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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 Plan
If you want to make a business successful you should advertise for it as much as possible locally but keep it simple. The same is true for a franchise business. When you just open your franchise, how are people supposed to know you are there unless you let them know. Or if you have already been opened for some time, how will keep existing customers and attract the new customers? The key to this is advertising for your franchise locally. Yes, your franchisor may offer a great marketing plan, but you want to add to it to increase sales. Or, your franchise may not offer a marketing plan at all. Either way there are several ways you can advertise for you franchise to generate business and stay successful from the beginning!
One great way to advertise is how you present yourself. You should present yourself so that you stand out and people remember you, in a good way of course. Also represent your franchise business. If you own a surf ware franchise, you would not really be able to promote it in a suit. If you support what you sell or provide you will attract others to check it out. If someone complements you on something, how great would it be to say "Thanks, I actually sell this at...., you should come check it out". This is such a simple way to advertise your franchise.
Also, get business cards with your name and location and be personable. I remember being on a plane ride home alone. A nice man, dressed professionally was sitting next to me. He started a conversation with me about our destination and other small talk. After we had talked about why we going there for some time (I was going home and he was on business) he handed me his business card and said he was opening a new restaurant in my area and to come by and check it out. He also gave me a coupon for a free appetizer. Well, I did go to his restaurant and I told many people about it since I enjoyed the experience. This brings out two other ways you can advertise locally for your business. Offering something for free or discounted and word of mouth!
People love free stuff! So, if you can think of something to offer or a great deal you can attract people to come in. Even if it is something small like a free drink on certain days. Sometimes you have to give a little to get a lot! You still have to let people know it is there. So like the guy above did be personable and promote yourself!
The other key thing is word of mouth advertising. This can be a great way to get new customers into your franchise and it is FREE! If someone has a good experience they will share it with others and then they will want to check things out also. However, keep in mind this can be turned around quickly, so make sure you are only giving people good things to talk about.
Understanding Franchise Marketing
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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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Businesses are realizing that they require a marketing agency that takes a holistic approach to their online web presence and digital marketing strategy.
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