Pull up Google. Start typing your franchise brand’s name in the search box. You’ll quickly notice that Google gives you suggested keywords you can use to complete your search. Those suggested terms say a lot about your brand.
What Do You See?
With luck, the suggested terms are fairly innocuous—for instance, “near me” or “startup costs.” However, a brand with an online reputation that’s suffering from either consumer or franchisee complaints may see different results.
When prospective franchisees are researching your brand’s investment and experience, they’ll unquestionably turn to Google or a similar search engine to find out as much as they can before they further pursue the opportunity. In fact, 42 percent of franchise sales can be attributed to the Internet, whether that’s through portals, search engines, PR coverage or your company’s website.
What Are Your Options?
If the suggested search terms for your brand include words like “complaints” or “lawsuits,” you have a major issue on your hands. This is a terrible first impression to make when you’re trying to influence prospective franchisees and get them engaged with your brand. They don’t even have to click “enter” to know that there’s a clear risk associated with the franchise opportunity.
When you’re a brand that has been in business for several decades, it’s likely you’ve hit some speedbumps along the way. You may have faced litigation or had some not-so-stellar franchisees enter your system. Your brand may have an otherwise exceptional reputation, but Google doesn’t care. Search engines listen to the content that gets the most clicks and what terms show up in the search bar most frequently.
And therein lies a big part of the answer. You need to get a lot of people to search for positive terms to change the makeup of the suggested results. We worked with one of our clients that faced this precise issue and the results were impressive. Take a look at the full case study below to see how we helped our client turn their suggested search terms from 75 percent negative to 75 percent positive with online reputation management strategy…