By LORA KELLOGG, CFE
Building a franchise development website is a critical component of a franchise’s growth strategy. The fran dev website – and it does need to be a separate site – should integrate seamlessly into the sales process.
When we build a franchise development website, we start by identifying the brand’s target persona, their ideal franchise candidate. Then we ask three questions that will shape the approach we take for content and creative and that we use to develop the user experience:
- Does the ideal candidate know the brand?
- Does the ideal candidate know this is a franchise?
- Does the ideal candidate understand the specifics of the franchise opportunity?
Using those answers, we can determine what information a fran dev website needs to deliver to leads to move them down the sales funnel and help them convert.
Do they know the brand?
Brand recognition is crucial to growing a franchise. If the ideal franchisee doesn’t even know that a particular franchise exists, how would they choose to invest in it? Obviously, this is a much larger hurdle for emerging franchises. An emerging brand’s growth strategy may include investing in a brand awareness public relations campaign. If someone who fits the persona profile hears enough to be intrigued about a brand, they may search for it online. Even if they start their research on a consumer website – which should always include a link to the fran dev site, and vice versa – that could nudge them into the sales funnel. PR also can help to propel brands onto some of the high-profile lists ranking top franchises that potential investors study when considering their options.
Do they know this is a franchise?
Again, potential franchisees are more likely to recognize the bigger, well-known brands – but they may not be aware that they are franchises. So although the brand may be well-known, leads may require some education about the franchise opportunity. Emerging franchises are at a much larger disadvantage, because they will have to introduce the brand and what they are selling as well as the benefits of joining that particular franchise. For these brands, the franchise opportunity will have to be communicated clearly through words and imagery on the fran dev site.
Do they understand the franchise opportunity?
The answer to this question is almost always “no.” Even leads who answer “yes” to the first two questions are unlikely to have access to financial information such as liquid capital requirements or startup costs. They also will not know the details about corporate support available for real estate services or construction plans, or how the national ad fund works, but that’s precisely the kind of information they will need to make an informed decision. The more transparent that a franchise can be about what qualifies (or disqualifies) someone interested in buying a franchise, the better their leads will be.
Getting strong leads and converting them is the whole purpose in building a fran dev website. Everything about the site should help move a lead down the sales funnel and into the CRM, where the business development team can nurture them and begin to close the deal. The goal is to convert “leads” into “candidates,” and a thoughtful fran dev site can help achieve that goal.
Lora Kellogg, CFE, is president and CEO of Curious Jane, an ad agency specializing in franchises. With more than 16 years of experience and a portfolio of top brands, she and her team work with established and emerging franchises to grow sales, increase traffic, build brand awareness and generate leads.