Franchise success is a complex balance of getting your unique stories out to your target audience, creating full pipelines and building robust brand relationships. Enterprise businesses that do well in these three aspects
drive high-quality organic leads to their websites and get more people to engage.
Organic leads – prospects who came across your website by searching for relevant products, services or questions in a search engine – fuel the long-term growth and profitability of your franchise organization. With a healthy flow of franchise leads across demographics, you gain stronger brand recognition and increase your revenue stream.
Unfortunately, the prolonged sales cycle and complexities of doing business in the digital world have made generating consistent, high-quality organic leads even more challenging. Today, many franchise market players still struggle to attract potential franchisees and customers despite investing in lead generation services. A HubSpot research study found that nearly 61 percent of marketers rank organic lead generation as their biggest hurdle to business success.
Does your current organic lead generation strategy work well across your enterprise business?
Franchise marketing requires a balance between the enterprise business strategy and local marketing efforts to achieve overall brand growth. Without a clear-cut goal and concrete plan to attract new business across entities, you’re missing out on profitable inbound organic leads for your enterprise business. And fewer leads equal fewer sales.
Let our lead generation agency help you navigate the digital marketing landscape and build a robust organic lead generation strategy. Read on and explore new ways to engage with your target audience, create experiences that fill your sales pipelines and get set on the path to attract new business – organic strategy.
Organic lead generation is the process of using various digital marketing strategies, including search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing, to attract and cultivate new potential businesses as they gain interest in your brand.
Unlike paid advertising, organic lead generation centers on initiating and maintaining conversations with prospects across different online channels until they decide to convert. To make this possible, organic lead generation services focus on developing informative content that meets your target audience’s needs at each stage of their online journey.
A lead generation company uses various marketing materials, such as website content, local listings and social media posts, to generate awareness and stimulate audience interest. When executed properly, organic lead generation services can be a viable long-term solution to generating qualified leads without having to fork out big bucks.
Why Organic Lead Generation
Is Critical to Franchise Success
Any lead generation company would agree that organic lead generation is the engine of successful enterprise businesses.
Whether your goal is to encourage more market leaders to sign up as your franchisee or generate more customers across your service locations, organic lead generation services are critical to giving your brand more exposure.
The lead generation spending of U.S. companies is expected to reach $3.2 billion by 2023 (Statista). This is proof that many businesses believe lead generation services can be very profitable for their brand.
Businesses that leverage lead generation make more sales by turning organic leads into loyal customers. The more organic leads you convert, the higher your franchise’s profit margins.
A whopping 85 percent of B2B marketers consider lead generation to be their most important content marketing goal (Content Marketing Institute).
Following up with organic leads within five minutes increases your chances of converting them by 9X (InsideSales).
Nearly 67 percent of businesses use lead generation as the sole metric to gauge the success of their content marketing initiatives (SEMrush).
It takes nearly 100 leads to reach a closed sale (FranConnect). With continuous lead generation efforts, your profit potential also increases.
Organic lead generation is critical if you want to keep ahead of this competitive market. With a robust franchise lead generation tactic, you contribute to a better return on investment (ROI) through the most cost-effective direct marketing method.
Top Organic Lead Generation Challenges
Like other industries, however, challenges also abound in the franchise market. From selecting and implementing the right lead generation tactics to breaking through the noise to capture audience attention and measuring which strategies work best for your enterprise business – the list goes on.
Research conducted by RAIN Group in partnership with the IT Services Marketing Association (ITSMA) found that:
Besides these hurdles, our lead generation agency has also identified the top lead generation challenges entrepreneurs, multi-location businesses and marketers face when generating organic leads:
- Communicating with franchisees to align goals
- Balancing franchise lead quality and quantity
- Allocating sufficient budget and resources across the enterprise business
- Managing and tracking organic leads
- Creating relevant and valuable content to attract potential leads
- Pivoting operations amidst economic uncertainties
With several marketing hurdles across the enterprise business, which one should you focus on and how do you ensure lead generation success?
