Starting a franchise is different than building a business from scratch. It gives you the opportunity to acquire a franchisor’s business model and build your success on their industry authority. Moreover, a franchisor will provide you with multiple training programs, small business benefits, help you build a solid business strategy, and support your business promotion ideas.
Precisely because of that, the number of people launching a franchise business is growing impressively fast. In 2017, there were 745,290 franchise businesses.
For you as a franchisee, this means more competition. And, to rise above your competition, you need to choose the right marketing method.
Now, research says that 42% of franchise professionals consider traditional forms of marketing like PR or advertising purposeless. Instead, they emphasize the importance of digital marketing.
The only problem with promoting your franchise online lies in aligning your ideas and audiences with the ones of the franchisor. Here are a few steps you need to take when building your digital marketing campaign.
1. Increase Customer Satisfaction with Social Listening
Today’s customers expect brands to communicate with them directly and in real-time. And, this is where social networks shine. According to the recent survey by Sprout Social, social networks are the second most used channel for addressing customer problems, second only to in-person communication with a brand.
Your customers are already mentioning your franchise brand and products and voicing their complaints online. And, if you’re not keeping track of your customers’ questions and problems and providing them with instant feedback, they will stop buying from you.
The research mentioned above backs me up on that. It finds that 71% of customers are more likely to buy from businesses after a positive social media experience. On the contrary, after a negative experience on social networks, they would boycott your brand, unfollow you, and spread the negative word of mouth.
One of the simplest ways to monitor your customers’ discussions in real-time is social listening. Namely, with the help of social media monitoring tools like Mention, Hootsuite or Simply Measured, you will be notified whenever someone mentions your franchise brand online.
Remember, your goal is to treat both positive and negative feedback professionally. Always provide valuable and helpful answers in order to convert your dissatisfied consumers into loyal customers.
2. Use social media to increase brand awareness
The main aim of promoting your franchise business via social networks is to increase brand awareness and build stronger relationships with your target audience. So, don’t use your social networks to push your sales pitch aggressively. Make these channels valuable to your audience.
- Publish valuable content
Post high-quality content from your blog regularly and curate relevant content by other relevant resources in your niche.
Choose those topics and forms of content that resonate with your audiences. For example, not all social media users like reading long-form articles. Make your visual followers happy by providing videos, infographics, quotes, or images. Fun content like gifs or can also prompt a social media user to purchase. Finally, to show the human side of your band, use Instagram to publish behind-the-scenes stories and the photos of your staff.
- Work with influencers
The major goal of social media marketers is to boost community engagement, increase website traffic, generate more sales, and increase brand advocacy. And, this is when you should connect your brand with influencers.
Of course, you first need to find the right authority figures. Choose the ones that are relevant to your brand and, above all, ones your customers trust. For example, there is no point in working with a digital marketing influencer if you’re a fashion brand. Your audiences are different.
Also, you don’t have to work with big industry names. A collaboration with a micro-influencer may result in greater engagement. Your customers trust them more because they can relate to them.
3. Scale your content marketing Strategy
If you do your research and you’ll see that any franchise business definition you find online highlights a strong relationship between a franchisor and a franchisee. Namely, starting a franchise gives you the opportunity to run your own business, with the added support of a reputable brand.
Why am I telling you that? Well, during the content creation process, the link between a franchisor and a franchisee needs to be clear. The overall appeal of your content should reflect the values of your individual franchise and, at the same time, stay within the lanes of a larger brand.
Therefore, you shouldn’t be surprised if a franchisor sends out some sort of brand style guidelines for you and other franchises. They probably determine the use of the brand consistently during content marketing and social media campaigns and include elements such as:
- Color palettes
- The use of the logo
- Fonts and typography
- Brand messaging, tone, and voice
- The use of visual content
- Publishing frequency
Your priority is to make these guidelines clear to your content creators and get them to use them consistently when creating and promoting your franchise brand’s content. Simply put, your goal is to combine branded assets with your franchise content marketing strategy and here is how.
For starters, diversify your strategy and focus on those content types your readers find valuable. Be it long-form articles, whitepapers, industry case studies or infographics, make your content relevant to your readers. It needs to evoke emotions in your customers, help them solve real-life problems, and combine your unique identity with the credibility of a franchisor.
Finally, a franchisor will give your content a substantial boost by linking to it, promoting it on social media, and resharing it on their site regularly.
4. Manage your Local Business Information
Stats say that 89% of users look for local business information via their smartphones at least once a week. Moreover, 76% of these queries result in a phone call, while 72% will visit a store within 5 miles. Given these facts, it’s obvious that local SEO should be a priority of any franchisee.
Start with your keyword research. Optimize your on-page elements, such as your page content, URLs, titles, headers, meta descriptions, image alt tags, and product descriptions for your geo-keywords. Adding your city, nearby locations, or region to your keywords will make it easier for you to target the right customers to your site and physical store.
Another important aspect of local SEO for any franchise business is being present on local directories. Claiming your Google My Business listing and optimizing it to the max should be your starting point. This means providing a street view, the payment methods you accept, your working hours, your NAP information, etc. The same goes with other relevant local directories you use, such as Glassdoor, Yelp, or Better Business Bureau. By providing your information consistently and updating it regularly, you will boost your online credibility and inspire a customer to visit your store.
Over to you
When implemented properly, a good digital marketing strategy can do wonders for your franchise business promotion. Now, even though there are numerous steps you need to take to promote your franchise, from developing and optimizing a site to PPC, these tactics may be your great starting point.