Franchise marketing can boost a brand reputation, giving customers the feeling of consistency they expect from a specific name, or it can fragment the brand experience.
Nobody (except maybe the competition) wants a franchise to appear disjointed or unprofessional. Focusing on creating a streamlined experience is in the best interest of franchisors and franchisees.
Here are some of the top ways you can elevate your marketing game and secure a positive business outcome for everyone involved:
- Take advantage of local listings. Register on all the primary listings sites to boost search engine optimization (SEO) and mobile visibility of franchise locations. Yelp, Google Places, and geographic-specific listings are often free to use and provide one more touchpoint for consumers looking for specific locations of your franchise.
- Unify marketing materials. Franchises can create individuality without breaking the corporate brand that consumers appreciate. Franchisors must take the time to educate franchisees about marketing policies. If every location uses marketing tactics in a similar way, embraces the company’s mission, and communicates marketing materials with a centralized team, the franchise can more easily maintain a cohesive personality. While franchises do not necessarily need to clone the parent company, strong marketing themes benefit both parties.
- Engage online. A passive online presence is almost as bad as not having an online presence at all. Both franchisors and franchisees must respond to online communications and actively maintain social media profiles and website information. Forgetting to respond could make some consumers abandon a brand. Outdated information could prevent new prospects from checking out the business. Franchisors should also recognize that new franchisees will look at existing franchisees to see how well the brand translates in different markets. Locations that fail to engage online could easily reflect poorly on a new franchisee and cause him or her to choose a more competitive franchise.
- Develop unique online presences. Some franchises have a corporate website and only a listing of franchise locations. Consumers may not have access to information about differences between company-owned locations and franchises, and individual franchises may not display in search results. This type of online setup can really hurt business for the franchisees. Some franchises develop independent websites, but a micro-site works well to provide customers with the information they need. Use the micro-site to showcase individuality, give customers access to location-specific information/reviews, and improve SEO for individual locations.
- Expand SEO and advertising. Local SEO and strategic advertising help both franchisees and franchisors. If a franchisor doesn’t manage SEO across all locations, the parent company should consider creating guidelines that franchisees can use to maximize visibility online. Keyword recommendations change regularly, and updated SEO content will help consumers discover the information they need to make purchasing decisions.
- Consistently create high-quality content. It not only boosts SEO, it allows franchisors to discover franchisees and franchisees to earn new customers. Top-quality content drives online activities, and it is a relevant marketing strategy for every industry and every franchise. Use high-quality content and a network of brand advocates to improve marketing reach and create a compelling brand story that will capture the attention of a target market.
- Keep the marketing message consistent. In addition to great content, the message must remain consistent across brand locations. A brand’s core values should resonate across social media posts, blog articles, and third-party publications. Consumers should see the brand first and the location-specific differences second.
Strategic franchise marketing maximizes marketing dollars spent as well as the business outcomes that franchises and franchisors earn as a result.
Use these 7 tips to create a cohesive strategy that your franchises can replicate easily without sacrificing autonomy.