What does the Internet say about your franchise business?
Long before stepping foot into the franchise location, the consumer does their research. If your brand awareness is high, they may use the franchise name to search for your nearest location.
However, if you are a new-to-them business, they will cross check your online listings with your social media with your website. Only once you have satisfied that you can be trusted — and that you compare well to other similar businesses – will they consider visiting.
But, if your franchise SEO is poor, you may not even show up on Google results or on Google maps.
Is your franchise location showing up online where you need it to?
How well you show up at the top of the search results is directly influenced by up-to-date online business listings. In addition, your online reviews will also play a big part in how well you rank and how many people choose to click on your listing vs a competitor’s.
There are dozens of websites that will help your online visibility by having your locations listed. These include:
- Google Maps
- online business directories like Yelp, Yahoo and Apple Maps
- social media
- review sites like TripAdvisor or Foursquare
It’s important to be listed on all these sites. But why? There are two reasons. Firstly, it spreads the net: the more places your franchise locations are listed, the easier it is for customers to find you.
And secondly, if your business has listings on multiple, respected directories Google will treat your business as important and give it a higher search result ranking.
So, information for each of the franchise locations must be managed across the Internet. If you are doing the listing manually, it is very time-consuming and, a lot can go wrong.
When location listings go wrong
The problem comes in when there are discrepancies. Inconsistent information sows doubt in the consumer’s mind. Which information is correct? Very few people are going to drive to where they think your store might be, when they can easily visit a competitor that does have a consistent web presence.
A listing with incomplete or incorrect information makes your franchise seem unreliable.
Managing your online presence is an ongoing process. Business details change. For example: your location, phone numbers and operating hours. You want to be sure that customers know where to find you, when to visit, and who to call.
Franchise reputation is on the line
One of the most valuable franchise assets is the brand name. Variations affect the whole chain. Say that one franchisor is less tech savvy than the rest. They fail to keep their listings clean. Or they use your logo in the wrong way. Or the listings are full of spelling errors.
Any of these will harm the whole brand.
But, these aren’t as bad as having no information on the online listings. Your business will be invisible. You will lose out on the 82% of smartphone shoppers who do ‘near me’ searches. And about 20% of local smartphone searches lead to a sale within a day. If your business doesn’t come up when they search …
3 Top ways to show up on Google (thanks franchise SEO!)
Here are 3 of the best ways to get franchise locations at the top of Google search results:
Avoid duplicate listings:
These are bad for business because they interfere with franchise SEO. This means your Google ranking will suffer. It takes longer to update listings than to make new ones, which is why there are so many duplicates out there. But, if you want better search results and happier customers, do it the long way.
Be active on social media:
Never underestimate the power of social media to improve your search ranking. Google’s algorithm takes all of your online activity into account. Regular, consistent posting will create 2 essential things:
- Visibility: Before they buy, 54% of social browsers use social media to research products and services. Search is not the only place they look.
- Recommendations: The likelihood that a consumer will recommend a brand on social media is about 71%.
Gather online reviews:
Why are they important? 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal endorsement. They don’t even have to know the reviewer! It is the online form of word-of-mouth, it’s that effective. And, 90% of consumers read online reviews before they visit a business, whether it is a franchise or not.
Never let a negative review just sit there. Respond quickly. Review management is vital for protecting your reputation. Responding quickly to reviews gives you ‘extra points’ with Google and helps improve your rankings.
Franchise reputation management
Franchise reputation is a two way street. The stronger the reputation of the whole brand, the better it is for the individual outlet. Obviously this marketing support and brand awareness is one of the main reasons for investing in a franchise rather than starting a new business.
On the other hand, the stronger the online reputation of each individual franchise location the more likely they are to generate business … which makes the franchise stronger.
So, should the task of listing management be left to individual franchisees?
If you want to do it properly — and is there any other way to protect a brand reputation — there’s a lot to manage. Especially for franchises with many locations.
What if it could be easily managed?
Multi Location Listings and Reputation Management Tools
Multi-location listings should be included in your results-driven marketing as a strategy to grow your franchise’s exposure and protect your brand reputation.
Listings management is important for both franchisor and the franchisee. However, this activity must be in sync. Otherwise you could damage your reputation through listing duplication or errors. Sparktank’s Multi Location Listings Management is a simple and inexpensive solution for franchise marketing online.
With a single tool both parties can access, manage and update listings from their own dashboard. It assists franchises with many locations get each of their locations found in top spots like Google maps. It also helps with the all important reviews management and procuring positive reviews.
It’s all about improving and managing your franchise SEO; and it’s easier than you think!
To find out more about Sparktank’s franchise listing and reputation management tools, fill out our inquiry form and we’ll set-up a time to present you with options for your franchise.