A Three-Point Strategy for Damage Control of Negative Feedback

In this Franchise Times article, iFranchise Group CEO Mark Siebert explains three simple but effective methods to get in front of bad press. In an era of social media, with opportunities for brand crises in all corners of the Internet, it is more important than ever for companies to stay vigilant, then handle an incident in a way that helps find a resolution, without making things worse.

No matter the size or budget of your company, Siebert shares tools to aid in social listening and response across the web, and reveals where the disgruntled may gather. Most important, he walks you through three distinct steps that explain just how to react to negative press online, whether it’s a nasty tweet, an inflammatory review, or an entire blogpost that smears your brand.

PR crises aren’t like they used to be when the accused had a full 24-hour news cycle to prepare a response. In today’s technological world, crises happen in the public eye, in real time, with the potential to escalate quickly.

Don’t miss out on this thorough, specific bit of advice to help recover your brand’s reputation through timing, integrity and authenticity.

When Influencing, We Don’t Want Nobody Nobody Sent

In this Franchise Times article, iFranchise Group CEO Mark Siebert explains how influencer marketing is here to stay. Frankly, it has been here all along anyway. Siebert also shares his unique perspective growing up close to the Chicago political scene and the lessons it offered for his career in franchise consulting.

The court of public opinion…

Most franchise candidates have already set a goal to become business owners and are ready to begin the sales process. It’s here the first acts of influencing begin.

Influencer marketing is as old as government.  Think about it, how long have candidates for public office been leaning on the opinions and endorsements of others to get themselves elected? It may seem like government and businesses are worlds apart, but this isn’t the case. In this article, Siebert tells you that everyone is watching, everywhere, all the time. It may sound sinister, but as far as franchise marketing is concerned, it means opportunity is all around us.

Franchise marketing recognizes that the prospective franchisee is not making the decision to buy alone. They are most certainly influenced by others like their spouse, their business associates, bankers, lawyers and suppliers, to name a few. And, of course, other franchisees in the system are influencers themselves. Whether your prospect is being influenced by the media, their banker, their spouse, or other franchisees, the bottom line comes down to trustworthiness. In this article, learn how to earn the trust of those who are influencing the candidates you want in your network.

Looking Abroad May Help Franchisors Spread American Dream

In this Franchise Times article, iFranchise Group CEO Mark Siebert guides franchisors through the unique challenges and opportunities in marketing to international prospects looking to purchase franchises in the United States.  While it isn’t appropriate for all franchise systems, for many it makes sense for franchisors to look outside of their own borders to find their next generation of successful franchise owners.

Navigating policy

If marketing to international candidates feels right for a brand, franchisors will first need to understand the opportunities available for international candidates to own and operate franchises in the US. Two federal programs in particular, the E-2 and EB-5 visa programs are designed precisely for this type of prospect. The two programs differ greatly, and any franchisor will be smart to seek the guidance of a franchise attorney who specializes in this very field. In this article, Siebert talks with Angie Rupert, an E2 visa attorney out of Los Angeles for her expertise on the subject.  Rupert notes there are savvy entrepreneurs seeking franchises in the US from a wide range of industries. While the process may seem daunting, with careful expert consultation, it need not be.

Marketing to international prospects

As with any marketing, iFranchise Group consultants advise franchisors to tailor their marketing strategies based on their audience. In addition to language considerations (don’t leave it to Google translate!) consideration must be given to the marketing avenues available. For example, social media options in China look very different from social media options in the US. Learn more from Siebert as he explains key elements to pitching international franchise candidates, in a way that compliments the visa programs available for candidates coming from different countries.

When to Race, When to Slow Down

In this edition of Franchise Times, iFranchise Group CEO Mark Siebert reflects on the renowned fable about the Tortoise and the Hare, and how franchise marketers should keep this story in mind when planning their marketing strategies:

Life in the fast lane…or the slow one?

In the first part of the article, Siebert’s focus is on strategies that resemble the actions of the hare. What types of franchise marketing provide quick, real time data? In a world of instant gratification, it is no surprise that the marketing industry has caught on to where to find the speediest and most efficient feedback to help monitor and adjust their campaigns. As impatient as we are to reap the rewards of a new social media or email campaign, is it enough to be fast?

