Franchising is a terrific, low-risk opportunity to gain capital quickly. The key to success is making your franchise stand out from the rest – in order to attract a large customer base. It all comes down to marketing and the techniques you employ to bolster public awareness about your franchise business. With the post-pandemic market in mind and the larger availability of digital marketing techniques, here are 5 current ways to best market your growing franchise.
1) Leverage the Fact That You’re Local
A big secret most franchise owners haven’t discovered: customers are getting information about your business from sources other than your public-facing website. It’s called “zero-click searching” – where customers find basics about your company like its hours, locations, phone numbers, and even menu items or service offerings – without ever visiting your website. How? They’re getting it from the local business information Google provides them, generally the left column during a search.
Local listing management is a big deal for franchisees that want to win the search game. Is your information listed with Google business? And if so, is that info up-to-date? That’s just the beginning. Are you aware that Siri and Alexa are pulling your information from new AI-powered sources? Take advantage of the regional make-up of your franchise and use your local business information to help boost appearance in customer searches. Make it easy to find you and be sure the information listed is accurate.
2) Create a Smooth and Seamless User Experience
Bringing in new business and then building return visits is the biggest challenge a franchisor can face. Make sure all your marketing communications – be it email, website, or social media – provide a clean, friction-free experience for the audience member. This means optimizing features, using simple language, and intuitive navigation. Avoid using cookie-cutter design templates, and provide a rich and unique experience.
One guiding principle to help you? Focus on your customers’ needs first, then promote your service as the solution. After establishing that with your customer be sure to follow up with an immediate call to action. Finally, be sure all your marketing communications are “mobile-maximized.” These are all crucial measures for increasing brand awareness, enhancing the user experience, and ultimately achieving customer satisfaction and return visits.
3) Provide Consistent, Useful, Content
Too often, franchise owners focus on building their brand without considering other forms of content marketing. This is a mistake. Content marketing is key to winning the digital marketing game and, at the same time, is the way to build SEO and find a top position in SERPs.
Your content should be locally focused and relevant to your target demographic. Source keywords that the customers are using in each of your franchise markets and then create boldly headlined content featuring these keywords. At the same time, make sure each of your franchises offers slightly different content based on the likes and interests of the particular community.
4) Be Strategic in Media Planning & Buying
As a new or smaller franchise, you need to get your brand’s name out there and one of the most effective ways is through targeted media buys. Do this by making your media budget work for you. The most practical way to do so is to get in touch with your region’s largest or most reputable media buyer. Look for those that have excellent relationships with the media, which will translate into better competitive rates and added value for you.
Allocate your budget to cover the spectrum of media outlets until you find the one that works for you, whether it be traditional media: TV, radio, print, and outdoor signage or new media: paid search, remarketing, display, paid social, programmatic, YouTube and mobile.
5) Manage Your Franchise Reputation
In small markets, reputation and word-of-mouth referrals mean everything. Are you monitoring the feedback your customers are posting on review sites (including Google, Facebook, Yelp, and Citysearch)? If so, you can create a great customer experience with Review Responses – all in one platform.
Today, most people tend to read online reviews before deciding on where to take their business. Five-star reviews are important to customers, but seeing the business engage with these same customers through reviews is just as important. Take control of how your customers look at your business by monitoring and responding to their feedback.