1851 Franchise explores what franchise development site trends Wheat Creative recommends hopping on—and which to leave in the past.
When building a franchise development website, a brand needs to find a supplier that “gets it,” first and foremost. Judging by its own website, Wheat Creative knows how to communicate a message with concisely original humor, using phrases like “We’re Niche-y And We Know It” and “Size only matters if you’re a shoe. We are not. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t the perfect fit.” With an innovative approach like this, it’s no wonder the Entrepreneur Magazine “Top Franchise Supplier” has worked with big-name clients like Wendy’s, Mobil and Dunkin’ Donuts.
Las Vegas-based Wheat Creative prides itself on being a standout resource for franchises from the start. “It’s in our name—Wheat Creative,” the company wrote in an email. “Five years ago, when we set out to build a franchise marketing agency, we wanted to fill the void for what we’d observed (over the previous five years) as a lack of creativity. Far too many franchise development websites are not only templated from a design perspective, but the content is all too easily regurgitated from site to site—in other words, if logos and investment numbers are the main things that change, there’s a problem.”
To kick off this anti-boilerplate approach, Wheat Creative takes the time necessary to dig in deep, rooting out clients’ needs and getting to the heart of the franchise system. The team speaks with folks at every level, from the brand’s CEO to individual franchisees.
“Once we fully understand the franchise DNA, so to speak, only then can we craft thoughtful, creative designs and brand stories that speak directly to a system’s desired prospects and inspire them to take action,” wrote Wheat Creative.
When vetting franchise development supplier options, Wheat Creative pointed out a few key questions franchisors should ask potential partners:
- How long have you worked in the franchise space??
- Who are some of your top franchisor clients and may we reach out to them as references?
- What sets you apart from your competitors in the franchise space?
- What makes you an expert on the franchise industry?
- Why franchising? What makes you/your company passionate about the work?
Wheat Creative said that the two most exciting website trends it’s seeing and jumping on board with right now are “the increased usage of video—from brand videos to franchisee testimonials,” and “alternative means of communication, including call scheduling programs and chat features.”
On the other hand, Wheat Creative’s modern approach also allows it to strategically avoid some of the outdated techniques that are still all-too-prevalent on franchise development sites, such as “using a numbered navigation—this was originally meant to create a perceived ‘process,’ but it’s no longer necessary,” wrote the supplier.
Wheat Creative also recommends franchises avoid purposefully withholding information, including “gated” content that is only shared after a visitor divulges personal information. Instead, it recommends making information accessible and transparent, right on the site.
“Today’s prospects have a desire to educate themselves. They will move on to a system that doesn’t make them work so hard to obtain the information they want and need in order to make an informed decision,” wrote the supplier.
Wheat Creative also preaches the importance of multiple touchpoints and search engine optimization (SEO) within franchise marketing campaigns. After all, if a FranDev website is built, and no one ever visits it, does it sell any units?
“Get as many eyes on it as possible!” wrote Wheat Creative in an email. “A multi-faceted lead generation campaign to drive candidates to the new site is vital. Do not put all your eggs in one basket, but do put in the research to determine where the attention of your target prospect actually lies. In addition to paid search tactics, put a focus on organic traffic via SEO so you’re not relying on top-dollar paid ads forever.”
Lastly, Wheat Creative emphasized the importance of consistently pushing it out quality, interesting content through new website pages and a “well-written” (emphasis theirs) franchise blog. “We absolutely recommend sharing the blog via social networks—dedicated franchise profiles if you have them; if not, then at least occasional cross-promotion on consumer profiles,” wrote Wheat Creative. “Put money behind boosting them to reach further into your followers’ networks.”