The Power Of The Internet
In a short time, the Internet has become an everyday communications and research tool for both business and personal use. Simon Royal investigates the benefits of promoting your franchise opportunity online.
The World Wide Web is no longer only accessible to the computer-literate, or to those living in largely populated areas. It has become available to all and a part of everyday life as a means of communicating with friends and family, shopping, receiving news and sports updates etc. It has also become a necessary advertising spend for businesses wanting to increase brand profile and compete in the worldwide arena. Maintaining a strong web presence, through a professionally created webpage and by improving search engine rankings, is now of paramount importance.
Far from replacing traditional forms of advertising, such as adverts in newspapers and magazines, the Internet is a complementary source of lead generation. While a printed publication requires the physical act of selection and payment, the Internet generates a greater volume of 'spontaneous' leads, but not necessarily 'quality' leads. Online advertising is more flexible than print allowing for regular updating - a phone number or contact detail can be changed within minutes or an entirely new layout can be administered.
With the increased availability of broadband, franchisors can create more elaborate and eye-catching web pages with supporting downloads. Brochures, forms, podcasts and even video presentations can be downloaded within minutes, something that would previously have had to be posted taking days and costing more. Electronic broadcasts can be used like online newspapers keeping interested parties informed of the latest developments or to direct them to specific websites.
The Internet enables prospective franchisees to compare franchisors and their franchise offerings without leaving the comfort of their home, while the franchisor benefits from lower advertising costs and higher distribution. But how do potential franchisees find your franchise from among the hundreds of other opportunities being advertised on the web?
Franchise consultancy and publishing group, Franchise Development Services (FDS), began publishing The Franchise Magazine in 1981. The United Kingdom Franchise Directory followed in 1985 and a number of other franchise publications have since been produced. As the Internet has become an even greater information-gathering source, FDS has grasped the opportunity to reach an ever-growing audience.
The Franchise Magazine, The United Kingdom Franchise Directory, and other FDS publications, now have online counterparts - the latest to go live is The Irish Franchise Magazine. 'The Irish franchising marketing is growing rapidly,' explains Rachel Spaul, Editor of The Irish Franchise Magazine. 'The Irish Franchise Magazine represents quality emerging and established franchise brands from around the world that are actively expanding their franchise networks within Ireland. Its readers are self-motivated and driven to become owners of successful franchised businesses as National or Regional Masters, Area Developers, and Multi-Unit Franchisees. The new website has increased the magazine's profile and is helping introduce franchising in Ireland to an even wider audience.'
Potential franchisees are driven to these sites through regular advertising in FDS publications, online advertising, and by including search engine-friendly buzzwords. 'Our websites and printed publications work together to drive traffic on the web to our printed publications and vice versa,' explains Adam Browning, Website Editor for The Franchise Magazine. 'There is a significant advantage to having a successful printed counterpart, with a strong history in the franchise sector. The Franchise Magazine website has grown by leaps and bounds over the past six months. Lead generation is an important part of our business and our new websites are increasing the number of leads on a monthly basis.'
The United Kingdom Franchise Directory online has been redesigned and relaunched for the 21st Edition. A number of packages are available on a quarterly basis at competitive rates. Prospects are able to register their interest online and the new automatic lead processing system redirects these from the website directly to the franchisor, ensuring no time is lost in capturing each potential franchisee. Simon Royal, Editor of The United Kingdom Franchise Directory, assures: 'The purpose of the new web-publication is not to replace the printed directory, but to support it and to capture additional leads for our advertisers.'
As a franchisor looking to expand your advertising to include the Internet, visit www.franchise-group.com and follow the links to our online publications.