You probably hear the term franchise marketing thrown around quite a lot but, what does it mean and how do you do it successfully?
What is franchise marketing
Franchise marketing is any activity that a franchise does in order to grow, these activities can include pay-per-click advertising, email marketing, SEO, trade shows, content marketing, commercials and more.
Franchise marketing can then be divided into two sections:
Operational franchise marketing is marketing activity that both you as a franchisor and your franchisees do in order to acquire and retain customers.
Franchise development marketing is any marketing activity that you as a franchisor does in order to sell more franchise locations.
Now that we have an understanding of what exactly franchise marketing is, the next important question is, how do exactly do you do it?
How to do franchise marketing
Marketing let alone franchise marketing is difficult due to the ever growing and innovating competition. A what separates a successful franchise marketing campaign and unsuccessful one really boils down to understanding the personas that you’re targeting and using the correct channels to reach each on in a profitable manner.
Types of franchise marketing
Below are some channels that you should be exploring when creating your franchise marketing plan:
Your website is a 24/7 salesperson that helps both end customers and potential franchisees discover your franchise, learn more about what you do and become a paying customer.
When it comes to franchise development marketing your website move would be franchisees through the AIDA funnel. This means having:
- Educational content on what it means to own one of your franchises
- Trust builders on why someone should become a franchisee
- Various points of conversion to gather an email address
- A site that is well designed and easy to browse on any type of device (desktop, tablet, mobile)
It’s important to go where your customers, or in this case franchisees, and social media is where many spend their time. As of 2017, Facebook has over 2 billion monthly active users and while smaller but, still important LinkedIn has 10 million monthly active users. Being active and interacting with your audiences on a personal and in a non-sales focused way will help build your reach and ultimately your franchisee pipeline.
With just over 3.5 billion searches per day, Google is relied on by many to find the right answers to their questions. This is where search engine optimization comes into your franchise development marketing strategy. Optimizing and ranking for the correct keyword can be the difference between a steady flow of leads and no visitors.
Getting in front of the right person at the right time in front of your competitors is important, especially when the stakes are as big as they are with potential franchisees and that is exactly what PPC advertising allows you to do.
Using search engine networks such as Google AdWords and Bing, you are able to target people at every stage of their research process when looking for a franchise to invest in. Layered on top of a display network such as Google’s display network, which reaches 90% of internet users, can turn your PPC campaign into a lead generation machine.
Don’t just rely on Google’s AdWords network to drive results but, invest in social media advertising as well. Facebook is a perfect example of a social network that allows you to use laser focused targeting to show your ads to the right people at the right time.
Yes, direct mail still works and it can be used to grow your franchise. Like any marketing channel, it should be meticulously planned and closely tracked. That means instead of using a shotgun pray and spray strategy, use a laser focused approach targeting potential franchisees that fit your criteria and using tools such as call tracking technology to keep track of response rates.
Attending trade shows, whether they are specifically franchise focused trade shows or industry specific events, they are are a great way to get in front of and interact with people who may end up being future franchisees. When attending be sure not to sure pass out business cards and sales material but, collect email addresses and contact information as well. That way you can not only does this allow you to continue to nurture hits person into a franchisee but, also helps you keep track of the effectiveness of each trade show that you attend.
By partnering with associations such as the International Franchise Association and the Canadian Franchise Association helps you on multiple fronts. It allows you to gain credibility when compared to other franchises that aren’t apart of it and provide you with helpful educational and professional development resources such as webinars, seminars and conferences.
Working with franchise brokers such as the ones in the Franchise Broker Association is a great way to quickly expand your reach when it comes to acquiring new franchisees. The advantage of working with brokers is that they help you with your vetting process to make sure that you’re only speaking with potential franchisees that are qualified.
Depending on the opportunity, sponsorship can help with both operational marketing and franchise development marketing. On the franchise development marketing side, think about targeting business and entrepreneurial focused sponsorship opportunities in local areas that you want to expand into.
What’s great about sponsorships is that not only does it help with franchise marketing it also helps build brand equity along with your franchise’s SEO should the sponsorship include a link.
Franchise portals also help you grow your franchise, they are websites have a directory of various franchise opportunities based on various qualities such as investment size, location, and sector. In exchange for franchise opportunities, you pay these portals a fee.
Marketing automation is one of the most powerful marketing tactics that you should be using in your franchise marketing strategy. With careful planning and the right execution, it allows you to nurture each potential franchisee by providing them with timely and personalized touch points at scale.
It isn’t as sexy as something like marketing automation or PPC advertising but, it gets the job done. Direct sales whether it is hitting the pavement hard and doing cold calls or further nurturing personal relationships from a trade show is a powerful weapon. in the franchise development marketing arsenal.
Ready, Set, Grow!
Whether it is operational marketing or franchise development marketing, it’s tough trying to grow your franchise. But, by being ROI centric and focusing on the channels that drive the most profitable results and continuously testing and improving you’ll find success.