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Running a successful franchise in multiple locations and optimizing each one for maximum engagement and recognition in their local markets is definitely one of the most difficult tasks for a business leaders. Yes, you should trust your franchisees to do a stellar job and manage their branches in an efficient and effective way, but only if you have done your part of the job beforehand.
So, what is your job? As a franchisor, your job is to create a strong overarching marketing strategy that will help every branch maximize its marketing potential while ensuring brand consistency every step of the way. To that end, here are the most effective ways you can create a winning franchise marketing strategy.
Franchise Marketing Strategies to Bring in Clients During the Slow Season
There are many benefits to starting a franchise as opposed to your own independent business. Some of those benefits include the proven business model, name recognition, and training and support that you will get from the franchiser. Another big benefit is that the franchiser will likely handle most of the marketing efforts on your behalf, though they usually require their franchisees to pay a fee for those marketing campaigns.
Since a good, well-funded marketing campaign is a benefit you should enjoy when choosing a franchise over an independent small business, you should consider what kind of marketing plan the franchiser has if you are thinking about buying a franchise, in addition to all of the other important costs and benefits specific to the individual franchise, like training, profits, and management. If you are strongly considering a specific franchise, and they either do not have a marketing plan or you don't like or agree with their marketing plan, you may want to look elsewhere - lack of good marketing could be a deal breaker, since it can be vital to your success as a franchisee.
When you are examining the franchiser's marketing plan, pay attention to what it offers and how much it will cost you in fees to the franchiser. A good marketing plan should cover things like print advertisements, TV advertisements, and direct mail to current and possible customers. Look for marketing in areas that you think will reach your target customers, and as many of them as possible, not just a few people. Make sure that you feel comfortable that the marketing plan the franchiser offers will be effective in helping you draw in customers, because it can strongly affect your chances of success as a franchisee, and, if you are paying fees to support this marketing plan, you want to make sure that it is better than you could do if you were paying for and managing your own marketing outreach.
Finally, you should find out if the franchiser is proactive and open to new ideas from franchisees in terms of marketing efforts. If you are completely happy with the plan the franchiser has set forth for marketing, this may not seem necessary, but a good franchiser should always be open to new ideas for future marketing, when things may change and there may be better ways to reach customers in the future, rather than recycling stale marketing plans 10 years from now.
The marketing plan of a franchiser is not always the most obvious place to look for problems when you are picking a franchise. However, you should place as much importance on examining a franchisor's marketing plan, and attitude towards marketing in general, as on things like profits and costs. Good or bad marketing can make or break you as a franchisee, and a franchiser who is responsive to your needs and suggestions with regards to marketing will be much more pleasant to work with and will be more likely to create more success for both of you.
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Franchise Marketing through Digital Marketing
When making your decision as to which franchise will work best for you, it is vital that you explore the trends impacting the investments you are considering. Shifts in consumerism both nationally and regionally can have a heavy impact on the market in general and on your franchisor specifically. No matter how solid you feel your plan for you business may be, if your intended product is falling out of public favor you have little chance of success. If you don't have a clear concept of what trends will impact your business, then you may want to begin your research there.
Once you have developed an overall perspective of the market aspects that most impact your franchise, take a look at the big picture. Investigate how your business, and those similar, have fared in the recent political and economic climate (and in the past). Review back issues of national business journals for articles related to both your specific franchisor and your potential competitors to develop a clear perspective of how the market has fluctuated and why. Dig deep. Consult statistics from census data and the Bureau of Labor Statistics and try to determine which demographic groups have most impacted the market for your product.
Brining it Home
Now that you have at least a general concept of what factors have made the greatest difference in your market, it is time to examine what factors are impacting the local market in your area. It is necessary to determine how those factors that have played a role nationally are represented in the area you intend to do business. If at all possible enlist the aid of a private research firm. This will ensure that the data you base your decision on is factual and up to date. Your franchisor may also be able to assist you in your search, as can your network of franchising peers.
Compare the Competition
Once you have a firm concept of the market and how it will most likely impact your new business, it is time to see if your franchisor has what it takes to overcome the competition in your area. Even if you are the only franchise representing your brand in the area, chances are good that you've got competing brands offering similar products or services in your intended sphere of influence. Compare your franchising organizations growth with that of these competitors and try to gauge whether or not your franchisor's growth plans are sufficient to give you an edge against competitors who already have established presences in your area.
Taking the time to research the viability of your intended franchise in the area you wish to do business is a critical step in the development of your business. Overestimating the marketability of your product of the growth potential of your franchise in your specific location could have disastrous consequences. An ill-informed decision could prevent you from seeing the returns you anticipate on your investment and severely cripple your business goals. It pays to take the time to make a smart and fact-based decision that will allow you to make the wisest financial decision in selecting a winning franchise.
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