How to Market Your Franchise Online for Free

Owning a franchise or small business is work enough. It’s hard to budget time to market your business and gain new customers. And yet you’re missing out on a huge population of customers if you don’t use digital marketing to your advantage.

“82 percent of smartphone users consult their phones before making a purchase in-store.” – Forbes

So how can you reach these people and stay within budget?

 

Three Free Advertising Ideas for Small Businesses

 

There are lots of ways to advertise your business online for free.

Below, we dive into the top three ways to start marketing your franchise, free of charge:

 

1. Use Google My Business for Free Marketing

 

A well-optimized Google My Business (GMB) listing is a great way to reach your target audience. And you’ll be ahead of the competition because more than half of small businesses haven’t claimed their GMB listing, let alone optimized it.

 

screenshot of pointa's google my business listing

Your Google My Business listing shows up in search results for service queries and more.

 

Here are three ways to use GMB to its full potential, without spending money:

  1. Fully Optimize Your GMB Listing – Ensure consistency with your name, address and phone across your website and listing. Utilize as many fields as possible and complete your listing with photos, videos, logos – anything to add more color. This is our guide to optimizing your listing for people searching for local businesses, and this blog helps you rank for services in neighboring markets.
  2. Encourage Online Reviews – Encourage customers to review your business on GMB. When they do, it sends signals to Google that your business is popular and that bumps you up in local search results.
  3. Treat it Like a Social Media Tool –Google My Business is worth posting to, especially for local businesses. The posts are a combination of images, text and a call-to-action that captures viewers’ attention. Moz, a leading SEO platform, found GMB posts are viewed more than direct / branded views (views when users search for your business). It’s best to post once a week. You can manage that, right?

 

2. Content Marketing is (Nearly) Free Advertising

 

Content marketing is creating blogs, photos, videos and more about your business to attract customers and set yourself apart as the thought-leader in your industry, or locally in your service area.

We say content marketing is nearly free because it’s a more elaborate form of free online marketing. You’re going to spend some time doing research, creating content and promoting it. When you’re a one-man operation struggling to advertise your business, this is not the easiest route to go, though it is “free” and incredibly effective.

In fact, 70 percent of customers would prefer to learn about a company through an article instead of a paid advertisement. Content marketing also consistently results in 3x the number of leads. And as consumers move further and further away from traditional ads, content marketing is a great way to gain their trust.

 

man sitting at computer

Content marketing is a way to build trust with your online customer base for free.

 

3. Social Media Is a Great Free Online Marketing Tool for Small Businesses

 

While we typically consider social media as an ingredient to successful content marketing, we wanted to emphasize it separately as a great way to market your business online for free. Take the time to figure out which social media networks you should be on and embrace the beauty that is social media.

Keys to marketing your business with social media:

  • After you’ve taken the time to determine which networks are right for your business, develop a strategy for posting. Take advantage of the built-in analytics and tools like Facebook for Businesses. Just posting won’t do much; you need a little strategy behind it.
  • As a local business, your priority is building and keeping relationships with customers. Focus on customer interactions and customer service with your social media. Have you ever complained about a brand’s customer service through social media? You’re not alone, and 67 percent of customers have used social media to reach a brand with a customer service issue. It’s a great way to reach customers.

 

screenshot of a positive customer interaction with mcdonald's on twitter

Good customer service and an easy way to ask for a positive review from social media

 

  • Use social media to tie together all your free marketing efforts. So, post those blogs and images you created for your content marketing efforts to your social media, too, and let the platform and your followers do the rest.

 

Know When Free Online Advertising Isn’t Enough

 

If you feel you’ve exhausted all our free advertising ideas for small businesses, or want to scale the free strategies that are already working for you, don’t hesitate to reach out. We specialize in franchise and small business marketing and have the tools to get you seen, for a budget that makes sense.

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