What is a Franchising Marketing Strategy?
If you’re a franchise business owner, you might be looking for ways to stand out more from the local competition.
Franchise businesses (where a company licenses the use of their brand, products and processes to a separate business that then operates under the name of the larger company) have been consistently growing in the U.S. since 2013.
And about 42 percent of franchise professionals no longer feel that traditional marketing methods (such as direct mail, public relations and more) are effective or worth the investment.
Digital marketing is an excellent way to reach more potential customers. The following are seven tips specifically for franchise businesses to help you stand out.
Ideally, there are three main goals for a franchise marketing strategy:
- Branding: Ensure a consistent brand throughout your digital presence.
- Communication: With customers, previous customers and prospective customers.
- Growth: Use digital marketing to grow by finding new customers.
How franchises market online
Similar to other marketing strategies, franchise marketing follows a similar approach. The first step involves defining your campaign objectives and understanding what you aim to achieve. What are your specific goals?
There are several key digital marketing strategies for franchisors:
Focus on local search engine optimization (SEO)
Because franchises operate in multiple locations, it’s important for more local searchers to discover your business.
Local SEO (search engine optimization) is when search engines rely on signals (such as local content, social profile pages, links and citations) to provide the most relevant local results to the user. It’s all about delivering the best and more relevant local search engine results.
Best practices include creating a Google My Business listing, using local keywords and optimizing for mobile.
Check out our 11 tips to boost your local SEO or download our SEO guide for more information.
Invest in your website
Your website serves as a tireless salesperson, available round the clock, helping both end customers and prospective franchisees explore your franchise, gain insights into your operations, and ultimately become paying customers.
Conduct website audits
If you do have some control over your website, it’s important to conduct regular audits. Ask yourself:
- What’s the first thing visitors see when they arrive on my website?
- What are the most common uses visitors for my website? What are they trying to accomplish?
- Is everything easy to find?
- How fast is my website loading?
- How does it all look on mobile devices?
Understand your visitor’s perspective
Always think from the user’s perspective. Collect feedback from existing customers. And make incremental changes according to any additional website traffic data you have access to.
Typically, visitors want to see information about your products and/or services (and pricing), your contact information and an understanding of who you are as a company in an “about us” section. Definitely don’t bury these items.
Your website is considered your most important business front in the digital age. Give it the thought and attention it deserves.
If you don’t have control over your website, it’s still important to conduct regular audits and submit that feedback to your franchisor. Things can’t be improved if no one speaks up. Think of yourself on the ground level. Your insights are incredibly valuable to any franchisor looking to serve its franchisees with up-to-date assets.
Content marketing can be time-intensive but also very effective. This tactic includes publishing blog articles, infographics, guides, videos and more.
Think about your expertise and how you can leverage that to address the more common pain points of your customers.
No matter the medium, the helpfulness of your content pieces will attract views as you optimize each for SEO and share on social media in an engaging way. This, in turn, will establish you and your franchise business as a thought expert in your industry.
Being seen as the expert is a big first step in building a trusting relationship with potential customers.
Consider using video too
Content marketing isn’t just about writing content, but it’s also using other mediums such as images and videos. We’ve put together 10 types of videos you can use in your franchise marketing strategy.
Consider pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
Ensuring your franchise gets in front of the right audience at the right moment, ahead of your competitors, is paramount, especially when it comes to potential franchisees. This is precisely where pay-per-click (PPC) advertising comes into play.
Leveraging search engine networks, such as Google AdWords and Bing, you can precisely target individuals at every stage of their franchise research journey. Additionally, by layering on a display network like Google’s display network, which has a massive reach of 90 percent of internet users, your PPC campaign can become a powerful lead generation tool.
However, it’s not just limited to search engine networks. Investing in social media advertising, such as on Facebook, can also yield significant results. With its precise targeting capabilities, Facebook is an ideal platform to showcase your ads to the right people at the right time, amplifying your franchise marketing efforts. Diversifying your PPC strategy beyond Google AdWords and incorporating social media advertising can help you effectively capture the attention of potential franchisees and gain a competitive edge.
