Marketing a Franchise in 2017 Pinpointing Local Search Ranking Factors

If your goal is successfully marketing a franchise in 2017, pinpointing factors is local search ranking key. Local business is your lifeblood, which makes local marketing even more important than the national campaigns your franchisor is running.

In today’s post, the ClickTecs team shares some local search ranking factors and strategies for marketing a franchise in 2017.

The devil’s in the details: Title and Meta tags.

If you’re looking to break down the minutiae of marketing a franchise in 2017, title and meta description tags are a good place to start. These HTML elements appear in Google search listings, and can be customized to reflect the content of their pages. While most website themes automatically generate these using the first 50-60/150 characters of your title/content, this isn’t an optimal approach, and it won’t do much for your local search performance.

Instead, we recommend treating title and meta tags like miniature advertisements. And like any piece of marketing campaign content, they should be carefully crafted. In the SEO world, it’s an art form; the best authors create unique, compelling, and descriptive tags that include the name of the city their franchises are located, as well as the surrounding area the business serves. Not only do these kinds of tags lead to better click through rates, but they also send important signals that influence local search ranking factors.

Don’t worry: ClickTecs puts this level of “TLC” into every web design and SEO package.

Citation frustration: The importance of online directories.

In the Information Age, Google is the new “Yellow Pages,” and with roughly 4 out of 5 consumers turning to search engines to find local products and services.

Many of these users turn first to trusted online directions, appreciating the non biased dynamic of third-party listings as well as the ratings and reviews.

Unfortunately, many business owners neglect to claim online local business listings like Yelp, Merchant Circle, and Citysearch, which means missing out on a huge audience.

When it comes to marketing a franchise in 2017, getting your company’s information listed accurately and consistently on respected, local online business directories is crucial. These assets are often referred to as “citations.” Run a search for keywords like “[CITY] business directory” or “[CITY] business reviews” to find the best places to register, but don’t be stingy; the more citations you create, the better.

Of course, you’ll need to claim your Google My Business (GMB) directory listing. This one’s big enough to warrant its own section, really. This free platform will get you incredible exposure, especially if you’ve got the SEO chops to quality for Google’s “local three-pack,” which appears at the very top of local searches in a distinct box. To get started, simply complete the verification process at http://www.google.com/business and wait for your PIN to be sent in the mail.

CAUTION: It is imperative that your information is listed correctly. If not, Google will flag the discrepancy between listings and either display incorrect info, or penalize the listing with limited visibility.

First impressions matter: Court quality reviews.

When it comes to local search, good reviews are paramount. According to a recent survey, more than 80% of people trust online reviews as well as personal recommendations. Moreover, 70% of customers will write a review for your franchise when asked.

Good press is great anywhere, but try to focus your reviews on your business’s Facebook page and GMB (mentioned above). These platforms are highly influential, and rank highly as local search factors according to Moz’s 2017 survey

Want to learn more about online reputation management (ORM) strategies? Visit https://clicktecs.com/online-reputation-management-orm/ for a complete breakdown!

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4 Essential Factors for Successful Franchise Development Websites

A huge percentage of franchise sales are happening online, which makes designing the right franchise development site more important than ever. 

In today’s post, our franchise development team introduces 4 essential factors that every franchisor’s website should have.

  • Short page load times (aka quality hosting). Imagine: you’ve spent countless hours building a business model you’re proud to offer to other entrepreneurs. You’ve worked day and night trying to design the perfect webpage that’ll capture the user’s attention and convince them to request a consultation. Likewise, you’ve stretched your budget thin outsourcing compelling content, advertising services, and search-engine optimization.Everything is in place, but your site just isn’t performing. What’s going on here, you wonder…But when you type in your URL to take a closer look at your site, you notice it takes forever to load; you’re sitting there for 10, 20, 30, even 40+ seconds before your lovingly crafted content appears.

    While you may have the patience to wait out these length page load times, potential leads do not. In fact, a recent survey suggests that users will wait only 6-10 seconds before abandoning the page for another. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve built the most beautiful site detailing the best franchise opportunity on the internet; if your site’s hosting is subpar, its performance will be too.

