How do I look?

First impressions may be critical, but what other impressions are you giving your prospective franchisees when they start to dig a bit deeper?

How do I look?

Your recruitment website, prospectus, or franchise portal profile may well be your front line in terms of how you present yourself to potential franchisees, and you’ve surely worked hard to perfect it, but that’s not all your prospects will see. Any potential franchisee worth his salt, and certainly any with the kind of traits you are looking for in a partner, will carry out their own research and due diligence.

Google yourself (other search engines are available!)

This is the simple first step in seeing what your prospects might see when they go online. It may seem obvious, but it’s always worth keeping a regular eye on where results are pointing people. The bigger point is that you should always be putting yourself in your prospect’s shoes and seeing where their research journey might be taking them, and how that information is influencing them.

Are their searches taking them to where you want them to be? And are those places displaying information that is consistent with your overall message? Where possible, make sure you are staying on top of the narrative your prospects are seeing.

If you Google “Shuttercraft franchise”, for example, you will see that all of the first page results are pages managed by us in one way of another, with the first non-ad result being our own recruitment page. Even the ‘slugs’ – the short descriptions under the search result – have been specifically created.

Are you giving your audience the right insights?

While a brand identity should certainly be consistent across both your customer-facing and franchisee-facing content, it is also important to remember you are speaking to a very different audience here. Don’t underestimate how important it is to understand your audience and make sure you are appealing to them in exactly the right way. You need to strike a balance between promoting your brand, and therefore what franchisees can offer their customers as part of it, and how your franchise will work for them.

Just as your customer facing web presence will focus on making your products and services appealing, so will your franchisee facing content – the big difference now is that you are the product, or at least, your franchise package is. Prospective franchisees will likely already know about you as a brand, and what you do, so you need to focus on the franchise offering first.

In terms of written content, that means taking the time to understand and target your audience, but it applies to your imagery and videos , too. Focus on images that show what’s its like to be in business for yourself with your franchise…..

Keep it fresh

Optimising your online presence to maximise your impression on prospective franchise is a process, not a task which can be completed and ticked off your to-do list. Joining a franchise is a big decision, and one that will be life-changing for many of your future partners. Most will likely spend a great deal of time researching you and thinking about their options before making a decision, and it is not uncommon for there to be several months or even a year or two between their first contact and taking the next steps.

During that time, they are likely to visit your website, facebook page, youtube channel etc many times

It is well worth the time and resources necessary to create and update content on a regular basis. New videos, social media posts, blogs, portal eshots and case studies will not only help your SEO and make a great impression on new prospects, but could also be the key which unlocks the final decision in someone who has been following you for a while.

This article comes courtesy of Shuttercraft, an award-winning franchise opportunity with one of the UK’s leading installers of made-to-measure shutters and blinds.

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