Rogue Sites: How much are they costing you?

Brand compliance is a big concern to most franchises. As the franchisor, you’ve worked long and hard to achieve a certain position and personality in the market. Your logo, slogan, the colors you use, the typography, your content’s verbiage or the way you approach your company are all part of your brand. Keeping this consistency makes your clients feel safe and perceive you as a trustworthy company.

This translates over to the web: people use the internet as a source of information and they want to find your business in there. 80 to 90% of all business transactions start online. People want to see who they’re trusting their money with. Needless to say, they are looking for a local solution to their problem or need. Enter, rogue sites.

Rogue sites are an alternative your franchisees use to get local presence on the web when an “official” answer is not provided to them. This means they’ve probably hired a cheap web development company to build their own site with a separate URL. The problem comes when these rogue sites don’t fit in with your brand: there’s no continuity, the overall message is different, etc.

This is an example of a rogue site. On the left, you’ll see the corporate site, with the design and information intended for this company. On the right, you’ll see the rogue site.

 Rogue Sites: How much are they costing you?   purocleanrogue Rogue Sites: How much are they costing you?

At a first glance, it’s easy to see that they don’t seem like they belong together, let alone, work for the same company and with one same purpose. There’s no sight of the logo in the rogue site and the information is different from the one used on the official site.

Keep in mind that when a potential lead is looking for this product or service in their local area, they’re finding this rogue site and this is the first impression they have of your business.

How are rogue sites affecting your franchise financially?

In this day and age, having just a website won’t do: it needs to be responsive (which means that you’ll be able to access it through mobile devices), it needs to be well designed, have the right information, etc.

Rogue sites can be dangerous to your business because potential customers only spend around 5 seconds on your site, and if it’s not adequate, they won’t stay and convert. Let’s take a look at a possible scenario:

A certain franchise that focuses on house cleaning services, has around 200 units across the United States. On average, they charge $100 for cleaning a four bedroom house. In an “optimistic” view, 10% of their sites are rogue (that’s 20 sites right there!).

Let’s say that one of those rogue site gets 10 leads a month. Nonetheless, the information presented, the cheap design and the lack of responsiveness, scares half of them off like a bad neighborhood and they don’t convert into customers. If those leads were intending to hire the company to clean their home twice a month, the franchise just lost $1000.

If this were the case for all 20 rogue sites, $20,000 will be going to other companies every month.

Rogue Site – Cost Calculator

We now challenge you to look up your franchise in Google and see what you find. When you gather up the numbers, replace the simulation data with your own information and see for yourself how much rogue sites are costing you on average.

If you have trouble editing the embedded spreadsheet, click on the link to view the complete Google doc.

Change your Situation

Pretty scary, right? As you can see rogue sites can be more hurtful than you think but sometimes, they’re the only solution your franchisees find to have that presence on the web that’s so imperative nowadays.

What you need is to remain in control of what your franchisees are putting out onto the web so you can assure that there’s continuity in your brand. At the same time, you need to give your franchisees the freedom to promote themselves online with local information about their business.

A product like Empowerkit helps you eliminate the possibility of rogue sites. A move which can ultimately increase traffic on your site (if the site is managed properly), leads and conversions!

If you have any questions about this topic, or anything else regarding Empowerkit, feel free to ask!

January 18, 2013

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