Business owners can use franchise reputation management services to improve visibility, increase traffic, and boost revenue. Our guide below shows you how.
As a franchise owner, you know that your brand presence can help you establish your franchise location in new service areas and industry niches. Unfortunately, owners often struggle to understand the key tools and strategies needed to build and support their brands.
Our guide to franchise reputation management answers all of your questions and provides the details you’ll need to make informed decisions. In our guide, we’ll cover why online reviews can make or break your franchise business, the essential franchise online reputation management services for your campaign, and the benefits you can expect by implementing franchise online reputation management at the corporate level.
We’ve got a lot of territory to cover, so let’s get started with our complete guide to franchise reputation management.
What Does Your Online Reputation Say About Your Franchise Business?
One of the first steps potential customers make when looking for businesses in their area is to turn to Google or one of the other major search engines for information.
What are your customers finding when they search out your franchise business?
Information in search results works to form public perceptions about a brand or business online. Your online reputation is defined as “the consensus public opinion about an individual or business based on their digital presence.”
If the information in search results is positive, you’re likely to have a good reputation in the digital environment. If that information is negative — filled with negative reviews, unflattering customer feedback, or embarrassing news articles — you may struggle to achieve your goals.
Is your franchise reputation all it can be? If not, there’s a solution.
Online reputation management for franchise businesses is a proven strategy to overcome the challenges presented by a negative reputation. It can also strengthen and protect your positive online reputation, helping you to pave a path toward success.
Why are Online Reviews so Important?
According to numerous studies, about 95% of all consumers read online reviews before deciding to frequent a business in their area. Reviews have become a primary force in shaping brand reputation and perception; positive and negative reviews account for the bulk of how your franchise business is perceived.
Now, let’s take a closer look at why reviews are so critical in influencing customer behavior with the following statistics:
- 93% of consumers in a brief feedback survey indicated that positive online reviews influenced their business choice.
- Good reviews lead to higher revenue; on average, consumers spend about 31% more at a franchise business with positive reviews and testimonials left by guests.
- Great customer feedback helps franchise businesses stand out more in online searches; search engines favor businesses with great review profiles and 5-star ratings in search rankings.
- Only 13% of consumers will consider doing business with a company with 1- or 2-star ratings on Google reviews or Yelp.
- 94% of potential consumers indicate that bad reviews or negative comments have convinced them to avoid a business altogether. A single negative review can begin to damage the business reputation you’ve worked so hard to build.
- One negative review can result in as much as a 22% loss in your customer base. If three or more poor reviews appear online, the potential for lost clients jumps to nearly 60%.
- Star ratings influence revenue streams; every decrease — for example, from 5 stars to 4 — in your business’s rating results in 5-9% lost revenue.
Whether you have multiple franchise locations or a single storefront, reviews are critical for your brand success. Customers are evaluating the quality of your business based on online reviews. We’ll explore review management in a later section.
What is Franchise Reputation Management?
When most people think of franchise businesses, restaurants typically come to mind. Although restaurant franchises are popular, the franchising industry is comprised of a diverse set of potential options, including:
- Gyms and fitness centers
- Home services providers (painting, handyman services, etc.)
- Beauty salons
- Coffee shops
- Financial and tax preparation services
- Distribution/shipping services
- Retail establishments
Although these businesses are diverse, they all have one thing in common: franchises depend on building, improving, and protecting their online reputations. Online reputation management is designed for that purpose.
Online reputation management for franchises is considered an integral part of your digital marketing efforts. With ORM, you are able to stand out in online searches, improve brand awareness, and put your service locations on the map.
An Overview of Online Reputation Management Services
As introduced in the section above, online reputation management is the set of strategies designed to establish, build, preserve, and repair your online reputation. ORM professionals provide a wide range of services to help put your best foot forward in the digital environment, helping you gain competitive advantages.
Typical franchise online reputation management services include:
- Reputation management
- Google Ads management
- Content removal
- Review management
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Local SEO
- Pay-per-click (PPC) ad management
- Google Business Profile/Apple Business Connect profile management
- Online public relations (PR)
Because every local business is different, each will have unique needs and goals. Talented reputation management service providers will offer customized services to meet these needs exactly; they understand that cookie-cutter solutions rarely produce the desired results.
Essential Franchise Reputation Management Services
As you can see in the section above, there are many franchise reputation management services to choose from. Although the options can be overwhelming, a few stand out for their importance.
Let’s take a closer look at essential franchise reputation management services for your business operation:
Local Citations Management
Once you’ve launched your franchise operation, your next goal is to attract potential customers. Here, getting listed in business directories is critical. That’s the purpose of local citation management services, which help you create profiles in local directories and on business-oriented platforms like Apple Business Connect and Google Business Profile. A local citation is any mention of your company’s name, phone number, addresses of multiple locations, etc. This key information is sometimes called “NAP” — name, address, phone number.
