Creating a new website or optimizing an old one is exciting. It looks sleek, is well-organized, and pops with just the right amount of information to entice your visitor to take the next step. Lead capture is the ultimate goal of a well-performing website, and there are several ways to help people find your franchise concept online and keep them coming. The four ways to master digital marketing/SEO for your franchise website are: Cracking the code (making sure you have a clear understanding of SEO), content marketing, backlinks and social media. Bring all four to the table to amplify your lead capture, then sit back (just until it’s time to post new content!) and celebrate a job well done.
Cracking the Code
A website that performs well for your franchise will optimize stellar content utilizing keywords, long-tail keywords, downloadable content of value for lead capture, backlinks and social media signals. To do this, a solid foundation of SEO know-how is paramount. For example, while website that performs well ranking for long-tail keywords requires a lot of work, it can make a significant difference in your rankings when optimizing for them. This will continue to become more prevalent as voice searches increase. A good digital marketing team will understand simple concepts like this one, as well as more sophisticated ideas, set their expectations, then obtain effective SEO marketing tools to reach SEO goals, audit, analyze data daily, and adjust as necessary.
Content is King
The content you provide on your website is a chance to wine and dine your visitors, make them feel like you know exactly who they are (which you absolutely should), so they are more likely to ask for more. Content comes in many forms to suit many readers, so it’s important to mix it up. Make sure written web copy is snappy and easy to skim through. Use images, video and infographics, and don’t forget to utilize image alt text and meta descriptions. Most importantly, offer valuable downloadable content your visitors want. For prospective franchisees, a positive glimpse into the industry at hand is a good start.
A blog page on your site is the place to dive into longer, more informative content about franchising in general and news specific to your industry. This is the place to utilize those internal links! Content marketing via blog is a place to showcase your expertise on relevant, current topics. Spotlight or interview thought leaders, write about the other things related to your business that your target demographic will find useful. The idea is to establish your website as a go-to resource for franchise candidates.
Hyperlinks are the consumer’s virtual road map across the internet. One click sends people on their way somewhere, why not back to your website? Backlinks create a direct path between a relevant lead source and your website, and they are a snap to measure. Why are they important? Quality backlinks boost organic ranking, result in quicker indexing, and can be instrumental in providing referral traffic. Referrals are the people you really want to visit your site. They were likely already reading about a related topic and clicked on your link to find out more information. Translation? That’s a good lead with a probable lower bounce rate.
Internal links that help visitors navigate your site are also useful. They boost page views and rank, improve time on site, and generally improve usability.
Social Media Signals
4.5 billion people use the internet, and of those, 3.8 billion of them have social media accounts, and the number of user accounts is growing at about 9% per year. Social media platforms are a rich, easy to navigate, surprisingly specific digital marketplace to find leads and lure them to your website.
Through paid search and display advertising, social media channels are a great place to target your market with laser focus, and at a price that is a bargain compared to other options. Social media lets you find your audience where they live – millennials/Gen Y on Instagram and Snapchat, investors or upper management on LinkedIn, GenX and boomers on Facebook – and so many others. Social media also gives you an opportunity to engage your target market and listen to what they are saying (social listening). Plus, it gives them a front row seat to see how you operate through customer service or crisis management. A good social media campaign gives franchise leads a virtual window into your company. If they like what they see, they will want to come in, and will follow you to your website.
A website that performs well is essential to any digital marketing strategy. It is critical your site be mobile and tablet friendly because according to the World Advertising Research Center, nearly three quarters of the world will access the internet through only their smart phones. Great websites become greater over time. Pay close attention to your data, observe engagement on social media, and adjust blog topics as necessary. Treat your website like a digital member of your team and it will work well to attract and convert leads for your franchise.
Matthew Jonas is president and co-founder of TopFire Media. As TopFire Media’s brand steward, he defines high-impact digital PR and marketing strategies for an impressive cache of consumer and franchise-based clientele. For more information, visit www.topfiremedia.com