Working with different franchise locations adds an entirely new tier to the online marketing umbrella. There are quite a few different aspects to online marketing—SEO, social media, web design—and all of these aspects need to be addressed whether you’re working with one central company or one with many different branches. The real question deals with how a national branch manger should go about each of these different aspects:
Is it the job of the national branch to control online marketing as a whole, or should each individual franchise be in control of their own location?
Questions to Ask About Online Marketing and Franchise Management
As with most decisions in business, everything depends on multiple different factors in your company. The easiest way to really determine the right online marketing strategy for your company and all of the franchises that go with it is to ask yourself questions about each aspect of the industry. Below lists a few of the different components of online marketing and questions you should ask to help you determine whether or not it should be you or the franchise managers making online marketing decisions:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Do you have one website for your company? This is the most obvious question you can ask when it comes to SEO. If you have one website for the entire company, it makes sense to make all the SEO hiring and link building decisions from the national branch so that you can stay organized and consistent.
- Do you have a large budget and a lot of time? SEO can actually get quite expensive, so taking your budget into consideration is a must. In general, it is more cost effective to manage SEO efforts from the national branch as opposed to each local location.
- What type of SEO do you need? If you’re really only worried about link building, it might make sense to have all of your local branches get involved with helping write articles. If you need website optimization and analytics work, staying organized with just the franchisor might be the best move.
- Are your consumers finding information via social media? It’s a good idea to ask your customers how important social media really is to them. It’s not worth it to have a different approach for each location if the interest just isn’t there.
- Could there be any legal trouble? If you work in an industry where confidential information is kept, it might not make sense to spread out your social media efforts. Social media is a quick and immediate form of marketing, so you may want to be in total control at your national branch.
- Are your products different from location to location? Sometimes businesses have such different types of locations in terms of demographics and area that products and deals differ fairly dramatically. If this is the case, it might make sense to have separate social media strategies and accounts for each franchise location.
- Do you want your websites to be consistent? Web design isn’t really an issue when it comes to having just one website, but it’s important to consider whether or not this is the right move. If you have different websites for each local branch, hiring a web designer on behalf of all the locations will help keep things 100 percent consistent. If that’s not what you’re looking for, letting your franchisees loose should work just fine!
- Is SEO in order?SEO has a lot to do with web design because Google bots take this into consideration when it comes time to rank a website. If you don’t feel as though you want to give your different locations control over SEO, it might not be a good idea to give them control over a website design.
Have you had to make a decision about online marketing and your different franchise locations? What has worked best for you? Tell us your story in the comments below.