Business Franchise Australia


The Future-Proof Franchise — Survival of the Fittest in the Digital Age

Over the past two years, the news has been laden with the stories of the two-thirds of businesses* who have experienced downturn and hardship as a result of the pandemic. With the threat of a recession looming, skilled worker shortages and supply chain issues, these tragic stories are not going anywhere anytime soon.
But what about the other third of businesses? How is it that while there are those who are barely surviving, there are those facing the exact same conditions who are thriving in the face of adversity?

It’s the age-old story of those who take the offence with creativity opposed to those who take the defence who struggle to stay afloat.
According to Australian digital marketing service of nearly 30 years Localsearch, their 28,000+ clients have seen incredible growth over the past two years, with the secret being staying current and being diverse in your approach.

“At the start of the pandemic, we received a constant stream of phone calls and emails from businesses panicking and wanting to turn off their marketing to pinch pennies,” says Localsearch’s National Account Manager, Ben Reynolds.

“For businesses who took our advice to stick it out and adapt their strategy, there were stories of not only being able to keep their doors open but having to bring on more staff to keep up with the demand. Their competitors who weren’t with us had to shut up shop and brace, while they used their online presence to skyrocket their results.”

The award-winning digital marketing provider says franchises, like the hundreds of O’Brien Electrical & Plumbing Members they support, have used affordable solutions, such as Google My Business Optimisation, to future-proof their businesses against the unpredictable.

“A website and Google My Business — recently renamed to Google Business Profile — are two things no franchise can truly survive without in 2022 and beyond,” says Mr. Reynolds.
“It’s not as expensive as many people think. With what we’ve done with our packages, it’s possible to get online for less than a few dollars a day.”

But what results might you be looking at if you heed this advice?

“Take O’Brien Electrical Bundaberg for instance…,” says Mr. Reynolds.

“In 90 days, they saw a 19% increase in calls thanks to optimising their Google My Business. Another one is O’Brien Plumbing & Roofing Port Macquarie who saw an 83% increase in traffic to their website, and that’s on top of 250+ phone calls they received through Google. It’s seriously that easy and I have countless stories like these.”

O’Brien’s Head of Commercial & Systems for the Electrical & Plumbing Division, Ashley Clemmett, says working with Localsearch has not only benefited the individual franchises themselves, but the head office team also.

“The results Localsearch has achieved for our O’Brien Electrical & Plumbing members speak for themselves,” says Mr. Clemmett.

“However, having Localsearch come on board as an approved supplier for our franchise members has helped our head office team immensely, freeing up our time to focus on other areas of growth for the business and our franchise members.”

Localsearch’s top tips for growing your online presence:

1. Localise your website

A website is a staple for any business. As a franchise, you likely have a website already — but that’s only half the battle.

“A website is literally your business in the digital world,” says Mr. Reynolds.

“While your franchise name can help with your reputation, ensuring your website showcases how local you are is just as important for securing new business. It’s a fine balance of having a professional website, but also one that performs for your business.”

As well as showing your local connection, your website also needs to satisfy Google. When building a website to grow your online presence locally, things you need to consider include:

  • Optimising your content for your location.
  • Utilising images for further search appearances.
  • Providing a good user experience.
  • Building specific location pages, if needed.

And more.

2.Optimise your online listings, including Google My Business.

We already know how effective Google My Business is, but also became Australia’s 86th largest website (by organic regional traffic according to SEMrush).
Aside from the customers who can find you on online directories, search engines also use them to learn more about your business and how the public views your business. “Google only wants to recommend businesses that are trusted,” says Mr. Reynolds.

“So, it’s important to be putting your business on Google My Business and other online directories, getting reviews and optimising your profiles to show them who is one of the best.”
When optimising your profiles, ensure you are:

  • Ensuring your business name, address and phone number are consistent online.
  • Regularly updating your content, including using post features.
  • Optimising your profile for keywords based on service and location.
  • Including images and visual content.
  • Getting reviews and responding to them.

3. Don’t be fooled by vanity metrics.

In the digital marketing world, vanity metrics are those that look good, but don’t provide value to your business. An example of this is what search results your website shows up under on Google. While getting to the top of searches for your business name is great, it should also be given. It’s ranking at the top of search results for what you do, where you do it, that matters.

O’Brien’s Head of Commercial & Systems for the Electrical & Plumbing Division, Ashley Clemmett, says their secret to transparent results across their 150+ O’Brien Electrical & Plumbing members is Localsearch’s Nucleus performance dashboard.

“The analytical dashboard Localsearch provides as a complimentary addition with all services allows head office to see the results of marketing activities across all our different franchise members all in one place,” says Mr. Clemmett.

“It’s another way they help save us time, plus we can see the growth of our franchise members through Localsearch’s services too.”

For more information about Localsearch, their digital marketing services and more tips on growing your online presence,