How are your franchisee websites set up right now? Does each location have its own website and domain? If your answer to that question is ‘yes’, it’s time to re-evaluate your approach.
You might be wondering, “Why can’t franchisees simply build their own websites?” It sounds like an easy solution, but franchisees don’t typically have the digital experience (or time) needed to build and manage an effective website that maximizes revenue. Allowing each individual franchisee to build and manage their website will lead to an incohesive, inconsistent and fragmented web presence. A centrally managed website – a single website/domain that serves both the franchisor and the franchisee – offers scalability, efficiencies, brand control, and better consumer experience, all of which adds up to more revenue for the entire franchise.
Continue reading to learn why franchises should centralize their web presence.
Grow at scale
A centralized website enables the growth of your online identity and your brand at scale, which is the main benefit of franchising. A centrally managed website enables franchisors to
- Easily add new locations
- Efficiently and consistently roll out promotions and new offerings across the network
- Scale digital marketing initiatives more effectively
Prevent fragmentation of brand standards
A brand is more than just colors and taglines. It’s an immersive experience that speaks to prospects and customers on a number of different levels. Creating a website that embodies a brand is no easy task. But when it is done well, it can have powerful implications on your bottom line. Expecting franchise operators to create a website that accurately communicates the brand is a lot to ask someone who may have no background in digital marketing or design. Even if they are armed with detailed brand guidelines, there are no guarantees they will follow the guidelines properly or even at all.
A franchisor-controlled website ensures that the franchise brand is delivered accurately and professionally.
Control the consumer’s online experience
Managing the customer’s online journey is critical to success. Poorly designed websites that are confusing, inaccurate and incomplete will erode your credibility and push prospective customers to your competition. And these are exactly the types of problems that often plague franchisee-managed websites. Let’s face it, most franchise operators don’t have the time or expertise to deliver an effective website. A centrally managed website gives the control to the franchisor, who can put the right people in place to deliver a user experience that inspires prospects to take action.
Get the most out of SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) efforts also get a boost with a centrally managed website. This specifically relates to increasing organic traffic and maintaining localized relevancy that ties into how users are searching for solutions online. Domain authority – a key driver behind the visibility of a website in search results – is far easier to build with a single domain than it is to build across a network of franchisee domains. This is especially true if the franchisee domains are utilizing the same content, which can limit or completely suppress their sites in search results.
Franchisors and franchisees share SEO objectives, and traffic from one can flow to the other with a shared web presence. Without a central presence, franchisees are left to handle this on their own, which often results in competing SEO efforts. For example, locations in the same metro area can end up competing with each other, ultimately cannibalizing the efforts of both franchisees.
Better data analysis
One of the biggest challenges for franchises is data silos. Without a complete and cohesive view of the customer journey, franchises are missing an opportunity to apply data-driven insights to their future marketing efforts.
A decentralized web presence will likely result in a decentralized web analytics environment that will require excessive administrative resources to patch together if it can be patched together at all. With a centrally managed website, a single web analytics tool can be used to monitor the performance of the site, providing the franchisor with the unified view of user behavior on the website – a critical component for any effort to optimize website performance.
Although franchises may be a network of privately owned businesses, the online consumer experience should be unified and consistent. And a centrally managed website is the foundation of the franchise’s online brand.