Chief Development Officer Paul Pickett says brand message and robust content are key to developing a quality website.
Wild Birds Unlimited is well known for spreading the hobby of bird feeding across the U.S. and Canada. Their franchisees are often customers first, franchisees second. That is why it’s important that their franchise development website mirrors the warmth and informative nature of the in-store experience. 1851 Franchise spoke with Paul Pickett, Chief Development Officer at Wild Birds Unlimited, and he shared his tips for brands who are looking to elevate their online presence.
1851: What makes your franchise development site great?
PP: It was designed to engage our target prospects- individuals who both love the hobby of backyard bird feeding and who want to build a strong, sustainable business enterprise. It has lots of content and clearly drives candidates to want to engage with us once they have enough information to feel comfortable doing so.
1851: What do you want franchise prospects to know about your brand when researching it?
PP: We want the Wild Birds Unlimited culture to come through loud and clear. Our focus on delivering an exceptional franchise ownership experience is paramount. We also want them to understand the size of the bird feeding market and to hear from our existing franchisees about their experience with both the franchise system and the customer base.
1851: How should franchise sales professionals and executives evaluate their development site?
PP: Conversion rates are one of the most important ways that we evaluate our development site, but equally important is how our candidates feel about the brand after they review the site. We want them to understand who we are, where we are going, some of the key KPIs that our franchisees experience and our full franchise development process. We ask all of our candidates about their experience on the site and make appropriate adjustments all the time.
1851: What are the most important KPIs around a development site?
PP: Lead/visits, time on pages and bounce rates.
1851: What should brands budget for a franchise development site?
PP: That really depends on the brand. We spent less than $25,000 on the development of our site and less than $10,000 per year on improvements, but we don’t have a competitive “space”. Other brands may have to spend much more if they have lots of competing brands.