You do—and very fast. Why? The franchise sales pathway has evolved along with the convenience, speed and influence of the Internet age.
Within the broader bucket of business-to-business sales, franchise development has moved beyond the point at which you can rely solely on face-to-face meetings, networking at conferences, franchise portals and cold calling. What is different?
The buyer’s journey has changed. Consider the following facts:
- The vast majority—94 percent—of buyers conduct online research
- Ninety percent of business-to-business researchers use search engines to investigate a purchase.
- More tellingly, data from Google tells us that people involved in B2B buying are 57 percent of the way along the path to making a decision before they reach your branded website.
- Throughout the buying process, 42 percent of B2B researchers refer to their mobile phone to get information about a purchase.
- Fifty-seven percent of the buying decision is made before a buyer reaches out to a company over the phone.
How long ago was it that you put an ad in a trade journal or business journal and prospects physically cut out the contact form and mailed in their information to get in touch with a franchise sales manager? In the grand scheme of things, not that long. And funnily enough, the same strategy largely applies in today’s digital world. You still need contact forms and to get your brand in front of a high-value audience, but the channels you use are likely very different.
Where Do Prospective Franchisees Begin?
Let’s not oversimplify the situation. People who are going to invest in a franchise aren’t performing one Google search and filling out an application immediately. They get input from their investment partners, spouses, financial advisors and a number of other involved parties. At the same time, the buying journey is complicated by a number of influences that motivate or push away prospects that you can control.
Search is one of the most powerful tools at buyers’ disposal when they’re researching an investment. And you should be investing time and resources to making your search engine presence as powerful as possible.
If you don’t have a franchise sales website — or worse, a poorly developed site — you’re going to unwittingly fail to connect your message with your audience. A successful franchise sales site is one that takes into account and puts into practice all of the search engine optimization (SEO) best practices. What for? Prospective franchisees need to be able to discover your website, which begins with a firm understanding of keyword use, information-rich content, user experience and intent, along with website architecture.
Where Can You Learn More?
- Content marketing strategy
- Lead generation and nurturing
- Navigation and usability
- Page speed and user experience
- Keyword research
- Domain strategy
- And more…