Franchise Marketing 101: 8 Ways To Do It Better

Maddy Martin

If you want to start a business, but don’t want to go through the process of starting your own from scratch, then a franchise is a great option for you.

Despite the sometimes hefty up-front costs, franchises offer a tried-and-true business model that is typically profitable for individuals willing to take on firm ownership. In fact, Neighborly Franchising reports that 92% of franchises remain open after their second year, compared to only 20% of independent businesses. 

It can be a bit overwhelming to consider everything you need to accomplish as a new franchisee, but fortunately there are already some tools and resources available to help with your franchise marketing. 

Keep reading to learn more about franchise marketing, the different types, and winning strategies to help you create the ultimate franchise marketing plan. 

What is franchise marketing?

Franchise marketing refers to the methods and strategies used by franchisors and franchisees to draw in and retain new customers and clients. This kind of marketing accomplishes two goals: 

  • Attracting local customers (operational franchise marketing)
  • Finding new franchisees (franchise development marketing)

Franchise marketing can offer its challenges since you need to consider both the overall corporate-level marketing along with marketing techniques for specific locales. Not only that, but the target audience can be different depending on the location of the franchise. 

types of franchise marketing

Let's break it down a little further.

Operational franchise marketing

Operational franchise marketing refers to activities that both the franchisor and the franchisee use to attract new customers. This could include:

  • Social media marketing
  • Email marketing
  • PPC advertising
  • Website optimization

This type of marketing is extremely important in order to attract and retain customers and increase your bottom line. 

Franchise development marketing

Franchise development marketing refers to activities used by the franchisor to sell business locations to potential franchisees. This type of marketing consists of activities such as:

  • Attending or hosting community events
  • Sponsorships
  • Advocate marketing
  • Social media marketing

This type of marketing is very important for attracting the right franchisee to grow your business. 

8 Winning franchise marketing strategies

Franchise marketing can be broken down into two entirely different components, but even so, the marketing channels you use for each type may overlap. For example, social media can be used for both attracting new customers and potential franchisees, but the content would be targeted to an entirely different audience. 

If you want to have a successful franchise, you’d be wise to invest in both. It's also a good idea to review the basic fundamentals of franchise marketing before diving into these strategies below.

top 8 franchise marketing tools and strategies

Whether you chose to buy a franchise as a franchisee or are an owner looking for ways on how to attract potential franchisees, these eight tips will help you elevate your franchise marketing plan for overall growth and success. 

1. Build a strong social media presence

With 77% of social media marketers claiming their organization has found social media to be one of the most successful marketing channels available, you don’t want to overlook it. 

Social media marketing for franchisees 

Many franchisors keep social media marketing at the corporate level or at the very least give you strict guidelines and policies to follow. However, there are plenty of ways you can contribute to social media on behalf of the franchise:

  • Maintain your presence by posting regularly
  • Post the right content (e.g., promotions, customer stories, company news, etc.)
  • Monitor your KPIs (e.g., response rate, engagement, follower count, organic impressions)

Social media marketing for franchisors

Franchise owners must find the ideal mix between safeguarding their brand and enabling franchisees to interact with customers. 

As a franchisor, it’s your duty to ensure that those engaged on social media on behalf of your brand are publishing proper information and engaging when necessary. Here are some tactics to make sure your franchisees' social media is up to corporate standards:

  • Create a detailed social media policy
  • Make customizable templates
  • Use approval-based message flows
social media

2. Optimize your website with SEO

Your website serves as an around-the-clock salesperson, assisting both potential franchisees and end consumers in finding your business, learning more about what you do, and making a purchase.

Website optimization for franchisees

Local marketing is key to your success as a franchisee, and utilizing SEO is a great way to do that. When you optimize your site, it can be more easily found by your ideal customers when they look for goods or services linked to your company. To start, you can:

  • Optimize your content and web pages for local search
  • Use local landing pages to help your website rank locally 

Website optimization for franchisors

Your website is one of the best places potential franchisees can find out more about your business, so you want to get them to your site. To help you draw people looking to open franchise stores in your sector:

  • Select the proper keywords for your landing pages and content pages 
  • Create distinct local business listings for each franchise location

3. Leverage content marketing

Content marketing should be a part of any marketing strategy. In fact, 94% of senior marketers believe that content marketing provided them with fruitful outcomes in 2021.

