Business Services Digital Franchises Marketing Performance Report 2017
In the United States we are home to over 100,000 franchises focused on business services. As a franchisor do you wonder where you compare to other franchisors or where you compare with other top performing brands?
Franchises are often times behind the curve on dealing with the ever changing media of the internet, mobile technologies and social media such as Facebook or Twitter.
SeoSamba has compiled the 2017 Business Services Franchises Digital Marketing Report. This report will help you analyze the latest trends, strategies and the challenges specific to the U.S. domestic business service market. In this report we help share the valuable techniques used by the top franchising leaders and how you can apply those methods to your franchise!
How good are business service franchises at online marketing in 2017?
To be specific, how do franchisors cope with the many basic requirements of a sound online franchise marketing strategy, both at the global (franchise-wide) and local (franchisee) levels?
If you read the various authoritative studies on the subject, you’ve mostly heard a certain level of self-satisfaction from both franchisors and franchisees regarding their own marketing undertakings, yet they judge each other much more severely when asked if satisfied with their counterpart’s contribution to the overall efforts.
This is known as the “franchisor/franchisee gap”, a widespread ailment in the franchising world that highlights the abysmal chasm between what franchisors offer and what franchisees expect in terms of online marketing, an idiosyncratic syndrome we ourselves call the elephant in the franchise digital marketing room.
Hence our choice, rather than surveying franchise marketing chiefs and local franchise owners, we studied the online presence of the business services franchises and of their local franchisees in those areas that matter most: content, SEO, localization, social media, analytics, and mobile.
2017 Franchise Marketing Report Key Findings
- Over half of Top 250 Business Services Franchises fail to post content during a one month period
- Nearly half of franchisees can’t blog or update their own news on their local website
- Almost one third of local franchisees get no online presence on the franchisor’s website
- Only a fraction of franchises provide a full website to franchisees
- Two thirds of franchisee’s websites are parked under less than optimal subfolders
- Only one fourth of franchises provide franchisees’ websites on standalone domains
- Over one third of franchises don’t post any content on Facebook during a one month period
- Nearly half of franchises are virtually nonexistent on Twitter
- More than half of franchises do not communicate regularly on LinkedIn
- Almost 80 percent of franchises pass the Google’s mobile-friendly test
- Forty-two percent of franchises do not integrate franchisee localization on their website
- Google Analytics is still dominant but less so for Top 250 Business Services Franchises
- Only 3 of 250 surveyed franchises use both Facebook and Twitter on-site analytics
- Nearly half of Top 250 Business Services Franchises fail the PageSpeed Desktop Test
Many Business Services Franchises create little or no content
Over two thirds (69.5%) of business services franchises have some news or blog platform in place on their website, this percentage is actually down from last year. Among those who do have a blog only 42.1% do regular updates.
Simply put, between franchises that don’t have a blog or news in place 30.5% and those that don’t update them at least once a month 27.4%, over half of business services franchises create little or no content.
Most franchisees can’t blog or update their website with local news
Over 48% of business services franchises do not provide any type of blogging or news platform, this is a large jump from 2016 in which 72% of Business Services had no blog or news platform.
However, this bars almost half of the franchisees from any regular content update and forcing them to come up with their own blog or news setup. Often times franchisees don’t have the time or ability to do this on their own local level.
Less than 10% of Business Services Franchises let franchisees mix local and global content
Only 9.2% of business services franchises provide a “Mixed” setup with a blog and news platform integrating corporate updates and global content from the franchisor supplemented by timely local messages and advertisements relevant to the local franchisees.
Online presence on franchisor’s website not a given for franchisees
67% of the business services franchises provide some kind of online presence for their franchisees on their corporate website, helping them get more exposure and an immediate, visible incentive for their marketing fees.
Unfortunately, 33% of franchisees are still not featured on the franchise’s global website. This situation has not improved over last year (25.7%). As franchisees demand more firepower in terms of online marketing, this disregard from the franchisor hurts their ability to attract franchisees.
Franchise size still matters, but the gap is narrowing!
As in past years, bigger, more structured franchise networks still have a strong tendency to offer more online exposure to their franchisees.
The more units in the franchise, the higher the chances are for franchisees to be featured on the franchisor’s main website. Yet almost half of the smallest franchise networks (48.8%) do not put their franchisees in the spotlight, almost the same proportion as in 2016 (46.7%).
Only a fraction of Business Services Franchises provide a full website to franchisees
Just 36% of franchisors only provide a “single page” type of presence, many of whom barely qualify as real value, albeit often limited, with outdated or incorrect information. These numbers remain unchanged from 2016.
On the other hand, 38% of business services franchises have put a real online marketing strategy in place by providing a full-fledged presence and a well-developed website.
As you'll see in the full version of our report, in that area franchise size is not a predominant factor, hence not much of an excuse for overlooking franchisees' online presence on the main franchisor website.
Facebook is worth the time for a majority of Business Services Franchises
Facebook is by far the number one social network of choice for franchisors. 85.3% of business services franchises have a business page on Facebook. However, 35% of all business services franchises are virtually absent from Facebook.
In fact, 23.8% of business services franchises who seemingly think that updating their Facebook status and communicating on social networks with end customers, franchisees and prospects at least once a month is not worth their time.
As our Top business services franchises Digital Marketing Performance Report 2017 shows, this proportion is dramatically worse for other major social networks such as Twitter or LinkedIn.
Mobile is serious! Who passes the Google mobile-friendly test?
79.2% of the business services franchises are mobile-friendly according to the Google Mobile-Friendly Website Test. This number is up slightly from 2016 (73.7%). Franchises have taken strong steps to cater to their roaming visitors, but the proportion of non-compliant websites (14.7%) is still somewhat alarming given the prominence of the sample studied. (6.1% are not indexable by Google mobile test.)
Those who don’t optimize for mobile are hit by increasingly severe penalties from search engines, sending the wrong message to customers and franchisees, which can plainly see that local marketing is not part of the franchisor’s digital strategy mix.
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To uncover more data, stats and findings as well as our analysis of how these facts impact the overall online strategies of leading franchisors, please click the button to download for FREE the full PDF version of our SeoSamba Free Services Franchise Digital Marketing Report 2017.
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About the author
Omnivorous mammal & SEO Samba CEO, I'm a regular speaker at search engine marketing conferences around the world, including Search Engine Strategies London & New York, and a contributor to a number of publications, including Website Magazine, and Feedfront Magazine. I enjoy strategy, coaching, and motivating both customers & staff.