There is no one franchise marketing strategy that works for all businesses, but there are some tried and true marketing methods that we’ve seen work well for our franchise clients. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the most successful marketing strategies we’ve leveraged for franchise brands that you definitely don’t want to ignore if you’re looking to onboard more franchisees to your growing business.
Which Strategies Should You Focus On?
Your franchise marketing strategy should focus on creating brand awareness and driving franchise sales, but should also have some level of focus on supporting the success of each individual location.
We all know that marketing in just about any industry is quite often highly saturated, so sometimes mixing traditional digital marketing with other nontraditional methods can make for the best possible recipe. Some areas we’ll touch on include:
- Brand synergy
- Digital advertising
- Media relations
- Influencer relationships
Scaling Through Solid Brand Synergy
As your franchise grows, it’s important to maintain a cohesive brand identity while still allowing each location to have some degree of individuality.
For example, if you’re a restaurant franchise, you’ll want to make sure that each location has the same basic menu items, ambiance, and overall dining experience. However, you may also want to allow each franchisee some flexibility to create their own unique specials or atmosphere.
The key is to find a balance between maintaining brand standards and giving each franchisee the freedom to be creative within those standards. Remember, as you continue to grow, it’s key to show an organized and strong brand personality that can withstand the tests of time.
Sloppy brand visuals and messaging means many potential franchisees may not pay your franchise brand a second look because it gives off the appearance of disorganization and insincerity.
Things you should have locked down for your franchise brand include:
- Brand messaging (who are you and what do you do)
- Brand logo
- Brand color scheme, fonts, and visuals
- Brand character (What is your brand’s personality and values? What does your brand stand for?
Digital Ads for Franchises
Leveraging digital ads on social media is one of the best ways to reach potential franchisees, especially if you’re looking to pull in qualified leads quickly while waiting for your brand and website to build SEO juice.
With Facebook advertising, for example, you’re able to target audiences based on location, education, family situations, and interests. Having this level of targeting ability is what can help you pinpoint the exact type of person most likely to purchase a franchise from your brand.
Additionally, social media marketing is extremely affordable for franchise brands, especially compared to some of the other lead gathering methods that exist like franchise brokers. Determining which social media platform is best to run ads for your brand highly depends on your target audience, but it’s safe to say that Facebook and Instagram are great places to think about.
Getting media mentions is one of the most effective ways to show franchisees that your business is legitimate, successful, and worth investing in.
When a journalist writes about your brand or shares a positive story about how your franchise is making an impact in the community, it can help attract qualified leads who are looking for a well-recognized and reputable franchise.
To get started with this franchise marketing strategy, you’ll need to invest some time into building relationships with local journalists. You can do this by attending events they’re covering or even reaching out to them directly via email with story ideas that you think would be relevant to their audience.
Be sure to have interesting and newsworthy stories at the ready, as most journalists won’t take notice of blatant self-promotion. That being said, think about ways to make your franchise locations movers and shakers in their individual communities.
Use strategic nonprofit support, education support, and similar tactics to build trust among the communities where your franchisees are operating. Doing this will encourage local media to cover more topics related to your brand because your brand is benefiting the community.
Franchise Expo Participation
Franchise expos are excellent franchise marketing opportunities because they provide your brand with a captive audience of individuals interested in learning more about franchises and franchise ownership.
This is the time to really sell your franchise opportunity and get people excited about the possibility of owning their own business.
You’ll want to make sure you have a well-designed exhibit that’s eye-catching and easy to navigate. Your franchise marketing materials should be on point, too. This means having high-quality brochures, business cards, and other visuals that accurately reflect your brand identity.
It’s also important to send franchise representatives who are knowledgeable about every aspect of franchising and can answer any questions potential franchisees may have—no matter how difficult.
Most expos have varying sponsorship opportunities, some of which include the chance to provide an educational lecture to potential franchisees at the show. If your budget can afford this kind of opportunity, you should jump on it because it will put you front and center to potential new business owners.
Location-Based Franchise SEO
As your franchise brand begins to scale, it’s important to think about how you’ll optimize your website for individual franchise locations.
This is often called local franchise SEO.
Since each of your franchisees will likely have their own website landing page and Facebook page, you’ll need a strategy to make sure their online presence is working in tandem with the main franchise site and branding.
One way to do this is by creating unique landing pages for each franchise location that include geo-targeted keywords, localized content, and contact information specific to that area. You can also set up Google My Business accounts for each of your franchises and make sure they’re linked back to the main site. You can learn more about leveraging Google My Business for local franchise SEO by downloading our free guide.
Believe it or not, Google My Business pages are often an area that franchise brands forget, so this is an opportunity for your brand to jump in and truly optimize your listings for the highest rankings.
Building Influencer Relationships for Franchise Growth
In order to build an effective franchise marketing strategy, you need to have a well-rounded plan that takes into account all aspects of the franchise sales process.
One aspect of this is building relationships with key industry influencers.
These are individuals who have a large following on social media or in their respective industries and can help promote your franchise opportunity to their audience. Influencer marketing is especially advantageous for new franchise brands or smaller brands that haven’t yet built a large online presence. Remember that influencers already have a large audience, so if you can leverage the trust they have already built with their audience, you’re golden!
The best way to start building these relationships is by reaching out to the influencers via their social media or personal websites. You can work out a deal with them when it comes to compensation, and create a marketing strategy that they can launch on all of their channels. If you’re looking for support on how to find influencers and create a marketing strategy with them, you can reach out to our marketing team.
Growing Looks Different for Every Franchise
There’s no one-size-fits-all franchise marketing strategy, so it’s important that you experiment with different tactics to see what works best for your brand.
This guide should have given you a good starting point, but remember that as you scale, you’ll need to adjust your franchise marketing strategy accordingly. The most important thing is to keep growing—and always be open to new opportunities!