Marketers know that lead generation is a core function of their job; however, simply expounding the benefits of a company’s products or services won’t cut it. According to the Content Marketing Institute, nine out of ten organizations are now marketing with content http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/B2C_Research_2014-withlinks.pdf and B2C marketers who are not currently marketing with content are expected to jump on the wagon. Why? Driven by the digital age of marketing, prospects are now interacting with media more than ever before. They take to the online arena seeking out information on products and services, searching for relevant information, resources and expertise before making purchase decisions. What these customers are looking for is a company that can provide answers, feedback and direction—a company that can demonstrate thought leadership demonstrated by good content that engages them. It’s about fostering education and creating awareness at the start of the purchase journey, at the top of the lead gen funnel. Today’s digital age, where content is king and social reigns supreme, demands relevant, timely and quality content that can help a customer solve a problem or meet a need. For internet franchise marketing, it has never been easier—or, ironically, more overwhelming—for a company to satisfy these needs. The choices for content are plentiful, but it’s important to remember that content is not just about producing web pages or newsletter articles. In order to educate and raise awareness among prospects, a company needs to be ready to provide a range of informative materials that will kick off and also augment the lead generation journey. These can include: • Podcasts • Videos and photos • E-books and manuals • Webinars • Product information sheets • Infographics • Microsites • Brochures • Presentations • Blogs • PDFs • Tip sheets and checklists The point of these, and something many marketers may shirk from, is that to be effective, the content cannot be specifically about your company or your products or services. That is secondary. Such a radical idea can be overwhelming to swallow, but to build credibility; your content should go beyond the sales pitch. You will speak volumes to prospects if you speak in broad terms to your industry and to specific problems that your company seeks to overcome. In addition, the company that employs a variety of these tools, among many others available, will go a long way toward building trust and rapport with their prospects and their current customers. Today, many big name brands are employing journalists in a bid to bring top-talent to their company stories, news and information http://contently.com/strategist/2014/02/19/the-great-journalist-exodus-begins/. Many are developing their own corporate news rooms or news bureaus to tackle the need for content on their websites or in their lead generation programs. However, while these brands may have the budget to create a successful newsroom within their company, the reality is that franchise owners may not. Yet this shouldn’t stop them from providing quality content to customers and prospects. For lead generation, website development for franchisees can incorporate a place for content to help drive the customer journey. The content should satisfy the following criteria: • It should meet a customer need, answer a problem or area of concern. • It should be well written. • It should back up claims with evidence by providing stats, facts, testimonials, quotes and links to any relevant research. • It should be something that is relevant to your company. • As always, it should NOT be promotional in tone. Once the lead generation program is developed together with the supporting content, the content itself should be promoted through your company’s landing page, media release, blog and social media properties. As the Harvard Business Review has stated https://hbr.org/2014/07/the-content-marketing-revolution/, the content marketing era has ushered in a period of “corporate enlightenment” that can result in being seen as a trustworthy thought leader who is more than just the sum of their products or services.

Marketers know that lead generation is a core function of their job; however, simply expounding the benefits of a company’s products or services won’t cut it. According to the Content Marketing Institute, nine out of ten organizations are now marketing with content http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/B2C_Research_2014-withlinks.pdf and B2C marketers who are not currently marketing with content are expected to jump on the wagon.

Why?

Driven by the digital age of marketing, prospects are now interacting with media more than ever before. They take to the online arena seeking out information on products and services, searching for relevant information, resources and expertise before making purchase decisions. What these customers are looking for is a company that can provide answers, feedback and direction—a company that can demonstrate thought leadership demonstrated by good content that engages them. It’s about fostering education and creating awareness at the start of the purchase journey, at the top of the lead gen funnel.

Today’s digital age, where content is king and social reigns supreme, demands relevant, timely and quality content that can help a customer solve a problem or meet a need. For internet franchise marketing, it has never been easier—or, ironically, more overwhelming—for a company to satisfy these needs.