    Page speed is especially important when making first impressions on prospective franchisees. These users will treat their user experience as an indication of what they can expect while working with you, so make it a speedy, efficient, and enjoyable for best results.

  • An interactive user experience. Your website should not just be a dry, static vessel of franchise information, but rather should be written and designed in a way that takes the user through an interactive experience – think of it as the difference between reading a textbook or getting a hands-on tour.Interactive sites that encourage exploration, create a sense of progress with a series of slides or tabs, and use multimedia to appeal to all types of learners perform much better in terms of user engagement and bounce rate.When thinking how to design your website’s interactive experience, try to predict and answer questions the user may have. You should also funnel users from introductory material (“why own a franchise?”, “benefits of franchising,” and so on), through specific value showcases (promising industry breakdowns, reviews of franchise awards and accreditations) towards the call-to-action endpoint in a way that creates a sense of movement and progress.

    Finally, one last tip involves numbering tabs to give the user an instant “roadmap” and progress chart for the informational journey they’re about to embark on.

  • Consistent branding and up-to-date advertisements. New leads are fickle and skittish; you’ll need to convince them right away that your offer (and your site) is trustworthy and worth reading. This means avoiding some common red flags.One of the most common mistakes we see is inconsistent branding, which can be as egregious as mismatched logo colors, or as subtle inconsistent heading format from one page to another. Another major red flag is outdated advertising, which makes your site look old and irrelevant. These kinds of QA checks and updates can easily be overlooked by busy franchisors, but they make a big difference. For this reason, we recommend raising these issues with your franchise development website managers so they can handle the small details while you focus on growing your brand.
  • Highly visible social media assets. Though social media platforms are not going to get you franchise development leads in and of themselves, they do play a big part in reassuring leads and gaining their trust. Today, people want to know that they can reach the people behind the corporate front with a few simple clicks, and social media remains one of the most widely used platforms for this kind of audience engagement. Adding a Twitter button or Facebook page banner to your site can go a long way towards making the user feel as though their questions and input are welcome.

Want to learn more about franchise development? Browse dozens of free resources on the subject or speak directly with a member of our team at https://www.clicktecs.com.

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3 Ways to Leverage LinkedIn As Part of Your Franchise Marketing Strategy

In 2017, social media plays a part in every serious franchise marketing strategy. The internet has been the leading source of franchise sales since the late 2000s, and a growing amount of lead captures, prospect communication, and conversions are taking place on LinkedIn.

Boasting more than 106-million monthly active users in more than 200 countries and territories according to a survey conducted this year, LinkedIn is fertile ground for franchise sales and development. According to the same survey, 44% of users earn more than $75,000 per year, which makes them the perfect candidates for serious franchise sales.

We want your franchise marketing strategy to make the most of this free asset. To that end, our social media optimization team has put together 3 tips to increase franchise sales, recruiting efforts, general branding, and local audience engagement.

1. Set up a company page. While this won’t crowd your inbox with leads, setting up a simple company page fleshes out your franchise’s online presence in a big way, while also giving you another platform from which to broadcast your blog posts, tweets, and positive reviews, or even feature product and service packages.

2. Get active in groups. Think of LinkedIn groups as mini “forums” populated entirely by your target audience. They’re great for branding, customer interactions, and passive prospecting.

As with forum posts, avoid blundering into threads with a business pitch nobody asked for. Instead, you’ll want to make sure your profile has clean and visible links for users to explore, then focus on adding value to discussions with thoughtful comments and answers.

When choosing groups, emphasize activity over total group size. You’ll have to join groups to get a feel for their activity level. Monitor new groups’ activity for a day and decide whether it’s worth the effort you’ll need to put it. Don’t waste time on inactive groups; if nobody’s talking after 24 hours, move on.

3. Familiarize yourself with InMail, but shift the conversation elsewhere ASAP. InMail is LinkedIn’s direct messaging system. It’s instant, user-friendly, and, as the name suggests, puts you directly in contact with leads.

Appreciate that for a second: before the internet, the notion of a free network that allowed you to find and message prospects with a few keystrokes was unthinkable. If you’re not taking advantage of it with appropriate outreach, you’re missing out.