Organic Lead Generation
Every year, approximately 300 companies enter the franchise industry and compete for customers’ attention (Frankart Global). To stand out from the crowd and ensure your franchise system’s success, you need a proactive approach to organic lead generation.
As a lead generation agency, we have been able to identify the top four digital marketing strategies you need to focus on to build a strong lead generation machine and differentiate your brand:
Franchise SEO: Striking the Balance
Between Enterprise SEO and Local SEO
Combined franchise SEO and local search engine optimization tactics are vital to creating an all-encompassing organic search solution for multiple-location businesses.
Franchise SEO and local SEO are long-term investments that bring significant rewards for franchisors and franchisees looking to rank high across multiple locations and build a solid foundation for their future campaigns.
According to a Forrester Consulting study, leads and traffic sourced through organic search bring a higher customer lifetime value (CLV) compared to paid leads. By focusing on your brand’s enterprise SEO growth, you continually optimize and pivot your marketing efforts for better performance over time.
What Is Franchise SEO?
Franchise SEO or enterprise SEO pertains to the overarching strategy used to improve enterprise businesses' search visibility and rankings. It ensures enough positive materials about your brand appear on branded searches to provide valuable content to your target audience and enhance their overall online experience.
Most franchises enlist enterprise SEO services from a trusted enterprise SEO company to create a centralized enterprise SEO strategy that the other entities can adopt or learn from. Enterprise SEO services are also designed to help franchisors onboard new franchisees and expand their service locations.
Why Is Enterprise SEO Important?
Enterprise SEO has additional considerations that local business SEO does not. These include organizing franchisee web pages and ensuring all local search optimization efforts align with the franchise SEO goal to increase positive traffic to the website. Additionally, the franchisor has to maintain an enterprise SEO platform or a suite of SEO tools to manage complicated and time-consuming SEO processes across locations.
By prioritizing your enterprise SEO strategy, you can:
Identify and Prevent Issues
Franchisors that don't take Google requirements into account when they structure their website(s) tend to start on the wrong foot and incur years-long issues, such as duplicate content and domain health risks, that linger well past correction.
Any experienced enterprise SEO company would advise you to perform a comprehensive technical SEO audit before website optimization to avoid overlooking potential areas for franchise SEO growth and/or risk.
Create a Standard for
Any challenges you face with your enterprise SEO website are proportional to its scale. This means the bigger your website and the more pages you manage, the bigger the problem in getting local business SEO right for the smaller entities.
Taking the advice of an enterprise SEO agency to prioritize your franchise SEO marketing allows you to identify the right enterprise SEO platform, test different SEO strategies and create optimized page templates that the franchisees can easily follow to boost the results of their local search engine optimization efforts.
Navigate Internal Politics
Enterprise businesses typically have large, complex organizational structures spanning different departments and franchisees. The diversity in the organization often results in conflicting goals and practices that hinder brand growth.
Optimizing your enterprise SEO website allows you to prove the value of local SEO in driving revenue for the enterprise business. Additionally, it enables you to communicate with franchisees the importance of launching strategic local search optimization campaigns to bolster their online presence and attract more customers.
Ensure Website Crawlability and Indexability
The crawlability and indexability of your enterprise SEO website depend on various factors, including internal linking, redirects, server response time and crawl errors. Neglecting your franchise SEO can cause problems for both users and search bots in navigating your website.
With help from a trusted enterprise SEO company, you prevent web accessibility issues and gain greater control over your online performance. Enterprise SEO services are also formulated to help you maintain a top-level view of your platform’s performance and technical health.
Best Strategies To Improve Your Enterprise SEO Results
Maintain One Enterprise SEO Website
Matt Garrett, Thrive’s SEO growth engineer, advises enterprise business owners to cut down their websites as much as possible. “Having one powerful website is infinitely better than 300 weak ones,” said Garrett.
A website.com/location structure performs far better than location.website.com and locationwebsite.com structures. This is because Google trusts the one-domain's information and it provides Googlebot (and users) a better experience.
