An experienced digital marketing agency has the marketing expertise to help franchise businesses develop robust strategies to generate profitable results across locations. Below, we explore the basics of franchise marketing and effective practices for each channel.
What is Franchise Marketing?
Franchise marketing incorporates marketing tactics such as print, digital, commercial, and radio advertising to raise brand awareness, maintain customer loyalty, and generate new business for a franchise. While traditional forms of marketing like advertising in relative publications and direct mail continue to attract new franchise leads, digital marketing in particular is incredibly effective for all industries and continues to be a crucial component to building a robust pipeline of potential franchisees.
Recent data shows 55% of marketing is digital, and the total digital advertising spend in 2021 was $436 billion. Digital marketing allows franchises to save time, money, and resources by automating tasks, leveraging digital platforms, personalizing customer experiences, and tracking key performance indicators.
Types of Franchise Marketing
Franchise marketing is typically split into two categories:
- franchise development marketing for the franchisor and
- operational franchise marketing for the franchisees.
Franchise development marketing includes marketing tactics the franchise owner uses to attract prospective franchisees to increase the number of units of the business. They are responsible for creating a successful brand and processes that can be used to open new sites across target locations using established guidelines and brand standards.
On the other hand, operational franchise marketing entails the tactics franchisors and their franchisees use to gain new customers and retain loyalty. They help to manage the franchise’s brand reputation to attract customers. This includes a variety of tactics from search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing to email marketing and running PPC campaigns.
How to Create Franchise Marketing Goals
Like any type of marketing, the first step to franchise marketing is to identify your campaign goals. This needs to be a unified effort from franchisors and franchisees so that all communications and marketing efforts are aligned. Marketing efforts across locations should benefit the enterprise as a whole. Otherwise, this can damage branding and lead to business fragmentation.
A franchise marketing agency like Elysium Marketing Group can help define your goal and target audience, create brand guidelines, and design a comprehensive marketing strategy that franchisees can replicate to build your brand and grow your customer base.
What to Include in Franchise Brand Guidelines
Franchise brand guidelines need to be detailed and clear so that they can be easily understood and duplicated by franchise owners. Guidelines should include everything from messaging to finer branding elements such as logo and logo usage, fonts color codes, and brand tone. The key is to make sure branding is consistent and scalable across locations to uphold a strong, positive brand identity that is recognizable to your customer base. Building brand awareness will help garner trust among customers over time and lead to brand loyalty.
A robust brand guideline should cover:
- Company overview: All employees should be familiar with the history, mission, core values, and goals of the company.
- Mission statement: What are the purpose and goals of your company? Your mission should guide all employees and business activities to unify your brand and inspire all employees.
- Target market: Who is your target audience? Brand guidelines should be tailored to them and meet their specific pain points to offer a positive customer experience. After conducting market research, franchisors need to detail their target customer personas and their unique needs so your team can refine all business and marketing initiatives accordingly.
- Design elements: Appearances always matter. The logo, font, color schemes, and imagery all play an important role in how your customers perceive your brand. Customers also need to be able to instantly recognize your brand across locations based on these elements.
- Messaging and Tonality: Marketing, sales, and customer communications efforts need to reflect a unified message and tone to provide an integrated brand experience.
Consistent messaging entails using these elements for all business internal and external communications. From internal documents and presentations to web design, social media platforms, and direct marketing collateral, all employees need to adhere to the brand guidelines in place to ensure a powerful brand presence for your entire franchise network.
4 Effective Channels for Franchise Marketing
While each franchise has its own unique sets of marketing challenges, goals, and strategies, here are several channels to consider and best practices to heed.
Email marketing enables marketers to drive traffic to your website, launch time-sensitive and personalized campaigns, offer promotions, and gather feedback from customers. Research has found for every $1 marketers spend on email marketing, they can expect an average return of $36, which is higher ROI than any other form of marketing. Franchise email marketing has a complex set of challenges in that efforts need to be cohesive to protect your brand image while simultaneously empowering franchise owners to use email across locations.
Franchise Email Marketing Tips
Set Up a Central Account
It’s important to manage email marketing efforts for all locations from one central account. Franchisors can then set up user permissions to franchisees and/or a digital marketing agency to ensure control, efficiency, and automation. Each user should understand their individual responsibilities and levels of access to avoid mishaps.
Share Templates & Creative Content
Build branded, mobile-friendly email templates in whichever email marketing platform you use (e.g. Constant Contact, HubSpot, MailChimp, etc) that can be shared to unify communications. You should also make certain any user who needs creative assets (logo, images, etc) or certain tools can access them to create a cohesive experience across all units.
