How do we increase lead generation for franchise development

lead-generationThe one thing that keeps a franchise growing is constant lead generation. A public relations agency that specializes in franchise development can help in many ways. Ripley PR can accomplish this goal for your company by developing a comprehensive public relations strategy to develop and execute a plan to increase your leads.

Here are a few of the ways that a public relations can help your lead generation efforts:

  • Positive media coverage – A good franchise public relations firm knows the best publications and markets to reach your target audience. Media coverage will act as a third party endorsement of your brand and messaging and can drive positive coverage for your franchise brand.
  • Create Brand Awareness – Having a clear, consistent brand will increase credibility within your industry. A consistent brand voice through your website, blogs and social media presence is essential for lead generation. Branding and consistency builds relationships and trust, because people feel like they personally know your company.
  • Position you as an expert – When someone is considering investing in a franchise, they do a lot of research on not only the market and investment but they want to hear what the “experts” have to say. If you have an experienced franchise public relations agency, they can position you as an expert in your field of specialty.

If you want to gain a competitive advantage, show your expertise and position yourself as an industry leader, public relations can help.  At Ripley PR, we help you generate valuable leads and drive measurable results.

Jennifer Rice

Posted by Jennifer Rice on March 24, 2017


If you’ve got it, flaunt it

How becoming a thought leader can impact your business’ bottom line

No matter your industry, your customers have pain points. They have problems that need solutions, they have questions that need answers, and they need someone like you to be able to point them in the right direction.

While your business is undoubtedly addressing these pain points with your current customers, how good of a job are you doing at providing potential customers with the confidence they need to know they should go with your company over the competition?

One of the best ways to instill confidence in potential customers is through thought leadership.

What is thought leadership?

Thought leadership is a type of B2B public relations with the simple goal of sharing your knowledge and expertise, without promotion, for the benefit of others. Thought leadership also produces a bonus side effect: positive brand awareness.

Thought leadership - B2B public relationsBy sharing your knowledge and expertise with others, you are able to create affinity for your brand. This is not to be confused with simply talking about your experience, however. As an example, which would you rather read:

  • An in-depth article about how the author faced a similar challenge that your business is facing and the steps he/she took to overcome it?

Or:

  • An article that talks about how great the author is at solving challenges like the one your business is facing but with no clear definition of how a solution was made?

It’s not enough (or even that helpful) to talk about what you know. Instead you must show your audience that you know enough to help them. This not only makes your audience more interested in reading your article, it also creates a level of trust between you and the reader because you were able to give them helpful (and hopefully actionable) advice—advice they’ll remember when it comes time to select a new business partner for their needs.

This is not to say that you have to give away the store, so to speak, but there’s enough knowledge to go around that you can provide your thoughts in a way that helps your audience while still being able to get paid for the work you do.

If you’re not addressing customer pain points as a genuine resource of knowledge and expertise, give Ripley PR a call at 865-977-1973. We have experience developing content that resonates with a variety of B2B industries and can help you create the positive brand awareness you need to improve your business’ bottom line.

JD Sizemore - Senior Brand Manager

Posted by JD Sizemore - Senior Brand Manager on March 22, 2017


Why it’s important to have a franchise social media policy

Think about the social media presence of your franchise. (If you don’t have a social media presence, we need to talk.) Social media usually consists of a combination of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for promotion, engagement and interaction with customers. Franchisees are often encouraged to post to their own social media accounts to promote their locations. If you are an owner, ask yourself a question—do you have a social media policy? If not, this would be a great time for you to talk to the franchise public relations experts at Ripley PR to help create your policy. Franchise social media policy

Why is a social media policy important? The reasons include:

Responsibility:
Social media can be tricky for businesses, especially if there are employees that are posting questionable content. We know about this from personal experience. We had a client who had received a message at their corporate location regarding an employee who was saying horrific things on their own personal social media pages. The problem? Front and center on their social pages was information that stated they were employed by our client. Having a social media policy in place allowed the client to take action against the employee immediately.

Protection:
Having a social media policy in place can also offer protection against potential employee actions. While it may seem like common sense for an employee not to share the “secret sauce” that helps a business to succeed, specific policies against sharing proprietary information can help protect your company. In addition, a disgruntled employee that makes false claims on social media can be dealt with more effectively if a policy is in place.

Brand Awareness and Consistency:
Your brand can be the most important component to growth. Without a social media policy in place regarding what can and can’t be posted, claims might be made that could damage your overall brand reputation. Supplying content that is approved prior to posting will allow for better control of your brand integrity.

