I have always lived by the old adage that there is no such thing as bad pizza. But then the lines get drawn. Hand tossed or deep dish? Chicago style or a New York slice? I’m not taking sides, I just like it hot.
I think about pizza a lot. So I did a quick Google search for “pizza”. As expected, the big guys (Pizza Hut and Domino’s) jump to the top. But I also got a list of local results displayed on a Google map. Ah, local search pays off. Smaller businesses, like the locally owned Roman Wheel Pizza & Sub shop, are able to get higher rankings this way, and the search results are more relevant to the end user (me).
I decided to take this idea one step further. The recession has hit Michigan hard — massive job losses in Detroit and throughout the state. But I’m an optimist, an optimist who loves a cheesy metaphor — and cheesy pizza. I imagine a new entrepreneurial spirit will rise up from the ashes of Chrysler and GM. Perfect time to open a pizza franchise, right?
Back to Google for a mini super-scientific “experiment.” This time I plugged in “pizza franchise” to see if there were any local opportunities in my area. Interesting. Little Caesar’s, a Michigan based pizza take-out company, was in the first page of natural search results. FranchiseGator, a popular directory-like site offering industry-specific franchise search options, ranked second. Otherwise, the results are a mix of directory sites and a few random mid-size pizzerias. Surprisingly, Domino’s and Pizza Hut do not show up on the first page. And Pizza Hut, one of the largest pizza franchises, was no where to be found on the first three pages of search results.
But take a look at who’s on top of the paid search results. Mr. Jim’s Pizza, of course. I like to think of PPC (Pay-Per-Click) as the David versus Goliath tactic. The David’s (and Jim’s) of the world rely on their cunning and innovative strategies to get ahead.
Clicking on Mr. Jim’s website takes me straight to a page on current franchise opportunities.
I muddled through Pizza Hut’s flash-heavy site and found nothing. All the franchise information is located on the parent site, YumFranchise.com. Not very intuitive, eh?
What This Means for the Franchisor
Growth is the name of the game for a franchise. Currently, sales of new franchises are stagnant. But talk of a changing market is promising. The unpredictability of a changing marketplace creates new opportunities — for those that are ready to take the leap. Online recruitment is less costly than traditional media and has a greater reach.
The big guys — like Pizza Hut and Domino’s — have left the door wide open for the smaller business interested in taking advantage of this time of growth. Paid Search paired with relentless search optimization, gives that leg-up on the competition.
Paid Search can seem daunting at first, but the benefits are clear. A quick run down:
- Higher visibility, better SERP ranking.
- Trackability means accountability; each unique click becomes a digital record.
- As part of an integrated digital marketing campaign, PPC drives more traffic and increases lead generation.
- Paid Search campaigns are easily incorporated and linked to social media and networking. For example, LinkedIn DirectAds offers PPC options geared towards business professionals.
For more information about online marketing for franchisors, check out this site specifically for franchisors. It’s full of information for both franchisors and their franchisees, including white papers on local search.