Written By: Luca Piacentini, 11/24/2020
Awarded #4 in 1851’s Franchise Development Website Awards
A panel of 9 franchise industry experts judged more than 200 franchise development websites and ranked 360clean’s site as number 4.
This month, 1851 Franchise’s Franchise Development Website Awards have returned to announce the most effective and engaging development sites in franchising. A panel of nine expert judges evaluated each franchise development site according to three criteria: first impressions, quality of content and ease of use. Sites were scored on a five-point scale in accordance with these three criteria, with the overall website rankings based on a composite average of the judges’ scores.
Ranked at number four is 360clean’s franchise sales website, which received an overall average score of 4.00. When it comes to first impressions, the janitorial concept’s franchise development website secured an average score of 4.00, as well as an average score of 3.00 for content and 5.00 for ease of use.
The first impressions metrics for each franchise development site are determined in consideration of five subfactors: usability, UI/UX design, site performance, SEO and mobile accessibility. 360clean’s high score indicates a sleek design, easy accessibility, as well as user-friendliness from a design and technical standpoint.
“It is clear that franchise development websites are really starting to tell stories and featuring great UI/UX design and visual imagery,” said Brent Dowling, CEO of Raintree* and one of this year’s judges. “These first impressions are so important in the franchise industry, where entrepreneurs are investing from an emotional standpoint. The franchise sales sites need to create an easy user experience, and it is clear that brands are getting better at this.”
The content metrics are determined by the presence and strength of three subfactors: motivating content, calls to action and reasons to buy now. Franchise sites that excelled according to this criterion told compelling stories that are specifically designed to drive action.
“The 360clean franchise site had a lot of great information that dove deep into the opportunity,” said Stan Friedman, CFE and President of FRM Solutions. “There was also a lot of diversity in terms of franchisee testimonials, which is great.”
The 360clean site features high-quality graphics, introductory videos as well as video testimonials from franchisees. The site also features a section specifically dedicated to franchisee satisfaction, featuring awards and new brand initiatives.
“Now more than ever, diversity is essential in order to show prospects a story that connects with them personally” said Michelle Rowan, COO of Franchise Business Review* and one of this year’s judges. “One of the main ways to do that is through creative content, longer video testimonials and authentic storytelling.”
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the question of “why now” has also become increasingly significant and should be addressed clearly.
“While the website is great for a pre-COVID-19 world, there is nothing on the site that discusses how the brand has adapted to the pandemic,” said Friedman. “On the consumer site, for example, there are images of people wearing masks. If the franchise site featured a bit more of this COVID-related information then it would be good to go.”
Because inquiry forms are the vehicle by which franchise brands receive relevant information from prospective franchisees, their presence and quality are critical. The ease-of-use metrics score was determined in relation to location, depth and ease of application.
The development website should provide a simple, navigable form so that prospects can quickly tell franchisors that they are interested. It should also provide high-level details of costs so that under-qualified candidates don’t waste the franchisor’s time and qualified candidates know the specifics of what they are getting into. The form to request more information should be easily accessible on every page and easy to view.
On the 360clean franchise page, the form to request more information is available in three different locations, ensuring that prospective candidates are able to find it no matter where they are scrolling. In addition, there is an entire section dedicated to franchise qualifications.
The three metrics of first impressions, content and ease of use offer a streamlined way to analyze the effectiveness of a franchise development website. As the rankings show, when these three factors come together, the website can become the starting point of the franchise development process and serve as the primary entry point into the brand.
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