A site can be difficult to put up and maintain, specially when dealing with how to collaborate with your franchisees.
Welcome to a new series in Empowerkit that will consist of 3 posts that’ll go over the collaborative side of putting a site up. Each one will concentrate in one of the three different areas that come together when publishing a site: the site’s design, the content and SEO. Plus, I’ll try to give you an idea of how you can approach them from different business models.
This first one will help out with the work division in getting the basics of a site.
As you know, having local sites is imperative. Still, not having a clear notion of who should take care of what in the process can put stress on you and your franchisees!
It’s important to remember that this is a collaborative effort: be it in a greater or smaller way. The franchisor has a clear idea on how to be cohesive with the brand, and the franchisee can localize the strategy. It’s also crucial to point out that, more often than not (especially if you’re a very busy franchisor), you’ll need some external help to get through these steps.
The Elements in a Franchise Online Marketing Strategy
First and foremost, I’ll do a recap of what is needed in a site. Since it’s the platform where your business will be showcased, there are a few things that need to be taken care of. Here are the elements that we’ll discuss further in the “How to Handle Them In Your Franchise” section of the post.
A site needs to have goals or a purpose. What are you looking to achieve with it? In what time frame?, etc. Having set objectives will give you a direction and a way, later on down the road, to verify if the goals were accomplished.
Design is one of the key ingredients in a site. From colors and layouts to typography, you’ll need to develop a design strategy that will speak to the visitor about your company the SECOND they enter the franchisee sites.
Brand compliance is something to be mindful of here: what’s the color palette to be used, what tone of voice will the site have? Think about how to take your identity into your site’s design.
Usability is a game changer in terms of sites. It basically determines whether your sites will be easy to get through and provide the right information to the visitors or not. An unfriendly site is a surefire way to scare them away so be sure you check that usability is there to provide customers with a joyful experience.
A site isn’t a one time thing. It needs to be updated constantly for SEO purposes and to achieve engagement with your potential customers. Someone needs to take care of this!
Now that we’ve defined some of the elements that go into getting a basic site up, let’s move on to the collaborative portion of this post!
How to Handle Them In Your Franchise
Of course, every franchise is different: they have different business models, work with different people and have different goals to achieve. That’s why I’ve divided up this section of the post in three and given you examples of how you can split up your online marketing strategy.
Remember that these are suggestions and that you can make them fit your business as best as you’d like. At the same time, be sure to inform and come to an agreement with your franchisees so they know what you expect from them and vice versa!
This is an example of work distribution in a franchise where, probably, the franchisees aren’t too tech savvy or don’t have enough time, so everything needs to be provided to them. As you can see, they’ll only be there to localize some of the basic elements in the site.
Now, by involving the franchisor in the design and usability, I’m not actually saying that s/he needs to worry about layouts. But, since it is a very controlled environment, maybe the franchisor may want to be a part of that process: letting know the web designer what colors to use (which may already be included in the brand compliance manual), what information is basic for usability, etc.
This is the middle ground where there could be a more dynamic relationship: the franchisor still keeps control while providing some flexibility to their franchisees. Keep in mind that the amount of work handed to the franchisees, depends on their level of technical knowledge and on the amount of time they’ll have to fulfill these tasks.
Since it’s a bit more flexible environment, the franchisor will be more permissive in elements like design, providing a more collaborative workflow.
A flexible business model in a franchise has several implications: the franchisees may be more tech savvy, have more time to perform some tasks and take care of some of the necessities a site has. In that sense, the franchise may be less dependent in the external help (especially when using an intuitive tool like Empowerkit that allows you to easily update changes without coding).
Since both the external help and the franchisor aren’t as involved in other parts of the process, they might have more time to discuss the strategy for their site. Just be sure, as I’m sure you will, to double check every aspect of the site before it goes live to maintain brand compliance.
How Empowerkit Can Help with Your Franchise Online Marketing Strategy
Empowerkit may help in the collaboration aspect of a site. Since it’s an intuitive tool that lets you control content and style, manage multiple sites and empower your employees, there can be a more dynamic relationship between the parts involved.
For example, updates can be done by just simply clicking, dragging and modifying certain apps, which can eliminate the dependence on a third person to do that job.
At the same time, the franchisor or administrator of the sites, chooses how much control to have over the site: you can lock certain content, styles and apps so they aren’t deleted or moved around, which can result in a more stress free and effective workflow. So, basically, you have all of the perks of franchisee sites without any of the hassle!
The clear takeaway point from this article and what I would like you to remember is that building a site needs to be a collaborative effort. Specially when it comes to various franchisee sites! A stressful task like that needs a general perspective and direction (that the franchisor can offer), a local intent (where the franchisee comes in) and even an expert in the area.
Hope that these guidelines help you have a smoother ride in your local online marketing process!