This is a guest blog post by Alan Littler.
The internet has become one of the most used methods for obtaining information and communication; two areas that are vital to any franchise business. The power of the internet and its accessibility around the globe make it a lot easier for franchises to expand, with many being able to recruit new franchisees overseas.
There are multiple benefits for a franchise that becomes international, such as reaching a new market, and this is appealing to franchisors. The internet has become a pivotal tool in helping franchisors expand their businesses and recruit franchisees from other countries, but what is it about the web that can help franchises expand beyond their own national borders?
No surprises in store
The internet can be used to store useful and important data and information that affect each franchise, no matter what part of the world it is based in, acting as a hub for certain details. Franchisors can create an intranet system or other kind of web portal to store this information and place new data, allowing each franchisee access to this resource.
This would allow the franchisor to control certain aspects of each franchise, ensuring that there is some sort of standardization throughout the business so that customers can recognize a brand, even if branches are based all around the world.
As well as being able to access information, the web can help franchisees give information as well. Many successful franchisors devote sections of their own website to each franchisee, or may even create web pages for each different franchise, or a website for the different countries in which it has franchisees operating.
This is to allow for cultural differences to be catered for, such as having the website in a different language or offering an adapted product range or service. From here, each franchisee can upload information that differentiates it from the rest of the business, and adapt to the needs of its own target audience or geographical location.
Networking and brand awareness
The internet is also ideal for promoting the business as a whole. As a franchisor, it’s imperative to implement a recruitment strategy in order to expand the business. Making sure you utilize every opportunity to get the franchise brand out there is important, and attending networking events that advertise online can go a long way to getting your profile out in the open.
Networking can be a form of brand awareness that can lead to franchise recruitment. The more people you know, the more people they know, so if you are seeking to expand your franchise abroad, one of your business connections may know someone who is looking to take up the challenge.
Heading online can also help out in terms of providing networking sites. LinkedIn is one of the most popular networking sites amongst franchisors and other business-minded people all over the world, so establishing connections on this and other social media platforms could help you meet the perfect franchisee.
A means of communication
As the world has adapted to technology, there have become more ways in which people can talk to one another. The introduction of social media and other programs such as video calling via the internet have really helped the world become a more communicative place. This is particularly useful to franchisors and their quest to expand abroad.
The use of video calling can allow franchisors to have an instantaneous conversation with franchisees in different countries, without having the issue of time delays that you may get in other forms of electronic communications such as email. This allows the franchisor to deal with any issues that could affect the whole of the franchise.
Social media is another tool used by franchises to ensure the company has a focus on franchisees at a local level. Each franchisor gives franchisees their own social media page for them to update and interact with local communities.
Social media is an online phenomenon that keeps the world connected, regardless of what country you are in. Some use it as a business directory. Franchises can take advantage of this by giving each franchisee a page to update and store information relevant to that branch of the business and its target audience.
A force that will keep growing
The internet is, without doubt, a phenomenon that will continue to expand as the world moves further into a digital age. This is because the world’s biggest online companies are continuing to try to increase accessibility to the whole world. In turn, this will be beneficial to franchises who are seeking to expand overseas, as more opportunities may present themselves as the world becomes more connected.
Although it is not the only factor that franchisors need to consider before expanding their businesses abroad, the internet is becoming one of the most influential tools used by franchisors worldwide to ensure that their companies become a global success and maintain their positive brand images.
Online marketing is becoming more widely sought after by franchisors looking to put in that extra effort to see their franchises become successful.
Alan Littler is the account executive at Engage Web, a UK online marketing agency specializing in the franchise industry. Alan has an extensive knowledge of SEO for franchises, handling the analytics and reporting for hundreds of franchisees across the world.