Few industries evolve as quickly as marketing. In fact, 76% of marketers believe marketing has changed more in the past two years than in the last 50. Franchise marketing is no exception. New technologies introduce new challenges, but they also bring new opportunities. Here are five actionable tips for transforming those opportunities into franchise marketing success:
Simplify and Localize Your Franchise Marketing
1. Put Power in the Hands of Franchisees.
It’s no secret that one of the keys to franchise success is adapting to local markets. Franchise owners have a unique perspective on their community’s wants and needs. Armed with this knowledge, they can shape a local marketing strategy that’s a perfect fit for local customers—but only if they have the right support.
Too often, owners with fantastic marketing ideas are shot down by their corporate leaders. Marketing executives worry that ideas aren’t brand compliant. In addition, they fear that after rounds of editing and approvals the offer is no longer exciting, or even relevant.
These issues are easily solved with the help of customizable marketing templates, which let franchisees optimize marketing materials without threatening brand-compliance. With the right images, language and design, franchise owners can make any marketing campaign resonate with their local audience. There’s no better way to shorten the journey from idea to delivery!
Customizable Marketing Templates Make Franchise Marketing Easy.
2. Communication Is Key
Sales and marketing managers get stuck in “damage control” mode. They’re constantly zoned-in on their least profitable franchise locations. In an effort to plug their leaks, they hammer on owners for explanations. Already struggling and stressed, these owners quickly offer up answers that sound more like excuses. It’s a dynamic that doesn’t lead to clear solutions, let alone innovative ideas.
These conversations are important, however, there’s valuable feedback to be gained from franchises with positive profit margins. Of course, one-on-one conversations aren’t the only way to collect this feedback.
We recently helped Krispy Kreme address this within their Brand Marketing Center with an entire section dedicated to franchise success stories. Franchisees share details on their most successful marketing efforts so others can learn from them. This information doesn’t just go to senior marketing management. In addition, it’s shared with the entire network of owners so they can offer feedback and gain inspiration for their future campaigns.
Using Franchise Marketing to Control the Conversation
3. Leveraging the Power of Customer Reviews.
Customers are twice as likely to share a negative experience, which means one bad interaction can do some serious damage to a brand. To maintain a positive brand image, franchises need to encourage positive reviews. Creating a great customer experience isn’t enough—happy customers also need an incentive to evangelize in effective ways. Here are a few ways to help that happen:
Create dedicated Facebook pages for each franchise location.
Ensure each page has a visible “Reviews” tab. High star rankings don’t just look good for business, they also mean each page will appear in more news feeds so online franchise marketing campaigns reach a broader audience.
Verify the Google listing for each location.
Ensure each franchise location has an accurate and updated Google business listing. Then follow this simple process to have the listing “Google Verified.” Verified listings appear alongside search results, making it much easier for customers to read and write reviews.
Ask the right customers for reviews.
Rankings on sites like Yelp can make or break a business. While you can’t offer incentives for positive reviews, you can encourage them by reaching out to the right customers at the right time. Use BlueSky ETO’s Automated Marketing Campaigns to trigger an email encouraging customer reviews to repeat customers. Those who visit often likely have positive things to say.
Host reviews and testimonials on your site.
This is a great way to highlight the specific benefits of each product or service offered. It also allows customers to target their reviews, so their feedback accurately reflects the correct item or experience.
Direct negative comments back to the organization.
When you reach out to customers proactively, you give them an internal outlet for discussing their concerns and frustrations. They’ll appreciate the individual attention and you’ll address their issues before they publish them on review sites and social media platforms.
Find and respond to bad reviews quickly.
Google Alerts and social media monitoring can help a franchise discover and address bad reviews quickly. First acknowledge the review and thank the customer for their feedback. Then get their contact information and continue the conversation offline. This can protect the brand from coming across as defensive or insensitive while showing the customer that their opinions and business are valued.
Unique Franchise Marketing Ideas
4. Sponsor Outside the Box
Franchise success is largely determined by how each location is viewed on the local level. Owning a clean restaurant with delicious food and amazing service will get you far. However, becoming an intricate part of the community will take you farther. Also, the more your brand is “seen” in the community, the more loyal customers you’ll earn.
When approaching sponsorship at the local level, try to think outside the franchise marketing box. A pizza shop shouldn’t just pay to have their name on little league uniforms. They should also do something like supply free pizza to both teams after the championship game. A hotel franchise shouldn’t just sponsor a bridal show in exchange for ad space in a brochure. They should also raffle off a honeymoon suite for one lucky couple at the event.
The more unique and unexpected your franchise marketing idea, the bigger the impression you’ll make! Remember to use customizable marketing templates, which make creating multiple forms of local marketing easier while ensuring franchise brand consistency.
5. Be a Hometown Hero
If you have any experience in franchise marketing, or marketing in general, you already know about the importance of storytelling. While a brand may be using this technique on a national level, local franchise owners shouldn’t just rest on those laurels. They should add to the conversation by sharing their own unique stories. The best franchise marketing stories position the franchise as a “hometown hero.” Here’s one example:
The local police department is facing budget cutbacks. To thank them for their service and ease the burden on their families, a fast food franchise runs a “Burger for a Badge” promotion. Every officer who shows their badge at checkout gets a free burger for an entire month.
The franchise owner contacts local news stations who are covering the budget cutbacks, and stations share the deal on the nightly news. Therefore, the restaurant sees an influx of customers, not just from “blue” families but from those who wanted to support a business that supports its local PD.
Keep an eye out for opportunities to leverage local events and issues in a way that supports your entire community, not just your bottom line.
Building a superb local franchise marketing program can be challenging, but with the proper tools, your marketing is more effective, always on brand and consistently strengthening your community relationship to grow your business.
Every organization is unique. Brand management solutions from BlueSky ETO harness that uniqueness and build solutions to leverage it for the benefit of the brand and franchisee simultaneously. It’s not easy to adjust and implement a marketing strategy on a national level, but it’s a lot easier with intuitive and adaptive tools. Let BlueSky ETO work with you to create solutions for your franchise business.
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