Why Franchisors Need Franchisees More Than They Think


Google Reviews and the Local Customer are Key Ingredients to a Franchisor’s Success

Those in the franchise space understand the benefits of becoming a franchisee are not limited to, but include:

  • Built-in brand recognition
  • Training and support from home office
  • Shared knowledge and resources from other franchisees

In turn, these benefits matriculate down to the customer who gets to work with a reputable brand that has a track record of success. But there’s another key factor that customers want, and are demanding more now than ever before: to know who they are working with, locally.

Consumer Focus on the Franchisee

In working with dozens of franchise brands over the past six years, I have noticed a sharp increase in organic website traffic toward local franchisees’ “About Us” pages. These tend to be simple, with headshots of the team and a few sentences about the owners and why they got into the business. With more established franchise locations, this is their most trafficked page, second only to their main site URL. Most organic visitors are in “research mode,” spending more time on a site and clicking on multiple pages than paid users who are in “buy mode,” and want to know more beyond services offered.

Franchisees must not be afraid to proudly state, “locally owned and operated.”

Google Reviews

For these fastidious users, it’s perhaps even more crucial that franchisees pay attention to their Google Business Profile ratings (formerly known as Google My Business). Local customers care little — if at all — that a brand is a preferred vendor for a professional sporting team, but do care greatly about their local reviews on Google Business. In the same way, they want to know more about the franchisee, they also want to gather information on the experience that past and current customers have had with any given location. According to Bright Local, 86% of consumers will read reviews for a local business. Not only that, but they will read an average of 10 reviews before they feel they can trust a business. Google also prioritizes businesses that are active on their profile and have a variety of reviews (especially recent reviews), making for fierce competition to appear in the top three of the Map Pack of a Google search.

A New Focus for Franchise Brands

Name recognition, a national sales force, corporate partnerships and approved vendors lists are still necessary and very good things for any franchise in the home service sector. But none can replace the experience that local users are looking for when they are searching online. The priority of the online user (and Google) is on the local franchisee now more than ever, which is vital in building trust and increasing customers. It’s up to franchisors to empower their franchisees to increase their time and energy in appealing to the local customer. Franchisees must not be afraid to proudly state, “locally owned and operated.”

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Ben Panama is the director of franchise marketing at Scorpion, an award-winning agency that combines technology, marketing and people to help businesses grow. He has partnered with dozens of franchise brands in developing and executing digital marketing campaigns at the brand level, while managing SEO, advertising and marketing teams to support franchisees at the local level.
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