How can you make sure your franchise website is ready for inbound marketing?
Oftentimes, franchisors looking to add new digital marketing tactics mistakenly believe they can simply tack on such strategies to their existing website and achieve optimal inbound marketing success.
But because inbound marketing strategies in particular work to drive targeted traffic to your website and then convert and nurture them all the way until they buy a franchise (and beyond), it is essential that your entire website is set up to enable success before you just start blogging.
This post provides a short checklist to make sure your franchise website is truly inbound-ready.
Smart, simple navigation is crucial for an inbound-ready website. Keeping your navigation structure simple, establishing a logical flow between pages, and making sure visitors can get anywhere on your site in three clicks or less ensures that people find what they’re looking for easily—keeping them on your site.
Putting thought into how your website will lay out and how you expect visitors to flow through the site is worth the additional planning time. Do some research to see how visitors are currently interacting with your site, and make adjustments based on those findings if necessary.
Another consideration many franchisors forget about—when you're implementing inbound marketing, your goal is that visitors will find pages through search that aren't necessarily your homepage. So ensuring your navigation bar clearly lays out who you are and where visitors can go next helps ensure they have a positive experience.
Clear Content Formatting
Because people read differently online than they do on paper, copy that lives on the web must be formatted for digital readability. With the increase in mobile use and our ever-shrinking attention spans, it's best to format your pages so that important information stands out as people may be scrolling and skimming. Don't worry, once they've done a quick assessment of whether your site is where they want to be, they'll go back and read thoroughly.
Here are a few tips to writing website copy that will get read by your visitors:
- Write short paragraphs
- Use bullet points whenever possible
- Feature eye-catching titles and headers
- Tell your reader what to do once they’re done reading (download a copy of this article, share this blog post, etc.). People are more likely to take a next action when you tell them to.
Targeted Keyword Optimization
Keyword optimization is a crucial aspect of an inbound-ready site. Make sure to optimize your website copy, and meta-information (titles, subtitles, descriptions, and images) with keywords that are directly relevant to your products, services, franchise offering, or whatever your research shows your ideal buyer is searching for. The key here is balance—too many keywords and you’ll turn off human readers and get punished by search engines, but too few and you won’t rank for anything.
Speedy Load Time
Load your site with dozens of plug-ins or affiliate ads and your website will crawl—guaranteed. Recently, SEOmoz CEO Rand Fishkin reduced the page load time of his site by just 1.5 seconds and found an increase greater than 100% in the amount of total pages crawled by Google each day.
Compelling Calls to Action
Another crucial aspect of an inbound-ready site is clear calls-to-action on each page. You want to make sure your visitors know what to do next. The more time they spend on your site, the better chance you have of building their trust and converting them into a lead.
Eye-catching call-to-action graphics lead prospects to targeted landing pages. Place calls to action in the sidebar of your blog page, internal pages, or in hero slider images on your homepage.
Another important aspect of calls-to-action: make sure the next step matches as a solid follow-up to the page your visitor is currently on. Don't make the jump from a post geared towards people just starting their franchise research to your contact page.
Focused Landing Pages
A landing page with a compelling offer, clear copy, and a frictionless form will convert visitors to leads with little effort, as long as you're delivering the right visitors to these landing pages (see the tip above about CTAs).
Keys to building a targeted landing page include removing the navigation bar (so viewers focus on the offer rather than wandering your site), describing the value of the offer, and a providing a short contact form that won’t turn visitors away.
Invaluable Premium Content
To get visitors to submit their contact information, your offers (whitepaper, eBook, case study, etc.) must demonstrate value to your prospects. Writing a great title is half the battle in getting people to download your content. Go the distance with great design work, clear copy, and information that your visitors can’t get from anyone else.
Branded Email Template
The best part about sending follow-up emails to those who have claimed your offers? They’ve opted in to receive them, which means they’re more interested in hearing what you have to say. Use a branded email template to help recipients quickly make the connection between your message and your website and branding. Sending bland, text-only emails doesn’t cut it anymore—keep a branded email template in your inbound-ready arsenal.
Combine these aspects and you’ll have an outstanding, inbound-ready franchise site that will help you optimize your investment in digital marketing.
Looking for more ways to maximize your inbound marketing by getting your franchise opportunity found online? Check out our guide to franchise SEO.