How Powerful is the Online Presence of the Franchise Opportunity You’re Investigating?
by FranchiseKing, Guest Blogger
- Created: October 2, 2012, 9:01 am
- Updated: October 3, 2012, 8:42 am
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?
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?
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
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