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How Powerful is the Online Presence of the Franchise Opportunity You’re Investigating?

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How Powerful is the Online Presence of the Franchise Opportunity You’re Investigating?

By FranchiseKing, Guest Blogger
Published: October 2, 2012 Updated: October 3, 2012

Due diligence, the research part of buying a franchise, includes several different things. If you’ve never worked through the process of researching one before, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll miss something.

And, it all starts by knowing what to ask.

Franchise research encompasses a lot of different things. Some of the obvious ones include:

·        Learning about the operation

·        Contacting existing franchisees

·        Figuring out the financials

·        Checking out the competition

·        Visiting franchise headquarters*

But, there’s another thing that you need to do, and it’s something that you can’t afford to miss. You need to find out if the franchise concepts you’re investigating have a robust online footprint. It’s not that difficult to do. Here’s how:

1.      Do a search on Google or Bing of the category the franchise concept is in.

For example, if the franchise you’re looking into is a food franchise that specializes in burgers, type “burger franchises.” See what comes up first. (Actually, see what comes up on the search engine’s first page.) Is “your” franchise listed?

2.      Website

How does their consumer website look? Is it easy to use? Would a consumer feel that it was professional looking? Does it represent the brand correctly?    

3.      Social media accounts

Does the franchisor have a LinkedIn Company Page* set up? Do they have a Facebook Page-with daily activity? How about Twitter-are they set up there, too?

4.      Reputation

Check out local review sites like Yelp and Local.com. What are customers saying about the franchise business you’re thinking of owning? Even if there’s no location near you, you can still find reviews from other areas of the country.

5.       Press releases

You need to find out if the franchise marketing department submits a steady stream of news to the major press release and media websites. It’s an important thing to do for two reasons:

·        Press releases are a great way to attract the attention of local and national media. They can open the door for franchisees to get some needed ink in local publications, which is always welcome because it can bring in new customers.

·        Press releases also attract the attention of search engines. Search engine spiders are scouring the web for new content and stories, 24/7. Frequent, well-written press releases can significantly benefit the online presence of a franchisor.

What should you do with this newfound information?

Share your findings with the person you’re working with at franchise headquarters. If there’s anything that jumps out at you about their online presence, point it out.

For example, if there seem to be a lot of negative reviews of the franchisor’s product or service, find out why? Maybe they’re isolated incidents?

If the franchisor’s website was hard to find when you did your internet searches, you need to share that with the franchisor. If you had difficulty finding their website, your potential customers will, too. Find out what the marketing team is doing to improve the website’s visibility.

If the franchisor doesn’t seem to be very active in social media, find out why. Social media marketing isn’t new anymore.

It’s perfectly okay to ask questions about their online presence. Most of your customers are going to find you on the internet. It’s up to you to make sure that everything possible is being done at the franchisor level to create and maintain a powerful online presence.

These days, if your business can’t be quickly and easily found online, you lose. 

 

*Non-US Government website

About the Author:

Joel Libava

Guest Blogger

The Franchise King®, Joel Libava, is the author of Become a Franchise Owner! and is a franchise ownership advisor. He shows people how to carefully choose and properly research franchises.   

Comments:

I agree with most of the points in your article but don't forget that these days is very difficult to promote website.But overall Great tips!
A good online presence is definitely an added advantage of business house, as the better the presence on the web the better goes the ratings and thus the company's ranking increases and the company can be easily found on the search engines which in turn converts them to productivity to the house boosting the sales. Its as simple as advertising. The more you advertise more of your products will be sold. The same goes with online marketing.
Good point. A percentage of all sales come from the internet.
You could also use Topsy to check social mentions and impact of a business website in social medias. This can help you have an overview of what people could be seeing about your business prospect.
There are lot of difference between a website and a web presence. Your online presence forces you to work harder, smarter, and better manager your career.
Social media has almost conquered the whole world. Almost all of the people nowadays has an account and the opportunity of a business reaching people all over the world is very big. This proves that social media is a very powerful tool that all types of business must take advantage.
I think the most important thing is research! A VIP business must have facebook fanpage, twitter, linked in... almost of social site. And the site should have good look! The #5 is very creative for me, there are a new way to discover business :P
Joel, All sound practices especially speaking with current and prior franchisees. However, the due diligence process becomes a challenge when the franchise organization is a fairly new operation where there aren't any franchisees or the few (one or two) existing franchisees are actually corporate employees. I was a prior franchisee for close to ten years and looking to get back into the franchsised environment within the same industry but with a different and more updated business model. I found such an organization but the only franchisee is a corporate employee of the organization. Not much of an objective investigation. And because they are fairly new to franchising and a small operation, there's very little third-party "activity" or comments/reviews in the way of internet traffic. It's great to catch an opportunity in the early stages but there's little objective information to base an informed decision.
Thanks for your comment.   It's true; young franchisors are very difficult to screen. I know that I wouldn't want to be the 1st franchisee.   Maybe the 3rd or 4th, if it's a cool concept.   Joel Libava  
i agree with your article! i often use google to find the information. Many things in the internet could help you know about it

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