Most in franchise development would argue that it is all about leads, which turn to qualified prospects, which turn to franchisees. If leads are what brands are fighting to get and 90 percent of leads come through a franchise development website, then a robust digital marketing strategy is essential to providing a simple landing spot for customers and those one-degree separated. Brands need strong search engine optimization for interception strategies to capture those who have raised their hand and said they were interested in owning a franchise and just haven’t found the right brand.
Sean Fitzgerald, Chief Development Strategist 1851; Jack Monson, Director of Digital Strategy at Qiigo; Rick Batchelor, CEO of Qiigo; and Jamshaid Hashmi, CEO & President of ClickTecs provide 10 tips for strengthening your franchise brand’s search:
- Monson: Be open to trying new methods. Search engines and digital marketing changes so fast that what did or didn’t work in the recent past is irrelevant.
- Hashmi: Ensure that your SEO tags are in line with the industry you are in. Go after industry specific SEO terms that describe your franchise opportunity instead of generic ‘buy franchise’ or ‘open a business’ terms.
- Batchelor: Pay-per-click and Search engine optimization are just part of the solution. Remember this is a research sale. These buyers search and search. Using every single avenue of traffic you have available is what is needed.
- Hashmi: Running paid ads across multiple social media channels and search engines, sponsoring content or boosting FB posts will improve your traffic and awareness. All these items will build a larger digital footprint and allow you to maximize the brand experience online.
- Batchelor: Know your numbers before you get started here. Know your cost per lead and cost per acquisition. Without realistic expectations here, you are just going to become frustrated, waste money, experience vendor churn and probably decide that ‘digital just does not work for us.’
- Fitzgerald: Don’t overpay for SEO; make sure you budget for retargeting and PPC so that you have a balance of efforts going toward driving your traffic goals.
- Batchelor: Don't put a franchise development person with no digital experience in charge of your digital franchise development lead flow. You will just waste money and frustrate your vendors.
- Fitzgerald: Make sure you have outside content that tells your story in longer form and links back to your site for the conclusion to the story -- the lead. This can come from great public relations and content marketing strategies and execution.
- Batchelor: Digital marketing is incredibly sophisticated in this day and age and only getting more complicated. If you don't know what you are doing with it, you almost certainly get hurt.
- Fitzgerald: Remember that Google can change the game anytime they want. SEO is a lot like exercise; the second you stop is the second you regret.