The choices for content are plentiful, but it’s important to remember that content is not just about producing web pages or newsletter articles. In order to educate and raise awareness among prospects, a company needs to be ready to provide a range of informative materials that will kick off and also augment the lead generation journey. These can include:

  • Podcasts
  • Videos and photos
  • E-books and manuals
  • Webinars
  • Product information sheets
  • Infographics
  • Microsites
  • Brochures
  • Presentations
  • Blogs
  • PDFs
  • Tip sheets and checklists

The point of these, and something many marketers may shirk from, is that to be effective, the content cannot be specifically about your company or your products or services. That is secondary. Such a radical idea can be overwhelming to swallow, but to build credibility; your content should go beyond the sales pitch. You will speak volumes to prospects if you speak in broad terms to your industry and to specific problems that your company seeks to overcome.

In addition, the company that employs a variety of these tools, among many others available, will go a long way toward building trust and rapport with their prospects and their current customers.

Today, many big name brands are employing journalists in a bid to bring top-talent to their company stories, news and information http://contently.com/strategist/2014/02/19/the-great-journalist-exodus-begins/. Many are developing their own corporate news rooms or news bureaus to tackle the need for content on their websites or in their lead generation programs. However, while these brands may have the budget to create a successful newsroom within their company, the reality is that franchise owners may not. Yet this shouldn’t stop them from providing quality content to customers and prospects. For lead generation, website development for franchisees can incorporate a place for content to help drive the customer journey.

The content should satisfy the following criteria:

  • It should meet a customer need, answer a problem or area of concern.
  • It should be well written.
  • It should back up claims with evidence by providing stats, facts, testimonials, quotes and links to any relevant research.
  • It should be something that is relevant to your company.
  • As always, it should NOT be promotional in tone.

Once the lead generation program is developed together with the supporting content, the content itself should be promoted through your company’s landing page, media release, blog and social media properties.

As the Harvard Business Review has stated https://hbr.org/2014/07/the-content-marketing-revolution/, the content marketing era has ushered in a period of “corporate enlightenment” that can result in being seen as a trustworthy thought leader who is more than just the sum of their products or services.

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7 Things You should do to Boost Your Website Conversion Rate

The challenge is obvious. We get people to visit our site, but not all of them become customers. How do we change that?

There is no arguing the fact that increasing conversion rates equals increasing profits – turning a potential customer into a new customer is the ongoing conquest of the contemporary marketer. Although you may think that your conversion rates are good, which they might be, remember that they can always get better. Here are 7 things you should be doing in order to boost your website conversion rates:

  •  Simplify the contact process: Making it easy for your customer to get in contact with you and your offering is key. On average, a potential customer will spend 5 seconds looking for relevant information on a web page before navigating away. This small window of time is your opportunity to convert that person into a paying customer. Because of this, making important information stand out is crucial. An easy to find phone number, contact form, or live chat can mean the difference between you or your competitor gaining a new customer.
  • Seamless navigation: Knowing that your window to make an impression is limited, making sure that your website is easy to navigate is vital. Fast loading web pages and intuitive aesthetics are key players in maintaining a potential customer’s attention. Avoid clutter at all costs; make relevant information simple and easy to find. Research shows that the longer a user stays on a website, and the easier it is for that user to move around the website, the greater the chance they will become a customer.
  • Track everything: Knowing what piques your audiences’ interest can lead to higher conversion rates. It is sometimes found that those features you think will drive traffic get ignored, while something irrelevant pulls more potential customers to your site than you ever expected. Leverage traffic driving features while eliminating those that do not by tracking every click. You’ll be surprised at what gets the most attention.
  • Verify your credibility: Reassure that you are a reliable online vendor by showing “trust” seals from the Better Business Bureau or web security firms. Customers want to know that they are placing their money in the hands of competent businesses that are not going to sell their information – this can be accomplished by showcasing your credibility. Consumer confidence is a highly valued asset, and securing that confidence with official credentials can help the skeptical visitor become a loyal customer.
  • Streamline the checkout process: How are you going to convert website visitors into customers if checking out isn’t a simple, pleasurable experience? Making sure customers aren’t frustrated when it’s time to take their money can be the difference between making the sale and losing a customer. Test all types of checkouts that your website provides: guest checkouts, returning customer checkouts, and one-click checkouts should operate seamlessly in order to quickly convert visitors into customers.
  • Proof of satisfaction: Current customers are the best salespeople when trying to convert new customers. Testimonials and user reviews can help solidify your company’s customer service practices, thus providing potential customers with the security that they will be taken care of. The Internet provides consumers with an endless amount of options, so make sure your reviews are speaking to the defining features that make your company unique.
  • Satisfaction guarantee: There is a reason that companies who stand behind their products often end up with the most customer loyalty. In a world where customer service outranks other desirable company traits, a satisfaction guarantee can help minimize customer apprehensions, thus driving higher conversion levels. The idea that buyer remorse can be alleviated by offering longer windows for returns can help convert more of your website visitors into loyal customers.

