Virtualizing Your Franchise Development in 2018

Virtualizing Your Franchise Development in 2018

December 17, 2018 By

If you’re not taking your franchise development online, you’re leaving money on the table.

Online Franchise Development Gets Big Results

According to the 2018 Annual Franchise Development Report, digital media is the number-one source of high-quality leads next to referrals.

Back in 2014, a peer-reviewed paper published in the journal Economic Themes set out to highlight the importance of using modern information and communication technology (ICT) in the development of franchise systems. They concluded that there was a “statistically significant strong positive correlation between the use of the web site for linking franchisors and their franchisees and the number of franchise units” (Stefanović&Stanković, 2014, p. 409).

In other words, franchisors who took their franchise development online had better results than those who didn’t.

But this probably doesn’t come as a big surprise.

After all, there is a tremendous body of research providing clear evidence of the advantages of “going digital” in the business-to-business (B2B) market–for instance, we know that virtualizing your franchise development lets you:

  • Build relationships with thousands of potential customers in real time via email and web marketing, lead portal outreach, and social media recruiting (O’Brien, 2008).
  • Enhance marketing capabilities with comprehensive research tools and highly targeted virtual marketing channels (O’Brien, 2008).
  • Improve communication with suppliers, franchisees, shareholders, and candidates through efficient “search and information exchange” (Zettelmeyer, 2000).
  • Increase “connectivity and interactivity” to strengthen the ties of your franchise family and up system adherence (Dutta and Biren, 2001).
  • Keep your brand relevant with a website–Franson and DeSmith (2005) write that “for modern customers, the fact that the company does not have a website, is as shocking as when the get to the cash register in the store and realize that they can only pay in cash.”

But this research is a decade old–if you’re not online already, you’re already behind the eight ball (and if that’s the case, we can help).

What’s changed? How should digital franchise development look in 2018?

7 Online Franchise Development Essentials in 2018

  • A high-quality website. Your website is the #1 tool in your online franchise development arsenal. This is where you’ll be driving traffic, so it better be good! Beyond an intuitive, efficient site architecture and pleasing design, your site needs quality information and multimedia content highlighting your franchise opportunity. In 2018, accessibility and mobile-responsiveness are part and parcel of a quality website.
  • Social media optimization (SMO). Social media makes networking easier than ever, and many of the professionals you want to target will already have a profile on the site. In fact, some interested parties are probably already searching for information about your franchise. You should be searchable on all social media sites, but especially LinkedIn, which has been a fount for franchise candidates.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO). If people can’t find your website or contact information, the marketing budget goes down the drain.
  • Pay per click marketing to get eyes on your opportunity fast while maintaining strict control of your budget and knowing where every penny goes.
  • Online reputation management (ORM) to keep your online reputation clear of slanderous reviews by competitors and be sure to attract like-minded individuals.
  • Mobile marketing to get your highly targeted ads in front of the biggest audience.
  • Franchise development software to make email campaigns, lead management, lead tracking, and onboarding easier than ever, and totally manageable from your mobile device.

Learn More About Online Franchise Development

Visit our website to book a free consultation or call our team now at 866-311-7189.


Dutta, S. and B. Biren.(2001).Business Transformation on the Internet: Results from the 2000 Study. European Management Journal, 19(5): 449-62.

Franson, B., and D. DeSmith (2005). Does the Internet Solve Franchisees’ Problems? Franchising World. Retrieved from 40616.

O’Brien, K. (2008). “Grow your franchise with online marketing tools.” Franchising World. Retrieved from

Stefanović, S., &Stanković, M. (2014). The Role of ICT and the Internet in the Development of Franchise Systems. Economic Themes, 52(4), 409-435.

Zettelmeyer, F. (2000). Expanding to the Internet: Pricing and communications strategies when firms compete on multiple channels. Journal of Marketing Research, 37 (3): 292-309.