Digital Done Right – IFA Webinar Recap

Last week, Kevin and I were honored to be a part of the International Franchise Association’s WednesdayWise Webinar series. We were even more humbled by the turnout and magnificent questions!

Just in case you didn’t get a chance to attend, we thought we’d provide a recap. Or, if you’ve got an hour, you can watch (or fast-forward) through the whole thing! The IFA and ReadyTalk kindly recorded the session for us. You can watch it here by clicking the link below:

Just in case you’d rather read, we’ve put together a pretty thorough recap:

What is Digital?

Digital: maybe the most amorphous of terms in marketing speak. What does it cover anyway? Is it paid search? Is it pre-roll? Is it mobile? Is it YouTube? Is it review sites?

The quick answer to all of this? Yes! And more. Digital has become such an obtuse word that one of two things happens:

  1. People either use it incorrectly
  2. People use it without understanding that it covers more than they actually think it does

Digital encompasses every online or mobile customer touchpoint on the customer journey. We’re sure you’re thinking, “When you put it like that, how can any company ignore it?” Why, yes—very good question. How can they? Ignoring digital is ignoring the chance to have measurable success with customers, prospects, and even potential employees or franchisee leads.

Digital & Social Media: The Ketchup & Mustard of Online Marketing

If you noticed above, when we were name dropping all of the components of digital media, you may have asked yourself, “Why is social media in there? What does Facebook have to do with display advertising?” Well, much, actually. Digital and social are mutually supportive components of an integrated marketing campaign. We even like to refer to them as the “ketchup and mustard” of online marketing. You could technically have one without the other, but that hot dog’s going to be a lot less tasty.

Photo of ketchup and mustard by Flickr's stevendepolo

The Proof You Need to Jump In

Are you still skeptical of digital’s reach? We’ve got a couple of statistics to blow your mind:

  • There are 30 trillion Web addresses (Google, 2013)
  • Google serves 100 billion searches every month (Google, 2012)
  • 25% of all search clicks are on mobile (Google, 2013)
  • By 2014, mobile devices will be the #1 way to access the internet (Forrester, 2012)
  • 78.6% of North Americans are online (Internet World Stats, 2012)
  • 67% of online adults are using social media (Pew Internet Project, 2013)
  • Engagement on social media positively correlates with likelihood to purchase (JD Power & Associates, 2013)

Not only are these stats staggering, they mean a lot in a largely B2C, service and product-oriented industry like franchising. Digital capabilities reach beyond mass targeting, and instead give you the opportunity to target locally, and by demographics, psychographics, search and sharing behavior.

Noteworthy Digital Media Components

In our presentation, Kevin and I went over several noteworthy digital media and social media components. Feel free to watch the webinar for a descriptive recap; we’ll still give a brief summary here, but we don’t want you to miss all of the goodies!

  1. Organic Search – Organic search is the bread and butter of search engines. Organic search is what Google or Bing or Yahoo! uses to qualify your website on the internet. That is, the content (and keywords) on your website, combined with your online reputation, influences where you ‘rank,’ or place, on the list of search results.
  2. Paid Search – Paid Search works in tandem with organic search to raise your keyword listing for a search query. Paid search is great because impressions are free; only clicks cost money. Paid search is a phenomenal way to conduct research on which keywords are most important to your customers. This intelligence can be used to influence organic content infused into your website and social media efforts.
  3. Display Advertising – Display advertising consists of those advertisements you see on websites. They are great for awareness and measuring direct response through targeting. They can be static, animated, flash or even pre-roll that you see before you watch a video clip online. Unlike paid search, display is sold on a cost-per-thousand-impressions or CPM basis. Though the basic measure for paid search success is cost-per-click, we recommend looking at a cost-per-conversion measure. You can read more on why here.

Noteworthy Social Media Components

Here are three social media components to consider for your brand:

  1. Monitoring – Whether you realize it or not, people are talking about your business on the internet. And not just on Facebook. On review sites, message boards, forums, blogs and news sites. Do you know what they’re saying? If not, you’re losing a valuable opportunity to address customer concerns, thank advocates, answer questions and gather customer feedback for research and development. Monitoring manually is a very difficult task, though possible; social media software can help.
  2. Social Networks – These are usually what first come to mind when talking about social media. But social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. are not just about posting content. They’re about leveraging a new customer touchpoint. This means that consistent branding, approaching each network with a content strategy, having a workflow process for community management and measuring success are all essential. While some focus strictly on brand awareness, social media can be used to drive people to your point-of-sale, whether it’s by a website referral link or a direct response through a coupon.
  3. Blogging – Blogging is a fantastic way to do several things: it allows you to present yourself as an expert in your industry; it refreshes your site content, which positively affects your search engine optimization (or position in organic search); allows you to personalize your brand; and it allows you to make connections with peers, customers and prospects in your industry. See the webinar video for steps in managing a blog presence.

Bringing It All Together: The Digital Marriage

Now that you know all of the great things that digital can accomplish, let’s talk about how we tie them all together. It all starts with strategy.

  • Who do you want to reach?
  • What product or service will you offer?
  • What do you want to say?
  • How will you measure success?
  • How will you integrate your social media and digital goals with all other marketing mediums?
  • Are franchisees working together with the zor to support brand initiatives?

Cross-Channel Optimizations: How Social & Digital Work Together

The million-dollar question:

How does digital media affect social media and its support of the overall brand?

We’re glad you asked. Digital is a unique beast in that paid search, display and email measurements are a good testing mechanism. They can all look at the effectiveness of keywords, creative and messaging among different target audiences. In this way, this intelligence can be passed onto social media to affect, again, social media and blog creative, keywords and messaging.

Similarly, content that performs exceedingly well on social platforms can be used to initiate further testing in digital. Have customers been commenting a lot around a new product or service. Maybe it’s time to buy that product name or competitors’ product names in paid search, or maybe some pre-roll can be dedicated to that new product within a certain target.

Managing the Zor/Zee Relationship in Digital

Since you’re all on the same team and all digital media tactics must start with strategy, we recommend an integrated top-down zor/zee strategy. We typically like to work with the franchisor to develop a marketing strategy, metrics, the support system and campaign support before looking to either marketing co-ops or the franchisee to support this strategy on the local level. Of course, co-op and zee feedback is encouraged throughout the relationship. After all, zees will have first-person feedback on how strategy and messaging is performing at the local level; this will influence how the zor recommends moving forward as a brand unit.

Any questions? We know there are probably several still hanging. Please feel free to either email us or make a comment in the comment section and we will happily get back to you.

We hope you walk away from this with the wheels turning. Digital is a land of possibility!

Photo Credit: Flickr’s stevendepolo

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