If you value sales and profits, which everyone does, then you should be approaching your website conversion with the same level of importance. Think of it this way, if you have 1000 visitors to your website per day, then improving your conversion rate from 2% to 3% equals 10 additional customers each day. On a monthly basis, that equals 300 more customers per month. The hurdles that stand between converting a website visitor into a loyal customer can be overcome with a few simple methods, all of which can be provided by the professionals at ClickTecs.

About the Author : Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmi

Jamshaid-Jam-Hashmi-200x200A 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.

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7 Franchise Lead Generation Trends for 2015

In order to understand the trends for franchise lead generation in 2015, you need to understand the current lead generation climate. A recent study found that seventeen percent of franchisees got their information about the franchise they ultimately invested in from franchise brokers. 32 percent got their information from referrals from professional and social networks, and 42 percent learned about the franchise from the Internet. And, this share from the Internet just continues to grow.

With this in mind, here are my top trends for franchise lead generation in the coming year:

1.       Paid Search Will Be Well Worth the Cost

You will notice there is next to nothing separating the first ten organic search results and the top three paid ads when you look at the search engine results page. Because of their somewhat sordid past, paid searches have gotten the reputation of being expensive for their per-lead costs. But, with the new algorithms, that has all changes. In fact, in conjunction with good organic search rankings, some clients have experienced an over 40 percent jump in leads with paid searches.

2.       Franchise Recruitment Websites Should Feature Articles

You can already see this in action. Clients have witnessed their leads increasing five, six, even nine-fold by better engaging the visitors who come to their sites. People who would have otherwise filled out an interest form are turned off by brochure style sites. Instead, they want sites that are full of articles that give information about every aspect of the franchise and what it is like to be a franchisee.

3.       Approach Recruits as an Advisor or Facilitator

Getting potential franchisees to see you as a facilitator or trusted advisor begins with information transparency on your franchise opportunity website. You will break down any barriers to conversations that may exist, grow at a rate above the norm for your category, and earn candidates’ trust by designing your franchisee recruitment processes and website in a way that is consistent with how franchisees research businesses.

4.       You Must Respond to Inbound Leads within Minutes

It used to be that franchise inquiries were returned the same day or within 24 hours at tops. Though this may work for an engaged client turned recruit, broker leads who are already interested, or a referral lead, it will not work elsewhere.

For inbound leads coming from your franchise portals, email campaigns, or company website, you give the prospect a similar experience to being ignored by waiters in a restaurant if you do not call them in less than 30 minutes. They become much less likely to answer your call if you take any more than 30 minutes. And, ideally, you will call them back in five minutes.

