Franchise marketing refers to the marketing strategies and tactics franchisors and franchisees use to attract new clients or customers to increase awareness and drive revenue to their franchise organization. Franchise marketing has evolved to almost 100% to digital marketing.
In order to effectively market a franchise, a balance must be kept between the franchisor and franchisees. The franchisor must create a strong, recognizable and profitable brand with an easy-to-replicate business model. Meanwhile, the franchisee must strictly adhere to the marketing standards set by the franchisor, in order to maintain brand consistency and profitability, across the board.
Chances are, you’re either trying to create your marketing strategy or you’ve run into some trouble with your franchising marketing plans-specifically your online presence. You want to portray a certain image at the corporate level, but you also have franchisees with their own individual local goals and unique outreach methods.
Consistency is key, but as a marketer, we know that context is king. From time to time, franchisees need the freedom to operate within their local market to connect with their local community.
So, how can franchisors and franchisees combine efforts to create a cohesive marketing strategy that works for the brand and its entirety?
What is a Franchise Business?
Let’s just start with the basics, here. The definition of a franchise business, loosely, is an authorization given to an individual or group of individuals in a particular location for a specific amount of time, usually in exchange for royalties, profit shares, etc.
Even if you weren’t too familiar with franchising strategies before this post, you’ve certainly encountered them-some great and some not so great. You’re here to learn how to position your business into the “great” category.
What is a Franchising Strategy?
Franchising is a specific business strategy used to capture market share, for getting customers and maintaining relationships with those customers. This type of system creates recognition for the company, as a whole, for both current and future customers.
You can think of franchising as a strategic alliance, a web of relationships that allow those involved to share and benefit from brand identification, successful business operations, and a proven distribution system. Franchise companies are already “well-known”, giving yet another allure of a built-in reputation, without the marketing hurdles that new brands face. So, how does one successfully market a franchise?
How Do You Advertise a Franchise?
Franchise advertising can be broken down into a few key categories: advertising, sales, promotions, public relations, and online marketing. The most successful franchisors break these apart and allocate resources to each appropriately, track their results, fine-tune, rinse and repeat. In this post, we’ll incorporate these elements, assigning tasks to both sides (the franchisee and the franchisor).
With respect to the franchise advertising strategy and general marketing techniques, it all starts with the franchisor. As the creator of the company, the franchisor is responsible for ensuring the brand’s overall success. This includes creating a comprehensive marketing plan for the entire franchise.
As the franchise grows, the franchisor should also formulate strategies to allow for more growth, to maintain the marketing plan, long-term.
Franchise Digital Marketing
Franchise marketing falls in line with every other marketing strategy: Step one is knowing what you want to accomplish with your campaign. What are your goals? For franchise marketing, we can categorize the goals into three main objectives:
- Build a strong brand.
- Find a customer base.
- Maintain and grow that customer base.
When it comes to franchise marketing, as the owner, you have one of two options: manage national marketing yourself or provide an outline for your franchisees to follow when preparing a local marketing plan.
Regardless of your choice, the goal is always brand consistency. You want to give your franchisees the best opportunity to represent your brand in a positive manner. In order to achieve this goal, you must provide your franchisees with the proper tools while giving them the flexibility to localize marketing efforts. A few of these tools should include:
- Branded backgrounds and templates
- Stock assets
Co-Op Franchise Marketing Campaigns
Franchise marketing is laced with difficulty. Marketing 101 tells you that the brand is and always will be the number one priority. However, the needs of your local franchisees are also critical. You’ll want to establish common ground for your co-op marketing strategy-one that meets the needs of your local establishments while maintaining brand consistency.
But, how do you build a brand when your company is essentially a patchwork of business owners flying the same flag? By creating better brand guidelines.
As the franchisee, it’s your responsibility to inquire about any details you aren’t sure of: font, spacing, kerning, logo usage, color codes, etc. You want to make sure that your promotions consistently portray the pre-established identity of your company.
Franchisor Brand Guidelines
As the franchisor, if you’re going to make a cohesive marketing effort, the branding guidelines must be fine-tuned, crystal clear and easy to communicate. Good brand guidelines should include:
- Brand Overview -Key points such as the brand’s history, mission, vision, and values provide franchisees with a better sense of brand identity. Companies develop a brand in order to create an emotional connection with their targeted customers. If a franchisee can accurately understand and create the brand personality at their location, they’ll be able to attract and retain customers.
- Mission Statement -A franchise’s mission statement gives franchisees, employees, and consumers a reason why the brand exists. It reminds franchisees and employees of what the brand’s objective is. A good mission statement can serve to inspire the whole franchise system, from the corporate level down to individual franchise employees.
- Quality Control -Franchisor brand guidelines must address the quality of their products or services. Customers expect quality continuity.
- Operations -Developing a successful plan of operations may be costly upfront, but in the end, solidifies the success of your company, in its entirety. A well-oiled operations system reduces the number of resources used and increases profits without sacrificing quality. Adhering to strict operations systems ensures individual businesses maintain optimal profit levels.
- Appearance -Brand Continuity. Customers look for the same logo, the same colors, the same fonts, and the same general imagery. If franchisees don’t have access to these things, their unit isn’t likely to be successful.
Digital Marketing for Franchises
Sales is a numbers game. At this point in time, there’s really no point in disputing it. The more you spend on franchise marketing, the better your chances of selling. Dollars generate leads. Leads turn into conversions, and conversions turn into sales.
It’s a little more complicated than that, though, isn’t it?
This is one of the many reasons why you need an experienced agency to help you run your franchise marketing campaigns. You’ll want to compare cost per leads with conversions and close rates, anticipated cost per lead with value of leads, etc. I mean, it’s a full time job. Which is why companies like us provide digital marketing services.
While there are several outlets of marketing, there’s no arguing that digital marketing is the future of advertising. We encourage franchisors to invest in the following:
- local SEO
- PPC advertising
- responsive web design
- email marketing
- social media/online reputation management
These ideas sound great, right? But, someone has to pay for them, unfortunately. This brings me to my next point.
Franchise Marketing Funds
When should you activate your franchise marketing fund? Whether you have a pre-established requirement in your agreement or aren’t spending any money, centrally, you’ll need a solid game plan.
Why Do You Need a Franchise Marketing Fund?
The basic principle of a franchise marketing fund, or collective spending, follows the same thought process or cooperative purchasing. This method ensures brand consistency and purchases efficiency. It’s the building block of franchise marketing that allows franchisees to work alongside the franchisor to implement cohesive marketing plans that benefit both parties.
How Do You Structure the Franchise Marketing Fund?
Most national marketing funds are set as separate fiduciary entities, keeping the balance separate from corporate profit and loss. This provides the franchisor an opportunity to grant as much or little as he or she wishes.
The franchisor may or may not contribute to the co-op, but typically has the final say over the structure and policies regarding brand marketing and allocation of resources. They may specify a minimum amount to be spent on local marketing. The local marketing is then spent at the discretion of the franchisee for that location. However, I use the word “discretion” loosely, here, as the franchisor will oftentimes provide guidelines and require proof of marketing placement.
Franchise Marketing Agency
If you need help marketing your franchise business, feel free to send us a live chat, or click the button below.