Content marketing for franchisees

Customers receive value from content, and it also enhances the customer experience. Depending on the guidelines set in place by your franchisor you can create engaging content to earn the attention of your audience such as:

  • Blog posts
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts
  • Videos

As a franchisee, it’s your responsibility to properly execute the plan set by the franchise owner, so make sure you stay within guidelines of your franchisor's content marketing plan. 

Content marketing for franchisors

As a franchise owner, you must provide the right tools, resources, strategy, and plan for content so the franchisees can execute it properly. Here are some examples of assets you can provide your franchisees to help them best represent your brand:

  • Brand guidelines (e.g., color palette, logo usage, verbiage, font type)
  • Content parameters (e.g., content frequency, campaigns, tracked KPIs)
  • Software (e.g., content creation tools, social analytics platforms, social media management)

Content marketing also helps establish your company as an authority in your industry — which helps earn the attention of interested franchisees. You can do this by:

  • Developing educational materials about what it takes to be a franchisee for your business 
  • Making a well-designed and easy-to-navigate website
  • Compile trust builders (e.g., testimonials) on why someone should buy one (or multiple) of your franchise stores
content marketing

4. Integrate paid digital marketing

Did you know that 74% of brands name pay-per-click marketing as a primary source of revenue? That may be due to the abundance of online opportunities for sponsored social media marketing and paid advertising to reach the right audience.

Paid digital marketing for franchisees

Depending on your objectives and target market, you can implement paid marketing tactics for individual franchise locations at the local and national brand levels. 

You can connect with consumers who are searching for the goods or services you provide at every level of their research process through search engines like Google. 

Additionally, you can easily target potential clients with the help of highly specific features in paid digital marketing campaigns like Facebook or Instagram Ads.

Paid digital marketing for franchisors

When scouting out the perfect potential franchisees, it is crucial to be in front of the right person at the right time before your competition, and PPC advertising makes that possible.

You can reach people who are seeking for a franchise to invest in at every stage of their research through search engine networks like Google or Bing. Your PPC campaign can become a lead generating machine when placed on top of a display network, like Google's, which reaches 90% of users.

paid digital marketing

5. Engage in community marketing

Community marketing is local advertising that focuses on potential customers and franchisees in a particular location. This is a great way to help you build brand awareness and loyalty for your franchise business.

Community marketing has the advantage of letting you select the areas you want to target. If you plan to or have opened a store in a new location, you can use campaigns tailored to the local population.

Community marketing for franchisees

Knowing your customers is the foundation of effective community marketing for franchisees. A marketing campaign's success in one area does not guarantee its success in another.

Here are some examples of community marketing to attract customers:

  • Sponsorships (e.g., for a local sporting event)
  • Print advertising (e.g., advertising in local newspapers)
  • Community events (e.g., hosting a charity drive for a local food bank or humane society)

Community marketing for franchisors

If you plan to open a new store in a specific location, you’ll want to target qualified entrepreneurs in that area to sell your franchise business to. 

You can accomplish this using the same methods as advertising to customers, but the context will obviously be different. Some examples include:

  • Sponsorships (e.g., sponsor industry conferences and trade shows in the area)
  • Print advertising (e.g., advertising in local newspapers)
  • Community events (e.g., hosting local networking events)

When marketing your franchise, don’t forget to include all the benefits of becoming a franchisee for your business, as income potential is a huge motivator for over 70% of entrepreneurs.

6. Personalize with automation

One of the most effective marketing technologies available today is automation, which creates automated workflows that launch hyper-targeted, hyper-effective campaigns. 

By using marketing automation, you can:

  • Segment your audience (e.g., by ZIP code, email opens, spending behavior)
  • Target customers with highly personalized messaging and content

If you haven't already hopped on the automation bandwagon, now is the time. By 2023, global spending on marketing automation solutions is predicted to exceed $25 billion.

