Jumpstart your Franchise Business with Our Proven to Convert Franchise Marketing Services in Oak Ridge
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
The perpetual question on every franchisor's mind today is how do I keep generating good quality leads for franchise sales in this economy? When the going gets tough, the franchisor needs to get creative. The great thing about franchise marketing is that it is very targeted and specific. When was the last time you saw a Super Bowl Ad marketing for new franchisees? It's just not that likely. The reason is simple, the consumer advertising we see every day is expensive because of the reach and coverage. It is worthwhile for a company to advertise for car insurance when almost anyone who sees the TV commercial could be a potential client. That is not the case when advertising for a franchisee, the franchisee is a clearly defined candidate. The demographics have hopefully been defined ahead of time, the areas of interest are predetermined, the capital requirements and all other attributes are clearly defined. Thus, the advertising is much more focused and generally speaking less expensive.
The different avenues that franchisors use for franchise marketing run the gambit. The Internet of course is the most widely used medium, about 74% of all franchise leads today come from the web. Print Media can be effective based on the readership and specificity of a publication. Direct Mailings can work in some instances as well as Email Marketing Campaigns. Tradeshows are the most showy and grand of the marketing mediums for franchise lead generation and can also be a wonderful way to market a franchise. When it comes down to it there are a lot of avenues...but how does a franchisor know where to spend their ad budget? How do they determine where they will get the most "bang for their buck"? There are several keys that my firm has lived by when it comes to franchise marketing, if these key issues are clearly and completely defined and addressed, the franchise marketing process can be a lot of fun and generate great leads. If these key points are ignored or only briefly addressed, the franchise marketing process can drive a franchisor mad!
1. Define your Buyer. Have you ever heard the phrase, "Ready, Fire, Aim!" It sounds funny, that's because it doesn't make sense! The first goal of the franchise marketing effort should be to clearly define the buyer. I don't mean "salesperson with a desire to succeed".....I mean, "Female, ages 28-37, Midwest and Southeastern US, Household income between $75k-100k, work experience with kitchen products, married, preferably with children." We want specifics, down to every last detail. Once we completely figure out who this franchisee is, then we can more effectively plan our marketing.
2. Establish franchise sales goals. Clearly identify the marketing approach. Start first with how many franchises you plan on selling into the system within the next 6 months and year. Don't plan much further than that, because beyond that point you will most likely have to redo this plan based on then current circumstances. Once we have the goals set, we then can back out of that equation. Typically we are looking at around 1000 qualified leads for every 50-100 meetings with prospective franchisees. From those meetings the closing percentage is typically around 5%. So if we determine that we would like 5 franchises to open during the first 12 months of rolling out the franchise, we need to plan on generating 1000 leads during those first 12 months. The beauty of franchise marketing is that it is very measurable and much easier to track then consumer marketing...we can actually tell how effective it is!
3. Determine the advertising mediums. Different buyers can be reached via different advertising avenues. In some franchises all of the marketing can be done over the Internet, in others the marketing has to be done through direct mailers to specified candidates....like doctors in the case of a rapid care facility. Outline the pros and cons of each medium and establish the most effective based on the cost. This is where the importance of the defined franchise buyer comes through.
4. Establish the Budget. The average cost per lead on the Internet is around $30, the average cost from a tradeshow can be as much as $200 when factoring in travel, time, booth set up and other costs. So take into account some kind of an average cost based on the advertising venues you have determined will be most effective at reaching the target audience. For those thousand leads you may need $10,000 in advertising dollars for that first year to hit the 5 franchises sold.
5. Create the Collateral materials. A Franchise is a big investment for most franchisees, in fact for many of the buyers it is literally everything they have. The franchise offering should look extremely professional and really has to be buttoned up. This means that the brochure should be top quality, there should be a sales video to present to the buyer what the business entails and helps create excitement in the franchise. Pamphlets and handouts should be put together. All of this built around creating value in the business offering, not the product or service that the business offers. The overall theme should be "Mr. or Mrs. Franchisee, you can make a great living doing this, and have fun while you're at it." Franchise buyers fall in love with franchise concepts because they envision themselves running a business doing what the franchisor does. The collateral materials should be the vehicle that sparks that interest in the franchisee's mind.
6. Put together a comprehensive application form. There should be two forms in the end...one that the franchisee fills out initially to give the franchisor initial information from which the franchisor can make a decision if they want to follow up with the prospect any further. This should be basic information that the franchisor should know up front as soon as possible in the sales process, like how much capital do you have to invest! The second form will go into much more detail and would be sent with the brochure and information packet. This form should go into work history and personal background, so that the franchisor can really get to know who this prospect is and what they are all about.
