At FranNet DFW, we take pride in being associated with franchises that have a great brand reputation and that do a good job of supporting the marketing efforts of their franchisees. However, not all business owners are so lucky. It’s not uncommon to hear about franchisees who are really struggling with branding and marketing.
Sometimes, this is because of the marketing rules outlined in the franchise agreement. For example, the franchisee is provided with a corporate branded website and not permitted to make changes, implement a better SEO strategy, or otherwise alter it to better suit the needs of their local market. In other situations, a franchisee might be hit hard by online reviews for a nearby franchise location that’s under different ownership. People searching online see a review about poor customer service at one location and assume all the rest are the same way.
What Can You Do to Increase Visibility and Improve the Reputation for Your Location?
You should always review your franchising agreement before embarking on a marketing effort. But here are some ideas to explore:
Get involved in your community. This is one of the most enjoyable ways to build your personal brand reputation. Get involved in the Chamber of Commerce. Join the board of a non-profit or become a sponsor for a local youth sports team. Be present at community gatherings, fundraisers, and other events. Showing up to serve others in your community has a way of encouraging people to support your local business.
Get busy on social media. Even if you aren’t able have a company branded page on social media, your personal Facebook and LinkedIn profiles are a great place to increase your visibility as a business owner. Again, the key is to give more than you ask. Find out what your customers or referral partners want to achieve (even if it has nothing to do with the services you offer), and help them reach those goals. Help promote other local businesses and make helpful introductions for those in your network. Especially if you have a lot of competition in your local area, having a reputation for being helpful and well-connected is one of the most effective ways to gain market share without a big marketing budget.
Get lots of good reviews. The best way to drown out bad reviews—even if they are for a franchise location owned by someone else—is to make sure you have lots of 4 and 5-star reviews for your own location. Make a point of asking for reviews from satisfied customers and responding quickly (and courteously) to any negative reviews. If your franchisor permits it, adding a five-star Google review management system to your franchise website can automate much of this process and make it easy to build a good local reputation.
Finally, Don’t Let Franchise Marketing Get You Down
Being impacted by the marketing decisions of a franchisor or the behavior of other franchisees can seem unfair and frustrating, but these things are simply part of the franchising model. You get all the benefits that come with a recognized and established brand, but you also have some limitations. Fortunately, at the end of the day people do business with people and not just with a company. And you do have a great deal of control over your personal brand. That’s good news!
To learn more about how franchising works and how to make it work for you, contact our team at FranNet DFW today.