(I wrote this blog post in response to searching for a restaurant I knew was nearby but couldn’t find. After I ended up eating somewhere else, I found the restaurant I was looking for on the way out of town.)
Attention all franchise restaurant owners! Grab your mobile phones and search on Google maps for “food near me”.
Does your franchise show up in the listings? Do you have any reviews? Are your opening hours listed? Is your local phone number listed? Does the listing send potential customers to your local website and not the mother ship’s website?
If your answer to any of these questions is “NO”, then you just lost customers!
This is one example of how not having information about each specific franchise listed as a unique business with Google can hurt you when people are searching for local restaurants. Even if the dot shows up on the map itself, no one is zooming into to figure out what that little red dot means.
If you want more footfall and more customers you need to take control of your franchise’s digital presence and local advertising. This is currently the most cost-effective and highest return-on-investment way to get more customers.
Customers attention has gone completely mobile. People watching TV look at their phones during adverts — on the rare occasion that they aren’t watching Netflix. People on trains and buses are constantly engaged with social media or other apps. Most passengers in cars are texting on their phones, while many of the drivers are too.
In order to influence current and new customers, you have to have their attention.
For example, look at where 13 to 22 year olds are spending their time – Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Musical.ly, Pinterest and maybe the occasional tweet (you’ll probably need to ask an 8-15 year old about Musical.ly). So if you want to drive more footfall into your franchise, you’ll need to engage this audience on their terms and in their language.
How can you do this? Here’s a quick strategy on Snapchat that works for a Subway or similar franchisee near a secondary school that students walk past on their way home (or a dad picking up his son from said secondary school).
Steps for Snapchat Campaign Targeting Secondary School Students
- You think of an offer or promotion that students would respond to. It should require the students to ask for it by name or say they saw it on Snapchat so you can measure the response.
- You create a Snapchat filter that meets the guidelines for use to highlight your offer. You’ll need to make sure your filter is approved several days in advance of your promotion.
- Create a 1 day on-demand geofilter campaign. You’ll need to draw a “geofence” around the school, the main road where they walk past your shop, or other areas where the students gather. You can even geofence a nearby competitor that has free wifi so you know students will be able to use Snapchat.
- Several students will see your filter and share it with their friends.
- As students come in make sure you track how many are in response to your promotion.
- Measure the uplift in sales versus the cost of your campaign. Snapchat campaigns for 1 day can be as cheap as £5-10.
- If this was cost effective and got good results, repeat at the same time each week so students start following you on Snapchat so you no longer have to pay for the campaign to get their attention.
If this sounds too easy — that’s because it is. Because a Subway or similar franchise already has many of the students as customers, it means there is not a complete “conversion” taking place. They simply needed to be aware that you had an offer for them.
In some cases Facebook, Instagram or Google Adwords may work better based on your type of franchise and the target customer you are promoting your offer to — like students, families, work commuters, moms on school run, etc. Whomever you are targeting, digital and social media are the way to get customers attention and offer the best return on your local advertising investment.
If you want proof that it works, just contact me and I will run a test campaign for you for free. That way we both win — I get to eat what I want and you don’t lose another easy sale.