If you're thinking of opening a franchise, make sure to choose a brand that provides digital marketing support.
For business owners, establishing a strong online presence can be the difference between reaching the consumers who matter most to your brand and missing out on a lot of potential sales. The same is true for entrepreneurs when opening a franchise business. These franchise owners need to take the digital marketing support they get from the corporate team and add in their own strategies to reach local consumers.
But franchise owners have a head start on independent business owners when it comes to establishing an online presence – or at least they should. When opening a franchise business, you’re not just buying a store and a logo, you’re also buying the brand’s marketing tools and strategies for attracting and retaining local customers.
The UPS Store understands how important it is for franchisees to maintain a comprehensive online presence, which is why we offer owners a range of marketing and advertising services, including a robust digital marketing strategy. For an idea of what those services look like, here are three foundational components The UPS Store franchise system provides store owners to help them build a stronger online presence.
Three Foundational Components of Franchise Marketing Support
For franchise businesses, it’s important to have a site that’s optimized for both search engines and potential customers. To accomplish this, the website should:
- Include technical search engine optimization (SEO) elements to help boost its visibility in search results.
- Deliver a valuable user experience that makes it easy for potential customers to find the information they need about your products and easy for them to contact your business.
Here are a few key characteristics of an optimized, local website:
Includes local information
Basic information like business name, address, phone number (NAP), hours of operation and details on the products and services you offer should be front and center. This is important to search engines as well. According to Moz, on-page signals, including the presence of NAP, are the second most important ranking factor in local organic search results. Localized images and strong calls to action should also be included.
A mobile-friendly site that adheres to industry standards and incorporates SEO best practices is essential for ranking well in search results. Sites that load quickly and are easy to read on mobile devices also provide a better user experience for your current and potential customers.
Includes optimized technical elements
Title tags that include the business name, geo-location and main product or service provide visitors and search engines with a concise description of the page. Meta descriptions, the preview snippets that appear in organic search results, are also key to enticing searchers to click through to your site.
When you add important information on your webpages like location data and product descriptions, it’s easy for visitors to understand what the copy is talking about. But to search engines, the copy just looks like any of the other words on your page. However, adding pieces of code called Schema Markup tells search engines exactly what type of information the copy represents to they can understand your page better and represent it correctly in search results. Adding Schema Markup to information like your business address, products and services, and hours of operation ensures that search engines can find and understand all your information.
Even the structure of the webpage URL itself can have a significant impact on local search engine rankings. The best practice here is to optimize the URLs to leverage domain authority by using the parent domain along with the location. Here’s an example of how this looks:
Another component of a strong web presence that’s particularly critical for franchise brands is local listings. It’s important to have a program in place to manage the accuracy and consistency of local listings and other citations across the web. In fact, citation signals (NAP consistency, number of online citations, etc.) were among the top five most important factors for local and organic search rankings according to Moz’s 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors survey.
That’s why The UPS Store franchise owners are automatically enrolled in an optimized local listings program that delivers necessary business information to local consumers on search engines, social media platforms, local directory sites and more.
The third component of a robust online presence is managing reviews. Online reviews are a strong indicator of a brand’s quality, and consumers often trust online reviews as much as advice from their family and friends. A survey conducted by BrightLocal found that 91 percent of 18-34-year-old consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. In addition, 57 percent of consumers will only use a business if it has four or more stars, and 89 percent of consumers read a business’ responses to reviews.
Whether they’re looking for a place to ship a package or researching a larger ticket item like a washing machine, it’s rare for consumers to make a purchase without reading reviews. In fact, the BrightLocal survey showed 86 percent of consumers read reviews for local businesses.
Because reviews are so important, The UPS Store franchise owners also have access to a program to monitor and manage their online reputation as a part of their local listings program. If you’re thinking of getting into franchising, make sure you go with a brand that does the same.
Ready to Get into Franchising?
These are just three components of a strong local online presence, but having an optimized website, a robust listings program and a system in place for managing reviews will have you off to a great start. With more than 4,700 franchise-owned locations, The UPS Store understands how important it is to help owners maintain a robust, localized online presence. So, if you’re interested in franchising, talk to our franchise development team and learn how the digital marketing support you’ll receive as a The UPS Store franchise owner helps you get started down the right path.