Tumisu / Pixabay

In most franchise systems, the franchisees contribute money for regional and national advertising. In return, they expect the franchise’s national marketing team to run ad campaigns — including digital campaigns via search, social, display, video, and email — that deliver leads that convert to customers. However, 63% of franchisors rank generating leads as their biggest marketing challenge. Nearly a third of franchisors list converting leads to customers as an additional hurdle.

For many types of franchises (including home services, business services, auto care, senior care, tutoring and education, and more), inbound calls are the most popular and valuable conversion. Purchases from these types of franchises are either highly considered or urgent. Those making highly considered purchases prefer to speak with a real person who can answer their questions, guide them through the nuances of the product or service, and book appointments. Those making urgent purchases need the immediacy of the phone conversation — they don’t have time to fill out a web form and wait for a response.

To optimize their digital advertising ROI, franchise marketers are taking a data-driven approach to inbound calls. By harnessing the power of call analytics, franchise marketers can not only drive more leads to their franchisees — but also convert more of those leads to customers.

1. Personalize the Caller Experience

When consumers call, they expect to get the right assistance right away. It’s important to connect them quickly in conversation with the right franchisee or call center agent immediately. To do it, franchise marketers are using call analytics data — including the keyword and webpage the person called from, their location and history, and day and time of the call — to automatically route each caller to the location or agent for the best result.

Callers hate to wait on hold. So if you have certain ads or keywords with a proven track record of generating high-converting leads — which you can determine from call analytics reports — make sure those callers get answered right away. Have them “jump the line” by sending them to a priority queue for high-value callers where an agent can assist them immediately.

When calls come in, many franchises are now passing information on the caller and marketing source that drove the call (channel, ad, keyword, etc.) to their franchisees before they start the call. By knowing a caller’s online activity before a call, franchisees can better anticipate caller needs, deliver a seamless online-to-offline experience, and tailor the conversation to win the sale.

2. Measure Marketing ROI and Franchise Performance

Franchise marketers should analyze what happens on calls they generate from their digital (and offline) advertising. Analyzing conversations provides a wealth of information on callers, their intent, and the value of calls from each marketing source you can use to make smarter optimizations. For example, you can learn which ads, keywords, and programs drive the best sales calls, how well franchisee locations or agents are performing, and why calls did or did not convert to customers.

Analyzing how calls are handled also helps you detect and correct issues that negatively impact ROI. You can see what percentage of calls aren’t being answered at each franchisee location, if long on-hold times result in high call abandon rates, and which locations or agents are best (and worst) at converting callers to customers. You can view reports on calls that were good leads to any location or agent but didn’t convert and determine the next best action (call back, email offer, retargeting campaign) to get them to become a customer.

3. Target Past Callers and Lookalikes with the Right Ads

Digital advertising is ruthlessly competitive. Success can hinge on your ability to show the right ad to the right person at the right time for the right price. Most franchisors target consumers using things like location, device, and demographic data, but what about phone calls? Your callers provide a wealth of targeting data you can use to more effectively acquire new customers, retarget callers who failed to convert, and re-engage past customers.

When someone calls one of your franchisee locations, that call can be a powerful signal indicating how that person wants to engage, as well as their purchasing intent and overall value. Use that data to determine not only how to remarket to that caller across search, Facebook, and display, but to target similar caller-ready audiences with the optimum ad messaging, landing page creative, call to action, and bid amount to convert them to customers.

Case Study: Comfort Keepers Uses Machine Learning to Categorize Calls to Franchisees

Comfort Keepers is one of the nation’s leading providers of in-home care for seniors, with over 450 franchise locations across the US. Phone calls make up 70% of their marketing conversions, and they use AI from DialogTech to automatically analyze the calls they drive to each franchisee to determine lead quality.

Machine-learning algorithms analyze what’s said on each call to determine if the caller is a potential new customer, a current customer, someone applying for a job as a caregiver, or some other type of call. For new callers, the AI also scores the call to measure lead quality. This data enables the Comfort Keepers marketing team to not only optimize for the channels driving the most business, but also prove the full value of their marketing campaigns to franchisee.

Comfort Keepers Targets New Audiences Likely to Call

If someone calls a Comfort Keepers location and converts to a customer, the marketing team is able to add that caller to their lookalike display campaigns. It enables them to more effectively find new quality audiences that resemble those good callers. Comfort Keepers can then target them with display ads encouraging them to call a Comfort Keepers location. Over 6 weeks, this caller-modeling audience tactic generated 4x more calls than the next best tactic.

“DialogTech is outstanding. It helps us understand exactly how our marketing is driving calls, so we can optimize our digital efforts and ad spend to focus on bringing in clients,” said Bryan Huber, Global Director of Digital Marketing at Comfort Keepers.

To learn more franchise marketing best practices, download our Secret to Franchise Marketing: Inbound Calls eBook.