The number one way to develop your franchise in 2014 is through marketing online. Potential franchisees are increasingly turning to the Internet to find new franchising opportunities. This makes having a strong online presence and responsive web design for your recruitment pages incredibly important. Therefore, as you read on, pay special attention to the Internet marketing advice.
Your Target Audience
Last year, the majority of franchisees were between 45 and 54 years of age and were men. According to the same study, lodging and quick service restaurants are the most common industry choices among franchisees. Each of these franchisees invests over $560,000 on average. This is all information you can use when crafting your marketing campaigns for reaching new prospects.
Marketing and more marketing is the name of the game for franchisors in 2014. Whenever possible, you must be ready to ramp up your marketing efforts. When it comes to franchises, though, there are many more marketing factors to consider. For example, you are not marketing yourself to consumers per se. Instead, you are more focused on finding prospective franchisees. This is called franchise development marketing.
You want to reach those prospects who are interested in starting their own business. And, with today’s digitized world, you want to reach them on the Internet. That being the case, I have come up with a series of strategies to help you reach your new franchisees.
SEO Continues to Be the Name of the Game
For the uninitiated, search engine optimization, or SEO, entails building your website with the right content to help it show up high in the search engine rankings when people search for various keywords. This has been integral to any Internet marketing campaign for over a decade now, but the methods have changed as search engines have become more sophisticated.
To attract franchisees with SEO, your site should have original content about franchise ownership. Your rankings and SEO are affected largely by the content you create. Your website needs to be kept fresh with frequent content updates and additions. A blog is a great tool for achieving this goal. In addition, you will have much more SEO success when your content focuses on franchise ownership. To really improve your SEO rankings, you want others to link back to and share your content. You should also consider guest blogging for other sites to get them to link to your site.
When you are creating your content, have a list of keywords to use. When people are doing a Google search, what keyword searches do you want to lead right to your site? Include these in your content. However, you do not want to “keyword stuff.” Use keywords naturally, and make sure they do not make up more than three percent of the total word count of your articles or blog posts. Also, be sure to include them in your Meta tags.
An excellent way to grab attention is to try to rank for keywords like “franchise opportunity in <your industry>”. To ensure you have a good chance of ranking for various keywords, you need to do a little bit of research first and come up with a comprehensive list. Thereafter, you can create a content calendar and social media publishing calendar outlining the dates of publication.
Paid Search Should Be Used in Conjunction with SEO
To make certain your ads will show up in front of a targeted online audience, Google AdWords is a crucial platform to get involved with. Whereas with SEO it may take months for an organic post to show up on page one of the search rankings, you can pay to have an ad show up on top almost instantly.
Again, you will want to research your keywords. When your audience is going to Google, what are they searching for? To make sure your ad listings are showing up in front of the audiences you are targeting, you will want to optimize your campaign. For example, you will want people looking for “franchise opportunities in <your industry” to get your ad.
As with anything, you need to perform a cost-benefit analysis of your advertising campaigns. How much is a potential franchisee lead worth to you? How much is it costing you to get these leads? You will find that the paid search is definitely worth the money in the majority of cases, and you can optimize your paid search budget accordingly.
Does incorporating Internet marketing into your franchise development strategies in 2014 sound a bit daunting? It does not have to be. There are numerous digital marketing firms that are well-versed on these strategies. Turning to one of these firms will often pay for itself with the number of new franchisees you attract.
About the Author : Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmi
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.