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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.
How to Franchise - Marketing
Franchise Marketing is an interesting process. I have been in the service of marketing franchises for the past decade and learned over time what to do and what NOT to do through successes and failures....probably more of the latter, but that's what they call experience, right?
The process is unique in that you are working diligently to sell a business model and idea to someone who might be considering starting their own business, but at the same time you are looking for talent and the right characters to join you as a partner in business. If you oversell - you are destined to attract the wrong candidates, if you don't sell enough, no one will be knocking on your door. It is a fine line between being aggressive and consistent with your pushing on new franchise sales while also being reserved enough to look at each candidate from a logical perspective and analyze whether it is someone you would truly enjoy doing business with.
Maybe you have heard the term "takeaway sale"? This is a term that describes a sales process that is counter intuitive to most sales processes in that you are not pushing the prospect to buy your service or good, you are almost telling them that they cannot have it. I have found that by employing this sales tactic in franchise sales, it accomplishes two things. One, that the franchise organization selling the franchise will become less pushing on "Selling Franchises" and avoid situations where a franchise was sold to the wrong candidate. Two, that the franchise buyer tends to want what you wont give to them when you are not pushing the sale on them. It's funny, people want what they can't have....franchises included.
The ultimate key to franchising successfully is to create an image of success, business structure and continuity throughout your business model. The franchisee should feel that you have everything "figured out" in how you operate so that they won't have to.
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Understanding Franchise 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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