What is Franchise Marketing
Oct 19, 2020 ● 7 min read
When starting from scratch, the business owner is on their own, creating systems and processes to make sure that they gain traction to make a profit. But, there's an alternative way of starting a business without having to do it from scratch and it's called franchising.
Table of Contents
- What is a franchising strategy?
- What is franchise marketing?
- How to market franchise business
- Creating a Franchise Marketing Strategy
- The bottom line
What is a franchising strategy?
Franchising is a strategy of going into business by entering an agreement with an existing organization. The existing entity will have a working business model, business resources and materials, and training programs to guide staff and operations at all levels. The agreement between the new business owner and the existing organization is known as a Franchise Agreement. This agreement is between a franchisor and a franchisee.
For all the benefits that the franchisee offers, the franchisor pays a franchise fee or royalties to use the working business model. Even though the franchisee technically owns their branch of the business, all rights reserved means that they are tied to particular copyrights and trademarks, as well as modes of operation.
The key advantage to franchisees systems is that the new business is instantly recognizable by the target market, and there may already be some loyal customers. Nonetheless, for the franchise to become a viable option and achieve success, franchise marketing needs to be carried out.
What is franchise marketing?
With a self-owned business, marketing can be simple as it depends on precisely what the business owners want to achieve. Furthermore, business owners have full control of the marketing services, marketing platforms, websites, and communications. There is a difference in franchise marketing.
Understanding franchise marketing
Franchise marketing needs to fit within the core message of the franchise, including key branding elements, the language that communicates the brand message, and consistency in the look and feel of the brand offerings. With this in mind, here is a definition of franchise marketing.
Franchise marketing refers to any marketing activity that franchise owners will carry out to achieve growth. The marketing activities involved include email marketing, commercials, blog posts, content marketing, trade shows, and more.
Franchise marketing plans are unique as decisions are made by the central franchise organization and focus on meeting franchise prospects. For the entrepreneur or franchisee, there is a structure that aligns with long-term strategies and the existing system. Here are some of the approaches to franchise marketing.
Social media franchise marketing
Within any franchise system, there is a social media strategy in place to reach and engage with the target market. Due to the interconnectivity of technology, the type of marketing company that works with franchise marketing needs to align with other online marketing practices.
For example, a marketing message that appears on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram should be the same as the message on the relevant websites. This ties in with search engine optimization, blogs, video forums like YouTube, and other marketing channels.
The key to getting franchise marketing right is consistent in all communication. This means that the key elements that appear in communication and advertising should be easy to replicate to maintain the reputation of the brand. This also ties in with the overall value of the brand.
Sales, promotions, and public relations
These are critical elements of franchise marketing, with each one playing a role in encouraging customer engagement and conversion. When franchising marketing, each of these elements requires set resources, tracking, and a plan to get the best results. With all of these franchise marketing elements working in harmony, marketing plans can meet dual goals for both the franchisor and the franchisees.
- Franchise sales are typically products that are on offer across all the franchise locations within a region. These sales are created to differentiate from industry competitors and help franchisees increase revenue over the short term.
- A promotion is meant to create awareness, especially when introducing consumers to a new item presented by the franchise. This is most common with franchise restaurants when adding a new item to their menu.
- Franchise companies also depend heavily on public relations to share best practices for the benefit of all franchisees.
All these marketing activities need to be brought together in a cohesive way for the benefit of the franchise. This requires a comprehensive marketing plan.
How to market franchise business
In creating a franchise marketing plan, some fundamental aspects need exploration to ensure that the marketing message and activities fit within the core brand and fulfill the need for growth and success. At the core of marketing for franchises is building awareness with customers and driving consistent growth. This requires the following:
With one business cutting across different markets, customers need to trust that they can get the product available at the same standard in any franchise they experience. For this to occur, straightforward operations processes that guide the standardization of the products need to be in place. The brand image should be well established and reflect in all visuals and communication.
