Owning a franchise gives you a jump-start on branding and operations. However, that’s not to say there aren’t still things you need to do for your business to succeed. Franchise marketing is still something you’ll need to do, from building brand presence to growing your customer base and generating leads and sales. Here are 11 tips for marketing a franchise to help position your location for long-term growth.
Note: Most franchisors create marketing rules to protect their brand identity and create a uniform message across all franchise locations. Make sure your marketing efforts align with the guidelines of your franchisor to keep you from running afoul of your franchise system rules.
How to Build Brand Presence Online
Building brand presence online requires planning and good old-fashioned hard work. Your franchisor has invested money in building a brand and the systems that help you conduct business. It’s your responsibility to bring that brand into your local community and establish an identity for it there. Here are four tips to help you establish local brand awareness.
1. Create & Optimize Your Website
Many franchise systems provide websites or at least location pages for franchise owners. Some leave it up to each franchise owner to build a small business website for their branch and maintain it. Whether you’re building your own or relying on your franchisor, a website is an important part of digital marketing for franchises.
For your website to get found, you’ll need localized search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. Local SEO helps your site rank on Google and Bing when users conduct local searches. As more and more customers turn to search engines to find local businesses, it’s important that your franchise location shows up.
Pro tip: A key component of local SEO is citation management, making sure your name, address, and phone number (NAP) are consistent across all resources. Learn more about what local SEO citations are and how to build them to rank higher in online search.
Need inspiration before building your site? Check out our list of the best small business website examples for ideas and insights.
2. Claim Online Directory Listings on Google
When potential customers search for local businesses, the first non-paid results they see are usually a map with several local businesses listed. This listing is connected to each business’ Google Business Profile. This free service from Google provides businesses with listings to help them attract customers, and it’s an essential aspect of marketing a franchise locally.
All you have to do to get a Google Business page is register for one. Making a Google Business Profile is simple and straightforward. While you’re setting up your profile, be as thorough as possible, because the more complete your profile is, the better chance you have of ranking when customers search.
3. Establish a Facebook Page for Your Location
Establishing a Facebook Business Page for your branch or location is another way to promote your franchise. You can create your Facebook page in a few steps, though as with your Google profile, you’ll want to optimize it and fill it out as fully as possible. Invite a few friends to like and share your new page, then get to posting.
Some of the Facebook marketing strategies to try include posting about your new business and extending special offers for first-time customers, happy hours, loyalty programs, and so on. People like to read about the brands they patronize, and if you build an active page, they’ll engage with your content by leaving comments and reviews. This improves not only brand awareness, but also your word-of-mouth referrals.
You don’t have to go it alone when you’re marketing your new franchise business. Enlist the help of one of our top franchise marketing agencies to build and execute the perfect marketing plan for your new franchise location.
4. Send Press Releases Announcing Your Business & Special Events
Press releases are a great way to get the word out about your franchise opening as well as tell potential customers about special events such as open houses or grand openings. Sending a press release to local media outlets increases the likelihood that journalists will pick up your release and write a news story about your announcement.
To get max reach in your area, send your release using a professional press release distribution service like EIN Presswire, which guarantees placements and allows you to target local journalists. Not only does this help with local publicity, but it also increases your online visibility and (assuming you linked back to your site) can also help your website rank higher in Google.
Franchise Marketing Ideas for Growing Customer Engagement
Customer engagement refers to the ongoing relationship a business has with its customers. It encompasses marketing campaigns and advertising aimed at growing repeat interactions between customers and your business. In other words, customer engagement is about getting customers to come back again and again.
Your customer engagement strategy should include local advertising ideas as well as marketing activities that bring customers back regularly. Here are four ways you can get customers back through the door.
5. Host Contests & Giveaways
Customers like free stuff, and contests and giveaways are a great way to keep customers engaged while encouraging them to spread the word about your business. When customers enter contests or giveaways, they’re likely to mention this to friends—who are, in turn, new potential customers thanks to word-of-mouth.
Ideas for contests and giveaways are broad and varied. One is to give away products or services in a drawing, with customers receiving an entry for each purchase they make. Another idea is rewarding the customer with the most referrals in a given period. Whatever form your contest takes, customers will be more engaged with your business and more likely to shop with you in the future.
6. Share Specials & Sales on Social Media
In some franchises, local franchise owners are encouraged to develop their own small business marketing ideas. However, most franchise systems offer regular sales and promotions to boost customer engagement. These sales can take the form of discounted pricing or added-value offerings like a buy one, get one (aka BOGO), or a free gift with purchase.
Whether your promotion is from the franchisor or something you’ve come up with yourself, getting the word out on social media is an important part of success. Read our guide on social media marketing for small businesses to discover the best platforms and how to get started.
