Franchise Marketing Basics
Mandatory centralized marketing programs are probably one of the greatest strengths of franchises. Pooling the funds of all franchisees in one system gives them much greater marketing power communally. This critical fund can be used to do things that no individual franchisee could afford. The fund can also be used to hire professionals to produce advertising materials of far greater superiority than could be created by an individual owner. It is essential for anyone considering investing in a franchise to know before becoming a franchisee that the franchisor’s marketing system is good. The essential qualities of a good franchise marketing program include these actions.
The first priority in any marketing system is knowing that the results will be more people using the Franchise’s products or services.
Second, allow franchisees to offer their opinions. They work in the market in which they operate and they know what works and what doesn’t. The final decision can be made by the franchisor, but franchisees will appreciate being allowed to participate. Create a franchise advisory group made up of representatives from all of your franchisees. They should meet with the franchisor’s marketing group and provide input on future projects and campaigns.
Marketing funds should be directed primarily to cover the costs of controlling the marketing effort (internal expenses, agency fees, etc.). They then cover the costs of producing advertising resources (print, direct mail, radio and television ads, etc.). Finally, they pay for media buys to place these ads for the benefit of the contributing franchises. A frequent criticism from franchisees is that too much is spent in one of these areas and not enough in another. Clearly there must be a practical balance between these needs.
Don’t spend more on brand advertising than on efforts to attract more customers. Building the brand is very important, but so is attracting customers. A powerful brand is only as good as the customers it brings. The marketing system must be carefully documented. A franchisor will most likely not provide all of their proprietary internal marketing documentation, but may request to at least list the marketing support manuals they provide to franchisees. This will give you a good idea of the scope of the strategies they provide to empower franchisees to market successfully. It will also validate that they have improved their systems to the point of having them recorded in manuals and other support and training tools.
The indisputable way to determine how well your marketing program is working is to start by asking existing franchisees. You will find that they will be very accommodating on this subject, as few things are closer to their hearts than marketing. Be precise and ask them how well the marketing works in terms of attracting customers to your business. Also ask them if they think they are getting consistent good value from their contributions to any required marketing funds. If you find a franchise system where most of the existing franchisees are unhappy with the way their marketing dollars are being managed, you can assume that others will be unhappy as well. If most franchisees are happy with the way the marketing fund is handled, you’ll often find that franchisees are happy with most other factors in their business as well.
Franchise Marketing Ideas for Explosive Growth
To expand your franchise you must use marketing techniques that will help you reach your target audience. Franchise marketing involves two areas. Customers come first and of course the franchisees. Both can benefit from the same marketing ideas and techniques, but the results differ significantly. Unfortunately, many franchise companies overlook this small fact and focus their marketing methods too much on one cause over another.
Search Engine Marketing (PPC and SEO)
Search engine marketing means driving increased traffic to your business on search engines through paid search billboards or other advertisements, as well as natural searches obtained through SEO practices. Distinguishing between how this helps your franchise grow and how consumers will react is an important difference:
Consumer: PPC and SEO techniques will help drive eligible traffic to your franchisee’s local page. Eventually, this helps you generate more leads or sales because hopefully your franchise location or information pages will be shown to a direct and relevant audience who are more likely to become a long-term customer. It saves consumers time because they are instantly taken to the page that means the most to them because of your ads and SEO efforts.
Franchise Development – Each type of marketing will help drive traffic to your website, which in turn will help create more leads. This essentially benefits franchise development in the same way as it does with consumers. Your ads and organic search submissions are optimized for this audience and provide prospects attracted to starting a franchise.
Encourage testimonials online.
Testimonials are a strong method of showing your success and satisfaction to franchisees and customers. Because you manage the reviews you display on your site, however, they can make a world of difference:
• Consumer – Testimonials provide feedback submitted by satisfied customers and are important to include on your site.
• Franchise Development – Testimonials are important to franchise development because they allow prospective franchisees to see how current franchisees’ businesses operate, as well as their experiences with the corporate office.
The goal is to invite franchisees in places where you don’t already have a franchise. Social media can help make this a possibility by showcasing the opportunities your business offers alongside your target market. Those who are seeing your crusade on social media are your target market; Consequently, your products and services, as well as those to which they relate, are all in one place. Once you see who is the most active on social media, you can start generating more personalized content and emails to ultimately start a conversation.
Build media familiarity.
This is a facet of franchise marketing that has become more imperative in recent years. Building familiarity with your brand in the media is a great way to find that stability for both of your goals:
• Consumer: Local newspapers and television stations want to know what is happening in the neighborhoods they cover. Connecting with publishers, publishers, and producers with press releases for anything newsworthy in your business will always be of interest to media professionals. Offer to write a free column that benefits the viewers of a news outlet. Many local media sources will show interest in your business. Always make sure that you offer relevant information and that you have something that you can offer to these media outlets.
• Franchise Development – Build relationships with the media and provide them with internal research you’ve done on the industry you operate in and how the franchise system works in general. The information you provide must be valuable and interesting to the general public.
An infographic is an eye-pleasing representation of complex data. Gather your data and statistics and create an infographic to convey your business messages. They can be used in print, on blogs or on social media platforms.
Preparing your message
Create a budget to make your infographic. When creating an infographic, using various free programs and templates is not a bad idea. Collecting data and creating tables and graphs can be time consuming. However, the payment could be substantial.
Choose your message.
The infographic should provide details about your business without being too complicated. Stay away from messages that focus on sales. Buying our product is not a good communication to present. Declaring how a product enhances quality of life or helps improve business is a better option. Nonprofits, universities, and individuals can benefit from infographics, in addition to businesses. Infographics can present a story to potential customers more easily than talking.
Gather data that supports your message.
Choose between collecting your own data or finding reliable data from other sources. The following are good places to find statistics if you are unable to collect them yourself:
• StatPlanet provides world statistics.
• Look for government websites like the US Bureau of Labor Statistics or the EPA for reliable statistics.
• Specialized journals and scientific studies provide data based on studies.
• Be sure to list your source(s) for your statistics at the bottom of each graph section. Use the most reliable sources you can find.
• Use industry reports from Ibisworld.com.
Enter your data into an Excel spreadsheet. The data you collect can be entered into an Excel spreadsheet where you can create charts of different types to use in your infographics.
Choosing Infographic Tools
A graphic designer. If you want a fully custom infographic, you should consider hiring someone who can produce it. Fees vary by designer, so make sure your budget fits accordingly. If you want to use your final infographic to improve web traffic or social media content, you should hire a graphic designer. An experienced graphic designer will be extremely beneficial. Use a big title. Don’t try to save space by making the font smaller. Use a large font that is easy to read so that it grabs the reader’s attention.
Use your logo.
If you want your website to be found, make sure your logo, website, and social media URL stand out on your infographic. If you have a general message that you want to go viral, you can skip this step.
If you prefer, you can use photos instead of illustrations. Use between one and six photos. Be sure to leave enough space to separate images and add text.