It can be hard to build an online presence when you’re just getting started as a franchisee, or even when you’re well established but lack a large online following. Add to that growing competition for eyeballs, and it can seem like an uphill slog.

Not to worry. Driving customers to your site is a lot like attracting customers to your physical store, be it a restaurant, retail store, auto dealership or other type of business. You need to engage with customers at the right level of frequency. Too much advertising will turn them off. Not enough makes you bottom of mind. Find that happy medium, and you’ll have happy customers and a happy revenue stream.

Here are some ways drive people to your site: 

1. Make Your Web Presence Known

Just as you would advertise on local outdoor boards, in local publications and through direct mail to local prospects, it’s important to build your brand online with activity. Make sure people can find you on all of the major sites by creating your business profile on Google and Facebook, Yelp, Zomato and other relevant resources. Don’t forget to include your website, phone number and hours. Not only will these popular sites help funnel people to your site, but they will enhance your SEO to help your site rank higher so people can find it better.

2. Get a Conversation Going

In addition to creating listings on these sites, you’ll want to set up other social media pages, including on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. These channels will draw people to your site as well. You’ll build an online community where you can develop your brand personality, provide valuable content, offer discounts and deals, spread news, encourage feedback and keep your finger on your customers’ collective pulses, all in the same place. Social media is powerful way to engage with your audience and keep them coming back to your social site and your website as well.

And once they’re on your site, keep them there with interesting, dynamic content. Reward them with deals. Provide information that’s useful to them so that they value you as a trusted leader in the field, and want to do business with you in person too.

Get Found Online - Ironmark
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3. Ask for Reviews and Testimonials 

People listen to other people. Recent studies found that online reviews impact 67.7% of purchasing decisions and 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

So ask for them! They’re in the best interest of everyone involved since they’ll help others decide if your product or service is right for them too. Make sure to stay engaged with these customers. Thank those that give good reviews and offer recourse for those that give bad ones. The only way to improve is to truly understand your customers’ experiences, and they will really appreciate the attention.

4. Talk to Your Friends

Networking works. The largest single category of franchise sales is through referrals. Keep talking about your business! People you know from every part of your life all have something to offer, and you in return. You’ll find many times that people are happy to help spread the word. Offer them incentives like discounts and special services. Hone your elevator speech so it’s easy for them to spread. Referrals can be powerful drivers to your site.

5. Create Buzz

The age-old offline media blitz’s still work too. Send press releases to the local news editors, publishers and producers. They’re always looking for great stories, and yours is one! They’re happy to support your community business since you’re supporting their business with good content. Online sites work the same way to drive people to your site with your story.

Even if you do a couple of the above items, you’ll start to see spikes in your site traffic. It’s the rainmaker philosophy: When you put something out there, you’re bound to get something back in return. By keeping your store out there and top of mind, your website will grow as well. And if you want help with generating this buzz, give us a call. We love to help grow businesses!

Written by Rachael Sanders

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