Whether you have a single franchise location or operate multiple locations or multi-location brands, your brand presence gets a valuable boost by getting listed in local directories. Listings for individual locations or service locations can be tailored to suit a specific service region; even if you have a single franchise location, you can add the keywords and citations needed to help your customers find you.
Closely related to local citation management is local SEO. Most franchise businesses operate in specific service areas or service locations and, as such, depend on a steady stream of local customers.
Local SEO incorporates tactics like adding geographic information to your business listings and information on your company website, social media profiles, and web properties. After all, people in your area are looking for businesses convenient to them; if they can find you in local search results, they are more likely to pick up the phone or visit your local business.
Franchise Review Management
Your company’s reputation is dependent on reviews. Businesses with great review profiles and a high review volume tend to stand out from their competitors. What is their key to achieving this visibility?
The answer is review management. Using a standalone franchise reputation management tool or franchise reputation management software, review management is the practice of getting more positive reviews, analyzing customer feedback, and creating review responses that resonate with existing and potential clients.
We’ll take a closer look at review management for franchise businesses in a later section.
Social Media Management
Social media is one of the most powerful and cost-effective tools in digital marketing, giving business owners the power to connect with people worldwide. Social posts that feature honest feedback, interesting content, and personal recommendations or testimonials go a long way toward building a trustworthy, visible, and engaged brand for your franchise business. This feedback serves as “social proof” for prospective clients and customers; it builds your franchise reputation into one of strength, trust, and authority.
Unfortunately, getting the most from social media is a time-consuming process that often requires specialized skills. With a social media management team in place, you can concentrate on what you do best: growing your business online through sales and delivery of customer service excellence.
What About Branding as a Reputation Management Tool for Businesses?
Most businesses benefit from branding as part of their reputation management strategy. Franchises are different.
The parent company has already established your brand image; these corporations have spent considerable time and effort into developing a visible brand identity and brand reputation. In fact, many parent companies exert significant brand control for their franchisees with a dedicated support team or other brand management options.
Franchise owners gain access to that brand image when they agree to the franchising terms and purchase the franchise business. Brand reputation management, then, is not as critical as it may be for businesses without an established brand but should still be considered as part of your overall reputation management campaign.
With that in mind, developing a unique brand voice for your local operation can be a valuable way to attract and retain your target audience. Your business depends on local customers, so it makes sense to tailor your brand to meet their preferences and expectations.
Diving Deeper into Review Management for Your Franchise Business
As a franchise reputation management tool, review management is one of the most critical.
Review management for franchise businesses includes four key areas:
A steady stream of positive online reviews helps to improve your franchise brand reputation. Review generation encourages customers to leave honest feedback through point-of-sale apps, automated feedback surveys, and email invitations. As an essential reputation management tool, the goal of soliciting more customer reviews is to improve brand awareness and reinforce the trust you’ve built with your customer base. Rave reviews supercharge your business profile, helping you to reach new levels of success with each new review.
Smart business owners know that responding to every new review — even negative reviews — can serve as a way to build brand loyalty and as a form of damage control. When you commit to responding to each positive review or negative review left by your guests, you’re telling them that you care about each customer experience. Review responses require a consistent voice and tone; your franchise online reputation management partners can assist you with setting the tone of your responses. Your reputation management team can also help you craft a review response strategy that provides transparency and honesty — two factors that resonate with your customer base.
Fake reviews or reviews that are misleading, defamatory, or untrue are a severe threat to your reputation. With review removal services, reputation management professionals help you identify each fake review that puts your reputation at risk. Then, they use proven strategies to get those reviews deleted from all the popular review sites like Google Reviews, Yelp, the Better Business Bureau, Sitejabber, and more.
Customer satisfaction is paramount to building a successful business. If your customer experience profile is struggling under the weight of negative reviews or poor customer satisfaction levels, would you even know this is taking place?
Review monitoring gives franchise business owners a better understanding of what customers say about their experiences. This allows you to watch your company’s reputation for potential problems before they can lead to a bad reputation. Rize Reviews is a useful tool for monitoring your review profile; there are dozens of similar tools for use in monitoring what is said about your business and where those mentions are taking place.
Whether you use reputation management software like Rize Reviews or Birdeye, a review widget on your company website, or hire professional help, review management can help you build a digital footprint you can be proud of.
Contact InternetReputation Today
InternetReputation is a leader in managing online reputations, including franchise reputation management and monitoring services that help your franchise business to thrive even in competitive marketplaces.
Our team of ORM experts and internet marketing agency professionals knows what it takes to build brand credibility, helping establish your franchise’s online reputation as a major player in your service area. From eliminating bad reviews to improving visibility in Google search results, Google Maps, and social media, we work hard to deliver the results you need for your franchise business to thrive.
To learn more about our franchise reputation management services for local businesses, contact our team today at 941-259-4554 for a free consultation with one of our representatives.