Perform Regular Website Audits
Any established enterprise SEO agency includes regular website audits in its enterprise SEO services to ensure the website’s health and performance. Comprehensive SEO audits are typically conducted every three months to identify and fix technical bugs and issues with your enterprise SEO site. Website audits also allow you to highlight key strategies that directly impact your bottom line and find ways to duplicate the results on your local SEO marketing campaigns.
Prioritize Mobile Optimization
Mobile usage trends are exponentially growing, with 6.4 billion smartphone users worldwide (Statista) and approximately 69 percent of the population using their phones for product research (eMarketer). Optimize your website for mobile to expand your business reach and attract more organic leads to your enterprise SEO website.
A lead generation company promotes using mobile optimization tools on different content management systems (CMS) like WordPress to make your website mobile-friendly. In doing so, your site automatically adjusts to different screen sizes. Additionally, be sure to continually re-evaluate and optimize your mobile strategies to avoid losing mobile leads.
Follow Google’s Best Practices
According to Garrett, franchises are notorious for breaking all the SEO rules in an effort to find some temporary success. However, a short-term win is not an excuse to continue implementing franchise SEO tactics that violate Google’s guidelines.
“Don't let your competitors dictate what is best practice,” said Garrett. Rely on Google's rules and requirements more than your competitor's information and run your own experiments. Following Google's guidelines will always provide more long-term growth.
Create a Data Management System
There’s a myriad of solutions available to streamline your franchise SEO management. Google Tag Manager (GTM) containers, for one, have dynamic tagging that allows you to use one container on 100+ sites and roll out changes all at once.
Other tools like Zapier, CallRail and Google Sheets are also useful in monitoring conversion actions on- and off-site. If you’re unsure which enterprise SEO platform to use for your enterprise business, it is best to consult with an enterprise SEO agency for expert advice.
What Is Local SEO?
Once you’ve built and optimized your enterprise SEO website, the next step is to create your local search engine optimization strategy.
Local SEO is an SEO tactic that focuses on making your website more visible in local search results. Local SEO solutions are designed to help franchisees rank high on “near me” and geo-specific search queries. All digital marketing strategies with focused, localized intent, including content development, on-page optimizations, Google My Business Profile SEO and link building, are part of local search optimization efforts.
Why Does Local SEO Matter to Franchise Marketing?
Local queries account for nearly 50 percent of Google searches per year (Moz). With more people searching for local businesses online, franchisees that invest in data-driven local SEO services have the upper hand in establishing their brand presence and ensuring potential customers find their specific location.
Implementing data-driven local SEO solutions allows you to:
Get Found By High-Intent Customers
One of the biggest benefits of local SEO solutions is you position your franchise business in front of targeted audience segments that live or travel in the vicinity of your service location. Almost everyone today looks for local businesses online. With a solid local search optimization strategy in place, you make your business more visible to prospects who are actively looking for your brand offerings.
Gain Control of Your Brand
Effective local SEO services from a recognized local SEO company help you control your brand narrative in local search results. By managing your Google My Business (GMB) profile, performing website localization, obtaining quality backlinks and managing your local reviews, you increase each franchisee’s local footprint and reinforce your thought-leadership brand in the industry.
Provide a Better User Experience
A high-ranking website on relevant local searches combined with a mobile-friendly site design draws in more organic leads that have higher chances of converting into customers. Studies show the top Google local search results account for nearly 25 percent of clicks (Safari Digital). The right local SEO agency can help you rank high for your targeted search terms and ensure your website caters to the needs and demands of your audience.
Rank High in Local Search Results
Tired of being outranked in search results? Invest in local SEO services and take an analytics-driven approach to franchise SEO. Eighty-eight percent of marketers agree that local and organic rankings are closely related (Moz). Using a strategic local SEO guide, you have higher chances of ranking for geo-targeted keywords and in a competitive market where regular SEO is much more challenging.
