1851 Franchise explores what franchise development site best practices TopFire Media recommends staying on top of—and which to leave in the past.
TopFire Media, a full-service digital marketing and public relations firm based in Homewood, Illinois, has helped create more than 125 franchise development sites. Through a partnership with sister company iFranchise Group, a franchise consulting firm with an advertised over 500 years of experience, TopFire Media crafts legally-compliant and franchisee-focused content strategically designed to educate and inform while leveraging “intent to buy” keywords that help convert site visitors into leads.
When a franchisor is vetting potential franchise development site suppliers, TopFire Media recommends asking agencies the following questions:
- What platform (such as WordPress) do you use to develop websites?
- ?Will you design a custom or templated website for me?
- How will we be involved in the design & content process?
- Will it be easy for us to update or add content to once the site is launched? Will we have backend access? Will you provide training?
- Are hosting and ongoing maintenance part of the package/services?
- Will the site be SEO- and mobile-friendly?
- What is your philosophy on conversion-based marketing?
- What is the cost for content, design, and development?
- Can I review examples of other sites you’ve built?
When asked what common practices and trends TopFire Media has noticed among franchise development sites today, the agency emphasized the positive impact of putting a franchisee face to online content. “The use of video is commonly used on sites to truly explain what ‘a day in the life’ of a franchise owner is like, and to provide testimonials from actual franchise owners,” TopFire Media wrote in an email.
TopFire also said that many development sites leverage customer support tools, which can actually even assist in the sales process. “Some franchise sites utilize chatbots to provide information to website visitors, and if programmed properly, they can filter leads and gather valuable information about the visitor,” wrote Topfire Media. “This can lead to increased conversions and time spent contacting the most qualified prospects.”
The agency also noted that listing financial information, including investment requirements and financial performance representations, is prominent on development sites now more than ever. This can help potential buyers understand where the franchise stands in a competitive market, and build a sense of trust with the corporate team through transparency.
As more awareness is built around the American Disabilities Act (ADA), which states that all electronic and information technology must be accessible to people with disabilities, TopFire Media noted that suppliers should keep these standards top-of-mind going forward. “ADA compliance will continue to be something that web developers will need to be cognizant of, and good faith efforts should be made to ensure that any and all visitors are able to access content on the site,” wrote the agency.
TopFire recommended avoiding website platforms that are not well-suited for search engine optimization or mobile compatibility in the modern world of online due diligence. The agency also advised brands to avoid limiting the number of website pages devoted to franchise development. “This makes it difficult to improve SEO and doesn’t allow for the proper dissemination of information necessary for prospective franchisees to determine if the brand is right for them,” wrote the agency.
TopFire Media recommended that a brand’s franchise development site focus on making a solid, compelling case for investment in the franchise through continually updating content on the site once it goes live.
“A website, especially a franchise recruiting one, should never be static; you can’t just ‘set it and forget it,’” wrote TopFire Media in an email. “You should continually be striving to add pages, testimonials, content/blogs, video and more—but always keep in mind that the goal is not to overload a visitor with information, but rather to get them to convert as a lead on the site by filling out a form or calling.”