When it comes to franchise marketing, there isn’t one strategy that can be employed with the expectation of success. It’s important to know that there isn’t a silver bullet. Rather, marketing is a multifaceted effort that requires a commitment to many tactics in order to create a cohesive and effective franchise marketing strategy.
Anyone that’s completed a puzzle knows that the process entails putting together diverse pieces to reveal the complete picture. In a similar way, a successful franchise marketing strategy involves fitting together various elements such as branding, customer engagement, and lead generation to create a comprehensive and compelling brand story.
It’s important to highlight that franchisors also play a pivotal role in promoting their brand and the efforts they deploy to support their franchisees.
12 Key Elements to a Successful Franchise Marketing Plan
#1 – Brand Positioning
Before employing other marketing strategies, a franchise should be able to clearly define its unique selling proposition (USP). In other words, what are the distinctive characteristics that set the brand apart from its competitors? There are several aspects to consider when establishing a brand position, which include:
- Identifying what makes you unique such as product quality, pricing, customer service, innovation, etc.
- Addressing customer needs or pain points such as demonstrating how the brand directly provides solutions to customers’ challenges.
- Providing a clear and compelling message using language that the target audience can understand and relate to.
- Highlighting practical benefits making it clear to customers how the brand will address their needs.
- Ensuring consistency in messaging in order to build a strong and recognizable brand.
- Creating an emotional connection with customers in order to build brand loyalty.
- Showcasing success stories or testimonials in order to build credibility and trust.
- Adapting to changes in the market or customer desires to keep the brand’s USP relevant over time.
- Performing a competitive analysis to identify areas to improve or selling points to highlight.
- Aiming for long-term sustainability with the USP so the franchise can fulfill its promises and remain unique in the market.
#2 – Consistent Branding
While brand positioning and consistent branding are related concepts, they differ in their objective. Brand positioning is about defining how a brand wants to be perceived in the minds of its target audience. Consistent branding seeks to build a solid brand that ensures customers have a recognizable and reliable experience. Components of consistent branding include:
- A visual identity that’s uniform across all marketing channels (logos, color scheme, typography, etc.)
- A messaging style that aligns with the brand’s personality
- Consistent use of a tagline or slogan to help with brand recognition
- A consistent brand experience at physical locations (signage, interior design, ambience, etc.)
- Employee training that ensures customers receive a consistent experience at each franchise location
- Regular audits and updates to make sure the brand is represented consistently and brand guidelines are updated as needed
In order to achieve brand consistency among all franchise locations, it’s important that franchises provide franchisees with the essential brand guidelines to maintain uniformity.
#3 – Digital Presence
In this age of technology, it would be hard to get away without a digital presence. For many businesses, it’s essential for their marketing plan to include building a strong digital presence. A few ways to do this include:
- Creating a professional website that can service as the online headquarters for the business
- Implementing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to enhance a website’s visibility in the search results
- Utilizing social media platforms to engage with the target audience in the following ways:
- Digital advertising options
- Brand hashtags
- Responding to feedback or questions
- Showing the business’s personality and engaging with customers via threads and memes
#4 – Local Marketing Strategies
While a national marketing campaign is essential for a franchise, it’s also important for individual franchises to be able to tailor their marketing efforts to local demographics and preferences. This might mean implementing localized advertising and promotions. Another way to market a business locally is to participate in community events or even be a part of sponsoring local events, sports teams, or community organizations.
#5 – Franchisee Training
It’s essential that the franchise provides comprehensive training to franchisees on marketing strategies in order to achieve a cohesive marketing plan among all franchise locations. This includes equipping franchisees with the marketing materials and resources needed to implement the marketing strategies. This might include but isn’t limited to:
- A centralized marketing portal where branded assets and other materials can be accessed and downloaded
- Customizable marketing templates that franchisees can tailor for their local needs
- Brand guidelines that make it clear to the franchisee how to use the logos, colors, font, messaging, etc.
- Guidance for local marketing efforts
- Ongoing training opportunities on effective marketing strategies and the latest trends
- Digital marketing support to help franchisees manage their online presence
#6 – Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
A CRM system is a centralized platform that tracks customer interactions and preferences. It’s a valuable marketing tool that can do the following and more:
- Consolidates customer data and provides comprehensive customer profiles including purchase history, preferences, and communication interactions
- Allows for segmentation and specific targeting based on demographics, location, behavior, and purchase history
- Helps the franchisee create personalized promotions, recommendations, and communications
- Provides a way to track, manage, and nurture leads
- Offers marketing analytics that contribute to a data-driven marketing plan
- Identifies at-risk customers so that franchisees can implement retention strategies
- Manages feedback and reviews
#7- Advertising and Promotion
This strategy includes both online and offline channels for advertising that highlight the franchise’s unique features.
Online channels could include:
- Social media
- Search engine paid advertising
- Email marketing
- Content marketing (such as a blog strategy)
- Online display advertising
- Affiliate marketing
Offline channels could include:
- Print advertising
- Television or radio advertising
- Direct mail marketing
- Outdoor advertising (such as a billboard or posters)
- Local events or sponsorships
- Networking and referral programs
- Community partnerships
#8 – Franchise Events and Sponsorships
Participating in franchise events and sponsorships has many benefits including brand visibility and community engagement.
Franchise events include:
- Grand openings
- Product launches
- Customer appreciation days
- Education workshops
- Community fundraisers
- Seasonal or themed events
- Franchisee networking events
Sponsorship opportunities include:
- Local sports team
- Community festivals
- School programs or events
- Health and wellness initiatives
- Local charity events
#9 – Online Reviews and Testimonials
A simple but effective marketing strategy is to encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews online. Having a collection of positive reviews from previous clients contributes significantly to a business’s credibility and increases the likelihood that future customers will choose them. When a business does gain reviews, whether positive or negative, it’s important to manage and respond to customer feedback to build credibility as a business that values their customers’ opinions.
#10 – Performance Metrics and Analytics
A business won’t know if they’re succeeding with their marketing efforts if they don’t set up a system of goals and ways to measure them. It’s important to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) and then use analytics tools to track website traffic, social media engagement, and campaign performance. This either will show the business what they’re doing right so they can continue in that vein, or it will indicate a need to adjust the marketing strategy. Either way, using metrics and analytics to measure performance is a key aspect of marketing.
#11 – Collaboration with Franchisees
All franchisees are in a similar boat in that they are aspiring to run a successful business. The specifics might look different for everyone though, which means that each franchisee can provide valuable insights and feedback. For this reason, franchisees should communicate with each other and be willing to collaborate on regional marketing initiatives while sharing best practices with each other.
#12 – Adaptability and Flexibility
Change in marketing trends is inevitable, and the business that refuses to adapt will not survive. It’s essential to keep the marketing plan flexible so that strategies can be modified based on the changing needs of the target audience. Here’s a list of categories that could experience the type of change that would require a business to adapt their marketing strategy:
- Demographic shifts
- Technological advances
- Cultural trends
- Economic changes
- Competitive landscape
- Global events
- Regulatory changes
- Environmental awareness
- Generational shifts
- Social movements
- Health and wellness trends
- Communication preferences
Just Getting Started? (H2)
There’s a lot that goes into buying and owning a franchise, but with the right tools and resources you can be prepared. FranNet is here to help you get started on your journey to franchise ownership. Our expert franchise consultants can match you with the right franchise brand while guiding you through the process from start to finish. Our services come at no cost to you. Schedule your free consultation today!