When you survey the field of franchise businesses, the landscape appears to be quickly changing, causing many franchisors to be left behind due to their commitment to mediocrity and reluctance to change. Franchise development lead generation is quickly changing and adapting to the new consumer environment. Subsequently, only some brands have been able to see significant performance gains. These companies boast solid validation and most importantly, have a story to tell, otherwise known as a brand narrative, and a willing audience of interested would be franchisees who are ready to listen. In 2014, the trick is to bring these two parties together in an efficient and effective manner, therefore its important that you follow the five following tips to make sure you remain on the cutting edge of franchise development lead generation
1) Change your Approach to Lead Generation:
When potential franchisees visit your site, they spend about 4-5 minutes on a company’s franchise website. If they do not receive the information that they require they move on to other sources, thereby causing you to lose your chance of converting them into a lead. It takes skill and creativity to make an online environment that can engage buyers and break down any barriers to conversation and consumer interest. Add any information to your website that you believe is necessary in attracting franchisees. This allows them to be as well informed as possible. In turn, this allows them to be more willing to contact you with their interest and prevents them from moving on to other sources.
2) Improve Your Online Engagement via Targeted Searches
Google has made over 500 updates to their search algorithm in the past year in order to make it more user friendly by assisting people in finding relevant and recent content. Franchisors therefore need to adapt and take advantage of this upgrade or risk being left in the dust. Clever franchisors understand the various ways that candidates will search for them online and take proactive steps to own the first search page for key search phrases. Google’s goal is to find and rank content that people want to read. If you have a larger catalogue of content, that is relevant to the search query, you will be rewarded, not just by higher rankings but also with frequent franchise candidate engagement. Make an effort to redesign your website by adding more content, thereby deepening the franchise opportunity. This can be accomplished by integrating franchise blogs with a well crafted and relevant story.
3) Reinventing Franchise Opportunity Websites:
In recent years, many franchisors have designed websites, but many of them have a tendency of looking very similar. These generic websites have almost the exact same design, each page fitting on a single computer screen with almost the same content. Cutting edge franchisors do not waste their time chasing leads with such generic and uncreative website designs. The gold standard in today’s Franchise Development Websites are that they stand on their own unique url. Google ranks websites based on theme. If you are selling frozen yogurt or cleaning services, then mashing that together with a franchise opportunity website doesn’t make sense. Moreover, with upwards of 30% of visitors perusing the web on a variety of mobile devices and screen sizes, it makes sense to design a website that is fluid and can fit any screen size. This is called a Responsive Web Design and is the preferred protocol for designing sites for Google and Search Engine Optimization. Lastly, it is important to focus on conversion architecture. That basically means providing clear CTAs (Calls To Action) and creating traffic funnels on the site that leads to conversion. By creating a user friendly and unique website, you can make your franchise development website stand out from the rest, making it more attractive and memorable to a potential franchisee.
4) Optimizing Brand Stories into Your Website’s Content:
Stories are an important method of understanding others, relating with other individuals and understanding the world around us. Use of stories has also become a surging trend within the marketing industry in recent years. Traditional franchise lead generation used to focus on the benefits selling. This consisted of single pages with a couple of paragraphs that focused on the features of the particular franchise system. It lacked imagination and creativity, and is not something that is very attractive to today’s potential franchisee. Clever franchisors know that the brand narrative can weave together information into a story that reads like one from a magazine works better than the old concepts of benefits selling. It engages franchise leads and makes them more attracted to your brand and subsequently makes them more willing to become a franchisee because of their belief in the narrative.
5) The Resurgence of Google Adwords and “pay per click” advertising:
Ask anyone from the franchise industry about “pay per click” advertising and they will tell you it cost them a ton and it didn’t produce results. However, recent changes in the way that potential franchise buyers do their research has caused a resurgence in “pay per click advertising” and it is again playing a critical role in recruiting potential franchise buyers. By hiring someone who understands your business, website content and brand narrative to manage your pay per click campaigns will produce better results than hiring someone who isn’t involved in the overall organic lead generation.
A serial entrepreneur with extensive background in franchising and interests in multiple online business channels, Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmi has played an instrumental role in the franchise development and success of an international franchise company. His most recent entrepreneurial interests include launching ClickTecs, a Digital Marketing company specializing in Search Engine Marketing and Social Media Marketing as well as Website and Mobile Application development. In 2007 he co-founded Search Result, an online marketing company that supplies services to Internet Marketing Consultants. A sought after public speaker, Jam has been the featured keynote at many franchise conferences and international summits. He regularly trains ‘C’ Level Executives and supports both new and seasoned business owners on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Optimization, Mobile Marketing, Brand Reputation Management and Conversion & Measurement through web analytics. When he’s not scaling the heights of the Internet world, Jam ‘unwinds’ on extreme thrill-seeking adventures from the jungles of the Amazon to the highest summits. His passions include working with NGOs on humanitarian missions to areas around the world affected by disasters and poverty.