Franchises can use paid advertising or PPC (pay-per-click) on both local and national levels to position their brand in front of target audiences across locations. Search engines like Google and social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram allow users to target audiences based on factors such as location, age, household income, parental status, and beyond. By targeting specific demographics, franchisors and franchisees can increase online visibility and generate more traffic.
Franchise PPC Best Practices
- Conduct keyword research to see what your customers are searching for, how competitive certain keywords are, and the cost per using certain keywords and phrases
- Use long-tailed, specific keywords to earn more relevant traffic at a lower cost
- Invest in designing a high-quality ad for users that will attract more clicks
- Use a template to keep campaign information and designs consistent
- Adjust campaigns based on performance – this can include changing keywords that aren’t performing well or using new ad copy
- Optimize landing pages to reflect your PPC ads
Local Franchise Search Engine Optimization
Solid organic search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, especially local SEO efforts, are important for captivating qualified leads. Each location’s individual web page needs to be optimized for local-based searches to increase visibility online, boost traffic to individual franchise locations, and drive sales. For instance, if a preschool program in Philadelphia, PA has researched that target customers are searching “preschool program + Philadelphia PA”, it would be wise to optimize landing pages and content to include those keywords. That way, franchisees can reach customers in their individual locations.
SEO Best Practices for Franchises
In addition to optimizing landing pages and content like blogs, marketing efforts should also include:
- Encouraging online reviews: Asking customers to review your business can help your web page rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) when customers use certain keywords.
- Setting up your Google My Business Profile to make it easier for customers to find you based on their local searches.
- Adding structured data to your website: Search engines use structured data to gather more information about your website’s content, which can lead to better rankings on SERPS.
- Building backlinks: Backlinks are links from other webpages that lead to your website. Getting high-value backlinks from respected websites will improve SEO.
- Ensuring backend information is optimized: This includes url links, meta descriptions, image file names and descriptions, alt tags, and more.
Franchise Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is crucial for any business, and franchises need to be even more savvy when it comes to employing social media marketing strategies. Franchisors and franchisees must be on the same page in regard to branding guidelines and coordinate for SMM efforts to result in success.
How to Be Successful in Franchise Social Media Marketing
- Establish Brand Guidelines
Having guidelines in place will help all account users understand the parameters and how they should interact online. Factors to consider include:
- What are the logo, image, font, type kit, and color scheme restrictions?
- Where can franchisors and franchisees access shared media?
- Will there be individual location pages or one page for the entire enterprise?
- How will the franchisor’s page support franchisee accounts?
- What type of content will be shared?
- What is the tone for communications?
- How often should content be posted?
- How should account users respond to customer inquiries and concerns, and who will address them?
Franchisors and franchisees can guarantee consistent brand messaging by creating templates that franchisees can customize to suit individual locations. Note that it’s important for all users to have joint access to a shared media library so all users can leverage content.
- Identify Goals
Like all digital marketing strategies, franchisors need to create realistic goals they expect to achieve by using social media to promote their services and products. An experienced digital marketing agency can help identify goals to meet long-term business objectives. Goals should be concentrated, timely, and measurable. Examples include earning x number of followers in a specific amount of time, increasing social media traffic by a certain percentage in a specific amount of time, generating a certain number of leads, and boosting conversions or sales.
- Schedule Posts
Schedule posts in advance through Facebook Manager, Hootsuite, or similar tools to make the process streamlined for your team. A social media manager or marketing account manager can create a social media calendar, schedule posts, and monitor online engagement for you by responding to comments and messages. This will help maintain your online presence and build trust and customer loyalty.
- Post Relevant Content
Building a relationship with target customers is understanding their pain points and the content that speaks to them. All posted content should be on brand and relevant to your customers. Examples of good content include product or service launches, company news, customer testimonials, in-depth explanatory content, and timely, related news.
Collaborate With an Expert Franchise Marketing Agency
Elysium is an award-winning digital marketing agency that offers a comprehensive approach to franchise marketing. Our team has the industry experience, knowledge, and framework in place to manage all aspects of franchise marketing on a local and national level. As an International Franchise Association (IFA) partner, we have exclusive access to the latest marketing strategies, best practices, resources, and networking opportunities to support both franchise companies and their franchisees.
From content strategy and backend SEO services to managing Google Ads, Elysium Marketing Group can help companies grow their business with cost-efficiency in mind. For a free consultation on our digital marketing services, please fill out our contact form, or call (484) 684-7420 to speak with a team member.