Personalized automation for franchisees

Building personal connections with your customers is essential for earning and retaining their business. If you are consistently sending your customers irrelevant marketing emails, your customers will eventually get annoyed and even potentially stop doing business with you. 

In fact, 63% of customers will quit doing business with brands that use poor personalization strategies, and 72% of customers will only respond to personalized messaging, so using personalized automation is a no-brainer.

Marketers are aware that each level of the sales funnel necessitates a unique message and timeliness. However, they all work together in the end to produce and convert sales leads. As prospects progress through the funnel, automation can guarantee accuracy and relevancy.

Personalized automation for franchisors

The same principles that apply to enticing customers with personalized automation also apply to attracting potential franchisees. The main difference is that you are promoting business locations rather than your products or services.

With thoughtful preparation and effective execution, marketing automation helps you nurture potential franchisees by offering them periodic, customized touch points.

personalized automation

7. Establish your brand as an authority

Building a solid brand authority is essential because it positions you as an industry leader and sets your company apart from your competitors. Therefore, making your brand a leader in its field can help your franchise develop a solid reputation with prospective customers and franchisees.

Brand authority for franchisees

If a brand establishes a strong authority in a particular industry, it will inevitably win customers' trust and develop a solid reputation. According to research from Salesforce, having the trust of your customers is a huge advantage because it encourages 95% of them to remain devoted patrons and 93% of them to refer them to others.

To help establish your brand authority to customers you can:

  • Create high-quality blog posts 
  • Regularly post on social media
  • Showcase positive customer reviews, news articles, and other endorsements about your business
  • Participate in or host joint events with other authoritative brands

Brand authority for franchisors

It should go without saying that any franchise buyer wants to invest in a well-known brand. They will therefore be much more inclined to think about investing in your company rather than your competitors if you have established your brand as a leader in your industry.

To establish your brand authority to potential franchisees you can:

  • Join well-known franchise associations
  • Host and attend industry events and webinars
  • Showcase franchisee testimonials
  • Publish authoritative content on your website, blog and social media

8. Prioritize advocate marketing

Advocate marketing is the process of converting your most ardent customers (or franchisees) into brand advocates. This type of marketing is essential because it helps earn the trust of prospective customers and franchisees. 

Advocate marketing for franchisees

Good customer reviews are imperative to any business. In fact, 90% of customers read reviews before doing business with a brand, so making sure you are asking for and getting good reviews is important. 

To manage and earn good reviews you should:

  • Provide excellent customer service
  • Ask for reviews from your happiest customers (make this process as simple as possible to ensure they follow through)
  • Respond to all reviews (yes, even the bad ones)

Advocate marketing for franchisors

When it comes to attracting new franchisees, advocate marketing is incredibly effective.

Building trusting connections with each of your individual store owners and making sure they understand how important they are to your company can help you, the franchisor, reach this goal.

Ultimately, if your current franchisees enjoy working with your brand, they'll be more likely to tell others, which will attract the interest of new potential franchisees. Make sure to post these testimonials on your website and social media platforms. 

Accelerate your franchise business growth with Smith.ai

Now that you have a solid understanding of franchise marketing as well as effective strategies to implement into your marketing plan, you need to figure out who will be fielding all of your new leads. 

Whether you’re new to franchising or are an established franchise owner, you know that there’s an overwhelming amount of work that needs to be done. With our franchise answering service, you can hand off various tasks to our trusted virtual receptionists.

We can handle 24/7 phone answering and screening incoming calls, appointment scheduling, and even live website chat

No matter how big or small your needs may be, it all comes with a specially crafted plan to make sure we don't overlook any of the specifics. Schedule a consultation to learn more about how our virtual receptionists can make your franchise successful.

Sources: Neighborly Franchising | HubSpot | Siege Media | Marketing Evolution | Think with Google | Smart Insights | Franchise Insights | Salesforce | Invesp

Maddy Martin

Maddy Martin is Smith.ai's VP of Marketing. Over the last 15 years, Maddy has built her expertise and reputation in small-business communications, lead conversion, email marketing, partnerships, and SEO.

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