A website serves as the front door to your business. But a great front door is useless if you don’t have the right rooms inside.
Franchise development websites must provide information that your prospective franchise owners want and need, and that goes well beyond the usual “about us” and “contact us” pages. You want to help prospects research your brand so that they can make an informed decision. The more information prospects can obtain on your website, the longer they will stay – and the more they will learn about your brand and whether it’s right for them. That means you need to tell them about the industry you work in; answer their big questions – including how much they can earn and what the startup costs are; and let them hear from current happy, successful franchisees so they can picture themselves in that role.
Here are five pages that we recommend be included on every franchise development website:
Potential franchisees are researching your brand, the industry and franchising in general. Include a page about your industry and any information that differentiates you from others in your industry. We all know how frustrating it is to work a lead only to have them choose a competitor. By addressing how you stand out among the competition up-front, you are positioning your brand as the clear winner.
Also, by providing general information about the industry, with links and proper citations to the data you share, you are saving the user research time, and they will appreciate that.
An FAQ page may seem obvious, but it needs to be written intentionally to be as functional and useful as possible. Phrase every FAQ as a question that a candidate might ask or type into a search engine, such as: “How long does it take to open a [brand] franchise?” Increasingly, users are searching by entering complete questions into a search engine, using words in the way their brains naturally put them together. They may even ask the question out loud, using a voice-to-text function, so phrasing your FAQs this way will be a benefit to your search engine optimization (SEO).
Answer the questions succinctly, using no more than three sentences. FAQs should be specific, as an overly broad question may require a lengthy answer. Consider turning some key FAQs into their own research pages if there is enough content to support that. For instance…
How Much Can I Make?
This is probably the No. 1 question that candidates have. By answering this question on a webpage, in text, you allow a search engine to provide the answer on the search engine result page; that’s called a zero-click search because they get the answer immediately, without having to click through and read an entire page.
Whether you decide to chart average income by quartiles based on your franchise disclosure document (FDD), or you elect to give an average gross sales number, it’s important for SEO rankings to make sure you answer the question in text on the webpage and not solely in a supporting graphic or image. Images are indexed differently and will not be shown on a search engine result page.
How Much Does It Cost?
This question may very well contend with “How much can I make?” for the top candidate question. Candidates want to know how much of their life savings they will need to invest in your franchise.
Most candidates will expect to find the franchise fee and startup costs here. However, you also should be sure to include details about in-house financing or costs covered by you to make the opportunity more appealing.
Franchisee testimonials may not have a ton of SEO value, but they do provide a peek into life as a franchisee with your brand. This is relevant to potential franchisees because they will be able to relate to other owners and begin to imagine themselves as one of your franchisees. When candidates can visualize themselves as part of your franchise, closing the sale becomes much easier.
Including these pages and others that address candidates’ questions on your fran dev website is like putting out the welcome mat for prospects. It is to your advantage to prop the door open and let them look around to see if they are the right fit for your franchise.