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Look at the BIG Picture (Leveraging the Network Part 3)

Look at the Big Picture 2Over the past couple weeks, we’ve been discussing a question from Amy Diamond Ray, of Johnson County Chem-Dry that I think is worth addressing in the Digital Minute. She said (in part),

“Can you put out some information on how franchises can help other franchises using social media networking? …What helps most, as far as improving my google ratings while also improving the ratings of my fellow zees? Links? How and where is the best place, or way, to create Links with other sites within our chemdry family? Tags? Does it do any good to tag another franchise in my posts? Or In my comments? 

“I see that Links and link structure are important, but can you explain where and how to get those links on a level that the franchises can understand? It seems we have a large base of franchise business sites that should be able to really help each other if they understood better just how to do that.

“I want to know what I can do on Facebook? On Instagram? Twitter? Google+/GMB? LinkedIn? Pinterest? Blogger? Tumblr? If I hashtag another franchise in the comments, does it help them at all?”

The first week, we discussed how being a part of the network is a great advantage that you should use. Last week, we talked about linking carefully. This week, we cover Part 3:

1) You’re part of a network. USE IT.

2) “Think before you link.”

3) Look at the big picture.

Here we go!

Look at the BIG Picture

One of the things I love most about digital marketing (and often becomes the bane of many business owner’s lives) is how you can look at it on so many different levels. You can get very granular with it, or you can zoom out to see how it all plays together.

Here’s what I would say about managing your presence on all these different platforms. Look at it like you’d look at a Thanksgiving dinner spread. You could get caught up in whether the mashed potatoes have enough salt and cream in them, or if the pumpkin pie was made with fresh or canned pumpkin. But, in the long run, it won’t have THAT much bearing on whether or not the meal is a success. What really matters is that all the “required” elements are in place and the end goal of feeding those present is achieved.

In the big picture, as long as you and your fellow franchisees are putting forth efforts to have their tables full (having as much presence as they can manage), you’re all going to benefit.

Big Takeaway:

There are great advantages to being part of a branded franchise network. Use strategic partnerships with other franchisees to grow your business. Remember the following principles:

  1. You’re part of a network. Don’t waste it. USE IT.
  2. Think before you link. Use links to and from your business that will help build your credibility online.
  3. Look at the BIG picture when it comes to online presence and social media. Don’t get too granular.

If you’d like help figuring out what you can do better, or just want to show me what you’ve done, click here to schedule a 30-minute coaching call with me. Otherwise, you can simply reply to this e-mail or call me directly at 435-890-1055.

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Leveraging the Chem-Dry Social Network (Part 1)

Leveraging the Chem-Dry Social NetworkOne of our own, Amy Diamond Ray, from Johnson County Chem-Dryasked me a great question the other day on the Facebook group that I think is worth addressing in the Digital Minute. She said (in part),
“Can you put out some information on how franchises can help other franchises using social media networking? …What helps most, as far as improving my google ratings while also improving the ratings of my fellow zees? Links? How and where is the best place, or way, to create Links with other sites within our chemdry family? Tags? Does it do any good to tag another franchise in my posts? Or In my comments?


“I see that Links and link structure are important, but can you explain where and how to get those links on a level that the franchises can understand? It seems we have a large base of franchise business sites that should be able to really help each other if they understood better just how to do that.


“I want to know what I can do on Facebook? On Instagram? Twitter? Google+/GMB? LinkedIn? Pinterest? Blogger? Tumblr? If I hashtag another franchise in the comments, does it help them at all?”
 
I’m going to try to address this as succinctly but fully as I can. To keep this digestible, I’ll break it into three parts and cover them over the coming weeks:

1) You’re part of a network. USE IT.

2) “Think before you link.” (I like that, I might trademark it.)

3) Look at the big picture.

Well, here we go.

1) You’re Part of a Network. USE IT.

One of the great advantages of being part of a franchise network is the opportunity it gives you to connect with people in the same boat as you. As we’ve seen many times over the years, you become like family and support one another professionally and personally. Some of you will attest to having some of your best friends be fellow Chem-Dry owners.

When it comes to networking your businesses online, I only have one suggestion. As my friend Starsky would say, “Do it.”

