Belief in a higher good, running a business that serves others and changes lives, is what drives Joe Soltis, founder of ChoiceLocal. The mission at ChoiceLocal is simple: Help Others. His company, founded in 2015, is a franchise digital marketing agency that services 50 franchise brands in 35 different industries. Today, it is one of the fastest-growing companies in America.
Soltis has worked for some of the world’s most successful brands as a top executive at his former digital marketing agency. He knew he could give Fortune 500 level customer service, results, and strategy to these franchise systems, and in his view, no one else was. He was onto something, as today, ChoiceLocal’s top-line numbers have gone up 1,207% in the last half-decade.
Inspired by the tragic loss of his son, Soltis focuses his business model on helping customers and those in need in order to foster his community’s success. With unique, purpose-driven metrics he feels his business adds the most meaning to his life.
Being Different Plus Purpose-Driven Drives Success
ChoiceLocal has created exponential growth in leads and job applicants, engineered new products and services to improve close rates on leads, increased repeat customers, increased average customer size, improved customer loyalty, improved referral and word of mouth sales, and improved the hire rates of job applicants.
Soltis’ firm has also taken this full-service marketing mix to market to help franchisors attract new franchisees using a full franchise development ecosystem. This franchise ecosystem gives a franchisor the ability to have everything they need in marketing and sales enablement to attract new customers, new employees, and new franchisees.
ChoiceLocal is truly unique in how they help others and deliver for their franchise partners.
For example, Soltis’ company is the first and only digital marketing agency that serves franchise systems and offers a money-back satisfaction guarantee. ChoiceLocal also offers no long-term contracts to franchisors and franchisees, and they back up with their work with what is known as The ChoiceLocal Guarantee.
This policy has netted ChoiceLocal substantial growth and a 96% annualized client retention rate. In Soltis’ view, amazing customer service and amazing results consistently have to be part of the recipe for success. This philosophy has led to great results for partners, and after many successful tests against other agencies, that is why ChoiceLocal is known as “The Top Performing Franchise Marketing Agency.”
Other unique facets of ChoiceLocal have caused problems for its customers, which Soltis was only too happy to solve. ChoiceLocal focuses its marketing on hard ROI and measurable growth in each franchisee and franchisor’s business. Because of this focus, the average franchisee that partners with ChoiceLocal will see $15.54 in new customer revenue for every $1 they spend in marketing.
Yet, as Soltis explained, when ChoiceLocal drives this kind of ROI and an average 282% increase in new customer inquiries, it creates staffing problems for his clients. ChoiceLocal learned this quickly by listening to their franchise partners, and it guided their product development to create ChoiceLocal Recruiter. Today, on average, a franchise that partners with ChoiceLocal sees a 2X lift in quality job applicants while maintaining or improving hiring rates.
Our business is about serving others, Soltis explained. Franchisors and franchisees so often don’t select a partner because of just what they do; they choose a partner because of how a business makes them feel. We’re about serving, listening, and exceeding their expectations. We do the same for our teammates, which most companies call employees. We really care about each person, their dignity, their goals, their happiness. I think that’s a big part of the reason we have such an incredible team and we have been voted a top workplace the last four years running. And it’s the only four years we have applied for the award!
Those in Need
Yet, being different goes beyond results, products, and services. Soltis says being different goes to the heart of the matter. “Our mission of Help Others is about making our franchisor and franchisee partners’ dreams come true. It’s about helping our own teammates’ dreams come true, and it’s also about giving 10% of our profits to help those in need.”
Soltis shared that he founded ChoiceLocal after losing his son, Ben. Discovered without a heartbeat in 2012, Joe and his wife, Becky, immediately knew they wanted to create meaning out of such a tremendous loss. Through the other side of grief, Joe found an audacious goal. He wanted to find purpose from the loss, choosing to help 10,000 kids per year by donating 10% of the profits from his company.
Whether you call it “goodwill” or “finding purpose,” Soltis believes true success comes from an entirely different mindset. Soltis’ firm belief is that to be a game-changer, a business must be able to change the lives of those it touches for the better and be fundamentally different.
A life-changing business is about helping others. Joe lives this value out-loud with the creation of the Benjamin Issac Foundation, named after his son. The foundation helps children in need around the world by giving them nutrition, healthcare, education, safety, love, and faith.
It’s not about profits. To Soltis, what his business does is offer hope. His foundation has done a sole sponsorship of a home for a family through Habitat for Humanity. It has provided bereavement support for children who have tragically lost family members.
It has funded summer camps for kids, helped build wells in poor villages that did not have clean drinking water, and funded school meals for underprivileged children. It has provided funds to families struggling financially after a cancer diagnosis and funded hospitals and schools for the poorest neighborhoods in the world. For Soltis, his faith in God and others drives these projects.
Care needs to lead the way—most of all. Let’s face it: any company can have a mission statement. The difference between words and true meaning is the actions taken within the team and company as a whole. Joe believes in living his values out loud and fully committing to their meaning. His company is extremely proud of the culture they have cultivated, built on rock-solid core values, a mission that, for him, is rooted in deep faith. Soltis cares about the team, and his partners, deeply.
Our teammates are not here to serve us, we are here to serve them. Our partners are not just mere clients. It’s our job to partner with them in making their dreams come true; that’s why we call them partners. Did Bob sell his business and retire early to enjoy his most active years with his wife? Did Tina pay for college and medical school for her daughter? Did the guy or gal who people said would never be a success not only become one but become the most successful franchisee in their franchise system?
Did we inspire another company to become purpose-driven and give back to help the poor, the needy, those that haven’t felt loved? I sure as hell hope so and that’s exactly what we plan to do. Through our example, we hope to create a snowballing effect to create countless purpose-driven businesses that can change the world for the better. I can’t think of a better way to live a life.”
ChoiceLocal is a purpose-driven and results-focused digital marketing agency for franchisors and franchisees with a digital ecosystem of search engine optimization (SEO); pay-per-click marketing (PPC); social media marketing; remarketing; targeted display and mobile advertising; SMS and marketing automation; reputation management; employee, customer, and franchisee retention; CRM integration; and much more.
They are a member of IFA (International Franchise Association), named on the Inc. 5000 list, and rated as a Top Workplace for the last four years. To find out more about their purpose-driven franchise marketing agency, please visit https://choicelocal.com/.
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