Franchise marketing is inherently different than marketing for a stand-alone business.
Franchise marketing often consists of broad national campaigns, but this is not enough in today’s digital marketing landscape, a local marketing strategy for each location is a must. A specific, targeted plan is required for each location due to differences in the market area, population, local competition, and the individual needs of each region or even neighborhood.
Expanding Local Franchise Marketing to Digitial
Franchises owners and operators must learn to adopt new marketing strategies. Traditionally, franchise owners could solely focus on platforms like print advertising, TV, radio, direct mail, and PR. While these are still important, today’s strategies must extend into local digital marketing tactics such as social media, SEO, PPC, video, and various online business listings.
When you start to think about marketing a franchise, do some research on your competitors and other major franchise companies. What marketing strategies are they employing? What are the aspects of their ads or presence that you like? Don’t like? Learn both from the experts in your industry, and from those that you feel certain you could do better.
Frame Your Local Strategy
Armed with this information, you can create your own franchise marketing strategy. A combination of both offline and online local marketing will help to ensure that all of your business’s target audiences are reached. Target these well-defined audiences via traditional ads, strongly branded content, and community engagement.
Online Directories and Google My Business
Most likely, you’ve used an online directory like Yelp or Google My Business to find a local business or service. Google My Business (GMB) is one of the easiest ways to conquer local searches for your products or services. A listing on GMB is free and by actively updating your profile with locally-focused posts, product offerings, and pictures of your business you can create a strong online presence on the Google search engine results page (SERP) or Maps.
Get started by setting up a Facebook Business page, Yelp page, and Google Business page. In your descriptions include your most important product or service keywords, and post frequently about local specials and events you are taking part in. Reply to all reviews you receive, good or bad. Customer engagement on these three platforms signals to search engines that you are a prominent business in your service area. The goal is to grow a base of loyal follows that will organically promote your business in their social circles.
Local Search Advertising
Another way to conquer your local search engine results page is by investing in locally targeted search advertising. Search ads on Google, Bing, and Yahoo allow you to show up at the top of the SERP for the most important keywords to your franchise business. Running a local campaign ensures that you are in front of your perfect customers at the very moment they are making their purchase decisions.
Make sure you target your advertising messaging to the specific area as much as possible. Customers always appreciate receiving customized messaging that appeals to the needs of their community. This could be done with an angle of local news or trends, weather and climate, or even referencing local sports teams.
Once you have your Facebook Business page set up, you can begin running Facebook advertising campaigns. Consumers trust Facebook as an authority on their local businesses. Advertising on Facebook can help raise awareness of your business in your community. Boosting posts on Facebook is another form of advertising that will show your brand messaging to Facebook users who don’t follow your business page.
Before starting a social media advertising campaign, do some research within your industry, marketing success on Facebook is very industry-dependent. Use the information you gather to determine how much of your marketing budget you should invest in a social media marketing campaign for your franchise business. For some businesses simply actively posting on Facebook with the occasional Boost may be enough, for others a combination of Facebook Ads and Boosts may be the secret sauce.
Though the internet is where a majority of marketing happens today, don’t discount “old fashioned” techniques. To reach your local audience, you should consider TV ads, newspapers, local magazines, and newsletters.
Investing in local public relations communicates to your customers that you are a trusted business in your area. When you operate a local business, participating in community events and organizations is a great way to get connected and reach the local audience. Consider sponsoring local charities or school sports teams to get your franchise’s logo out there while showing your support for the community. Not only will this create a great first impression for your brand, but it can also present a number of interesting marketing opportunities. If you aren’t sure where to start, joining the local business bureau or attending community meetings can help you meet other business owners in the area.
Taking into Account the National Strategy
Your local marketing strategy must take into account the national marketing strategy of the franchise. Corporate offices often do a combination of marketing for their franchise locations, but this varies from business to business. First, find out if your franchise’s corporate office is already investing in local marketing for your business. Then, fill in the gaps with your own local marketing strategy.
While franchise marketing, of course, has its challenges, if a proper strategy is organized and followed, you’ll be increasing your sales in no time. We’re experts in the local marketing space for Franchises. If you are a Franchisor who wants to know how to encourage your franchisees to actively invest in their local marketing strategy fill out a short contact form and we’ll let you know how we can help!