Your Local SEO Guide to Attracting Organic Leads
Build Out Location Pages
Location pages serve as a gateway to your franchisees. These pages help prospects and search engines find relevant information about a specific location, including brand offerings, operating hours and contact details. In creating location pages, a local SEO company advises that you localize your page content, include specific name, address and phone (NAP) details on each page, leverage store locator widgets and include social proof.
Localize Keyword Targeting Approach
Leverage geo-specific keywords on your pages to gain higher visibility in local search results. For instance, if your dental clinic is based in Austin, TX, you’ll want to target “dental clinic in Austin, TX,” and other related search terms in your website content. Besides the city name, you can also target nearby tourist destinations, local landmarks or regional names to increase your chances of showing in local search engine results pages (SERPs).
Optimize Content for Local Search
Avoid duplicate content at all costs; brainstorm creative ways of getting service pages to rank in different locations. Garrett also advises that you defer to your franchisee's judgment on local colloquialisms and dialect. For instance, think about how different parts of the country call carbonated drinks soda, pop or coke. But make sure to test local dialect queries in Google to see how they perform differently.
Design Custom Landing Pages
To create awesome content for your local landing pages, be sure to produce content based on your target audience’s needs. Use keyword-rich titles, headlines and location descriptions. Another important part of the local SEO guide that you should follow is to showcase your expertise by answering the frequently asked questions (FAQs) about your brand offerings. More importantly, make your calls-to-action (CTAs) prominent and locally relevant.
The Geolocation API is an HTML5 feature that, once enabled, lets you find out the geographic coordinates of your site visitor’s current location. Using this feature, you can direct all country- or city-specific website visitors to your specific location pages. Schedule a consultation with a local SEO agency with vast experience in web development and franchise marketing to find out how to leverage the Geolocation feature to your advantage.
Enterprise SEO and local search optimization played a critical role in improving the monthly organic leads and conversions of a multiple-location orthopedic practice group in the Southern United States. The company lacked a concrete digital marketing plan to drive organic leads to its website and increase conversion rate.
Our local SEO agency performed a comprehensive website audit, keyword research and backlink analysis to determine the direction of our local SEO marketing campaign. Based on the analytics results, we’ve developed a new content strategy that focuses on location-based keywords and topics to boost the company’s local business SEO results.
Within only 12 months of the launch of the franchise SEO and local SEO marketing campaigns, our local SEO company has helped the company achieve a historical 20 percent conversion rate and boost its monthly leads by 557 percent.
Organic SEO Traffic
New Website Users
Google Business Profile Optimization:
Building a Stronger Online Brand With GMB SEO
Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) is a free and valuable tool that allows you to create and manage your listings on Google.
In November 2021, Google changed GMB to Google Business Profile to “keep things simple.” Along with the rebranding are additional developments within the local business management tool to help brands better manage their online presence.
Businesses with single listings can now manage their Google My Business Profile directly within Google Maps and Search. Additionally, the Google My Business web experience will transition to primarily support multi-location businesses. This will be renamed Business Profile Manager.
The expectation is that single-premise establishments will use Search and Maps to manage their profiles, while franchises and multi-location companies will use Business Profile Manager. However, franchises can still use Search and Maps to manage individual profiles if they choose to do so.
Google My Business for franchises is crucial to improve your local SEO presence and market your brand to a broader client base. Through Google My Business SEO, you can ensure correct information shows up when prospects search for your brand online. By claiming your Google My Business listing, you gain free advertising of your franchisees and allow more people to learn more about your business.
Why Prioritize Google My Business Optimization?
“Google My Business is one of the best avenues to generate organic leads and customers for a specific location, helping local people find your business,” said Tristan Harris, Thrive’s demand generation marketing manager.
Statistics show an average business is found in 1,009 searches per month and 84 percent of these come from discovery searches (BrightLocal). Enterprise businesses that invest in Google My Business services have higher chances of ranking their business on top of relevant search results and achieving their targeted leads.
Google My Business for franchises helps you:
Manage Your Brand Information
Google My Business SEO allows you to control what information you present to search engines and online users. From your company name, address and contact details to your customer reviews and business description, you can update and optimize all these franchise details as you wish through your Google My Business listing.
