Franchisors today recognize that it’s important for their franchisees to have a strong online presence to spread awareness of their locations in local markets, increase lead generation and customer acquisition, and help improve customer loyalty and retention — all of which directly benefit the franchisor by increasing royalty streams, expanding market share, and strengthening the brand.
Although local franchisee websites are specifically geared towards unit-level performance, it’s important that franchisors maintain a comfortable level of oversight and control. In addition, franchisors might want to offer how-to guides around internet marketing, local search, mobile applications, and other specific guides and best practices that are most applicable to franchisee websites.
When assessing what’s imporant for franchisee websites, what always matters the most is return on investment, or ROI. The metrics that help determine ROI are:
- Website traffic
- Lead generation
- Lead-to-customer conversions
Increasing your website traffic
Website traffic can best be increased by using proper on-page search engine optimization, the regular and frwquent addition of fresh, new content to the site (usually by blogging), and promoting your content on social media platforms.
Effective lead generation
Lead generation begins with identifying relevant and useful information that the visitor can download. This could be discount coupons, special offers, ebooks, how-to guides, etc. Your web visitor must complete a short form, providing their email address to you, before they can download this piece of content that they want. To encourage them to download an item, use a strong call to action which takes the visitor to a “landing page” where they can understand the benefits of downloading this material and can fill out the necessary form to do so.
Best practices in lead generation then call for an email to be sent immediately to the visitor, thanking them for downloading you material. Followup emails over the next few weeks are called “lead nuturing”, and can have a positive effect on return visitors to your website for further engagement.
Lead-to-customer conversion ratio
An accurate lead-to-customer conversion ratio is critical to developing an understanding your ROI. This typically requires an analytics system that tracks initial and return visits, initial conversion (on a landing page) and any subsequent conversions, and ultimately the final sale, or abandonment by the visitor.
To fine tune your online marketing strategy, it would also be useful to determine how many of your website visitors come from organic search (search engines), social media, and other sources.
Franchisees need to develop their local website to reflect local events and news, and to promote things that are happening in their business. To do this effectively, while still operating with the franchisor’s guidelines, franchisees need to be trained in best practices in a variety of inbound marketing fields.