It’s Friday night. You want pizza. Whether you’re at home or in a city you’ve never been to, you’re likely to use a search engine to find results near you. This demand for information (reviews, a menu, hours and phone number) about the service providers nearest you translates to virtually any local business—from pizza delivery to healthcare.
For franchises, taking advantage of prominent local search results and increasing mobile search traffic for their franchisees means developing a robust, well-honed local strategy.
Implementing this strategy is critical for both national franchise development and for maximizing foot traffic and phone calls to local offices. A well-executed franchisee strategy positions local locations nearest to the consumer above the national homepage in the SERP. When franchisee pages appear where customers are shopping—in local search results—brand recognition, revenue and lead generation rise.
We recommend a local franchise strategy that includes these 5 elements:
- Optimized Content. Offer content that’s unique and adds value to customers in the community each franchise location serves. This content should include localized keywords, for example “metro Detroit house cleaning” and “exterior painting in Birmingham” rather than “house cleaning” and “exterior painting.”
- Accurate, Consistent Results. Nothing sends a potential customer on to the next result faster than incorrect or inconsistent information. Make sure crucial information about each franchise location (address, phone number, hours, services) is up-to-date and consistent across the local result, the national site, social profiles, review sites and directories.
- Structured Data. Enhance your local results by marking up your hours, location, phone number and photos with structured data markup such as Schema.org markup to generate rich snippets in the SERP and increase click through rates to your franchise location sites.
- Be Social. Every location should be active on its own set of relevant social profiles, such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+. These profiles should be completely filled out and franchise owners should actively engage customers on these platforms, making your business more on-trend, accountable, accessible and relatable locally.
- Proactive Customer Engagement. Let customers know what’s in it for them. Encourage them to share their experience in a review and tell them they’ll learn about special promotions when they become a part of your audience on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. More and more, search engines are evaluating reviews and social signals such as Likes, follows and shares to determine the relevancy and authority of your brand.