Satellite sites put franchise marketing into orbit

Author -  Vaughan Reed

CMS specialist Contegro has good news for franchised brands wanting to put a rocket under their internet marketing efforts. Satellite sites offer the best of both worlds: a strong brand message plus regional relevance.

The new generation of website content management system (CMS) tools are redefining how franchisors protect branded content while enabling independent online marketing activities, says CMS specialist Vaughan Reed.

“Many franchisors find themselves between a rock and a hard place when asked to support regional differences in product and service offerings or support different franchise functions via their central website. Experienced and motivated franchisees are looking to promote their businesses to a regional market through targeted promotional activities yet are restrained by the limitations imposed by franchisors that are unable to adequately control individual website content and brand integrity.”

To overcome these issues Satellite Sites or Microsites have evolved as an extension of website content management. 

Traditionally website content management has been primarily concerned with enabling non technical administrators to make live updates to their websites through a text editor. The evolution of CMS has shifted from mere content management to the provision of feature rich website solutions. Part of this evolution is satellite sites which enables us to run multiple websites through a central portal. In the context of the franchise industry this provides a master franchisor with overriding control over their franchisees website content, delivering the perfect balance between independent content for the franchisee and control over brand representation for the franchisor.

Using the latest web standards we are able to predetermine the look and feel of web content across multiple sites from one central portal. This means that even though a promotional offer or product range may differ between regions, the graphic template for the promotion remains consistent throughout all of the sites.

Reed believes that the overriding benefit of utilising a CMS with this functionality is the ability for a franchisee to create targeted regional campaigns while enabling a franchisee to communicate a regional specific offering directly to their target audience.

“This is an effective way for franchisees to increase their visibility within their operating region and communicate the latest product and service offerings that directly relate to that target audience. Satellite sites can become a key driver to increase customer retention through creating sustainable communication channels as the content is directly relevant to the reader. They are also very effective for capturing new clientele as the search engines are able to pick up what region the client is in and supply results relevant to that geographical area. Current marketing trends are moving towards a targeted approach to communicating with customers and successful organisations are realising that consumers are becoming weary of mass media marketing. Deploying such a tool enables franchisees to leverage that trend to communicate with their most effective target audience.”

Another opportunity for the franchise industry to capitalise on these latest developments in CMS is the use of satellite sites to create individual websites for the different service segments that exist within a franchise.

“Satellite Sites could be utilised very effectively to provide visibility to the different service offerings of the franchise while enabling the master franchisor to retain control over content and brand integrity.” says Reed.

As an illustration Reed describes a franchise that offers a number of different services such as lawn mowing or commercial cleaning. 

“These two independent services are run by individual franchisees that are motivated and want to drive the growth of their business. This technology enables them to drive business expansion through their own websites while reassuring their franchisor that content quality and brand integrity is maintained at the desired level.” 

Satellite Sites represent an exciting opportunity to communicate directly with a target audience for the franchise industry and could provide many franchisees with the independence that they have been looking for.

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