Present Key Business Updates
Your Google My Business listing is the perfect platform to showcase your franchise’s products and services, recent customer reviews and latest offers. A Google My Business agency can help you determine the best ways to present business updates, whether through videos, texts or images.
Drive More Leads and Sales
On average, businesses get 59 actions from their Google My Business listing every month (Small Business Trends). What’s more, local brands receive 94 percent of calls from GMB during weekdays (BrightLocal). With help from a trusted Google My Business agency, you can turn these GMB actions into profitable business opportunities.
Claim Your Digital Real Estate
Through Google My Business SEO, you can avoid duplicate business locations and ensure only accurate information about your brand appears on search results. Further, Google My Business services protect your franchisees from competitors or third parties that hijack GMB listings and taint your brand reputation.
Managing Google My Business for Franchises
Claim and Verify Your Google Business Profile Listings
Claim and verify your listings for all locations to avoid misleading information about your brand from surfacing on the internet and inspire brand confidence. To streamline your verification process, you can leverage Google’s bulk verification requests or hire a Google My Business agency to assist you with your GMB SEO.
Optimize Your Google My Business Profiles
Keep your profile updated with any changes in relevant information, such as your franchisee address, phone number and operating hours. Harris also highlighted the importance of creating content relevant to your local audience and posting it on your GMB profile to boost your brand authority. Do you own a restaurant or a home restoration company? Upload pictures showing off what you do so potential customers can see.
Follow Google Best Practices
Google has laid out clear guidelines in managing GMB profiles. To avoid getting penalized or suspended, be sure to follow these rules to the T, from Google My Business setup and optimization to ongoing GMB SEO management. These include providing complete and accurate business information, localizing your GMB SEO content and updating your listings as needed.
Maintain a Positive Online Reputation
Statistics show 90 percent of consumers read online reviews before choosing a local business (Search Engine Land). Harness the power of customer reviews to strengthen your Google My Business profile and encourage audience engagement. Reach out to your best customers to request reviews and have a review response strategy in place to improve customer relationships and quickly address any negative feedback.
Keep Track of Your GMB Performance
Use the GMB dashboard or GMB Insights to monitor your GMB SEO performance and gather actionable insights to power your next marketing efforts. These tools give you access to your GMB profile’s performance statistics, including web pageviews, customer actions, relevant search queries and top search types.
Leverage Google Business Profile Features
Google has rolled out GMB updates to help enterprise businesses and different market players provide a better brand experience to their target audience. Among these new features are the Google Guarantee badge certification which tells prospects you are a legitimate business and the Covid-19 Google Post, which enables you to update your business information if it has been impacted by the pandemic. Take advantage of these GMB features to boost your local SEO performance and attract more organic leads.
At Thrive, Google My Business SEO is a key component in our own local SEO success. Our SEO experts implemented focused Google My Business optimization campaigns across 25 unique GMB listings that we manage to improve our local search performance.
By localizing our Google My Business SEO efforts and adhering to Google guidelines, we were able to see significant online growth in just a few short months across target locations and support our demand generation team’s organic lead generation efforts.
Our Google My Business services have resulted in (February - June 2021):
Social Media Marketing:
Taking Lead Generation Beyond Your Website
In today’s digital world, social media plays a crucial role in brand marketing and organic lead generation. Research shows nearly 97 percent of Fortune 500 companies use at least one social media channel to connect with their target audience (Statista).
If you manage a multiple-location business, keeping social media management on top of your list is essential to capture your ideal market’s attention and stay ahead of the curve. But what is social media marketing and why does it matter to franchise success?
Organic social media marketing pertains to the use of various social media platforms, such as Facebook, TikTok, Instagram and Twitter, to build brand awareness and strengthen customer engagement. Unlike paid social media, organic social media campaigns focus on producing valuable content that addresses your follower’s information needs and prompts them to take action.
Why Invest in Organic Social Media?
