Jumpstart your Franchise Business with Our Proven to Convert Franchise Marketing Services in Welcome
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
You have a successful business. That is step one. The business has enough time in operation to clearly understand the business model, the nuances of running and operating the business and the company has somewhat of a leadership position in the marketplace they work in. Now how do you expand beyond the first successful location? Franchising and Licensing your business model of course, but how? There are clear steps that need to be taken in order to make this transition from one successful operation to a system that replicates this success through other owner operators who buy your franchise.
It is called a Franchise Marketing System. The key is that you develop a system that creates brand awareness, interest and an overall "buzz" for what you are doing in business and around the offering for others to get into business with you doing the same thing for themselves. Some businesses and industries can create this naturally by way of being new, unique or having wonderful branding while others take a bit more "pushing". The key is that the business is successful that you are replicating and that you are selling a truly successful business model, the Franchise Marketing System is just about packaging that concept in a way that can be marketed and sold.
Building a Package. The first step in designing this system is to clearly identify what the franchise offering will be and what the overall "package" will deliver to the buyer. This should be very clear and succinct. Always remember that franchise buyers do not come to you for vague answers and ballpark figures, they want a defined and clearly outlined model so that they don't have to worry if they are "doing it right". Build the business plan for them so that they have a road map when they sign the franchise agreement, put together great operations manuals and make sure that you have a wonderful training program for them to fully understand the business and be independent.
Buzz. As a franchise organization, the best franchise marketing systems create the most "Buzz". It is no secret that most of the great franchisors in history were great "Showmen". Create the message in people's heads that you have it figured out... you have a wonderful life and a really great deal with the business that you are offering in a franchise... anyone could have this just like you do if they too joined this franchise company. Of course you have to back this up, but that is the message that fuels the phone calls and emails from interested buyers. Put together a great web presence, in today's market your website IS your store front, if you aren't looking the part online people won't take you seriously. Do PR work, try to get in print - it brings a certain level of credibility that online marketing cannot match. Once you have this market electricity, you need to funnel that interest into your lead generation system.
Lead Machine. It is critical to keep in mind that as a new franchise organization, you are running a new business. When you first opened the doors to your business, did you advertise? Did you run an ad in the paper? Did you work hard to create a marketplace for what you were doing? Of course you did, the same process needs to be in place for your new franchise model. Without advertising and lead generation it is very difficult to sell and volume of franchise locations. There are countless options to generate good leads. Pay Per Click Marketing, franchise lead generation sites, print, trade shows, PR work, SEO marketing and many more, the key is to build a great plan that incorporates enough avenues to consistently generate a solid lead flow so that you have qualified franchise candidates to talk to each and every day.
Have a great Pitch. Once you have people on the phone, it is important to have a great presentation. Why should they consider buying into your franchise? What makes you so special that someone should pay you $35,000 up front and a percentage of sales forever? The answer should flow very naturally. "We are... we provide training... support... This means to YOU that... and YOU will receive... and YOU will benefit from... " This includes having the collateral materials, PowerPoint presentations, fliers, printed materials and other items that go hand in hand with your selling anything... look and act the part and always remember that perception is reality to most people.
Social Media Can Be a Powerful Tool for Local Franchise Marketing
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
How to Franchise - Marketing
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