Next, Siebert relates marketing strategies to those of the hare. What other marketing methods, in addition to SEO, take time to nurture, and are they worth the wait? Franchise consultants crafting marketing plans know to include both short-term and long-term strategies for a well-rounded approach. In franchise marketing, SEO, PPC, social media, publication marketing, direct marketing, content marketing and trade shows all have their place in the race. And for all franchise marketing initiatives, it is vital to measure results and adjust campaigns accordingly. For example, talk to trade show prospects about their backgrounds and compare to the Franchisor’s targeted prospect and messaging.

The moral of the story may be that each franchise marketing campaign needs to adopt a lesson from both the tortoise and the hare, depending on the target audience and the long-term marketing goals. This article gives guidance to the marketer who is undecided about how to run the race.

Going local, saying no puts rhyme and reason into franchising plan

In this edition of Franchise Times, iFranchise Group CEO Mark Siebert discusses the benefits of a local franchise expansion strategy.

Going local, saying no puts rhyme and reason into franchising plan

There is nothing more exciting for a franchisor than knowing prospects are clamoring to represent the brand. The question to ask is why? Is it because there is a reputation for unprecedented home office support and training? An impressive leadership team? Successful franchisees praising the brand? In this article Siebert explains how the retail concept of shopping local can apply to franchise expansion strategies as well.

Successful franchisors make the grade because they are accessible to their franchisees. From a close distance a franchisor can  nurture and help groom the future leaders and ambassadors of their brand – especially in the beginning of their franchise journey. Fear of losing a potential sale and misunderstanding their role in the franchise support function may lead franchisors to market more broadly than they should.

In this article, Siebert reminds us that franchise prospects are not finite. Find out what he means by referring to them as a “manufactured resource,” and learn how a compelling marketing message can actually help create franchise candidates. . Siebert offers real life, hands-on tools to help you create local franchise marketing campaigns to capture leads where you want them.

How should you target your SEO approach? What’s the best way to use social media? Are print advertising and direct contact marketing still worth your time and money? It’s all here to help the franchisor see the benefits of local marketing, before launching coast to coast. Follow Siebert as he helps keep franchisors focused on regional marketing strategies with tips on how to successfully market to prospective franchisees on a local level.

Who’s driving the bus in the new year?

In this recent article for Franchise Times, iFranchise Group CEO Mark Siebert explains why he believes 2019 will be the year of user-generated content.

Who’s Driving the Bus in the New Year?

Last year for the first time, digital advertising dollars soared past television ad spend by nearly $20 billion. For marketers, this isn’t unexpected. They know that social media has taken over as the key path to their target audiences, who are showing up digitally each day in record numbers – 80% of Americans are on Facebook, a third of the country on Instagram. Traditionally, marketing campaigns drive messaging to the masses, but in a new world of likes, tweets and ‘grams, marketers aren’t in the driver’s seat anymore. But franchise consultants will remind Franchisors they are still able to navigate the wheel.

This article explores the changing dynamic between messenger and message recipient in the world of franchise marketing, and why franchisors should lean in and “listen” to what is going on online. Unlike television or radio ads, social media creates a path for two-way communication, good and bad, and both with the possibility of achieving a positive, lead-generating outcome. The fact is, marketers can learn a lot from social media behavior and benefit from it in a way they never could through other media messaging.

What is user-generated content anyway? Why should franchise marketers embrace it rather than distance themselves?

Here Siebert offers concrete examples of why it is more important than ever for franchise marketers to use the power of social media to connect with its audience in real time, and in a way that breaks through the massive amount of noise created by everyone else in the space.

When It’s Time to Tweak Your Selling Playbook

In this edition of Franchise Times, iFranchise Group CEO Mark Siebert explores the similarities between a good franchise marketing strategy and a winning game plan on the football field. The key element may surprise you!

A Game of Adjustments – When It’s Time to Tweak Your Selling Playbook

Once a marketing plan for lead generation is in play, the focus is typically on the numbers.  What’s working? Why or why not? And what do we need to do differently?

In this article, Siebert acknowledges the importance of data analysis, however reminds us that although an inward focus is essential, some business owners forget to watch the films of the opposing team. There is a reason NFL football players spend part of their practice week studying their upcoming competitor. Adjustments need to be made.

Observing the playbook of competitors in your industry is critical to any marketing strategy. Siebert lines up a list of tech tools designed to help do just that, giving you a jump on your own franchise marketing adjustments as you wade through analytics and next steps of your plan.

