Building an effective web presence for your local franchise business is about more than just having someone design a cheap, brochure-style website and use tricky SEO techniques to drive traffic to your website. This type of strategy could actually do you more harm than good.
Regardless of your industry, properly managing your brand while employing effective online marketing strategies that engage consumers at the local level can be extremely challenging.
It’s the age old franchise dilemma: the franchisees want to do more of their own local internet marketing to grow their business, but the franchisor wants to maintain control of the brand.
Would it surprise you to learn that over eighty percent of consumers use the Internet to do research before buying?
It’s true. And recent studies show that over fifty percent of those Internet searches have “local intent”, which means that while consumers may search nationally, they engage locally and they tend to gravitate to local websites.
If you have a local franchise business and are trying to generate new customers or clients, it will be very difficult to do so if they don’t know you exist, know little or nothing about you, have no idea where you are located or how they might do business with you. Building a properly developed website for your local franchise business is a critical component to establishing an online presence and should be your primary area of focus as you begin your local online marketing journey. While it is important how your website looks, it is even more important how it works. The objective is not to “look cool”, but rather to allow people looking for your type of goods or services, your prospective customers and clients, to easily find you and learn something about your business and how you can help them.
Due to the way franchises are organized, franchise marketing systems often overlook or gloss over the crucial local marketing component. In many cases franchisees believe that they don’t have the power to execute a local marketing campaign, when in reality a franchisor may simply not have a franchise marketing system in place to empower franchisees that will still provide the franchisor with sufficient oversight. While franchisees should always endeavor to receive approval from the franchisor before moving forward with a local online marketing plan, they can still identify online marketing franchise opportunities and present them to the franchisor.
More often than not, franchisees need to address local online marketing, as the franchisor is focusing on promoting the company on a national level. Regardless of the franchise looked at, a large number of franchisees are not happy with the marketing support they receive from the franchisor. A successful franchise marketing budget should allocate a portion to focus on local online marketing, and not just advertising within a region (as less than 2% of local businesses think pay per click advertising is effective). The messaging needs to be tailored to the region, while considering the area’s demographics and culture and fit into the dynamics of franchise brand control and local franchisee enablement, which is no small feat.
To better understand the best path to a successful local franchise marketing strategy, check out our most recent franchise marketing article: SEO for Franchise Businesses – What is the Best Strategy for Local Search? . The article explores how multi-unit enterprises and franchises can work together to develop a strong local online marketing program and narrow the widening gap between corporate control and the local franchise owner’s need for lead generation and business growth.