Pay per click (PPC) marketing should be a primary tool in the franchise marketing toolkit. When set up and managed properly, a franchise PPC account allows for easy budget allocation and hyper-targeted ad distribution across the franchise network, ensuring that each location is getting its fair share of its marketing investment.
However, just because two locations in similar sized markets are receiving the same amount of media spend, doesn’t mean they will see the same results in terms of leads and sales. Savvy PPC marketers can usually diagnose an underperforming campaign very quickly by analyzing performance data provided within the PPC account. But, what happens when the analysis shows no discrepancies in the amount or quality of traffic being driven for each franchisee? And what if all the creative elements – ads, banners and landing pages – are similar as well?
When all of the campaign variables for multiple locations appear to be similar (impressions, clicks, cost-per-click, average position, etc.), but the return on investment for campaigns differs widely from one location to another, it’s time to assess what’s happening when visitors decide to take action. Something is likely happening “downstream,” and it’s causing customers to not convert. If you’re stuck trying to decipher the “Why?” behind the performance of your franchise PPC campaigns, keep reading.
1. “Hello? Is anyone there?”
If your PPC campaigns are driving form-fills, calls and emails to franchisee locations, effective phone reception and timely follow-up are critical. Unfortunately, not all franchisees will be equal when it comes to answering the phone and following-up with leads.
If a franchisee doesn’t answer the phone or respond to emails, no amount of PPC optimization will overcome the problem. Converting leads is equally important to driving leads. Additional things to look out for include long hold times and unfriendly or untrained receptionists. Phone tracking software and ‘secret shopper’ tactics are good tools for investigating a potential reception issue at underperforming franchises.
2. What’s the schedule look like?
For service-oriented organizations that need to schedule appointments with customers, availability will be an important driver of success.
Franchisees with busy or inconvenient schedules will turn customers away since their prospects and customers can’t get the service they need in a timely or convenient manner. When comparing franchisee performance from a PPC perspective, be sure to consider how easy it is for prospects to do business with one location versus another.
3. Assessing competition
Although two franchisees can be in markets that are similar from a size and demographic perspective, it is important to consider that the competition near each location may be very different.
Increased competition can result in higher competition for ad space and higher PPC costs, which can be easily identified when comparing PPC data between locations. However, this is not always the case. A review of the ‘Impression Share’ report within Adwords for instance, can provide insight into the number of competitors and the budgets you are up against in a specific geography.
Increased competition will also likely result in more ‘window shopping’ on behalf of customers, and thus lower conversion rates. It can be valuable to look deeply at the local competitors’ offerings; Are they offering promotions, or perhaps a wider selection, that simply makes their products or services more appealing to customers? These types of competitive advantages are impossible to overcome through PPC alone.
4. Online reviews
Consumer reviews are everywhere online, and they are a big driver in a consumer’s purchasing decisions. If a franchisee’s online reviews are weak, it should be no surprise that the revenue they are generating from PPC (or any digital marketing endeavor) is underperforming. When comparing franchisee performance across locations, be sure to compare online reviews and ratings that are showing up on search results alongside ads.
5. Looking at the entire PPC picture
Today’s PPC platforms offer many different ways to analyze and refine performance. But, don’t fall in the trap of assuming that all PPC performance issues can be solved by changing a bid, a setting, or a keyword. Instead, take a more holistic perspective and view the landscape through your consumer’s eyes and what they are experiencing when shopping for your product or service online.