adopting a “glocal” strategy restores the balance of power in favor of franchises by reinforcing brand recognition in a personalized manner.
This final piece of the omni-channel marketing puzzle ties the two previous techniques together. Franchises that embrace a glocal strategy and provide franchisees with their own mobile-friendly websites that drive persuasive content leveraging the power of the national brand are more likely to deliver effective marketing messages.
“Giving each store location its own responsively designed website has increased the power our franchisees have to connect and communicate with customers online,” says Rob Connelly, technology marketing manager for The UPS Store. “Stores can highlight the products, services and special offers that are specific to their location and with the functionality in the platform, our team at headquarters can still monitor the overall messaging from the individual websites. Put together, this hyper-local level of customer interaction allows our franchisees to effectively tap into the power of the brand in a completely different way.”
When competing in today’s hyper-local, socially infused and highly mobile world, a franchise’s biggest advantage is its brand. As a marketer, you must not underestimate the influence that immediate recognition creates. For franchisees, it breeds familiarity which leads to engagement and ultimately to conversion and customer loyalty. By supplying franchisees with their own websites that are “responsive” and delivering “persuasive” content, you are allowing that conversation to take place more effectively.
Using Omni-Channel Marketing for More Effective Marketing
Omni-channel marketing is not a temporary trend; its impact only stands to grow as more digital venues develop in the future. Franchises that explore and implement these three technologies into their overall digital strategy will be able to leapfrog their competition and prosper from endless opportunities to successfully deliver their marketing message and engage with customers. n
Jeremy LaDuque, CFE, is senior vice president of franchise & large dealer network at Bridgeline Digital. Find him at fransocial.franchise.org via the directory.