Franchise marketing is inherently different than marketing for a stand-alone business. When marketing a franchise, it requires a branded online marketing strategy for each location, underneath the broad corporate umbrella. A specific plan is required for each location due to differences in market area, population, local competition, and the individual needs of each region or even neighborhood.
In the digital age, franchises 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 to 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 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.
Armed with this information, you can create your own franchise marketing strategy. A combination of both offline and online platforms will help to ensure that all available audiences are reached. At the end of the day, you need to be targeting local audiences via traditional ads, the internet, and community engagement.
Most likely, you’ve used an online directory like Yelp or Google My Business to find a local business or service. Is your franchise listed on those sites as well? Creating a strong online presence is key to an effective franchise marketing strategy. This includes posting ads on search engines and social media, as well as creating business pages on the most common platforms.
Start by setting up a Facebook page, Yelp page, and Google Business page. By optimizing those sites, responding to customers, and updating them frequently, you can start to build a community. Different other social media pages or online directories will be appropriate for specific industries, so do some research to figure out where your franchise should be.
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. Make sure you target your advertising to the specific area as much as possible. Customers always appreciate receiving customized messaging that appeal 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.
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 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.
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.