It would benefit you as a business owner to connect with other Chem-Dry owners to help each other grow. BUT, you have to do it carefully. Here are some examples of what I mean:

Instagram “Pods”: A recent trend among social media influencers (people with a large-ish following that are paid to promote products) is the concept of having a “pod” which acts like a co-op. A group of 10-30 people or businesses get together and they agree to help each other play the algorithm by commenting on each other’s posts to boost the engagement numbers. This, in turn, tells Instagram that the original poster is providing engaging content and should therefore be recommended to even more people. It’s a way of gaming the system that’s working for now, but may not work in the future.

So, if you want to, you can work together with other Chem-Dry owners to engage in each other’s content, but you have to do it in such a way that the comments and interactions feel “organic” and not robotic. For example, on a before/after that a fellow franchisee shares, you can comment with something like “That’s a great example of what Chem-Dry can do!” instead of typing “Amazing!” (which will quickly get marked as spam).

Sharing on Facebook vs. Google+: As much as I want to tell you that Google+ is a dead platform that nobody uses (which is true in some senses), it still poses some opportunities that Facebook doesn’t. When you post to Google+, make sure it’s something that refers to your website (a new blog post, a new YouTube video on your site, etc.). You can also do something similar to what I mentioned with Instagram where you co-op with other franchise owners to share each other’s content, which links back to your partner’s website and boosts SEO value. HOWEVER, sharing similarly on Facebook, doesn’t boost SEO because all Facebook traffic is tagged with a value of “no-follow” to Google, which means that when someone gets to your website from Facebook or interacts with what you post there doesn’t influence Google’s algorithm or your search rankings. But it DOES work into Facebook’s algorithm (essentially the same as Instagram because they’re the same company) and make it more likely that you’ll be recommended to a potential customer or follower.

In plain English, feel free to share each other’s posts and content on Facebook, and tag (mention the company name to create a link) your partner Chem-Dry franchisee on Facebook, but don’t expect the post to benefit you or them outside of Facebook. If you want to help each other boost your SEO (again, carefully and not to be overdone), you can share your fellow franchisee’s Google+ updates. Work together to share the brand.

Big Takeaway:

There are great advantages to being part of a branded franchise network. Use strategic partnerships with other franchisees to grow your business. Remember the following principles:

  1. You’re part of a network. Don’t waste it. USE IT.
  2. Find a group of “friend” franchises (There are 1,000+ of you, so that shouldn’t be hard).
  3. Work together to share content and support each other’s posts.

If you’d like help figuring out what you can do better, or just want to show me what you’ve done, click here to schedule a 30-minute coaching call with me. Otherwise, you can simply reply to this e-mail or call me directly at 435-890-1055.

ScheduleCoachingCall

 

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Social Media, Local SEO, Pokemon & You

Adobe Spark (9)

A virtual phenomenon swept the country last year aiming to get “gamers” who stereotypically live in their parents basements, wear sweatpants, and subsist on hot pockets out into the real world, interacting with the elements. You may have heard of it – “Pokemon Go.”

While I have to admit that I tried it out and enjoyed it for a while, it became a waste of time. HOWEVER, my son has recently taken it up and since he’s only 8, I have to go around with him.

Essentially, the game consists of walking around your neighborhood or city hunting and “catching” virtual and fictitious animals with ridiculous names that you can then use to battle against other players’ collections.

But part of the game is “checking in” at various places of interest to collect supplies. They’re called “Poke-Stop’s.” Walking around with him got me thinking, “This is what Chem-Dry owners should be doing!”

You Want Me to WHAT?!…

Okay, so I don’t literally want you to go out playing a video game. You have more important things to do. But I want you look at it this way:

As a service-area business, you want to be local. SUPER local. A great way to do that is to tie your business to local places of interest. What does that mean?

Here are a few ideas:

  • When your technician gets lunch, does he/she go to a popular local diner? Have him/her snap a quick picture of their plate along with your business card.
  • Cleaning for a business? Take a picture of your team out front of the establishment before you begin. Encourage people to come by the next day to see what a great job you did.
  • Participating in a town parade? Share your parade position and what you’ll be handing out.

Ideally, you should pair a picture every time you do this (it improves engagement). But the biggest thing is that you “check in” when doing so. It’s easy.

How Do I Do That?

On Facebook (Desktop):

Click to start writing a post from your business page. Then “Check In” to a local place. If you’re not actually nearby, you can search for it and select the location.

 

Facebook Mobile:

pencil

Just touch the “Publish” icon to start typing a post (the pencil & paper one like you see over to the right).