Social media management is a powerful way to bring remarkable results to your enterprise business without paying for every follower interaction. By understanding the nuances that go into developing and implementing a social media strategy for a franchise page, a social media marketing agency can help you create more revenue streams for your brand.
Through strategic social media management, you can:
Expand Business Reach
Fifty-four percent of consumers use social media platforms to find local businesses (Global Web Index). With a robust social media strategy, you can build a stronger communication and feedback system that would allow followers and prospects to connect with your franchise and learn more about your brand offerings.
Generate Marketing Leads
Any trusted social media agency would agree that as long as you have a growth-driven organic social media strategy in place, you can see good lead generation results with minimal investment. A Social Media Examiner survey revealed that 66 percent of marketers drive organic leads after spending only six hours per week on social media marketing.
Propel Brand Community Growth
Social media platforms allow you to capture qualified organic leads and pull them into your sales funnel. In growing your social media presence, you foster a unified community that could become your enterprise business’s brand advocates.
Increase Brand Awareness
More than 3.6 billion people worldwide use social media and this number is projected to grow by 4.41 billion in 2025 (Statista). Through social media marketing, you position your franchise in front of a vast network of active online users and potential business.
Improve Your Social Media Management
Create a Clear Branding Guideline
According to Alyssa Tear, Thrive’s organic social media senior manager, a clear branding policy is key to keeping a consistent brand image across demographics. Your style guide must include your brand’s core color palette, logo guidelines, brand voice and specific imagery and iconography that make up your visual style to ensure brand consistency and communicate a great brand story.
Ensure Quick Response Time to Messages and Comments
The average response rate on social media is five hours and consumers expect a reply to their concerns within the first 24 hours. As such, you need to be proactive in monitoring follower engagements. If you don’t have the time or capacity to manage your social media platforms across locations, it is best to hire a social media marketing agency to help you manage brand conversations and provide quick responses to messages and comments from your followers.
Localize Social Media Marketing Content
One of the biggest challenges in franchise social media marketing is keeping your marketing materials consistent and unique at the same time. You want to make sure your social media content is specific to each location but still aligns with the enterprise business’s goals.
Creating a content calendar with monthly themes is one way to achieve this. You can also have a social media manager review the social media posts for each franchisee before posting. In this way, you can be sure of the quality of the content.
Post Consistently on All Profiles
Consistent and frequent posting on social media strengthens your brand presence and allows you to stay top of mind with followers and prospects. Keep in mind, however, that there is an optimal posting schedule and amount for each platform. For instance, social media agencies recommend posting 3X a week on Facebook, 5-10X per day on Twitter and 1-2X per day, every day on Instagram.
Utilize a Mix of Promotional, Lifestyle and Valuable Content
Perform market research to find out which topics interest your target audience and craft engaging content based on them. It is also ideal to diversify your social media topics based on occasions or seasons to provide followers with valuable information that addresses their needs.
An established landscape construction firm serving Buck and Montgomery County, PA, reached out to our social media marketing agency to manage its organic social media campaign and strengthen its brand presence on Facebook and Instagram.
To establish the company’s thought-leadership in its niche market, we focused on improving its follower growth rate and implementing content marketing strategies that showcase its unique brand stories and client success.
Within only five months of the social media management campaign’s launch, our social media agency was able to increase the company’s social media interactions and monthly growth rates:
Total Facebook Interactions
New Instagram Followers
There is no one-size-fits-all formula for generating organic leads. Every entity in your enterprise business requires a different lead generation approach. What works for one location may not work for another. Likewise, your corporate lead generation tactic may not always provide the same results across demographics.
“Franchise marketing is so much more than just on-site changes,” said Garrett. “Performance and case studies in one city may not apply to others, so you need constant research and work to create holistic solutions for franchisees.”
Communicate your unique brand story per location and work on building robust relationships to cultivate your enterprise business’s lead development channel and drive enterprise growth.
Contact our lead generation company to find out which organic lead generation approach best suits your niche market and target locations.