Raul Harman
Raul Harman 28 May 2019
Categories Search Marketing

Inbound Marketing for Franchise Businesses: Key Steps to Take

Inbound marketing focuses on creating highly targeted, helpful, and relevant content that will increase your franchise brand’s credibility, attract people to your site, delight them, and convert them into repeat customers.

As the number of people using technology and online search to find brand information is growing, your marketing efforts need to be more natural. Instead of aggressive ads and pushy messaging, your goal is to attract, engage, and impress your target audience by creating personalized content that provides value.

This is where investing in inbound marketing steps in.

Inbound marketing focuses on creating highly targeted, helpful, and relevant content that will increase your franchise brand’s credibility, attract people to your site, delight them, and convert them into repeat customers.

Here is what franchise businesses need to know about building a magnetic inbound marketing strategy that works.

The Key Stages of Inbound Marketing

When entering the digital landscape, franchise businesses don’t want to target just anyone on the internet. Your goal is to get your business noticed by people that are really interested in your offers and engage them fast. Precisely because of that, you first need to understand the philosophy behind the inbound methodology, which consists of three key phases:

  • Attracting customers

Inbound marketing is highly targeted. Both franchisors and franchisees need to focus on attracting people who are more likely to convert into leads and, ultimately, into satisfied customers.

And, the only way to do so is to create content that is relevant and valuable to them. You need to segment your audiences, listen to them, understand their goals, needs and problems, and create helpful content around them. Be it your blog posts, video content, or ads, you need to make sure that your content reaches the right people across multiple channels and increases their awareness of your brand.

  • Engaging and converting visitors

Attracting people to your site is only half the job done. The other half is giving those people a reason to stay and convert into leads. As your goal is to strengthen your relationships with your visitors through email, chatbots, messaging software, and live chat, you need to inspire them to give you their contact information. This can be done by creating user-friendly forms, powerful CTAs, lead flows, as well as offering your top-notch content for free in exchange for their email address.

  • Delighting customers through personalized user experiences

Inbound marketing is not only about conversions. It’s about brand loyalty, too. In a sea of similar franchise businesses, you want to create a consistent and memorable brand. You want your customers to remember you after making a purchase. By creating a strong email marketing and social media marketing strategy, you will engage your existing customers consistently and even inspire them to spread the positive word of mouth.

Building a Comprehensive Inbound Marketing Strategy

One of the main benefits of buying into a franchise brand is the fact that franchisees have its support. The brand name becomes synonymous with the product they’re selling, promising franchisees’ buyers that they will get the greatest quality and value for the money they spend. Let’s look at some of the best franchises with the highest rankings, such as the UPS Store, McDonald’s, or Hilton. When buying into some of these companies, you won’t have to explain who you are – your customers are already familiar with their brand.

How is this related to inbound marketing?

Well, creating an inbound strategy for franchise businesses is challenging. On one hand, the relationship between a franchisor and a franchisee needs to remain strong. On the other hand, each franchisee needs to adapt their messaging to their local audiences.

Here are a few rules both franchisors and franchisees need to follow.

  1. Create Buyer Personas

Like I’ve already mentioned above, inbound marketing is based on your content creation efforts. And, to create high-quality content that speaks to your audiences, you first need to understand who they are and what their major preferences, needs, and challenges are.

  • Who are they?

  • What is their location?

  • What is their profession?

  • What are their goals, objectives, and primary challenges?

  • Where do they seek information and help?

For franchise businesses, this is especially important, as their audiences change based on the locations of their stores. Franchisors should give franchisees the opportunity to do the local market research, understand the needs of their customers, and create detailed buyer personas. Franchisors’ main goal should be to find a way to provide personalized user experiences to each of these customer groups and, at the same time, keep brand consistency.

  1. Produce Valuable Content

Franchisors need to dedicate time and effort to creating brand style guidelines, where they would emphasize what steps franchisees need to take in order to keep their messaging on-brand. These guidelines will probably include the use of the brand logo, color palettes, fonts, brand messaging and tone of voice, and the creation of visual content, content length, formatting rules, publishing frequency, and so forth.

As for creating content, franchisees need to focus on creating on-brand content that is relevant to their local audiences. For starters, they should start experimenting with the types and forms of content:

  • Long-form, 3000+ articles

  • Short-form videos

  • Long-form videos

  • Memes and GIFs

  • Infographics

  • Case studies

  • Podcast series

  • Social media content

  • Creative photos

  • Engaging animations

  • Interactive quizzes

  1. Integrate SEO

Without SEO, having a franchise website is purposeless. No one will see it. Here are a few things you need to know.

  • Create indexable pages for each business location.

Franchisees are actually launching their own small business, supported by the authority of a popular franchise brand. That is exactly why each franchise business location needs to have its own web page that includes information like the business name, business address, working hours, Google Maps, a phone number, locally-relevant meta tags, and CTAs. Alternatively, franchisors could even let franchisees create separate websites, provided they will use their brand elements consistently.

  • Allow local link building.

Backlinks are a fundamental part of Google’s Local Pack. That’s why you need to hire local SEO staff to work on building local links. Their goal is to find relevant local sites and blogs, where they would publish original content that generates traffic and leads.

  • Verify GMB listings for each location.

Google My Business is immensely important for your brand’s presence in the local search. Given that you have multiple business locations as a franchise business, you need to verify GMB listings for each of these locations. They should contain all relevant details about your business, such as business hours, address, directions, photos, and so forth. Key brand details like your business name and directions should remain the same.

  1. Generate Qualified Leads

Once a visitor lands on your franchise business website, you want to inspire them to give you their email address and add them to your lead nurturing pipeline. This is how you will build stronger relationships with them and convert them into buyers.

Now, there are numerous ways to improve your lead generation efforts.

For example, you could create a PDF version of your ultimate guide, write a killer whitepaper, or offer your ebook for free and use them as lead magnets. To download them, users first need to subscribe to your email list.

Customer support channels like live chat or chatbots on your franchise business’ website can also serve as meaningful lead generation tactics. If they see that you share helpful tips and content with them fast, your website visitors will be glad to give you their email address.

Invest in paid search and retargeting. In other words, you can create relevant ads for each of your franchisees that will address only those people that have already visited and interacted with your website. Given that people visit multiple sites when searching for brands, this is a great opportunity to remind them of your brand and inspire them to buy.

Finally, you can also create an attention-grabbing exit intent popup on your site that will grab the attention of the exiting customer by offering them an additional product/service discount.

  1. Nurture Leads

Once you create a list of your leads, you need to build and nurture strong relationships with them. In other words, you need to keep them informed and engaged by providing relevant content and information. Sure, this depends on your niche, as well as the stage of an individual customer’s buyer journey. The idea is to keep people interested in your brand and move them down the funnel to convert them into paying customers.

For starters, build a solid email marketing campaign. There are two ways franchise businesses can create email marketing campaigns. First, a franchisor can centralize this strategy and send out localized and segmented email newsletters to their leads. Alternatively, they can let franchisees hire local marketing strategists that would tailor newsletters to the needs of local audiences.


The inbound methodology is the future of franchise marketing. It gives you the opportunity to create a trusted and recognizable brand that inspires audiences to come back. You just need to focus on creating an on-brand and consistent inbound marketing strategy and, at the same time, tailor it to the needs of different audience segments.

Is there anything you would like to add? We’d like to hear from you!

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