7. Execution. Franchise marketing is like all advertising and marketing, it isn't a science, although it is much closer to one than consumer marketing, it still varies a great deal in its effectiveness and results. Some times, just when things are getting to the point where a franchisor is thinking they should throw in the towel and call it quits is when they really should do some MORE advertising! It takes consistency. The franchise buyers can be fickle, lots of time it has nothing to do with the franchise offering or the marketing, but rather with the franchisees life and circumstances. They do come back and look again, we want to be there when that prospect makes the buying decision.
8. Excellent Follow Up. Great franchisors have wonderful salesmanship in the sales process. Leads should be followed up with immediately upon contact. Phone calls are important and there should be high frequency between calls until a contact is made. The franchise sales process isn't rocket science, it just takes hard work and good planning.
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Franchise Marketing Systems Implementation
ou know there are "right" customers and "wrong" customers and while you may not (yet) know how to tell them apart before they become your customer, you know that the "wrong" customers deliver the least value and create the majority of problems in your business.
Who is a customer?
Customers (or clients), by the way, are not just the people who buy your products and services. They also include your employees, and if you're a franchisor, they include your franchisees.
Be careful of expert advice!
So I read a passage on a blog that provided "some helpful hints on how you can spot a great franchise marketing system" and the first hint was this:
Customers are brought in the doors. This is what every business boils down to in the end, whether or not the marketing system brings in the customers. After all, that is where you make your profits.
Taking the express train to bankruptcy
And I thought to myself: Or that is where you lose your profits, your money and ultimately your business!
It's not enough to drive customers through the doors of a franchise, or any business. You've got to drive the "right" customers through the doors! Most businesses, and most marketing systems, do not fulfill that objective. And that's one reason why franchises struggle and fail.
So don't be fooled into thinking that a good franchise is one where "the marketing system" drives customers to the door!
Happy franchisees make the most money
To wit: Some years ago the new CEO of a major retail franchisor asked me to help his franchisees attract more customers and ultimately generate higher revenues so that (a) the franchisees would earn (and keep) more money, and (b) the franchisees would pay higher royalties. Since the beginning of franchising, franchisors have known that franchisees who make and keep the most money are the happiest franchisees!
So I spent several weeks working with a few franchisees to find out more about their customers. Here's what we discovered:
- It cost the "average" franchisee $100 to get a new customer to come through the door (that included marketing costs and the required fee for the franchise advertising fund).
- The "average" customer spent about $10.
- No one knew if the customer would return - ever.
- If the customer did return - no one could predict when or how often.
- The "average" franchisee did little to nothing to bring the customer back again repeatedly (and you may be surprised to find out why).
Busy, busy, busy going out of business!
So while it appeared "the marketing system" was doing its job, e.g. the franchisees were busy serving customers throughout the day, in reality "the marketing system" was slowly running the franchisees out of business (and perhaps into an early grave)!
That and the fact that the franchisees were so busy, busy, busy taking care of all the customers "the marketing system" provided that they had no time to do the things that would have insured getting the maximum benefit out of their customers, i.e. increasing sales, increasing frequency, building rapport with key customers, gathering referrals, etc.
Who caused that fire?
As one franchisee told me, "From the time I open the door in the morning until I close it at the end of a long day, I don't have time to do anything but put out fires."
Upon examination, most of the "fires" were caused by customers and employees. Occasionally, even though they didn't know it, the franchisee caused some of the fires!
Blame it on the franchisor, of course
You can be sure the franchisor got blamed for the majority of the challenges the franchisees faced. Frankly, I would take the side of the franchisees on that issue (though it does no good to blame anyone, but rather to accept responsibility). The franchisor could have done a better job sooner! In other words, the CEO that hired me had only recently arrived at the company. To his credit, he quickly assessed "the marketing system" and knew that it was broken. However, this company had been operating for many years prior to hiring this CEO. Where were the marketing folks all those years? Where was the company's leadership?
Why doesn't this system work?
So what was wrong with "the marketing system" at this company?
Simply, it was producing the "wrong" customers for the franchisees!
Even among customers there are stars
Through our continued research we further discovered that not all customers were created equal! Some spent more money than others and never, ever complained or started a "fire"! Of course, those were "the right" customers.
Problem was, "the marketing system" produced too few "right" customers.
Revealing more about "right" customers
Without giving away too much information (and revealing the company), here's more of what we discovered about the "right" retail customers for this franchise business. They:
- spent about twice as much as the average customer
- returned 3 to 4 times a week
- owned a business, which existed within 3.5 miles of the franchise location
- were males (64%) and females (36%)
- had partners in their business (46%); most often, a spouse
- were between the ages of 32 and 62
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