Everyone who’s ever worked for themselves knows the deal – one minute, you’re working flat out with not a minute to spare; the next, nothing’s on the boil! This feast-or-famine cycle is quite typical of small businesses, and there are a number of reasons why this is so – some businesses are seasonal (think landscaping, where there’s more work in the summer months, or retail outlets which are busier during the holidays); but sometimes the lull is down to the franchise owner letting go of marketing and promotions efforts when business is good. Turn quiet times into productive times by working through this checklist, and see your franchise thrive!
#1 Revamp Your Website
Although the overwhelming majority of consumers are now turning to the internet to find service providers, reports Search Engine Land an alarming 50% of small businesses fail to update online listings, and whatsmore (gulp!) half of all small businesses don’t even have websites. Now’s the time to change that! If you don’t yet have a website, grab a cup of coffee, power up the interweb and find yourself a web developer. If you do have a site, but it hasn’t been updated in a while, have a scroll through every page, taking note of outdated information. Pay particular attention to:
- Contact details
- Staff profiles
- Service offerings
- Product lines
- Spelling, grammar and style issues
- Search engine optimisation.
#2 Write a Blog Post
A blog is one of the very best ways to drive search traffic to your website. Despite this, UK content marketing platform Passle points out that just one in eight businesses in that country have an updated blog. That’s a pity, because despite the increase in traffic it brings, a blog which is updated regularly and consistently (once a month is doable for franchises with limited resources) gives a favourable impression to website visitors – that your franchise is current, on top of things, up to speed with the latest industry trends and, by extension, a credible business. Better get blogging – or if you can’t write or don’t know what to write about, like 42% of businesses in the Passle study reported, commission someone who can!
#3 Update Your Social Media Profiles
Social media is a great channel for small businesses because it’s accessible to the technically challenged. This is an easy one, and fun – grab your camera (smartphone will do, too) and photograph customers enjoying your products or services, or shoot a short video demonstrating how to use them. Post to social media with an appropriate hashtag, and there you go – job done! Try and do this a few times a week, even when you’re busy, to ensure that your social media channels remain current.
#4 Do a Spot of Online Reputation Management
Following on from above, do check up on what folks are saying about you on various social media platforms, and on the internet. You can do this by using the search function to search for your business name. Respond to any negative comments and repost the positive comments. You can even embed those compliments on your website by copying and pasting the embed code in your website’s code.
#5 Touch Base with Previous Clients
Send an email or give them a courtesy call to find out how they are, mention that you haven’t seen them in a while and ask if you can help them in anyway. Extend a special offer or give a gift voucher to entice them back to your franchise outlet.
#6 Ask Satisfied Clients for Testimonials
Call or email your regulars and ask them if they’d be willing to give you a testimonial. Publish these testimonials on your website and share them to your social media accounts.
#7 Send Out Marketing Packs
Every business should have a list of potential clients – if you don’t have one, start here! Make up a marketing pack comprising business cards, company profile, samples, gift voucher and/or free gift and send off to potential clients.
#8 Electronic Tidy Up!
Just like our physical spaces, electronic spaces get cluttered, too! Get cracking on tidying up the files on your computer – delete the ones you no longer need, place documents in appropriate files, and files in appropriate folders, update software and antivirus programmes and back up your system!
#9 Freshen up your Franchise
Your physical premises are an extension of your franchise brand. Every part of your franchise outlet should contribute positively to your customer’s brand experience. If you’ve got a window display, give it a revamp. Make sure your reception area is clean and tidy. Deep clean the carpets. Give the walls a fresh coat of paint and invest in some new soft furnishings. Get new handtowels for your bathrooms. Little details go a long way!
Bonus Tip 1: Tidy Up!
Physical clutter equals mental clutter. Take this time to give your office and desk a good clear out. File away loose papers, put files back on shelves, tidy up stationery and odd bits and bobs and give that desk a polish, as well.
Bonus Tip 2: Have Some Downtime…
Being a franchise owner invariably means working longer hours than the average office worker. Take some time out to recharge your batteries. Get some fresh air and exercise to lift your spirits and boost your brain power. Read a business book or biography for inspiration. Spend time with the family. Then come back out, fighting!