What do people find when they search for your franchisees online? Do they see accurate business information or outdated info that leaves them feeling lost and frustrated? Do they see positive online reviews that make them want to become customers or horror stories that have them writing your franchise off for good?
These are important questions to ask when you analyze your franchise’s online footprint, or the trail of data that can be found on the Internet pertaining to your franchise and franchisees. If you have a strong online footprint, it becomes easier for online visitors to find you and take the next step of becoming customers. If your online footprint is weak, you not only make your franchise brand look unprofessional, but you also miss out on potential leads for your franchisees.
Below are a 3 ways your franchise can stay on top of its online footprint, also known as your online reputation.
1. Manage Your Directory Listings
You should keep all of your online directory listings consistent and up-to-date. These are any online listings that include your business name, address, and phone number (NAP).
Here are just a few examples of the many websites that include listings for local businesses:
- Google My Business
- Bing Places for Business
- Yellow Pages
- Angie’s List
When you have conflicting NAP information on different websites, this confuses search engines, which can negatively impact your franchise’s search engine optimization (SEO). And remember, poor SEO equals lower rankings and less visibility in search results. On the flip side, when your NAPs are identical across numerous sites, search engines see this as a plus, which may give your franchise an SEO boost.
For the best online footprint, keep your NAPs consistent on the sites listed above, and also on your website, your domain registration profile, your social media profiles, and any other websites that include information about your business. As a franchise network, this will need to be done for each of your franchisees across all directory listings.
2. Keep Track of Your Online Reviews
Online reviews play a major role in your digital footprint. The latest data shows that 92% of consumers read online reviews, and 80% say they trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations, when a few basic requirements are met.
Both positive and negative reviews can quickly change a person’s mind about whether or not to work with a business. The goal is to have overwhelmingly more positive reviews than negative ones so you can tip the scales in your franchise’s favor. You and your franchisees can do this by regularly reminding customers about leaving online reviews, monitoring your reviews across various sites, and quickly responding to both positive and negative reviews. For more specific tips from our franchise marketing experts, download our free Online Reviews Survival Guide at the bottom of this post.
3. Always Have Access to Your Login Credentials
You should have the login credentials for all of your franchise’s online master accounts. Also, the franchisee should have local-level logins. Even if you hire a marketing professional to manage your online listings and reviews, you need to be the one who is ultimately in control of your franchise’s online reputation.
There are countless reasons that you should maintain control of your login data. To list a couple, marketing companies can go out of business and relationships with marketing vendors can change, which could leave your franchise vulnerable if you aren’t equipped with the right information.
Hassle-Free Management of Your Online Reputation
Does managing your franchise’s digital footprint and online reputation sounds like a lot of work? That’s because it is – and the rules set by search engines such as Google are constantly changing. Fortunately, Scorpion can do the job for you and all of your franchisees. We’ll use the latest practices and technology to track and manage your franchise’s digital footprint.
Our goal is to improve your franchisees’ online visibility and image so they can get more customers from the Internet. Call Scorpion today!
For more information about managing your online reviews, download our free guide.
About the Author
Stephen Bess is VP of Client Marketing at Scorpion. He is committed to helping franchises attract more customers for their franchisees through competitive digital marketing strategies. Stephen, who is Google AdWords-certified, is a graduate of Rice University in Houston, Texas. He has extensive experience in client management, marketing, and writing.
Prior to joining Scorpion, Stephen spent more than 10 years in the print, web, and digital publishing industry as a head editor of several magazines. He is also a former professional baseball player the Detroit Tigers, a foodie, and an amateur chef. He enjoys learning, trying red wines, and traveling to Santa Ynez, Paso Robles, Napa, and Sonoma with his wife and his daughter.