How To Write Your Business’s Story

In a lot of ways, people don’t buy products anymore — they buy your story. That means companies must constantly refine and redefine their stories and present them in innovative ways.

A brand story envelops your mission as a company, your culture and your history: How did you get started? Why do you do what you do? Where are you going? Our story specifically shares the idea development, research of the idea and viability, and growth and success.

High Touch High Tech – Science Made Fun: Our Story

Because shoppers are so connected through social networks, marketers should aim to present their stories in such a way that people will want to share them and their friends will want to connect with them. One advantage of social media is that we can have some control of our story. We can either passively hope people find our story appealing — or we can intentionally shape it to try to resonate with prospective customers. Either way it is a very important part of marketing your business.

High Touch High Tech – Science Made Fun: Marketing

Here are a few suggestions on how to convey a more powerful story:
One of the best things a company can do is be transparent about why it is doing what it does.
Not quite sure how to go about brainstorming your “why”? Try these suggestions:

Ask your customers:
Put up a blog or Facebook post asking your customers why they stick with you?

Ask your employees: Your team is the closest to what you are doing and the why behind it, so ask employees why they work for you and what motivates them to come in every day?

Read your web mentions: Google your company’s name and see how people are talking about you out on the web.

 

Share your “why” in distinctive ways.
Make your story engaging and easy to share. Social media consumes one out of every five minutes spent online. That means your audience is most likely spending a significant amount of time online sharing content. Here are a few ideas for getting customers to share your content:

Put a video on your site. Rather than just telling your story in text or in the About Us section of your website, create a video as well. It could feature employees talking about why they work for you and how they hope the company’s products or services will help customers. Consider accumulating a number of videos and creating a YouTube channel. Be sure to make it personal.

High Touch High Tech – Science Made Fun: YouTube Channel

Post photos. One of the easiest ways to enhance your story is to add images to your site, social network, or facebook page. If you have a cool office or store, showcase it. Also, post photos of customers and your team to highlight the people behind your brand’s success.

High Touch High Tech – Science Made Fun: Facebook

Add a few quotes. Many sites put up long testimonials from customers, but you should go further. Get quotes from your leadership, customers and especially business partners. This will help tell the “why” of your story. Then showcase only the words or sentences that really tell the story and give them a beautiful visual treatment.

High Touch High Tech – Science Made Fun: Partnerships

Give your “why” more real estate.
Is your company’s story tucked away in the footer of your website with an “Our Story” link? If so, it’s time to give your story greater visibility. Ideally, your story should be laced throughout the text on your entire site, but that can be challenging. Instead, start with some of these baby steps toward giving your story more of the spotlight:

Put it on the home page. Rethink which content should get this prime real estate. What could be better than putting a video up on your home page that describes why your company exists and why you do what you do? Tell people something that encourages and inspires them to learn more about you.

High Touch High Tech – Science Made Fun: Mission

Link to it from social profiles. Companies are investing heavily in social media and teams to manage those conversations. Make your story a critical part of that interaction. Link to videos or website pages that help your followers understand what makes you special.

Write about it on your company blog. Your blog can be a great place to call out your story. Transparency in business resonates with customers, so talk openly about both your company’s struggles and successes.

High Touch High Tech – Science Made Fun: Blog

Marketers should rethink what exactly they are selling. With so many products and services out there and so much noise in the social sphere, it’s your story that can really differentiate you, and separate you from the competition. Careful attention to how you tell that story and how you showcase it can make all the difference.

If you want to check out what we’re doing, visit any of our social media outlets. We’d love to get your feedback!

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/HTHTWNC
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/@HTHTWNC
YouTube:  http://www.youtube.com/user/HighTouchCorp
Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/hthtworldwide/
Blog:   http://sciencemadefun.net/blog/

To learn more about franchise opportunities with High Touch High Tech, visit us online at ScienceMadeFunFranchise.net.

High Touch High Tech is the leader in innovative hands-on science and nature experiences for children, serving over 4 million children annually with 27 franchise locations across the United States, Canada, Turkey, Singapore and South Korea.

Content Management and Franchisee Sites

So you’re looking to buy a business, and you’re keen on joining a franchise because you understand that a huge share of the work will already be done for you. Smart move. And now you’re considering what franchise to join and looking for those which will make it easy to design and build your web site. With the huge marketing influence that the web wields in today’s marketplace, a key indicator of which franchises will support you in building your business and which ones will let you fend for yourself is how much and what type of assistance you will receive when building your web site and “populating” it with content.

 

The 3 Flavors of Franchise Web Solutions

1. You’re on your own

If it’s not stated plainly on the franchise’s web site, the best way to determine what brand of web support you will receive as a franchisee is to go to the company’s franchise locations page and visit the sites of franchises within the system. Check out a handful of their sites and you’ll get a feel for the franchise’s web offering. If all of the sites are different, and under their own TLD (Top Level Domain), it probably means that the franchise offers no web site or web support whatsoever. In this case, go elsewhere! If you buy into a franchise of this type, not only will you subject yourself to lots of unneccesary work, your site is not likely to be professionally branded across the entire franchise. This defeats one of the big advantages of going with a franchise with a recognized brand to give your marketing plan a boost through consumer brand recognition.

