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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.
Understanding Franchise Marketing
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.
Franchise Marketing - Step it Up a Notch!
Franchise Marketing Strategies to Bring in Clients During the Slow Season
1. Create a Partnership with Other Non-Competition Businesses
Of the best things you can do during the slow season is find other stores or businesses who are in their fast season. As stated before, different industries and businesses have different slow times of year. If you can find someone with a fast season in your slow and a slow season in your fast, you may have just found your perfect business partner relationship. Talk to the other business owner, pull together a franchise marketing plan for two, and watch your business pick up.
2. Participate in Local Events
There are usually local events year round in most towns. This may come in the form of holiday-specific events like Halloween, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas events or they may come in seasonal, annual events like a cause-specific 5k or baseball league. Find what your city offers and try to participate somehow either as a sponsor or a human/company participant. This is a great way to put franchise marketing smack dab in the middle of your community as a contributing, visible, human member instead of just a brand name.
3. Offer Military Discounts and Run Contests
Everybody looks for businesses who are offering specials. Not only does offering military discounts bring in more customers, but it also looks good on your business as you support your country and your troops. You can design contests with free giveaways around specific events or times of year that are happening. Make sure your franchise marketing for these events is well stated that way people know something is going on.
4. Get More Involved in Social Media
Perhaps you have a social media account or maybe your business has never put stock into social media marketing before. If your business is slow, consider looking into alternative types of franchise marketing that you haven't taken advantage of yet. With the popularity of social media, there are few better ways to get your name out there than through social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. With the help of social media websites, you will be able to advertise your business on top of managing customer relations with real-time conversation. If you are not sure if you have the time or knowledge of social media marketing, don't worry, there are tons of companies out there that can help you with that too.
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