1851 Franchise spoke with Jamshaid Hashmi, CEO of ClickTecs, to learn more about what franchisors need to consider when establishing their digital presence.
There are several things to keep in mind when building a franchise website. Development sites are unlike any other in that prospective franchisees want to see specific bits of information and learn as much as they can about a brand before they even consider inquiring or asking for more details.
1851 Franchise spoke with Jamshaid Hashmi, CEO of ClickTecs, a digital marketing agency, to learn more about the five best practices franchisors need to keep in mind when launching a development website.
Have a clear call to action
A call to action is what you want visitors to do when they visit your website. They should find this within three to five seconds of visiting your site, Hashmi said, which is why franchisors need to ask themselves what action they want visitors to take.
“You need to make sure that that’s very clear,” Hashmi said. “Oftentimes, we’ve seen websites that have multiple calls to action. Follow me on Facebook. Request a quote. Find a location. Sign up for our newsletter. Request a chat. There are too many options at that point for a user to really have a good user experience. We need to guide them into the funnel of what action we want them to take. From a design perspective, there should be a very clear, concise call to action that’s ideally above the fold so the user doesn’t have to go and scroll on their desktop. It’s also ideally right in the header on the main screen when somebody’s looking on a mobile device like a tablet or a smartphone. Those are things to certainly keep in mind from a design strategy perspective.”
Make sure you address what the user is seeking
Always make sure to keep in mind what the user might be looking for when visiting your brand’s site.
“Understand that your website really needs to address a question, concern or provide some type of information that the user is seeking,” Hashmi said. “If you’re going out there and talking about something that is unrelated to the intent of the user, then there’s a disconnect, and when there’s a disconnect, there’s a bad user experience.”
Do your research
Before building your website, talk to a focus group of potential customers or franchise candidates and find out what they’re looking for and what commonly asked questions they have when they’re researching your service, product or franchise offering. Plug that information into Google and use both Google viewer and auto suggest tools to identify people who are searching for specific things related to your products or services, Hashmi said.
“Armed with this information, you’re able to design the structure of the website or build out the structure of the website to address those questions and provide that information,” he said. “The closer you can get to matching the intent of a visitor who originated a search query to get to your website or came to your website with something specific in mind, and the faster you can provide that bit of information that they were specifically seeking, the higher chances of them engaging with your website.”
Choose your CMS carefully
Match the coding language of the CMS to the stack of technology you have, Hashmi said.
“If your technology stack is built in one type of language, it’s always beneficial to get a CMS in the same language. That’s because you won’t have to have varied resources on that — you won’t need to have five different agencies managing five different properties,” Hashmi said.
That being said, Hashmi cited Wordpress as the most popular platform, as it’s an open source platform and it’s easy to find developers who can work in it. He also added that WordPress is a user-friendly and SEO-friendly CMS.
Be strategic about your content
Hashmi notes that franchise development websites have become very content-heavy, and that there used to be a time when a one-pager about your franchise opportunity was enough to attract a potential franchisee. In the past, potential franchisees would need to inquire about the brand before a franchisor would share any information about the opportunity. Those days, Hashmi said, are long gone. Content that’s now considered interesting to a potential franchisee includes information on training, costs associated with starting up the business and information about the company founder and how the company started.
“Nowadays, customers oftentimes know more about your brand before they call you than they ever did,” Hashmi said. “They’re consuming many, many pages of information. And whether you’re controlling the narrative or otherwise, they’re going to get that information. And it’s always better that you control the narrative so that you know what you’re saying about your brand. That’s why writing out more pages of content is usually a good strategy, not only from an SEO perspective, but also so you can control the messaging behind your brand that’s out there.”