2. A generic site on the franchise’s main web site

Some franchises expect their franchisees to settle for a boilerplate web site located on their corporate site. That way, they can reap the benefits of the visitors your site generates. We’ve all seen the horrendously generic result of this type of arrangement, which we hesitate to describe using the word “support.” Although this is better than toughing it out on your own by making your own web site, what your business will need to be successful is its own web site and this means having your own TLD. Your TLD will be on all brochures, newsletters, promotional materials, facebook page, Google listings, etc. It will be the place you send prospective customers and the phrase echoed by all of your representatives in the field when they are asked where to find out more about your company. In addition, every email you and your office staffs will be further promotion of your TLD, via the domain name of your email address and email signature. So you can see why establishing your site under your franchise’s own domain name is absolutely vital.

3. Content Management System (CMS)

Far and away the best alternative for franchisees is customizing their own web site under their own domain name using a CMS provided and maintained by the franchise’s corporate office. The beauty of this setup is that franchisees need not concern themselves with forming a relationship with a skilled web designer and web host, making sure their site conforms to franchise brand standards, determining how and which site features will best serve their business, optimizing their site for search engines, updating their site to stay abreast of ongoing changes in the Internet, and regularly developing graphic and media deliverables to keep their site fresh. All of these web site considerations will be handled by the corporate office. If this breed of full service content management packages also empowers franchisees by locating their sites under a TLD that they choose, it’s the best of all possible situations, since the CMS allows a variety of customization features allowing franchisees to populate their own site content, add search engine keywords, monitor web traffic, add graphics to their sites from a corporate-approved set, upload documents to make available on their sites, and much more. Please make sure that the franchise you start your business with fits this description.

Here’s is an example of a franchisee site built using a content management system for a High Touch High franchise:

Franchisee Web Site

In addition to the fully branded corporate managed setup mentioned above, our franchisees benefit from training videos, branding and promotional resources, a science blog which generates 15,000 unique visitors a month, a value-added kids’ site, a reserveration system, Facebook and email campaign features, and much more. It is important that the franchise strikes the right balance of empowering franchisees to respond to their unique market space while ensuring that brand standards are met through centrally disseminated graphics, code, and content.

To learn more about franchise opportunities with High Touch High Tech, visit us online at ScienceMadeFunFranchise.net.

High Touch High Tech is the leader in innovative hands-on science and nature experiences for children, serving over 4 million children annually with 27 franchise locations across the United States, Canada, Turkey, Singapore and South Korea.

Smarter, not harder! Social Media

As a small business owner, you have to wear many different hats to keep your business running and growing. Between staffing, scheduling, purchasing, customer service, marketing, and all the other tasks, you’ll start to wish you could clone yourself just to get it all done! Well, any successful business person will tell you that success comes from working smarter, not harder!

With this in mind, today’s blog is about the use of social media. Now, our company currently has a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a YouTube ChannelPinterest Pin Boards and a blog. In a small office like ours, it takes an army just to keep all of these mediums current and engaging. Now, you may notice, we’re missing on of the “biggies”, namely, Linked In.

Needless to say, we were ready to dive in head first when we got our hands on a step-by-step guide of how to use Linked In company pages for marketing. Our eyes lit up and our imaginations ran wild as we reviewed the guide, researched other company pages and quickly scheduled a meeting. However, we were somewhat underwhelmed by what we saw and began to realize that our initial thoughts and goals for launching a Linked In page might not align with what they have to offer. Our enthusiasm quickly began to deflate when we realized the amount of work necessary to set up the page, build the connections and maintain the page. It was at this juncture that we determined our investment (time & effort) might not yield the desired results.

In lieu of building a Linked In page, we took a step back, evaluated the benefits of our current social media outlets and asked how we could do better with what we’ve already got. Ultimately, we want to generate leads, so we asked ourselves how else can we drive traffic to our websites, increase our brand awareness and educate our customers about our products and services. The result: revised Pinterest Pin Board themes with brand specific pins and website link backs; SEO aligned descriptions on all YouTube videos with website link backs; new photo albums and engaging content on Facebook; and the list goes on and on.

So a meeting that started with the goal of introducing a new social medium to our arsenal, which would have added to our overall workload, ended with more than a dozen, actionable ideas for enhanced user experience and interaction on our existing social media outlets.

Efficiency is key and making the most of your time and resources is critical to your overall growth and success. Stick to your strengths and maintain social media efforts that can actually be maintained by your current resources. Don’t get in over your head! It’s easy to get sucked into the “social media machine” and jump onboard every opportunity in every medium, but sometimes, less is more! Social Media outlets that are out-dated or not maintained on a regular basis can be just as damaging as not being involved in social media at all.