Having social media outlets is important to reach potential customers and owners. Social media can enhance your overall marketing efforts and drive significant, positive results for locations. Incorporating a social media policy to protect from harm makes smart business sense and can help prevent pitfalls for your brand. If you need assistance in crafting your policy, the team at Ripley PR can help.


Awards are important: Why your business should want to win

As a business leader you know recognition is important. You want your company to win awards, but you’re not sure it’s a good investment in time or money.

In some cases, the awards come with tangible benefits such as workshops, coaching, advice or membership in an association. There is a vast variety of awards to choose from whether it’s local or national. They could be industry based or demand very specific criteria.

With company resources sometimes stretched, putting your business forward for awards is not always top of mind. A B2B public relations agency can help. Here are five reasons why entering your company for an award could be a good idea:

  1. Benchmarking with others in your industry – Sometimes the application process is simple and easy, other times, not so much. Either way, entering the arena and trying to win a business award allows you the opportunity to compare your company with others in your industry. The entire exercise of nominating your business could hold more value for your company than actually winning the award.
  2. Awards increase credibility for your company – Winning a business award provides a credible third party endorsement for your company. Depending upon how prestigious the award is, it could give a stamp of approval on your business. Customers and vendor partners will feel better about their business relationship with your company.
  3. Free or inexpensive PR and marketing – Awards can be an overlooked tool in your business toolbox. Simply being listed as a nominee for an award can improve brand awareness and promote your business to new customers. Winning an award opens doors to new business and new contacts.
  4. Employees feel better too – Staff morale and motivation often improve when a company wins a business award. Celebrate the victory with your employees. You all deserve it.
  5. Awards help with recruiting – Business awards can help a business attract the best talent. Everyone wants to work for a winner.

Awards celebrate hard work and success and are great PR opportunities. However, it’s not just winning the award that counts. The process of being nominated is often worth the effort. Work with a strong B2B public relations agency to get the most out of the awards that are available in your industry.

If any of the above resonates with you and your business, we at Ripley PR would love to talk with you. Not only are we a B2B public relations agency, we know we can deliver awards for your business to bring you what you richly deserve.

John Cherry

Posted by John Cherry on March 10, 2017


7 Tips to Get the Most out of LinkedIn

How to get the most out of LinkedInLinkedIn has long been popular with B2B companies to achieve their marketing goals. This social media platform has remained popular with college graduates and high-income earners, based on a recent study from the Pew Research Center.  Half (50 percent) of online adults with college degrees are on LinkedIn and 45 percent of online adults with an annual household income of $75,000 or more use LinkedIn. Compared to Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is the top lead generation tool for B2B marketers.

So how can you and your business get the most out of LinkedIn?

Here are seven tips to make LinkedIn a more valuable tool.

Work on your profile

Make sure you give a good impression. Use an industry-appropriate photo and where possible, use professional shots. Various studies have shown that LinkedIn profiles with photos get more views. Add a short summary of your profile and use carefully–selected keywords to enhance the search engine optimization (SEO) for your page.

Personalize your profile URL

The standard setting of your profile URL contains random numbers and letters and can be confusing. Customize your URL in your profile settings and make sure to share it with your network.

Make your profile visible

You can control what appear when people search for you or your business on LinkedIn. On your profile page, click on “Edit your public profile” and make sure your public profile is set to be visible to everyone so people can easily find you.

Connect with others and build a network

After connecting with your existing contacts, figure out who matters most for your business and find easy ways to engage. This includes joining industry groups on LinkedIn, liking, sharing and commenting on posts that you find interesting, and requesting introductions for people you want to engage with.

Write an article

This is a great way to leverage your knowledge and position yourself as an expert in your industry. Existing contacts will get a notification when you publish your article which will help you to stay top of mind and create more opportunities to connect with others.

Check the time

It’s not enough just to post content on LinkedIn. The time you do it is also a key factor. Unfortunately, there is no golden rule for the best time to post. This depends on your business, the audience you’re trying to reach, the time zone and more. There is ample data out there for the optimal times to post on LinkedIn. Hubspot created an infographic based on a collection of data from a variety of sources to give this guideline:

  • 7:30-8:30 a.m., 12:00 p.m. and 5:00-6:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursdays are the best.
  • Tuesdays from 10:00-11:00 a.m. EST is a great time to get shares

Set aside 5-10 minutes daily to check LinkedIn

Spending a few minutes a day on LinkedIn engaging with your connections can go a long way in helping you build your network and making the most of this powerful tool. Download the app onto your phone to use those few minutes in between meetings to check in.

For more information about ways to use social media platforms to help grow your business, contact Ripley PR today.