Then, from the next screen, touch the “Check In” icon at the bottom right of your screen. Again, if you’re nearby, the place should come up automatically. If you’re not, simply search for the business and tag the listing.

It’s that easy. Now, not only will your post show up on your own Facebook page, tying you to the noteworthy location, but the place/business’s page will get a notification that you checked in there and THEIR followers will see your post as well.

It’s a win-win for everyone.

Instagram (Mobile Only):

If your company is doing Instagram (which I highly recommend, in this webinar), you can kill two Pidgey’s (or birds) with one stone.

After you selected your picture and typed your caption (using the appropriate Chem-Dry hash-tags), you can flip the Facebook switch (and Twitter if you like) for your own page and then use a locale that’s recommended under “Add Location”. When you do that, you’ve accomplished the Facebook Check-In AND the Instagram one.

Big Takeaway:

Social Media and location tagging is a great, easy way for you to connect your business to the community. It doesn’t take much. A few pictures/posts each month will go a LONG way.
  1. Check in at local places of interest.
  2. Find a way to tie your business to the place.
  3. Invite customers to check out the other business to see how you did. Their customers will see your activity as well.
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Firing Bullets in Marketing

Just recently, I finished reading (or rather, listening to a recording of) a fantastic book called “Great by Choice” by Jim Collins. In it, he discusses an idea that has helped multiple large corporations become icons of their industries: First, fire bullets. Then fire cannonballs.
He paints the picture of being aboard a warship from the times of Master and Commander. Imagine that you’ve come upon an enemy ship that you must sink, but you only have one barrel of powder left. You can either use the lion’s share of your powder on a cannonball up front and hope you have enough left for a follow-up shot, or you can fire a series of bullets first to get your trajectory dialed in before you fire the cannonball.
The same can be said of using Pay-Per-Click to dial in your marketing offers before you go all out on a massive campaign.

Bullets vs. Cannonballs

Bullets are small things that can be tested out quickly
 and with low amount of effort or resources to see if they “hit.” When applied to PPC, you have an ability to test out what matters most to people. Is it a dollar amount? Is it a percentage discount? Features of your service? Benefits? The name?
Google AdWords is a perfect place to test out your theories for finding new customers. Within an ad campaign, your marketing manager has the ability to rotate through ads so that each offer shows up evenly across the board. In that way, you can gauge how your customers react to it, rather than how Google thinks it will do.
After you’ve tested a good number of “bullets” in your campaign, then you can start shooting “cannonballs” – highly effective, large effort campaigns that really move the needle.
In other words, if you’re unsure what offer you’re going to make in your fall/winter mailer out to customers (a cannonball), you can make a calculated and more precise shot.

What I Would Do

In testing out different offers in AdWords, the important thing to keep in mind is that you want to test things one change at a time. In other words, don’t test the headline on one ad against the description on another one because you don’t necessarily know what drove your action.
For instance:
As compared to:

Compare the two ads against each other over a week or two to see how often it gets placed and clicked on. Then try the winner against another version of the ad. Continue until you really get it dialed in.

Once you’ve done this a few times, you should have a good idea of what offer will resonate most with your customers before firing a “cannonball” offer to blow your competition out of the water!

Big Takeaway:

Any time you get to test something in miniature before you go at it full bore, it’s a good opportunity to get creative and use data to back your decision.
  1. Test out “bullet” campaigns or offers using a 1 to 1 comparison model to see what works best for your business.
  2. Work with your vendor to program the tests correctly.
  3. Correlate your data and use it to create your “cannonball” campaign via mail, social media, or other forms of advertising.
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You’ve Got to Watch This!

