There are currently 48,000 franchise businesses in the UK, all jostling for attention from the high street, home and online customers. While you’re most likely familiar with some of the franchise giants like McDonald’s, Starbucks and Subway who carry out extensive franchise marketing campaigns, you may not be aware of some smaller ones like Tutor Doctor or Maid2Clean. Similarly, there are businesses that you may not have known are actually franchises, such as Enterprise Car Rental and Wagamama.
Franchising in a nutshell
How this works is that you ‘buy in’ by paying an initial, pre-set fee (along with, sometimes, other fees) to secure your franchise business. You then pay the business owner (the franchisor) a percentage of the money that you make from your business. This allows you to take advantage of the clout of a large, established business whilst still running your own show. Although you’ll have the benefit of the franchisor’s advertising, you’ll also be responsible for marketing your business yourself and in this article, we’re going to be looking at some of the most effective ways of marketing a franchise business.
Getting the right message to the right people
In the digital world, there are tons of ways that you can market your franchise business, some of which are straightforward and others that are a bit more creative. The best (in fact, only) way to get started is to put together a killer strategy for your franchise marketing campaign.
To do this, you should follow these steps:
Set goals for your franchise marketing campaign
There’s no point in marketing your product or service if you don’t set a goal in terms of what you want to achieve. The goal for your campaign may be, for example, to sell 100 units of your product or, it may be to gain 1000 followers on social media. Either way, you need to get this right at the beginning.
Align your franchise branding
With a franchise business, a lot of this will already have been done for you, but you still need to familiarise yourself with it to make sure that your marketing is consistent.
Plan your franchise marketing campaign
During this crucial step, you’ll figure out what activities your marketing campaign will involve (don’t worry, we’ll get to these activities shortly). You also need to decide on timings, i.e. how often you will perform a particular activity.
Review, assess and test
At the end of your campaign, it’s time to analyse the results to see if they are what you expected or were hoping for. Once you become more familiar with marketing your business, it makes sense to start performing A/B testing on your campaigns to see which works best for your business.
Methods of franchise marketing
Now that you’ve got the outline of your strategy locked down, we’re going to run through some of the different activities that your campaign may include – you don’t have to choose just one. In fact, most successful campaigns will generally use a combination of two or three.
Considered by some to be a little old school, email marketing is nonetheless still hugely effective. This is the art of putting together engaging emails and sending them out to customers who have opted into your marketing efforts. When choosing email marketing, it’s best to use a tool such as Mailchimp, which will help you to make your emails look professional and appealing.
Email marketing works best when you include a discount or other incentive to entice customers to buy from you or visit your store. How do you get all those lovely email addresses? By using social media………….
Social media marketing
Social media marketing can be split into two sections – Engagement and Advertising.
Engagement involves posting regularly and actively encouraging your followers to engage with you by answering questions or getting involved in a conversation.
Advertising on social media (also known as PPC – Pay Per Click) allows you to reach a wider audience with your messaging; while this is effective, it does require a small financial outlay and an expert knowledge of how to use the system properly helps too; although Facebook will happily let you spend your money so be careful. If you’re not sure how to use the system properly ask an expert to help.
Use your social media to encourage your followers to hand over their lovely data by offering an incentive – for example; you might offer a 20% discount on a coffee in exchange for the customer filling in a short form. For this, it’s best to use a landing page so that your messaging doesn’t become diluted or confused. A landing page is, in essence, a mini web page that is dedicated to your offer and can include a form for the customer to fill in. Don’t worry if this sounds complicated; there are many sites like Landingi that will guide you through the process.
Once you’ve done this, you can start up a database of customers to send your emails to.
For the best results with your social media marketing, be sure to include lots of great quality images and videos in your content, as this can significantly increase your chances of success.
As with email marketing, this involves collecting data from customers – in this case, mobile phone numbers – so that you can then send them your marketing messages. SMS messaging is increasingly popular with marketers because these days, everyone is pretty much glued to their phones at all times.
If you decide to go with SMS marketing, you will probably have to tweak your messaging a little as ‘short and sweet’ always works best here.
If your franchise business is located within a local community, you may want to consider advertising with a leaflet distribution campaign.
While this may seem a little archaic in the digital age, you’d be surprised at how effective they still are. Despite many people’s perception of advertising that is delivered through the letterbox, the majority of it is not relegated to the waste bin. Did you know the average leaflet is kept in the home for 38 days? This means that, by advertising in your local areas through the letterbox, you stand an excellent chance of reaching the people who are, quite literally, on your doorstep.
In 2021, it’s all about content marketing – which means producing great quality leadership articles and blog posts and then sharing them on social media or with PR companies. An example of this may be, say, you own a coffee shop franchise, and so you write an article about the history of coffee – you get the idea.
Don’t worry if your writing skills aren’t up to much; you can team up with some really affordable copywriters on freelance sites such as People Per Hour and Upwork – I promise that it’ll be worth the investment.
Take to the streets
One of the most effective (and most fun) marketing methods is to hold demonstrations or events in your local area. This is particularly useful for businesses such as fast food outlets, coffee shops, and confectioners.
All you need to do is set up a stand or stall and hand out samples of your product to the public (along with the address of your business). For those whose business is online, you can still take advantage of this by staging your product or service demonstrations.
When it comes to deciding what kind of marketing is best for your business, you can start by taking a peek at the competition to see what works for them.
When first starting out, you’ll find that marketing your franchise business is very much a case of trial and error and, it may take some time to find the formula that works for you – but keep at it; it will pay off.
As I’ve mentioned, some of these activities require a small financial investment, so you should make sure that you have included this in your budget.
Finally, marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. When putting together your campaigns and strategies, think long term rather than right now and make sure that you’re well prepared for events and holidays such as Christmas and bank holidays. Happy marketing.