In order to set your franchise system and your franchisees up for long-term online success, it's crucial to create a well-defined online marketing model that identifies how the Internet will be used in marketing and who is responsible for various components of that process.

Unfortunately, this is an element that is often overlooked.

1. Search Engine Marketing

It's important to consider the search engine marketing components as well as the social networking components.

  • How will the Internet be used to ensure the franchise website lands on Page 1 for relevant searches in all of its local markets?
  • Who will ensure that happens... franchisor or franchisee?
  • How will social networking be utilized? Only at the brand level or to help local franchises engage with their markets? How many pages and profiles are required to do this?
  • Who is responsible for setting up and maintaining those social media networks?

There are many options for creating a model that fits each franchise system's unique needs. Some franchisors prefer to control the use of online marketing and social media entirely. Some encourage their franchisees to engage online locally using social networking, search marketing or both. Some franchisors control all of the content and customer services, whereas others leave that entirely to the franchisees. Many franchise systems utilize a mix of both.

2. How to Make it Run Smoothly

While we have our opinions as to what works best based on the franchises we've worked with, what's important is to identify the system that works best for your franchise and then specify the ins and outs of how that's going to work, along with guidelines to make sure it all runs smoothly.

Elements to consider include:

  • How to maintain brand consistency.
  • How to monitoring and respond to customer feedback in a consistent and positive way.
  • How to implement a crisis media plan so everyone involves knows how to respond to serious online issues and prevent the rapid spreading of negative customer feedback.

In the event that the responsibility lies largely with franchisees, it is very important to specific y in advance the online expectations and boundaries by which those expectations should be achieved. Items to consider here include:

  • Will social media participation be mandatory, and if so what measures of success will be put in place and what level of interaction would be required?
  • How much time would franchisees be expected to spend on social media in order to accomplish necessary goals?
  • What costs would be incurred to achieve these goals? Time or money or both?
  • Would franchisors recommend outsourcing as an option, and if so how would that be funded?

These are just some of the aspects to consider when designing an Internet Marketing model that meets the needs of your franchise. Each franchise is unique, and it's important to create a tailored model that benefits both franchisor and franchisees.

Also, remember that whether your franchise is a start-up or is well-established with many franchisees, it is never too late to implement a model that will support your online success.

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