Storytelling is a fundamental part of how we communicate with one another. It has a huge effect on our thought process, and when it comes to selling, it can have a profound effect on our decision making process.
Stories, and more broadly, originally written, thoughtful content has been a main focus point in Google’s journey to bring better content to those who use search engines to get answers.
This means today, you’re much more likely to see original content pushing past the kinds of highly branded, brochure-esque pages that don’t provide the same level of quality information when searching for franchise opportunities online.
For franchises in particular, this push towards original stories and other types of content is actually a benefit to franchise lead conversion in more ways than one. Let’s explore why.
Improving franchise SEO while forging a meaningful connection with serious franchise buyers
According to 2014's Annual Franchise Development Report, the idea that web leads are, on the whole, a mass of tire kickers without serious buying potential—was crushed. Four out of every ten franchise sales happening today originate from online traffic—a steadily growing trend.
These are the buyers who take it upon themselves to carry out research before making a decision, and this research almost always starts at a search engine. Prospects submit questions and key phrases to help them understand how franchises work, which opportunities are out there, and which ones speak to them.
A lot is expected from today’s franchise websites. Buyers want to know the history of the brand, what it’s like to be a part of the company, and what kinds of people succeed as franchisees before they ever submit an online form or pick up the phone to talk to the sales team.
As we all know, buying a franchise means taking on a significant risk for many prospective buyers out there. Typical franchise prospects can spend an hour or more on a company’s website before they fill out a contact form.
Using your website to tell your brand’s story can have a huge impact on the buyers who need to feel an emotional connection to an opportunity before moving forward––especially those who don’t buy into flashy headlines and hyped up self promotion.
Moving past the virtual brochure to give prospects the answers they need
For many franchise sales and development teams, website content, and specifically how much of it to give out to visitors without requiring a form submission, can be an uneasy subject.
Many sales teams shake their heads at the idea of making so much information freely available to visitors, but the “let’s just wet their appetite” approach to franchise marketing nearly always results in the kinds of skimpy, brochure-style website that real buyers simply don’t find compelling.
A more journalistic approach to franchise web content builds the kinds of trust and authority prospects are looking for in a company by answering the basic-level questions they expect to be able to find on their own. Only after this trust is established will prospects be willing to submit a contact form or pick up the phone to learn more about how to move forward.
What kinds of content can be used to tell a brand’s story?
As a starting point for those looking to overhaul and modernize their franchise development strategy, one of the easiest sources to pull from for original engaging stories are your franchisees.
Start by opening a dialogue with those who are currently a part of your company to give prospective buyers an inside look into the kinds of people who are succeeding for themselves.
“Success stories” like these not only provide visitors with engaging articles that keep them on your site, they act as a differentiator when competitors in your market fail to build a base level of trust with prospects who make their way to their company websites in search of a brand they can connect with personally.
Simply put, storytelling is one of the fundamental building blocks of content marketing. When applied to a franchise development strategy, it allows companies to forge the emotional link between their brand’s mission and the personal goals of the potential franchise partner. It’s the connections like these that compel buyers to take the next step in the franchise buying cycle and give your sales team the kinds of qualified leads they can work into customers.
If you're looking to get your franchise opportunity found online, make sure to eck out our guide to franchise SEO.