Three Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Franchise Recruiting Website

Are you getting good site traffic but not enough leads? It’s time to do a quick self-audit and figure out what you could be doing better.

If you ever played baseball or softball growing up, you know that feeling of building anticipation while taking practice swings in the on-deck circle. I bet you also remember (even if you hate to admit it!) the disappointment you felt when you instead struck out and dejectedly headed back to the bench.

Let’s shift this analogy to your franchise’s digital marketing tools, specifically your website. The agony of a baseball “swing-and-miss” is not unlike the feeling you get as a franchise brand when you see your website getting plenty of traffic, but producing no leads. It leaves you wondering what you should have done differently to achieve the results for which you hoped.

Sure, you might have the most beautifully designed, aesthetically pleasing website, but if you have few or no franchise leads to show for it, what is it worth?

All too often, franchisors forget to put themselves in the shoes of a potential franchisee. From a franchisee’s point of view, your website is an indicator of whether your concept is something worth buying into. The site should be organized and informative, and effectively convey what your company and opportunity are all about. The key is to design a website that requires franchisees to use as little energy as possible to develop interest, navigate pages, and request more information. Think about user experience, and about what, ultimately, you want users to do.

Ask yourself these three questions when evaluating your website:

    • What kind of first impression are you making? You have 30 seconds — or less — to make a good first impression with any website visitor. When a potential franchisee first visits your site, ask yourself: “Is it easy for them to get the main idea?” Make sure you have succinct copy, compelling images and visible calls-to-action so that users grasp your central theme, and know how to take the next step.
    • Does the messaging hit home? First, you need a message that speaks directly to your target audience. Maybe your content presentation is too consumer-focused, and therefore confusing or misleading to franchise prospects. Or, maybe once prospects start reading, they decide it’s not worth their time. How do you even know if people are connecting with what you’re saying? A good place to start is by digging into your website’s analytics. If you see warning signs such as high bounce rates or users spending one minute or less on your website, chances are, your message isn’t hitting home for many folks. Plus, if your website conversion rate is low — in the 1 percent to 2 percent range — you really need to do a deep dive into your message. If it is not effectively targeting your intended audience (franchisee prospects), both you and your website visitors are going to be wasting time.
    • Do franchisees have functional next steps? Are you providing franchisees with accessible information or easy-to-complete forms? If you make navigation or form-filling too complex, potential franchisees likely will get frustrated and move on to another website or concept. You need to lay out your website in a logical and clear manner that gives franchise prospects a precise path to their final destination — your inquiry form. Once there, best practices include enticing users with a free “report” or “digital brochure,” something tangible they can take away with them after you’ve captured their information.

After considering these tips, it’s time to step back into the batter’s box and aim for the fences. As a franchisor, you must make it as easy as possible for franchise prospects to decide yours is a company worth investing in. And, remember that website development is a continuous process, and your site should never be a static marketing vehicle. It may take regular at-bats to refine and update your website’s appeal, to continue to attract quality leads. The key is to keep your head up and stay focused. The very nature of franchising means that you won’t always be able to have a perfect batting average with franchise candidates. But in the words of baseball great Babe Ruth, “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”

Matthew Jonas is the President of TopFire Media, an award-winning integrated public relations and digital marketing agency specializing in franchise marketing and consumer branding. Together with the leaders of iFranchise Group and Franchise Dynamics, Jonas established TopFire Media to provide a strategic and synchronized method for digital marketing in the franchise industry. As a digital marketing strategist with more than a decade of in-depth experience in SEO and PPC, social media publishing, conversion based marketing, inbound marketing, sales management, and online lead generation, Jonas has built a career dedicated to delivering an integrated marketing approach that achieves client success and long-term relationships.

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