Online Marketing: Ginny Murphy from The Wheel Specialist
The Wheel Specialist were finalists in the Franchise Marketing Awards 2012. Here Ginny Murphy talks about their successful online marketing plan.
How did franchisees benefit from the campaign?
|Our franchisees benefited in many ways – not only in local brand awareness but also in direct sales. Some areas brought immediate results whilst others were more long term. The trade and public within the franchisees' territories were made more aware of the brand of The Wheel Specialist through our online campaign and the franchisees' businesses achieved a higher local profile. This was analysed through our Google analysis and data analysis from our CRM system.
Through our analysis of data we were able to discover that there was an increase in sales and this was shown to have originated from the online campaign. Here is an email that was sent to Head Office from a franchisee following our Facebook launch and the regular updates we post on the individual franchisee pages on the website:
Great to see that the testimonials and Facebook page have helped me win business from my biggest competitor. Goes to show it's not all about price as I've quoted 50% more...thanks guys.
What advice would you give franchisees to market their franchise?
Use what is out there and what is being used by your market sector. We use Facebook and Twitter; the main pages are run by Head Office but each franchisee has their own individual Facebook page. Send in testimonials and news that Head Office can use for their blogs and social media and that you can use to regularly update your own site. Use free listing directories and also specialist sites that are industry specific. You might not think that certain local free listing directories are well known but they all help with your organic SEO. Being consistent with your franchise network brand and messaging is essential as this strengthens your presence and the customer's confidence in your business.
What was the most effective element of the plan? Best ROI?
In this instance I believe it was the combination of all the online marketing techniques we used that gave the excellent results we are continuing to achieve. Long gone are the days of placing an ad in a couple of magazines – it is a multi-media approach that is most effective and adapting your existing systems to integrate these. I believe the best ROI (return on investment) was the automated soft email campaign set up to follow online quotes on our website, coupled with the regular updates and the individual franchisee web pages.
Were franchisees involved with implementing the marketing plan?
Absolutely. They see the results so continue to do so.
What advice would you give franchisees for developing a marketing plan?
Start by looking at your customers – are they using Facebook, Twitter? Then look at your local general and industry specific directories. These things are free but do take time, but Head Office should provide templates for you to work from. Set aside a specific amount of time each week for updates and sending information into Head Office for them to use. Always get email data from your customers and leads and use a soft sell email campaign. Provide them with helpful information, not with the hard sell. Customers are far more informed now with all this information at their finger tips so be the specialist in your area, not the heavy salesman. Plan your campaigns with realistic time scales – you are running a business as well after all – and of course run it past Head Office for their guidance and support.
Are new franchisees encouraged to do their own marketing? Are they offered support in this regard from the franchisor?
Starting a new franchise is a very busy and exciting time. During training we work with the franchisee to develop their own ongoing marketing plan using all the templates and marketing materials provided on our extranet and on the bespoke systems within the network. With The Wheel Specialist the actual start up campaigns and PR are all set up by Head Office so the franchisee can hit the deck running. Therefore during the initial start up period they have time to settle in to all areas of their new business. We try and make it as easy as possible so that all the initial hard work has been done.