Learn more about PPC advertising, as well as the difference between cost-per-click and cost-per-impression.
Level up your email marketing
Just as with social media, your franchisor may or may not already provide email templates or other assets with suggested promotions or even campaign strategies.
And also like with social media, you should feel empowered to use what makes sense for your franchise business (or not use what doesn’t).
As far as the value of email marketing, it stands far above most digital marketing methods. Check out these 48 statistics that show the value of email marketing.
Keep in mind that email marketing is still one of the best ways to reach your customers and leads to share information about your franchise business.
Start with a basic strategy
To truly level up your emailing, you’ll want to:
- Think strategically about your content and who you’re messaging
- Identify opportunities for email automation
- Personalize your content whenever you can
As you pull together email marketing campaigns, be sure to monitor your analytics to assess what’s working and what isn’t.
And know that DailyStory’s platform can help you streamline this entire process (including automation and personalization).
Use SMS marketing to complement email marketing
SMS text message marketing is a powerful tool in your digital marketing toolkit with many benefits, but it can feel a little intimidating for small businesses to dive into.
SMS, otherwise known as Short Message Service, is really just texting. And more than 560 billion texts are sent every month worldwide, and about 81 percent of Americans text regularly. In fact, Americans text twice as much as they call, on average.
Simply put, text message marketing is a type of digital marketing that communicates promotions, sales, coupons, confirmations, news and other updates to your potential and existing customers (who’ve opted in) through text messages on their mobile devices.
If you’re on the fence about incorporating text messaging into your digital marketing efforts, see these text message marketing benefits.
Engage on social media
It’s not uncommon for franchisors to provide some social media assets and suggested strategies to franchise businesses.
They might even have recommendations on which social media platforms to use.
While you absolutely can use provided assets and try suggested strategies, it’s important to remember that this franchise is your business. If something doesn’t make sense for your social audience, don’t use it.
In addition, you should feel empowered to go beyond what’s provided to you. For instance, you could do a weekly “ask me anything” Facebook Live with your audience as the owner or publish video interviews with key people in your community. You could even offer curated content posts to provide additional value to your followers.
Which social media platform is right for you?
First, decide which social media platform is best for you to focus on first. Then, sketch out a plan for the next month, preferably on a calendar where you can identify possible events and/or promotions you want to highlight specifically and even identify additional social media engagement opportunities (such as holidays).
Remember, eye-catching visuals as well as authenticity are critical to growing your social media engagement and reach.
If you’re looking for platform-specific advice, refer to our guides of challenges and opportunities for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Or, if you’re trying to reach a younger audience, check out our guide to help you decide whether Instagram, Snapchat or TikTok is best for your brand.
Manage your online reputation
This largely involves regular monitoring of your franchise business’s online reviews.
About 85 percent of consumers use the internet to research and read reviews before purchasing a product or service. Therefore, online reputation management is not optional. It’s absolutely imperative to the growth and success of your franchise.
What to look for
Google and Yelp reviews are the most popular, but keep an eye out for:
- Social media reviews
- Social media posts mentioning your franchise
- Available local forums
- National listing/review databases
Always respond – to both positive and negative feedback
Whether your reviews are positive or negative, you always should respond. You should offer solutions to any negative reviewers, even if you need to directly message with them or have them call you. The key is customer service.
Franchise businesses are all about consistency (which maintains the brand’s value), so while you want to maintain branding standards and other procedures (unique to every franchise agreement), don’t be afraid to experiment with your digital marketing where you can.
We recommend testing one tactic out first before diving into everything at one time and potentially overwhelming yourself.
In a lot of cases, your franchisor might be interested in experimenting with you to see how something goes, if it is successful in increasing customers, etc. So, be sure to communicate with your franchisor as much as it makes sense to do so.
Also, find out if you’re making any of these 11 digital marketing mistakes and how to evaluate your franchise marketing data that could be costing your franchise money.
Resources for franchise marketing
We’ve put together some helpful resources for franchise marketers.