One of the biggest trends in digital marketing for 2017 is audiovisual media. People just love watching videos online! It’s incredible! According to a recent YouTube study, the world watches over 1 BILLION HOURS of video per day.
What does that mean for you as a Chem-Dry owner? Text posts and pictures may not cut it. It’s time to invest in video.
What Videos Work?
Generally speaking, people want short (30-120 seconds), digestible videos that don’t take much time, but are full of remarkable information or entertaining antics. As a Chem-Dry franchise, you have the ability to really show off some amazing things that you can do for people.
Live video is also a big thing for your business – especially if you can capture something interesting like showcasing how you remove tough stains, or a great tile job. The big thing for videos for your business is that they need to be interesting and show your personality. Just don’t be surprised if it doesn’t go viral overnight.
What’s Available To Use?
Marketing Toolbox Button
Well, because we love our Chem-Dry franchises, we’ve made some GREAT videos that talk about the benefits of Chem-Dry cleaning services and the Healthy Home Study. You can find many of these videos in the Marketing Toolbox on the Gateway. You can download the video and upload it to your company’s YouTube channel, or just upload it directly to Facebook with a good caption.
How Do I Make a Video?
Here’s the thing you have to remember about internet videos – generally, they don’t have to be super polished. You can go through a lot of effort to modify, edit, add music, transitions, titles, etc… But at the end of the day, what matters is the content. You can probably shoot a good enough video with your smartphone that will serve you just fine.
Just make sure that you brand yourself properly (use proper colors, uniforms, and introduce yourself by your whole company name) and that you don’t misrepresent brand promises, and you’re golden!
For more tips on shooting a great video with your smartphone, I recommend this helpful tutorial.
Big Takeaway:
Videos are a great way to quickly communicate the value of your business not only by talking about it, but SHOWING it. Try doing these things:
  1. Shoot a short, easy video highlighting your service. Show results.
  2. Get in front of the camera to talk about WHY your business is the best choice.
  3. Upload a video from the Gateway to get the ball rolling and remind people about the power of Chem-Dry.
Videos are a quick, easy way to show some personality in your business and engage with customers to remind them why they chose you in the first place. It’s about time you shared some with them.
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You Want Me to BLOG?!…

3156791845_60d9424dcbWhat’s a BLOG?…

Well, right now you’re looking at MY blog, the Chem-Dry Digital Minute blog. And, obviously, it has a very specific purpose – to help you learn how to become better digital marketers for your Chem-Dry franchise. The internet is literally full of blogs, and more are being created every day.

The most successful blogs have consistently posted content that centers on a specific(-ish) topic. You’ve probably heard about “mommy bloggers,” tech blogs, and even beauty blogs. There’s no end in sight. Anybody can post anything to the internet and become an author. So, why should you? You’re just a carpet cleaner, right?

WRONG!

You have interesting things to share with the world! You own a franchise of the world’s best carpet cleaner! You clean for peoples’ health! Your technicians are unique, and you know they have crazy stories to tell (with good judgement and discretion, of course)! There’s so much you can contribute.

And, guess what?! Posting these things regularly to a business blog associated with your website help to keep your company relevant in King Google’s eyes, which means you’ll be ranking higher when carpet cleaning is “googled.”

Writing these entries doesn’t have to be time-consuming or any kind of big production, so long as you are posting relevant, meaningful content. Show your personality, congratulate/brag about your technicians,  and enjoy writing. Do it regularly (at least monthly, but not more than weekly), and take pride in it. It’s a great opportunity to give your franchise a voice.

How Do I Make a Blog?

It’s really pretty easy. If you have a microsite from Web Marketing Services or even a “.net” site (all of you have one of those), you can access the editing platform through the Chem-Dry Gateway.

Here are the first steps and where you’ll go to get it done:

Step 1: Log in to the Chem-Dry gateway, and click on “Webmaster.”

Creating a Blog Step 1

Step 2: On the next screen, you’ll click on “Control Panel.”

Creating a Blog Step 2

Step 3: Select the website you’d like to edit. Every website you have from HRI will be listed here, whether it’s a “.net” site or a microsite with Web Marketing Services. Look at the red circled areas.

Creating a Blog Step 3

Step 4: You’ll be brought into a program called “Pagelime” that will give you options to edit your site. Click on “Site Pages” to view all the pages that currently exist on your website.

Creating a Blog Step 4

Step 5: Click on “create new page” to make a new page on the website.Creating a Blog Step 5

Step 6: Name your new page. Because, from a programming perspective, you’re creating a new file on the website, you’ll end the page name with “.php”. You’ll also be given a list of templates to choose from. These are, essentially, the format and appearance that your blog will have when it’s created.
Creating a Blog Step 6

Step 7: After you’ve clicked on “Create,” you’ll view your live page. Click on the “edit” button to change up the text and titles of your entry. That will at least get you started with your blog.Creating a Blog Step 7

If you need any help, you can contact the Web Marketing Services manager, Rob Ratliff. He’ll be happy to help you get started.