In addition to active prospecting, InMail is also a great vehicle for passive prospecting, which is when the prospect contacts you with interest in franchising. If you’re using the right franchise marketing strategy, you’ll occasionally get InMail worth following up on, so it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the system.

While InMail is useful, we always encourage moving the conversation elsewhere as soon as possible. Not only is connecting via email or phone more personal (and therefore more conducive to a sale), it’s also a lot more reliable. It’s not that InMail messages get lost (in fact, all correspondence is archived in your inbox, another huge benefit), but LinkedIn’s automated messages end up in the same inbox. This can create a bit of clutter, and also make ignoring InMail alert habitual. For these reasons, we recommend taking the conversation elsewhere as soon as is appropriate.

That’s all for now. These 3 tips have only scratched the surface; and truly, LinkedIn is only one small piece of a successful franchise marketing strategy. We’d love to tell you more – why not give InMail a try and message our company page to keep the conversation going?

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Link-Building Tactics for Better Franchise Marketing

Today’s post is all about link building as it pertains to your overall franchise marketing strategy. Read on to learn why we build links, how it benefits your business, and 3 tips you can use for better franchise marketing.

What is link building?

Whether you’re a business owner trying to market your products and services to a bigger audience or a franchisor trying to find qualified franchisees, link building is crucial for the success of your online campaign.

But what is link building, exactly?

Stripped down to its barebones, link building refers to the process of acquiring hyperlinks from different websites. Every time you convince another website to post a link to your site, you’ve successfully built a link. There’s more to it – the quality and trustworthiness of your reference is very important, for example – but this is a good starting point for now.

OK, but how does link building factor into franchise marketing?

Employing link building strategies helps your branding, lead generation, and anything else that’d get a boost from having greater online visibility.

For starters, building links to your website gives organic users more opportunities to connect with your brand. For example, acquiring a link for your senior care franchise website in a community blog would encourage their reader base to take a look. In this way, link building is essentially a free form of online advertising that targets anybody who visits the host’s website.

More importantly, link building helps Google’s crawl bots find your site, and signals to them that it is safe, high-quality, and deserving of a high ranking in the search listings.

Though Google’s exact ranking algorithm remains a secret, experts agree that if all other factors are equal, websites with a higher quality and quantity of links will rank higher. If your franchise marketing campaign is neck-and-neck with a local competitor, tweaking your link-building could be all you need to claim the number-one spot.

3 Link-Building Strategies for Better Franchise Marketing

  • Use the nofollow attribute to filter out low-quality links. Building a high volume of links is great, but quality links are what really matter. In fact, a high volume of low-quality links will could be considered a “Blackhat” (aka exploitative or underhanded) SEO strategy, which Google will penalize you for.To keep Google’s crawl bots happy with your site (and ensure you’re not unwittingly participating in some blackhat SEO tactics), make sure you use the nofollow attribute on your blog, forum, guest book, Wikipedia entry, and any other open or unregulated channels you might be using to publish content or interact with your audience. Setting the nofollow feature tells Google that you are not vouching for any links that spammers might drop there, which will keep you safe from penalties. Nofollow is now a standard feature with most WordPress themes and template sites, so there’s no reason to forget!
  • Swap links with guest blogging outreach. Guest blogging involves approaching other websites in related sectors and inquiring as to whether they’ll publish a piece of your content on their blog. Though it can be tough to find appropriate sites to work with without courting the competition, this strategy is highly successful in part because it’s mutually beneficial: in exchange for a free piece of quality content, you get a backlink. Contact our content marketing team to learn more.  
  • Experiment with ego baiting. “Ego baiting” is a tongue-in-cheek term used to refer to the practice of publishing content which includes references to other sites, companies or people, in the hopes that those included will see it as a chance for self-promotion and their egos will move them to share the content with a link.For example, if some crafty tech company started talking about how great FranchiseSoft is for franchise marketing, staff management, and process automation, we might be more inclined to share it! A similar strategy for a kitchen renovation franchise might be to post a list of top-10 accent pieces or storage solutions with links to manufacturers in hopes that they’ll give you a backlink.

Admittedly, link-building is much bigger than this. Don’t worry – we’ve got plenty more to share. Find more free link building tips and franchise marketing strategies on our blog.

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