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This is a guest blog post by Rebekah Griffiths of Engage Web.
As the world becomes increasingly internet-savvy and people find more and more ways to get online – whether via their home computers, laptops, tablets, or smartphones – having a strong online presence is a necessity for any business. Indeed, franchisees will in many cases have used the Internet to some degree to have researched and communicated with franchisors, demonstrating that company websites can offer more than just an increase in customers.
Having a website is certainly a start, but many business owners and franchisors make the mistake of thinking that this is enough on its own. Generally, unless web marketing is integrated effectively, the only people who will visit a site are those who are specifically searching for it. This is where online marketing can help ensure that a particular site is the one that is stumbled upon, attracting searchers who are perhaps less certain of what they are looking for.
How can web marketing help franchisees?
One of the main perks of becoming a franchisee as opposed to setting up a business from scratch is that the model will already be in place and, in some cases, brand recognition levels will already be high. With this in mind, some franchisees may wonder whether they can really benefit from online marketing. In this article, we look at what franchisees can gain from an effective web marketing campaign.
Search engine optimization – taking a local approach
A company specializing in web marketing can help find out what sort of keywords people are searching for, and can optimize a website around this. The key is to avoid targeting words that produce countless results, but to focus on more specific search terms. This is where franchisees can find that SEO is of direct benefit to them.
In recent years, one of the most notable changes to Google – through which the vast majority of web searches are carried out – is that is has started to localize results. The search engine is able to locate its users via their IP address and, if the user searches for a particular field of business, such as “takeaway restaurants” or “hairdressers”, they will immediately be presented with local businesses offering these services. For franchisees who make good use of SEO, this means that their particular outlet of a franchise is likely to be among the top results when their service is searched by a local user. Franchisees should consider how effective this could be for visitors not familiar with the area who are planning their day out online.
No reason to be anti-social
The rise in popularity and effectiveness of popular sites like Facebook and Twitter is no secret. Studies from September 2012 suggest that roughly half of social media users prefer to use a company’s Facebook or Twitter page to official company sites. The two do not need to be mutually exclusive however, and the most effective way to use social media sites is to tie them in with the main company website. From a franchisee’s point of view, an advantage here is that they can create their own Facebook or Twitter page for their individual outlet in a way that the main website may not allow.
Where do I start?
If this all seems rather daunting, the good news is that an established internet marketing company can take care of some or all of this directly. This can cost as much or as little as the franchisee wishes to spend and most companies offer such services on a sliding scale, meaning that hands-on franchisees can still control much of their online marketing if they prefer.
Rebekah Griffiths works for Engage Web, an online marketing firm based on the Wirral. With international as well as UK-based clients, Engage Web offers a range of internet marketing services, including SEO, social media optimization, and web design. http://www.engageweb.co.uk