New franchisees will require a detailed brand book that outlines key elements of the brand for brand consistency. Here is what should be included in the brand book:
- An overview of the brand that includes details of the origins of the brand. This should also contain the mission, vision, and values that all franchisees need to adhere to for a clear brand identity. With clarity, it is possible to build on the emotional connection that a brand should have with their customers.
- Key standards are also outlined to ensure that the objectives and quality ensure continuity of the brand at all locations.
- Appearance is also vital in the brand book. It includes a breakdown of all the products, the tone of language, the color scheme to be used in key visuals, the details of logos and fonts, and what is not an acceptable way of communication.
- Operations efficiency guidelines and pitfalls to avoid are also included in the brand book. Franchisees need to have examples of what is right and a solution to mitigate anything that could go wrong.
A franchisee may feel the need to localize a brand message for the franchise location to appeal to the target market in their area. With these guidelines, it becomes easier to make that possible while retaining the integrity of the marketing message.
Even with strict brand guidelines, there is still an opportunity for marketing a franchise in a location-specific way. This can be done through a direct mail campaign that targets individuals around franchise locations and other digital marketing initiatives that focus on direct engagement. For this to work, the online marketing plan will require excellent location tracking ability so that the local message is being shared with the right target market.
With the localization of the message also comes the marketing channel within which this message shall be shared. The franchisor must make sure that the platform selected reaches the right customer and also works well with any other marketing efforts being carried out by the franchise.
Using Social Media
There is no doubt that in markets worldwide, social media is one of the most effective ways to reach a target audience, especially as more people are using mobile phones to access information. Social media marketing has the benefit of being a medium to create a brand personality, share information, and get direct feedback from customers on any service issues, complaints, or compliments on the product or service offerings.
The benefit of this marketing effort is that any negative comments can quickly be spun around to become positive interactions. This will affect customer opinion and help to build brand equity.
Creating a Franchise Marketing Strategy
Franchise marketing requires a winning overarching marketing strategy to ensure every franchise owner can reach the full potential of the brand. Through this overarching strategy, each franchisee can then craft content that fits their markets perfectly. In franchise development, the following should be made available to ensure excellent communication of the brand personality.
- Relevant keywords to ensure that search engine marketing reaches the right customer base.
- Marketing automation is an excellent method of franchise marketing. It requires a long term marketing plan and ensures that at all times, there is some communication reaching the target market.
- A franchise marketing company or agency that understands maintaining key franchise messages and with experience in digital marketing.
- A performance monitoring tool. For instance, you can use Whatagraph to build automated marketing reports: this way, you'll be constantly updated on the results your actions are bringing.
A big part of franchise advertising is creating brand awareness, excitement, and recognition with the target market. When this is done right, it becomes easier to grow the brand by driving engagement and word of mouth to get more customers on board. Focusing on a social network by creating engaging content, competitions, and working with excellent influences is a brilliant growth strategy to increase market share through word of mouth.
Another way to reach the target market is through a marketing funnel. With this, it is possible to become visible to many people and then narrow them down to the core customers who will actively engage with the franchise.
Email marketing campaigns are excellent tools close to the bottom of the funnel. To reach customers at this level, an email strategy that seeks to collect email addresses from core customers should be put in place. With an email address or email list, the marketing team can reach customers to share a newsletter, competition, promotions, advertisements, and build strong relationships. Email allows for connection with local audiences that are specific to the franchise.
Franchisees and funding
Franchisees require clarity on how to fund their marketing plans, especially with digital marketing initiatives. With franchisor marketing, there is normally a fund in place for collective spending to ensure that the messaging is consistent. At the local level, the franchisees prepare and control their budget separate from franchisors.
However, the franchisors often have the final say on how this resource will be allocated by offering guidelines. In some cases, it may be necessary to show proof of the ads used and their placement to the franchisor to ensure that the franchisees are working within expectations and standards.
The bottom line
The bottom line for any franchise marketing plan is getting a great ROI (return on investment) from all activities. With any marketing strategy, there should be a goal in place, insights on effectiveness should be evaluated, and data collected to track customer behavior. When marketers focus on execution-only, there may be a lack of balance in the results. With RO in mind, selling the product and driving conversions will build the franchise.