 

Celeste Vlok

Posted by Celeste Vlok on March 10, 2017


Three reasons why your manufacturing company needs PR

public-relations-ripley-prRipley PR specializes in manufacturing public relations and one question that we get asked often is “why in the world does a manufacturing company need PR?” There are three excellent reasons why these businesses need public relations.

  • Recruiting – The industry in seeing a shortage in skilled workers. A good PR campaign can educate the public on what your manufacturing company does and assist with attracting the best workforce.
  • Crisis management – Manufacturing can be a risky business, and although your business is no doubt doing everything possible to prevent the worst, accidents do happen. It is not a matter of if a crisis occurs, it is more a matter of When these accidents happen, your company’s reputation is at risk and advanced planning is the key to your company’s survival. A PR agency can put together a crisis plan to help you handle the situation correctly.
  • Credibility –The manufacturing industry is highly specialized, you need a good PR company that can position you and your business as an expert. This will boost your business’s credibility in the industry. Dedicated outreach using press releases, and articles in trade publications can increase your business’s credibility in the industry.

If you need assistance in understanding how Manufacturing PR can grow your business, contact Ripley PR

Jennifer Rice

Posted by Jennifer Rice on March 8, 2017


The trade show isn’t dead, you’re just not doing it right

Three ways to boost your brand at the next trade show

Trade Show - Boosting your brand - Ripley PRIt doesn’t take much research to see and hear why health IT companies have scaled back from trade show involvement:

“Everything is digital nowadays.”

“It costs too much.”

“We don’t see a return on our investment.”

There are numerous reasons why companies scale back, however are these the real reason trade shows aren’t working for them?

According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, the average company allocates a little over 30 percent of their marketing budget to trade shows, but 70 percent of these companies set no specific objectives for their trade show exhibits.

If you’re looking to boost your brand (say at next year’s HIMSS conference), face-to-face interactions at trade shows still matter, but you have to look past the gimmicks and the ho-hum “off to another trade show…” lull and replace them with the proper strategy to ensure you get the most out of your trade show investment.

  1. Set measurable objectives – Why are you at this trade show? Are you showing off a new product? Are you trying to meet new contacts in the industry? Do you want new customers? New vendor partnerships? New investors? Whatever your objectives, define them and set quantifiable (and reasonable) goals to meet them.
  2. Create awareness – If you’re not reaching out and generating awareness with your target audience, how are they going to know that you’re even at a trade show? Press releases, e-blasts and pre-show interviews are just a few of the ways you should be engaging trade show visitors to get them to visit your exhibit.
  3. Choose the right staff – Face-to-face interactions are what trade shows are all about. If you’re not making the impact you want at a trade show, the problem could be your staff. Just because someone is a trade show veteran doesn’t necessarily make them the best fit for a trade show. Ideally you want to staff your show with people who are, first and foremost, open and unafraid of ongoing face-to-face communication. They should be friendly and listen as well as they communicate. They should buy into your objectives and work diligently to meet those goals.

If you’re looking for a health IT public relations agency that can help you put together a strategy to get the most out of your trade shows, give the experts at Ripley PR a call. We will work with you to set measurable objectives and generate the awareness you need to make trade shows worth the investment.

JD Sizemore - Senior Brand Manager

Posted by JD Sizemore - Senior Brand Manager on March 6, 2017


Why you should hire a specialist B2B PR agency

B2B Public RelationsYou’re a business owner in a specialty, niche industry, and you are looking to boost your B2B profile. You’ve heard from fellow colleagues and competitors that there are specialty public relations agencies out there that could help you, but you’re not sure what value they could provide.

B2B public relations agencies can provide plenty of value especially if they have depth of knowledge in your industry. By the time you finish reading this, you will have a much better feel for the value a specialized public relations firm brings to your business. The following are why you need to hire a specialty B2B PR agency:

