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Looking for the best tips for franchise marketing?
Marketing for a franchise can work a little differently to a more traditional marketing plan for a single location business. A franchise business has different demands, so it’s important to get it right.
Franchise marketing requires some trust in your franchisee to handle some of the local marketing themselves, but as a franchisor you also need an overarching strategy for the brand as a whole.
Build Brand Consistency
For successful marketing, you need to build a strong brand. If you’re going to reach your target market and appeal to them, you need a strong brand identity that speaks to that market. The marketing strategy needs to make a brand identity that stands out from the crowd both offline and online.
When marketing for a franchise, you need to keep consistency across the brand in local franchises. Your franchisee may want to do things their own way, so you might find yourself having to deal with things happening that aren’t part of your plan.
Try to listen to your franchisees when they have ideas, as this can be a good way to bring in new ideas and fresh eyes. They know their local market, so take their thoughts on board, as long as they fit within the larger brand.
Protect your branding by creating strong and very clear brand guidelines. Put rules in place for use of colors, fonts and logos so the brand always looks the same.
Use Strong Content Marketing
Content marketing should be the core of your digital marketing plan. Well crafted content works on several levels. It speaks to your customer, but also has a practical use of boosting SEO. All your branches need to have a strong content plan in place to help them to rank in local searches.
A focus on local SEO for each local branch can really help. Do keyword research in each local market and see what terms perform well in different. When creating the content, use those keywords for article headlines, copy and image alt-text. Give your franchisees some SEO training and encourage them to create compelling content that appeals to their audience.
Don’t duplicate content across multiple branches, and instead build a diverse range of different content, with audio, video, imagery and written pieces. Use this content for email, social media and blog posts.
Build An Email Strategy
Email marketing is still a key part of any marketing mix. It’s a great way to send personalized content to a customer that you know is already engaged with your brand. You can use email to create a relationship with your customer base and do some very targeted marketing.
Each branch of your franchise can craft an email strategy of their own. They can use their knowledge of the market in their area to create content that fits their customers and the local culture. Re-target existing customers to encourage repeat visits to the branch.
Get The Social Media Right
Social media allows you to speak to a global audience as well as a local one. You can break social media into two parts; set up an account for the overall brand, then allow branches to have their own accounts too, that still fit alongside the main brand account. With consistent branding, you can use this divide to communicate brandwide messaging and local offers.
Allowing each branch to run their own accounts means you empower them to share posts that speak to their own audience, and to share offers that apply to their branch only. Interact with branch accounts from the main brand account to push their messages further. While you should allow them to run their own accounts, make sure to take a regular audit to make sure that any posts fit your brand guidelines and values.
Have A Strategy For Handling Complaints
Empower your franchise managers to handle any issues that arise in their own stores. Set out guidelines for dealing with customer complaints, and what compensation should be offered in different cases. Ideally, your managers can use these guidelines to handle any problems at a local level, before they have to escalate to the wider brand.
With social media, you may find that complaints are made to the main brand account. If this happens, make sure that someone from your team responds promptly, and handles the situation with the manager of the branch in question. Don’t leave these messages ignored because you’ve assumed the branch is handling it. It looks poor to anyone looking at your feed.