While your franchisor may provide you with some marketing tools (visuals to display in your store, campaigns to participate in), it’s important that your franchise have its own marketing strategy. And that includes content marketing. Read on to find out why content is such an essential part of attracting new customers.
What is Content Marketing?
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, content marketing refers to providing useful information in the form of digestible pieces of content online. That could include:
Guest blog posts (writing for sites other than your own)
Ebooks and whitepapers
People are searching for information online. The idea is that if you provide that information, people are more likely to turn to you for the solution to their problem.
Why It Works
Let’s say you’re using content marketing, and have written several articles for your coffee franchise’s blog on topics like choosing the perfect bean, health benefits of coffee, and what caffeine is really all about. You share that content on your social media sites, and people are clicking to read it.
Now let’s say someone is looking for a place to have coffee in their neighborhood, and Starbucks simply won’t do. If they’ve read your content, they already have at least a basic familiarity with your brand, and therefore will be more likely to choose you.
The other added benefit is SEO: when you write content that resonates with people, that content ranks higher on search engines. The higher you appear on search results, the more traffic you will get to your website, and the more traffic you will get to your store. When there are dozens, if not hundreds, of competitors in your area, you need every advantage you can get. Content marketing is a wonderful tool if used correctly.
Where to Start
This is all great, but I don't have a clue where to start, you say. Lucky for you I am a content marketing master! The key to beginning is to start with what you can easily manage. If you don't have time to write a blog post every single day, don't set yourself up to do so. Remember that you can hire a marketing professional to help you if you don't feel up to the task on your own. It's better to spend money on someone who can help you than to not do it at all.
I suggest starting with just one or two blog posts a week on your website. Focus on topics that your audience cares about. Think about:
Common questions your audience has
Problems you customers have
Once you start to get traffic to your blog, you will get a sense of what topics are the most popular, and you can write more of those. Once you have mastered blogging, look into other areas of content marketing. Not everyone ingests content the same way, so you can mix it up by using infographics for the visually inclined, videos, and podcasts.
The more content you provide, the more you become seen as a thought leader in your industry. And that is what helps build trust between potential customers and your brand.
Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, a marketing firm specializing in content writing and social media management. She’s written three business books, including How to Get More Customers With Press Releases, and frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, The Marketing Eggspert Blog, and Tweak Your Biz. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.