5.       Portals Will Evolve to Be Similar to Pay Per Click

Franchise portals represent a significant portion of marketing dollars spent and remain a significant component of many lead generation strategies. Fortunately, portals are looking closely at how they can satisfy their customers. Franchisors are beginning to get more robust advertising options as the portals focus on helping produce closes.

For example, to help clients get results more tailored to what they are trying to accomplish, portals are providing an array of pay per visitor, campaign based, and pay per lead advertising strategies.

6.       Copywriting Will Be Replaced by Brand Storytelling

Decision making and communication are based on storytelling. We use stories to make sense of our world and to relate to others. There has been a big push to help users find stories they are looking for when they perform searches. This has been the basis for the changes to Google’s algorithms in the past four years.

To help understand how a franchise’s business model works and to learn more about the brand, prospects type in key phrases or questions to get to stories when performing online research. They want genuine stories about the brand and experiences of current franchise owners.

7.       Transparency Is Key

Franchise candidates want information they can trust before they are willing to take the next step of talking to a franchisor representative. The Internet is often their first stop. However, if your site is not transparent – providing startup costs; in-depth video interviews with the CEO regarding the organization’s purpose, future direction, and mission; and lengthy interviews with actual franchisees – prospects will turn to franchise brokers or their professional and social networks.

Generating leads for your franchise requires embracing the Information Age as more potential franchisees want fast answers and responses. This makes stepping up your digital marketing game more important than ever.

About the Author : Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmi

Jamshaid-Jam-Hashmi-200x200A 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.
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How Landing Pages can improve your franchise leads

Landing pages are a great way to market your franchise or business. They are a focused and customized sales pitch, and one that is specifically designed to get your visitor to take action. According to a study done by Hubspot, company websites that have over 31 landing pages will get 7 times more leads than a company with less than 5 landing pages. This is a clear indicator that it doesn’t matter how large or small your franchising business is, all businesses have the ability to increase their conversion rate when using landing pages. Therefore, it could be said that landing pages are extremely vital for franchise lead generation.

So what exactly is a landing page and what are its functions? How does it increase a businesses conversion rate? Well, the answer is simple. Landing pages are webpages that can allow you to access a visitor’s contact details through a lead capture form. You might have experienced landing pages yourself while doing research, these are the pages that ask you to fill out some contact details such as your first name, company and email address. In franchising, such landing pages can be used to target serious buyers by offering something of value and interest to the prospected client in exchange for their contact details. For example, an example of a scenario in which this can occur would be when an interested prospect comes to your website wanting further information on an aspect of your business. To do so, they will be presented with a separate form that asks for further information. As they fill out their contact details, the interested prospect turns into a potential lead.

Not convinced? Here are some other reasons why landing pages are a great addition to your marketing strategy.

1. Simple Lead generation

Landing pages are the simplest and most straightforward method for your business to generate leads. This is perfect for those who are attempting to turn their email, social networking, and search engine traffic into lead generation. Lead generation can drastically increase these numbers as once these leads are gained, you can use them to build a relationship with the potential client and begin the process of attempting to turn them into a conversion.

2. Better User Experience

First impressions are crucial, and in most cases you have under a second to impress your visitor once they have landed on your site. A landing page however, is a great way to give the visitors to your site a great first impression. Landing pages focus on getting to know the stranger, giving the visitor an experience that is clear, specific and results in a valuable new connection.

3. Learn Who’s Engaged

Landing pages are also a great way to understand which one of your already existing leads are actively engaging with your brand. Based on the type of content and offers they’re downloading, it can give you a guide on how to accordingly engage with the existing leads and give them a message they want to hear.

4. Content Creation Guide

Each landing page can be used as a metric guide to optimize your inbound marketing strategy. By keeping tabs on what is the most popular content on your site, you can tailor make new content to better target certain topics or subjects that are popular and are inline with your visitor’s interests.

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About the Author : Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmi

Jamshaid-Jam-Hashmi-200x200A 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.

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