It’s understandable that you’d want to keep things as simple as possible as you shift from being a business to becoming a franchise, but there is definitely an argument for having a separate franchise development website that is not part of your brand website.
Consider the fact that you have two audiences: the customers who buy from your brand and the potential franchisees you want to sell franchises to. Housing all information on one site can flat-out be confusing and muddle your message.
Here are a few more reasons to consider building a franchise development website.
1. You Can Better Track Traffic
Website analytics are invaluable at helping you understand who’s visiting your site and what types of content they are most interested in.
That all goes out the window when you have a single page for potential franchisees on a site that’s primarily targeting your brand’s customers. Are the people clicking to your site interested in buying your products or services…or a franchise?
Separating the two gives you better insight into understanding those visitors. Especially if you’re using content marketing to tell your story, it’s important for you to be able to analyze your content to understand which topics are best resonating with your audience, and which are helping you convert new leads.
2. It Can Boost Your SEO
We’re all at the mercy of Google, and anything you can do to appease the search engine god is worth doing. Because Google and other search engines scour each website for context to determine what it’s about, having one site for both brand and franchise information can confuse them (not to mention your visitors). Separating your franchise development website ensures that search engines identify it as targeting franchisees and rank it in search results accordingly.
You can also target your keywords on that audience, which will also help with SEO.
3. It Doesn’t Confuse Visitors
Back to those confused visitors. If they go to your website to get information about your products or services, locations, or other information that’s relevant to them, they might not understand if they end up clicking on a page geared toward franchisees.
Likewise, a potential franchisee may not want to sift through your menu page and blog posts targeting customers.
Separating the two ensures everything on each site targets its intended audience. Certainly, you can (and should) link from one to another since some people will be interested in both aspects of your business.
4. You Can Separate Content Strategy
Content marketing is key for educating potential franchisees on why your brand is a solid investment. But many franchisors make the mistake of housing all content—that’s aimed at customers as well as franchisees—on a single blog. That can not only be confusing, it can also turn off readers who feel like the content isn’t written for them.
With a separate franchise development website, you can turn your attention fully toward those leads and write articles that address questions they might have about working with your brand. You can create a separate content strategy for this audience, using lead generation tools like offering a free download, “X Reasons to Become a Y Franchisee,” to build your email database of potential franchisees. When you separate your content strategy, you can, as mentioned before, better track your content efforts through analytics.
5. It Creates More Gravitas
Which do you think will be more appealing to someone who is considering buying a franchise from you:
A single page of information about franchise opportunities on your primary website
A dedicated site with several pages of content answering many of their questions?
Building out a franchise development site shows that you’re serious about attracting and supporting franchisees. You can offer more useful information, including:
- Your competitive advantages
- The industry opportunity
- Investment requirements (Item 7 excerpts)
- Revenue potential (Item 19 excerpts)
- Available territories
- Support to franchisees
- Testimonials from existing franchisees
- Steps to ownership
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Brand news
Essentially, you should provide as much detail as possible to allow visitors to soak it in so that when they contact you, they are primed and more qualified as leads than they would be if all they had was a single page of information.
6. Separating Them Makes Each Site More Mobile-Friendly
If you have multiple pages of content on your brand website and multiple pages of content on your franchise site, it should be fairly easy to navigate each to find what a visitor is looking for. Housing them all under one digital roof would make it cluttered and more challenging to navigate.
This is especially relevant for mobile-friendliness: the simpler and more streamlined a site is, the easier it is to navigate on a mobile screen. Keep in mind you also need to use mobile-friendly website design, but starting with less content is a step in the right direction.
7. Your Marketing Message is More Clear
Because you’ve got two audiences, you really have two messages:
Our products are great! Buy them!
Our franchise opportunities are lucrative! Buy one!
It’s difficult (and considered bad marketing etiquette) to communicate both messages on a single site. Separating the sites allows you to focus on one message per website and audience. That means having calls to action that clearly target the audience of the site and better conversions on those CTAs.
Final Thoughts on Having a Franchise Development Website
Yes, creating a separate site for franchise development will take time and money, but the payoff is in reducing the amount of time you spend nurturing a lead in that first stage of research, and in increasing the number of franchises you sell.