Are you aware that half of all small businesses go under after five years? If you’re hoping to avoid becoming part of this grim statistic, you’ll need to ensure that you’re using the best approaches to marketing. And if you’re running a franchise, you’ll need a strategy that helps you expand your operations while considering the uniqueness of each store.
Read on to learn what franchise marketing is and why it’s so important!
Know What Franchise Marketing Is
Franchise marketing is an activity or set of activities that can help your business grow and thrive. This could entail running promotional activities that attract new business and, ultimately, improve revenues. When you’re considering how to approach franchise marketing, there are two key types to know about.
Franchise Development Marketing
Suppose that you are in the early stages of developing a franchise. You might have several restaurants, for instance, but you’re hoping to gain more. In this scenario, you’ll want to focus on franchise development marketing.
In other words, you’ll gear your marketing efforts toward attracting new franchisees. Your efforts will target individuals interested in developing a business. But these individuals also may want some structure and a proven plan.
With 27 million Americans pursuing new business opportunities, you have a ripe audience. Not all of those individuals may want to strike out into the business wilderness alone. If you can point to a successful business model in your franchise, you’ll have an easier time attracting interest.
Operational Franchise Marketing
With operational franchise marketing, you’re not focused on expanding the number of franchisees. Instead, individual franchisees are focused on developing marketing strategies within their community. This is geared toward growing a customer base locally.
The goal is to cultivate and keep new customers. Doing this will help the franchisee sustain and increase business. And, of course, it helps the franchise operator, or parent company, too.
The parent company may serve in an advisory role with operational franchise marketing. They also may set a budget for marketing and closely monitor results. But ultimately, the individual franchisees are the primary ones responsible for executing the plan.
Why Is Franchise Marketing Critical?
To run a successful business, you can’t rely only on traditional marketing methods. You’ll need to use multiple channels to make a dent. And you’ll need to track your efforts so you can see what’s working — and what’s not.
Disorganized franchise marketing systems only lead to wasted money and energy. Focusing on the main goals of franchise marketing can help keep your efforts aligned.
Build Your Brand with Innovate Marketing Efforts
Effective franchise digital marketing enables you to build brand visibility. Relying only on word-of-mouth marketing can be a risky proposition. But using an omnichannel marketing approach gives your logo, products, and brand a stronger presence.
You’ll need a website as a home base that is informative and easy to navigate. Choose a layout with crisp graphics and small segments of text. You’ll also want a unique and memorable logo that you apply to any traditional or digital marketing materials.
Building your brand can attract potential new franchisees, as well. Advertising on LinkedIn, for example, enables you to reach professionals. Those who click on your ads will be people actively looking for business opportunities.
You’ll be able to link to the professional profiles of your franchise’s upper management team members on LinkedIn. And you can count on potential franchisee owners investigating your brand. Having professional profiles will help your brand make a positive first impression.
Connect with Your Customers
Before you can build strong connections with customers, you need to know who they are. That means determining your target audience and tailoring your marketing efforts to them.
For instance, maybe you’re hoping to reach families with younger children. In that scenario, you’ll want to use eye-catching graphics and a friendly, casual tone.
Trim your audience so you’re not creating broad and generalized promotional materials. Research those who comment on social media or blog posts. You’ll be able to look for common traits and tighten your demographic focus.
Use social media platforms to build communication channels that go both ways. Ask questions in your posts and respond promptly to customer concerns or questions. Customers will like feeling heard, and they just might feel more loyalty toward your brand if you’re willing to listen.
Make sure your digital content is user-friendly, too. With 84% of households owning smartphones, you’ll want your content optimized for these screens. In other words, your content and outreach efforts should be easy to view.
Generate New Revenue
Finally, when you invest time and money into franchise marketing, you could see a big payoff in return. After all, you have to spend money to make money. And it will take time to craft targeted ads and a polished online presence.
Boosted brand visibility and happy customers should lead to an uptick in revenue and a strong return on investment (ROI). But keep tabs on your ROI so you can adjust your game plan as needed.
It’s tempting to stretch yourself too thin and create a presence on every online platform. This can become untenable quickly. Consider which platforms your target audience uses and focus your efforts there.
You’ll need to set a budget for franchise marketing. Be sure to set aside some of it for market research so you can keep your ROI positive.
Understand How to Approach Franchise Digital Marketing
As you pull together a marketing strategy for a franchise, you’ll want several items on your to-do list. And as a franchise operator, you’ll need a skilled team to execute these steps.
Develop an SEO Strategy
Search engine optimization (SEO) should be a central part of your franchise digital marketing strategy. SEO determines how well your business shows up in search engine results.
