There is arguably no other advertising medium that is more data-driven than paid search. What other advertising medium gives you the detailed metrics that you can get doing PPC? One of the most frequent business types that I work with are organizations with head office/franchisee relationships. Managing campaigns so that a head office can easily pull relevant data for each of its franchise owners can be a challenge.
Allocating unique budgets, measuring conversions, ensuring accurate billing – the list goes on. Here are three critical concepts for any franchise business to consider when running a paid search campaign.
1.) Campaign Structure
A common misconception about paid search is that campaign settings and structure is a secondary consideration when setting up a new campaign. People usually initiate campaigns setups with only minimal settings, with the idea that a basic structure can be restructured if need be. This approach is short sighted!
It is crucial that in advance of setting up a paid search campaign that a franchise business strategizes thoroughly about how their campaign structure should be setup. In the case of franchises, it is of the utmost importance to have dedicated campaigns by region, zone or geographical location. By mapping out the campaign structure properly in the very beginning, proper reporting will be possible right from the outset.
This will also give the person managing that campaign greater control of settings, like location targeting, budget and ad extensions. For products like Google AdWords, you can only program settings like location at the campaign level. It is therefore critical that you set each campaign by the geographical area that you want your ads, AdGroups and keywords to be targeted to.
If you have 100 service location within a country, it would make sense to group these campaigns into like zones and make each AdGroup within that campaign a franchise location. The Google algorithm will then serve the most relevant ad based upon a host of variables so that a user within that zone is finding what they are looking for.
In summary, creating a blueprint or map for your campaign structure right at the beginning may take some extra time, but the end result will be campaigns that are far more easy to scale and build upon. The end result is better campaign performance, less campaign restructuring, less labour intensive work and more manageable reporting.
2.) Landing Pages
So you have set up a sound campaign structure for your franchise business, now what?
Campaign structure is only a third of the battle! The other major consideration is where your ads are going to point to.
- Do relevant landing pages already exist?
- Are you able to build unique pages related directly to the content of the campaigns?
- Does each franchise have its very own unique page?
- Do you have a point at which to measure conversions?
If your franchise business website is a generic portal for contact information you could be limiting performance based on relevancy. In most cases I recommend having a dedicated page for each and every location. Of course, each franchise company is different but by having a unique page you are giving the website visitor a good idea of geographic location, and also offer related information.
For Google AdWords, relevant local content is king! Tailoring ads and keywords to a specific area only goes so far. If a person clicks on your ad and doesn’t feel the landing page speaks to their local interest or they have to waste time finding the section of the site that is relevant to them, you could very easily lose that visitor. In fact, the more you make them look around the higher the risk of losing that visitor that you paid for.
3.) Tracking, Reporting, & Billing
Now, you have a sound campaign structure, you have geo-targeted landing pages for each location (or group of locations), how do you allocate market spend by franchisee?
Rarely does a client have the ability to categorize leads into the various channels in which they were produced. Even if a business can identify these sales/leads, how would they know which franchisee gets the credit and who foots the bill?
There are a few products out there that can help with this. The one we use track leads is a lead management and nurturing system called AdLuge. Once setup leads by emails and phone calls send into the system and report where the lead came from. Some of these sources can be Paid Search, Organic Search, Facebook Ads, or Direct Sources.
One of the things that has been added specifically for franchises is a tagging system. When a website visitor fills out a form on the website they can enter unique information (such as a postal code). The lead is then categorized under the relevant campaign and head office is then able to understand all of the leads registered under a given ad campaign and/or geographic region. Head office can also assign leads to various franchisees and mark these leads for follow up and follow them through the sales cycle.
The real value added with this service is trending lead metrics monthly or yearly with the added bonus of listening to phone calls to validate lead quality. There is also an ROI calculator built-in so that a client can use to pinpoint what the return on investment is for paid search or any other channel.
There is often tremendous debate internally and externally amongst larger organizations with regards to the effectiveness of paid search as an effective marketing vehicle. Generally the push back for running paid search is quickly mitigated with some quality data. The next challenge tends to be making paid search work on a large scale for a multiple stakeholders such as franchisees. This is often the stepping stone where many franchise businesses find themselves limited or unable to overcome the challenges involved with proving out the business case for paid search.
If the above three fundamental concepts are followed the chance of success increases exponentially. It is recommended to let an experienced person (in many cases a third-party) assist in the setup and execution of these campaigns. The benefits to the franchise organization?
- Significantly reduce frustration and better return on your marketing dollars
- Understand clearly the precise cost per lead for each franchise location
- Better results