Are you an independent retail franchise business owner, or the founder of a retail concept and selling it to franchisees?
Regardless of whether or not you’re a retail franchisor, or a franchisee, how you compete online is one of the most important decision you make. If you’re in a competitive space, and who isn’t, and the independent franchises compete locally in regional markets (i.e. Denver metro, San Diego metro) your best effort at competing online across the U.S. is with stand alone websites for each metro market. For example, websites set up as, www.BrandCityName.com, or as a subdomain, CityName.Brand.com. (Read my detailed post on franchise SEO).
If your brand is not McDonald’s, and you don’t have billions in brand equity to rely on, and endless coffers for traditional marketing, set up your online strategy with regional websites. Here’s why:
- Search engine ranking: Having your own unique site will rank better and for more terms. If you name your regional website with the city name, i.e. www.BrandCityName.com, you’ve added one additional SEO element to help your rankings, which is your city name. A large percentage of Google’s queries are locally based, e.g. “widgets in city name”.
- Flexibility, Scalability:
- if you have an independent franchise website on a content management system, it can be easily customized to the look and feel of the area or regional market it competes in, versus one page buried in the parent site. Pages can be added or deleted with an independent website, allowing the independent franchisee to go after the services, and keyword terms unique in each regional market. Having one page buried in the parent is insufficient to compete online for many different products and services. If you’re the franchiser, you’re going to have to let go of some of the branding control. Franchise marketing is most effective with independent websites for each metro market.
- More effective search marketing: with an independent website each franchisee could have the ability to create new landing pages, experiment with A/B testing, and improve conversions and PPC optimization.
- Control: I’ve worked with dozens of franchisees, and one thing I’ve found out, none of them like being controlled, or told what they can and cannot do. Providing franchisees with their own regional website provides them with more of a sense of control and puts them in the drivers seat.
What are your thoughts? Are you a franchisee or franchisor considering competing online?