Perhaps you operate a restaurant franchise in Atlanta, for instance. Then you’ll want your business to pop up right away when someone is looking for a restaurant in Atlanta on Google.
You’ll need to be strategic by choosing relevant keywords. What keywords would potential customers use to find your business online? Once you’ve researched these words, you can embed them within website copy, blog posts, and social media posts.
Avoid stuffing your copy with these words, however. That can work against you in search engine results. But carefully inserting them into text can improve your organic results.
Create the Best Digital Content
To keep customers interested, you’ll need engaging content across multiple platforms. A good franchise marketing agency can work with you to develop crisp and innovative solutions.
For instance, professional photography can elevate your franchise’s social media presence. But you’ll also want to create polished videos and reels that you can post on social media platforms.
Use website blog posts to share your expertise. Think of these posts as a way to share behind-the-scenes info and distinguish yourself from the competition. You’ll also give readers a reason to come back and read what you have to say.
On top of that, you’ll need to be consistent with your posts. Post on your social media pages each day, and respond to all customer questions. Update your website with the latest products and create ads that will catch someone’s attention.
Further, plan on being consistent with your tone, color choices, and text. This creates brand consistency that will make your business easier to recognize.
Make sure you have an updated manual detailing franchise expectations, too, so that every franchisee knows what to do. And provide templates to make this process easier.
Personalize Your Business Profile
Having a better Google business profile is essential, too. A robust profile can help your business show up well in search results and maps. Since you want potential customers to find you, this is a critical step in enhancing your visibility.
Plan on posting high-quality images of your products and franchise spaces. This will help potential customers make informed decisions about what you offer. With polished imagery, you’ll make a good impression that could attract new customers.
You also can invest in Google Ad campaigns that appeal to local search engine users. This can expand your reach!
Generate Positive Reviews
Positive reviews on prominent search engines, like Google, can elevate your profile, as well. You can count on potential customers or clients looking for reviews before choosing a business. That’s why you want your franchise to perform well.
Make sure you have a verified Google business profile. Then provide links in chats or social media posts to encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews. Any time a review poses a question or concern, take the time to respond to it publicly.
Even if you get a negative review, it actually can work in your favor. Those reading the reviews may feel more trusting toward a brand that’s not perfect. They’ll also be more likely to see the reviews as authentic.
Know the Challenges
Marketing a franchise comes with its share of challenges. The bigger your franchise is, the more opportunities there are for inconsistent messaging. Because of this, it’s wise to be aware of the risks as you move forward so you can avoid significant pitfalls.
When marketing franchises, it’s easy for lapses in communication to cause problems. You may have several franchisees spread throughout a large area. In those cases, it’s especially important to prioritize transparent and frequent communication.
Collaborating across different geographic spaces isn’t easy. It helps to have a dedicated group of marketing experts overseeing strategies to keep things organized.
You’ll also avoid issues with particular franchisees going rogue. Without proper guidance from the central offices, a franchisee may depart from brand guidelines.
Consider using a customer relationship management (CRM) system to help with consistency. You’ll be able to track marketing performance at each franchise location. You’ll also be able to open up better channels of communication with a CRM.
Geographic and Logistical Issues
For franchisees covering a lot of geographic territories, you’ll need to manage logistical information carefully. In other words, you don’t want to run an ad targeting a particular locale in the wrong place.
Consider a scenario where you’re a restaurant only offering a particular barbecue sandwich in your southern locations. In that case, you don’t want to promote it in your New England locations.
You’ll create demand in locations where you don’t have these sandwiches ready to serve. And you’ll end up with disappointed customers.
The fallout from these mistakes can be big. When customers feel like your business is unreliable, they won’t go back. Instead, focus on developing Facebook and Instagram ads that are targeted to specific locations.
Inconsistencies and Unique Local Considerations
If you run a franchise with a national footprint, you’ll need to consider the unique types of customers in each location. Even with a regional footprint, these considerations will apply.
You don’t want to assume that a one-size-all approach will work. This mentality may result in certain franchise locations feeling left out. Especially if you have locations in both rural and urban settings, it’s important to study how your products perform in each area.
You may need to adjust your approach to messaging in a given region. And if you’re spending more on advertising but not recouping and exceeding that amount in revenue, you’ll want to make some changes.
Invest in Franchise Marketing
Franchise marketing can help you boost your brand’s profile and strengthen your revenue. You’ll need to take a multi-pronged approach to promotion and track your ROI carefully. Keeping your efforts targeted and the lines of communication clear can help your franchise flourish.
Ready to step up your marketing game? Contact us for help!