  1. They really do understand your business – If you look for the right kind of PR help for your business, you will probably find that there are agencies out there that really do understand your business. They have several clients in your same industry. They have learned from that experience and can apply it to your business for your benefit. They’ll be able to steer you to the best opportunities to gather momentum for your business.
  2. Specialty agencies have access to the best – A niche PR company frequently invests in hiring talent that comes not only from the writing and journalism world, but may actually come from your specific industry. This ensures the writing being done on your behalf is written in a voice familiar to your audience. They may even have someone on staff who has worked in the industry they are servicing. By employing that kind of in-house expert, a niche firm can actually become a de facto business partner for you. If you find a really good fit between your business and the team you employ, you will probably benefit from their industry knowledge. As a client, you want your PR agency to get up to speed quickly. A niche B2B public relations agency tends to be a quick learner for the reasons mentioned above.
  3. These agencies know the correct communications channels – It is one of the core competencies of agencies that specialize in niche industries to know and have excellent working relationships with media outlets in the specific area they are focused on. For example, PR professionals working within the health care field will have built up great relationships and knowledge of media who cover health care. That industry-focused agency will already know what messages resonate with industry media and will use them to the client’s advantage.
  4. A B2B PR agency can save you time – Whether you are the owner/operator of a small business or you’re the designated spokesperson for a larger company, you are probably too busy to take advantage of an editorial opportunity in a magazine or arrange editor meetings. Hire a specialty PR firm and let them do the work for you. Not only can your PR agency serve as your liaison to media, they can also engage with your fans and followers on social media on your behalf. Again, the fact that they know the industry helps them use your lingo that connects with your customers. In other words, you can focus on your business while your PR team focuses on bringing you business.
  5. The right agency brings peace of mind – The right PR team delivers for its clients. Choosing the wrong agency can lead to frustration for you and your business partners. PR can be a great tool in your business toolbox, and the right specialty PR professionals delivering results for you can help you sleep at night. If you engage with an agency that specializes in your industry, it’s not a business gamble to engage them. It’s an investment in your bottom line.

If any of the above resonates with you and your unique business, we at Ripley PR would love to talk with you. Not only are we a B2B public relations agency, we know we can deliver results for you and give you the peace of mind all business owners crave.

John Cherry

Posted by John Cherry on March 3, 2017


Why is it important to have an online newsroom?

When it comes to franchise public relations, there are certain practices your PR agency should be doing to help you build your brand. One of those things is writing and promoting press releases that are going to represent you and your franchise business as industry leaders.

Not only are press releases important in your marketing mix, you could be missing out on another proven way to elevate your business in the eyes of your peers, clients, vendors and media: using your website’s press room to garner authority.

Here are our top five reasons you need an online newsroom:

  1. You need a place to send media or journalists

A newsroom is where you can present all your business’ necessary information for media. Include press releases, images, logos and company information in one easy-to-find location.

  1. You need a downloadable press kit

A press kit contains digital brochures, highlight sheet, company history, executive staff bios and copies of media pickups. This gives your business weight and industry authority.

  1. You need a place to showcase your best digital media coverage

In addition to YouTube, consider your website’s newsroom as the perfect place to promote your video highlights.

  1. You need an easy place to list contacts within your business

Your newsroom is where most journalists will go first to find out about you and your franchise business. Contacts should be current, available and media-trained.

  1. You need an image gallery for media

Having accessible images (and you can control which images are on this page) makes a journalist’s job easier, and that is a huge factor in getting your story or press release coverage.

You probably have most of the components of a newsroom somewhere within your website already, so use the tips above to pull all the elements together onto one page and start reaping the benefits of an online newsroom for your franchise business.

 

 

 

 

Heather Ripley, Founder/CEO

Posted by Heather Ripley, Founder/CEO on March 2, 2017


Social Media Updates for Construction Companies

As construction companies continue to find ways to utilize their advertising dollars to drive growth, the influx of opportunities to use social media to drive brand recognition can cause a great deal of confusion. Having a partner like Ripley PR that specializes in construction public relations can help your business take full advantage of the possibilities for growth using social media. Construction Public Relations

Many construction companies are not using the advantages that social media programs and campaigns have to offer to help promote their offerings, which is where we can offer assistance. The best ways for your company to leverage social media include:

Understand Social Media Marketing:

While some construction companies think that social media marketing means having a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram feed, engaging in social media marketing also means using the platforms to your full advantage. Create a plan to promote your services across social media platforms, engaging in regular activity to make sure that you are offering relevant information to potential customers and deploy the right information to the demographics you are interested in to drive more business. A social media marketing campaign should include all of these attributes, as well as using advertising programs that include Facebook ads to deliver relevant, interesting content to your target audiences to help you drive engagement with your company to create growth.

Review Management:

Equally important to having an engaged social media campaign is having a review management component so that you are aware of what is being said about your business. Companies need to not only be aware of the reviews that are being left by past clients to be able to respond appropriately online, but also to be proactively reaching out to customers to have them leave reviews about your service online to help drive interested parties to the capabilities of your business.

Online Directories:

While online savvy individuals and business may know the right terms to search for your business, many online searches for construction companies will send searches to online directories like Thumbtack, Houzz and Builder Central. Not only will having a presence on these types of sites help you promote your company online, but you will also be able to take advantage of the search engine optimization opportunities that will come from these outlets as well.

The ways that construction companies and those interested in finding their services have changed significantly in the last few years and will continue to change as search engine marketing gains more prevalence with the industry. If you need assistance in learning how you can market your via social media marketing, contact the professionals at Ripley PR today to learn how we can help you grow your social media and online presence today.


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