Local businesses or agents of regional or national franchises face a unique set of issues when marketing themselves locally online. Here are some of my observations of some of the peculiar challenges faced, and some of the advantages available to franchisors.
1. Restrictions on Franchisors. One of the common issues facing franchisors is a prohibition on having an independent website. This can really hamper the ability to appear in local search results. If this is your case, we can help you do everything you are allowed to do, and often we can get you ranking well.
2. Agent pages or franchisee “microsites.” Usually one of the reasons websites are prohibited is that a page or “microsite” on the corporate website is provided. The franchisor desires uniformity in presentation. Although this ties a franchisee’s hands, we have learned how to leverage the power of a corporate site for a client. A lot of muscle can be brought to bear on an individual page without the risk often associated with smaller independent sites.
3. Corporate takes advertising money. Often franchisor’s take a percentage of a franchisee’s income for advertising. This creates among many businesses a reluctance to expend anymore dollars for marketing. If corporate doesn’t know how to market online you can really be subject to defeat by more plugged in competitors. Which brings us to the next point.
4. Franchisors often don’t understand how to market locally online. I have seen this problem repeated over and over. Whoever is in charge at corporate is simply clueless about how local works. They don’t understand the value of local “online” and they certainly don’t know how to do marketing online locally. I have seen big insurance companies leaving millions of dollars on the table for themselves and their local agents because they simply don’t understand the basics.
5. Poor local or online marketing offered by corporate. One of the bad problems facing local agents or franchisees is when corporate rolls a local marketing offer. These are usually offered in cooperation with mysterious companies who have gotten the ear of a decision maker at corporate. I have heard horror stories over and over of dollars wasted on these programs. Usually the programs are primitive or outdated methods of ranking or otherwise appearing online. They are offered are low rates – better than mine – because ultimately little work is being done for the client. Avoid these.