If you want to check out what we’re doing, visit any of our social media outlets. We’d love to get your feedback!

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/HTHTWNC
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/@HTHTWNC
YouTube:  http://www.youtube.com/user/HighTouchCorp
Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/hthtworldwide/
Blog:   http://sciencemadefun.net/blog/

To learn more about franchise opportunities with High Touch High Tech, visit us online at ScienceMadeFunFranchise.net.

High Touch High Tech is the leader in innovative hands-on science and nature experiences for children, serving over 4 million children annually with 27 franchise locations across the United States, Canada, Turkey, Singapore and South Korea.

Choose Franchising!

Buying a franchise is a really good way to start your own business. You can avoid much of the work that goes into starting a business from scratch. You also have the advantage of following a blueprint, which is a proven business model. The first step though, is obviously choosing the right franchise.

Why High Touch High Tech?

When choosing the right franchise, keep your options open. Don’t just focus on one or two concepts. Having an open mind will help you to locate that hot, new concept. Also, talk to leaders from existing franchises. Getting feedback from people who have successful franchises will be beneficial.

Meet Our Franchisees

 

If you already have an idea in mind about a particular franchise, contact the business and get information about it.

 


Steps to Ownership

 

Review the franchisor’s website and any other material provided. Read their Franchise Disclosure Document at least twice. You can learn about the franchise’s history, training and marketing programs, plus any costs that you may incur. By reading the Franchise Disclosure Document, you can easily tell if the franchise is a correct fit for you. You should also be honest with yourself.  Assess your skills, interests and experiences.
Think about how much money you can invest and how much money you plan to make in this venture. If you make a list of your strengths and weaknesses, you can create a strategy and model for your research.

 

To learn more about franchise opportunities with High Touch High Tech, visit us online at ScienceMadeFunFranchise.net.

High Touch High Tech is the leader in innovative hands-on science and nature experiences for children, serving over 4 million children annually with 27 franchise locations across the United States, Canada, Turkey, Singapore and South Korea.

Franchise SEO Tips

Google Toolbar

Find out how well your pages rank on Google with the Google Toolbar. Each page on your site has a Page Rank, which is Google’s way of saying which sites are more likely or less likely to yield useful information. The page rank is used to determine which sites to list highest in their results.  Getting your franchise listed above competing franchises in search results will give you an edge over other franchises in your market space. Use the toolbar to track the progress of your search engine optimization efforts.

1) Here’s where you can download the Google Toolbar.

2) Here’s a Google Toolbar support article and video on how to activate the Page Rank widget that comes with the toolbar.

Specialized Google Searches

Your franchise can quickly find out how your site is performing on Google by typing simple search code into a Google search. Here are 3 examples:

1) Find links back to your site. The Google search phrase (excluding quotation marks) is: “link:http://YourPage.net”. The best links to your site are those valued by readers interested in topics related to the products or services your franchise offers. These sites are likely to generate visits from your franchise’s target audience.

2) Find Google-listed pages. The Google search phrase is: “site: http://YourPage.net”. This search will display every page from your site that Google has listed.

3) Find Google-listed pages with a particular keyword. The Google search phrase is: “YourKeyword site:http://YourPage.net”.

Directory Listings

A good way to quickly spread links to your site and boost awareness of the services your franchise offers is to list on directory sites. Used by Google to determine which sites are most useful, links to your site increase your Google page rank and boost your placement, causing you to be listed higher in search results. Three directories which can be especially helpful are Google Plus PlacesBing Business Portal, and dmoz.org. They are used heavily by customers searching for local services. You can build a feature-rich listing with photos, promotional text, a list of services and more.

Keyword text

The search terms that your site is listed under, or “keywords”, are most likely to drive search traffic when they are 2-3 word phrases. Since search engines count the number of times keywords are used on a page to determine a page’s relevance for a given keyword, it is tempting to pack page text with them. However, don’t forget that the most important visitor to your site is a customer, not a search engine! This is why it’s better to stress clear writing over keyword repetition.

Anchor Text

The text contained in links on your site, or “anchor text”, is of special importance to search engines as it is your designation of what is contained on pages of your site. Not only is it good user experience to blanket the site with pathways between pages, but anchor text repeating the same keywords as those found on the linked pages increases the weight of those keywords. Anchor text can also lead to an expanded listing that shows the sections of your site like this example for the corporate site of High Touch High Tech:

Expanded Search Engine Listing

An example of a link which would result in a link in an expanded search listing for Franchise Info (see above) would be: Franchise Info.  The HTML for the link is:  <a href=””>Franchise Info</a>.  We hope that you have found this article useful to set you on the path to effective search engine marketing.  Keep in mind that SEO is a job as big as the web itself, but that steady, regular efforts will pay off in increased targeted traffic to your web site which will result in increased sales and revenue.

High Touch High Tech is the leader in innovative hands-on science and nature experiences for children, serving over 4 million children annually with 27 franchise locations across the United States, Canada, Turkey, Singapore and South Korea.