December Franchising World 2010
By: Boris Bugarski, CFE
It’s important that you understand that all roads will lead to your franchise recruitment Web site. Knowing where it stands, in terms of its ability to produce quality leads, is fundamental in marketing and sales. Yet most people in business development may not understand what they are trying to reach.
The average franchise recruitment Web site converts 1.9 percent of its visitors into inquiries. This number is found by taking the total inquiries in any given month divided by the total unique visitors (not total visits) that came to the Web site.
This is not where you should be. However, it can be used to measure your Web site with the industry average. Depending upon your site’s objectives and the quality of leads you are seeking, plan on achieving somewhere between 2 percent to 6 percent.
There are other metrics you will need to know to help you measure your site’s lead production and make the necessary changes to make it your top producer. Remember, all leads from your Web site come at no cost to you. So, instead of spending more money on lead generation, here are some key metrics to help you achieve higher lead counts from your Web site.
Unique Starting Point
Having a unique starting point on your home page will increase lead generation. This is an emphasized call to action to get your Web visitors to “dive” into your site faster and to go to the first page.
Imagine if someone asked you to create a booklet on why they should buy a franchise from you. You would create a presentation in a logical, driven sequence to influence the reader. In fact, even over the phone you have a unique story to tell, in the process you know what sells best. Now imagine someone taking your book and reading it starting with chapter four, then chapter nine, then chapter one and so on. The story isn’t in logical order and it wouldn’t do a good job to influence the reader.
Your Web site is your virtual booklet. Its job is to influence the reader to inquire about your franchise. Our research on hundreds of franchise recruitment Web sites shows that those with a unique starting point have higher conversion rates than those that do not; and the people who begin with chapter one normally follow the sales process and your logical argument in the order you desire.
Lead generation is about creating a desire to inquire.
Create a button on your homepage that emphasizes “click here to start learning.” This link should take them to the first chapter. Be sure your design team also understands that the button or link should stand out like a sore thumb to attract eyes. You should see 30 percent to 50 percent of your visitors clicking on the unique starting point.
Creating the Logical Argument
As noted earlier, you should create a book in sequential order. Not only by having a unique starting point that tells them exactly where you want them to start, but by numbering the chapters in your book one, two, three and so on—number your navigation in the order you want them to read it.
Because most people like to follow a certain process, they will simply follow the order you give them. Not only starting on chapter one, but following the sequence and making your argument of “why us?” read stronger. Also, put a “Next” button or text at the bottom of each page about two spaces under the last paragraph. This will tell them where you want them to go next.
You want about 40 percent to 60 percent of your readers following the correct path. Without a numbering system, it will be in the teens or low twenties. Just by numbering and putting “next” you will see a huge difference in the readership and the order they take.
One of the key secrets to increasing leads is to simply get more people to your inquiry page(s). By creating a logical
argument in numbering sequence you will achieve just that.
Shorter Content and Pages
Lead generation is about creating a desire to inquire; however, the larger part of it is about building curiosity in an enticing way. If you want more leads, then you have to build more curiosity. Check your Web site to see if you are giving away too much information. That can cause reader fatigue.
If you want more leads, build more curiosity.
An important benchmark statistic is to know that the average recruitment Web site reader spends 2.3 minutes on a Web site and views 3.69 pages. If you have too many pages, most of your readers will not get through all of it. Try to shorten your content and create more bullet points for your reader to digest more easily.
Review your Web site and see where you can remove content. Your goal should be to understand that if the average visitor is only going to read four pages in less than three minutes, then how do you create curiosity to have them believe it’s a “must inquire” opportunity?
Cut pages. The average franchise Web site draws 70 percent to 85 percent of its visitors from its consumer site, so they already know who you are and what your brand is all about. If you are going to cut pages, keep your “About” page to one and leave out your management team. In a best case scenario, put both on one page and ask your Web designer to include Java scripting to allow viewing biographies linked to executive’s names.
How do you measure these important benchmarks? There are numerous Web analytics programs that your team can install to give you figures. Google Analytics is a free very powerful marketing and sales tool. Don’t be afraid of the word analytics because it sounds “techie.” To the contrary, Web analytics are just reports that are easily understandable for marketing and sales professionals.
Understanding these simple principles and metrics will allow you to make small changes to your Web site and increase your lead conversion in upwards of 30 percent immediately. Based on what you are trying to achieve on your Web site will dictate where you want the user to go and what you want them to do.
It’s easy to identify these benchmarks only with a Web analytics program. However, you can still calculate your site’s conversion rate and compare it with the industry average of 1.9 percent.
Lead generation is important to any franchise. Everything you do to generate leads will eventually come to your Web site, from consumers seeing franchise information in stores to those searching for a franchise in your category. You don’t have to spend more money to get more leads. Rather, measure where your franchise recruitment Web site stands and beat the benchmarks. Increasing conversions means more leads month-after-month at no cost to your company.
Boris Bugarski, CFE, is president and CEO of mUrgent Corporation. He can be reached at 877-289-7250 or firstname.lastname@example.org. mUrgent Corporation is the e-mail marketing services partner of the International Franchise Association.