Further, Siebert offers solutions to prevent burning out your target audience.  With some basic Marketing 101, he guides you through essential initial steps, by way of reach vs. frequency, A/B testing and the Rule of Seven, to assist you in assessing your next marketing moves.

Franchise marketing is a process of constant adjustments, but with an eye focused keenly on the opposing team, franchise businesses can score again and again.

How to focus on strategy, one piece at a time

In this Franchise Times article, iFranchise Group CEO Mark Siebert explains how franchise success comes from doing a lot of little things, the right way. By comparing the strategic planning for your business to a Halloween night of trick or treating, Siebert brings you full circle from the minute you turn your porch light on to the last piece of candy in your bag.

Tricks to get the treat…

There is no single trick to franchising sales success.  The magic happens when step after strategic step moves the franchise marketing and sales plan forward.

The first component Siebert talks about is the franchise website, and how it serves as the “porch light” to your business.  A high-quality franchise website welcomes prospects to your door to inquire about your business. It serves as the vehicle to generate leads, collect information, and pique interest about your brand.  There is no more important introduction. If the porch light isn’t on (i.e., if Google doesn’t rank you), no one is coming to the door. In this article, Siebert breaks down exactly how your website should be performing for you.

Siebert also explores a second component – filling that trick or treat bag with qualified leads. When it comes to the leads generated, the key is to take quality over quantity. A highly qualified candidate stands a better chance of evolving into a successful franchisee, who turns into a champion for your brand.  Learn why the right validation from existing franchisees in your system plays a crucial part of the recruiting process. Likewise, a negative validation by a poorly performing franchisee is like receiving broccoli on Halloween night.

This article teaches you how to focus on strategy, one piece of candy at a time.

What Makes A Franchise Unique May Be What Leads To Franchise Success

As iFranchise Group CEO Mark Siebert explains in this recent article for BeTheBoss.com, the uniqueness of a franchise system can set it apart from the competition.

Don’t Be Afraid To Be Yourself

Based on close to three decades of franchise consulting experience and having met thousands of prospective franchisors, Siebert compares the lure of a unique franchise system to that of some of today’s previously unknown musical success stories. Like these new stories of stardom, successful franchisors need not fear what makes them different from the pack, but rather, need to connect with those who relate to them and who embrace what makes them different.

In this article, Siebert encourages those looking to franchise their business to see their differences as advantages to be emphasized. For example, the newness of a concept can claim its place as an innovator and trend-setter in the industry. iFranchise Group consultants often advise “me-too” is not an expansion strategy. Newer franchise systems do not need to apologize for being new to franchising. A franchisor’s recent entry onto the franchising scene makes them attractive because more territories are available and new franchisees can play an important role in setting the trajectory of the concept.

All companies looking to grow through franchising need to pay attention to concepting, strategic planning, messaging, marketing and franchise sales. But success isn’t limited to the big players.

By identifying its own unique value proposition and speaking to the right audience, a unique franchise can also have a star on franchising’s walk of fame.

Franchise Training & Support

As iFranchise Group CEO Mark Siebert explains in this recent Franchise Times article, Franchisors can use their state-of-the-art training programs to set themselves apart in a crowded franchise marketplace.

In a Competitive Franchise Marketplace, Franchisors Can Set Themselves Apart with Franchisee Training Programs

Franchisors can assume that any franchise sales candidates will be comparing numerous concepts, and all those concepts will boast about the support provided. When we consult with franchisors, we encourage them to develop a support system so they can say with confidence that no one else has a system like this.

It starts with an operations manual . A Franchise Operations Manual incorporates information essential to the initial and ongoing operations of a franchise and serves several very important functions in a franchise system. During the sales process it demonstrates your expertise and the depth of your systems. Operations Manuals created by professional consultants include modern graphics, vibrant illustrations and step-by-step directions in an easy to follow and visually appealing format.

In addition to the Franchise Operations Manual, Franchisors can set themselves apart with formalized training programs which could include online learning management systems with videos, apps, mapping tools and franchisee-facing intranets. Some franchisors create dedicated classrooms or mock storefronts. Franchisors need to always keep in mind how they will be able to demonstrate the value of these tools during the franchise sales process.

Committing the proper resources to developing best-in-class training and support not only helps in the franchise sales process, but it helps to improve the odds of franchisee success.