In addition to buying themselves, customers may click “Like” or share your post with their followers, both of which spread the word by placing your sale or special in front of new potential customers. You can also boost a post, creating a kind of ad and putting your announcement in front of even more potential customers. Boosted posts are one of the cheapest ways to advertise your business on Facebook.
Pro tip: No time to set up and manage socials? Outsource to a social media marketing agency to grow your social media presence so you can stay focused on running your operation.
7. Build a Loyalty or Referral Program
Loyalty programs reward customers for repeat business. A referral program rewards existing customers when they tell new customers about your company and those customers make a purchase. Building loyalty and reward programs boost customer engagement by incentivizing repeat and new business.
8. Send Marketing Emails
Build an email marketing list by capturing email addresses at the point of sale, from your social profiles, with website splash pages, and so on. Then send newsletters and email blasts announcing your sales and special offerings, new products or services, events, and operational announcements (like holiday closures or changes to hours of operation).
Read our article explaining how to do permission-based email marketing. It offers a step-by-step process for getting started and showcases different ways to deploy your campaigns.
Ready to get started? Read our recommendations for the best email marketing software and decide which one offers the best tools and resources for your franchise marketing needs.
Tips for Generating Leads & Conversions
For service-based franchises, generating quality leads is one of the biggest challenges in marketing a new franchise location. Most franchise systems include some form of lead generation, but in the end, the most successful franchisees are those who master getting quality leads and converting them to sales. Here are three ways you can generate quality leads and drive conversions.
9. Advertise on Google
Local rank tracking software provider BrightLocal reports that more than 87% of consumers use Google to research local businesses. Advertising with Google makes sense when you consider the vast reach of its immense advertising offerings.
Google Local Services Ads are available to service providers in particular fields. You can check your business’ eligibility by visiting Google Local Services Ads and signing up, which only takes a few minutes. If your business is eligible, you’ll walk through the sign-up process and place your first ad.
Another way to advertise on Google is with pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaigns and remarketing. PPC ads put your franchise on top of search results pages in ad slots based on how relevant Google deems your business is to a search query. This includes factors like your location relative to the searcher as well as their search intent, so clicks are likely to be ready-to-buy customers.
Remarketing involves placing a line of code on your website. Visitors to your website will then see your web banner ads when they visit other websites that monetize utilizing Google Ads. Typically, remarketing ads are less expensive than other forms of Google advertising.
10. Advertise With Facebook Ads
Another key place to advertise that can generate a lot of traffic for franchise marketing is Facebook Ads. If your franchisor doesn’t run universal ads, you can manage your own Facebook advertising campaigns or contract with a company to do it for you.
Advertising on Facebook helps you generate leads as well as improve top-of-mind awareness for your franchise brand. Users will see your ads in their newsfeeds and, if they click on your ad, they’ll either be taken to a form to contact you or to a landing page on your website—whichever you decide.
11. Write & Share Blog Content
Blogs are a great way to get the word out about the benefits your franchise provides to customers, special events or products, and other news like employee promotions. Whenever you post a blog, this benefits your search engine optimization (SEO) because it shows your site is active and “alive.”
Plus, while your website’s pages are likely focused on bottom-of-funnel content, blogs are a great way to add top of funnel and mid-funnel content for all stages of the sales pipeline. This brings potential customers to your website early in the buying cycle and builds brand awareness that gives you an edge when customers are ready to pull the trigger.
Once published, share blog articles on your social channels and marketing emails to get even more mileage out of the content. As you can see, blogs are a powerful tool in the arsenal. Find out how to leverage content this way by reading our article explaining how to implement an SEO content marketing plan.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Franchise marketing takes two forms: the marketing a franchise system does to sell franchise opportunities to new franchisees vs the marketing and advertising individual franchise owners do to increase sales or leads. If you own a franchise location, chances are you will have to do some advertising and marketing for your venture to grow and succeed.
Promoting your franchise is important because it helps spread the word about your branch or location, building brand awareness and growing your customer base. Without franchise marketing and advertising, growth depends solely on word-of-mouth and random foot traffic—and that’s not a formula for success. Instead, create a marketing strategy for franchises that helps your franchise location flourish.
Some franchise systems offer co-op dollars, or co-op funds. This is a pool of resources in the form of ad spend and marketing collateral franchise owners can tap into. Typically, co-op funds can be used on advertisements that grow your franchise brand awareness in your local community. Depending on the franchise system, you may even be able to use co-op resources to advertise online.
Marketing a franchise doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, working in conjunction with your franchisor’s marketing and advertising efforts, you can connect with customers for your franchise location, grow revenue, and increase foot traffic. Marketing a franchise takes many forms, but by following these tips, you can get a leg up on the competition.