When it’s time to launch a franchise, you need to make sure all eyes are on you. But if you’re not sure what are the best franchise launch tactics, it can feel like a pretty daunting task. We’ve come up with some easy ways to get your business noticed, no matter what’s going on in the world.
Finally, the day has come to launch a franchise in your community. Not just any franchise either – you’re finally realising your dream of running your very own franchise. All your training, recruiting and sleepless nights have been leading up to this day and you’re ready to start receiving a return on all of your hard work. There’s just one more obstacle that you need to hurdle: the franchise launch.
It’s vital that you create a buzz around your new franchise to make sure that you’re generating business as soon as possible. Whether you use social media to spread the word or get out and pound the pavement, you need to show people you’re ready to welcome them in. Here are some ways to make sure your franchise launch goes with a bang, whether you’re six months or six hours away from the first day of business.
Marketing your business
You might not have given it much thought as an employee, but marketing is absolutely crucial to the health of any business. Essentially marketing is anything that raises the profile of your business, from making and sharing a business page online to putting an advert in the local newspaper to hosting a launch event with banners and balloons. At the time of writing, of course, physical events are out of the question for many of us. But there are still so many ways you can get the people of your community chatting about and engaging with your business, even if throwing a party isn’t for you.
You don’t need months or weeks to plan your launch marketing strategy. As a franchisee just starting out, all your marketing efforts really need to say is ‘hello I’m here, please visit/use my business’. A complex or specifically targeted marketing push can come later on, when you’re ready to begin expanding your business. Of course, the more thought you can put into your marketing the better, but don’t panic if self-promotion doesn’t come naturally.
>> Read more:
- Franchising 101: The Official Franchise Start Up Checklist (Part 1)
- Franchising 101: The Official Franchise Start Up Checklist (Part 2)
- New Year, New Career: No Better Time Than Now to Start a Franchise Today
- Franchising 101: 8 Signs You're Ready to Start a Franchise
- Starting a New Business Doesn't Always Lead to Immediate Success: Here Are 5 Ways to Change That
- It's Never Too Late to Start a New Business
How your franchisor can help
The beauty of joining a franchise is that you’ll be part of a network of experienced and knowledgeable people, many of whom dedicate their whole working day to making your franchising journey better. If you’re part of a larger franchise, your franchisor has likely already put together a comprehensive launch package. Make sure you take advantage of as much help and as many resources as you can.
Even if your franchisor hasn’t parcelled up your launch strategy and put a bow on top, they’ll likely to have lots of helpful hints and tips they can share with you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if your franchisor isn’t forthcoming. Getting the marketing and promotion for your launch right is very important and, whether they nailed the launch or have cautionary tales aplenty, your franchisor should have plenty of advice for you.
Franchise launch tactics
Once again, your franchisor is the best person to talk to about how to launch your unique business. They might have a strict launch protocol you’ll need to follow as part of your franchise agreement. But if they’ve left you in the dark, or you’re starting an independent business, there are plenty of easy ways to market your business on your own. Here's how to get your franchising journey off to the best start, for every budget, timescale, ability and level of experience.
One day to go
Don’t panic if you’ve left marketing off your franchise start-up checklist – all you need is the internet to get your message out there. Anyone can type out a simple post, outlining what you do/sell, where people can find you and when you’re open. Don’t go on and on. A few clear sentences are perfect, as the reader will lose interest if you don’t get straight to the point.
If you’re worried about spelling mistakes or bad grammar, websites like Grammarly will come to your rescue. Just copy and paste what you’d like to post into your chosen grammar checker and it will polish your words to perfection.
Once you’ve got the right words, share them in as many places as you can – think Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, any community groups or forums and local business spaces. Ideally, you should set up a dedicated page for your business so you can keep your personal and professional life separate. Invite everyone you know to share your post to spread the word far and wide.
Opening a physical shop/office? Don’t forget good old-fashioned signs. Your franchisor has probably given you at least some kind of sign/sandwich board that you can put outside, so make use of their resources. Get in touch with them and see if you can get your hands on more promotional materials. If not, balloons and banners (many local sign franchises and shops can print vinyl banners within 24 hours) will draw potential customers’ eyes to your new business.
One week to go
Got a bit more time to plan? Take to the socials and generate as much interest around your business as you can. Share pictures of your products, or short descriptions of your services, to tempt people in. Also, introduce the community to your team and yourself as a local business owner to build a genuine connection with your audience. A study by Sprout Social found that 76% of consumers would choose a brand they feel connected to over a competitor, so it could be a useful tool.
Franchisees that have a brick and mortar premises should also be generating interest near their location. Get some flyers printed (if your franchise doesn’t already provide them) and take to the streets but put some thought into when and where you hand them out. For example, if you’re opening a sandwich franchise, try and catch the lunchtime crowds from offices/shops/businesses near your store.
Alternatively, if you’re starting a fitness franchise, you could hand out your leaflets near healthy food restaurants and juice bars, or target people leaving other local gyms. Choose your spot carefully – you don’t want to annoy competitors by standing outside their doors poaching their business. It’s poor business etiquette and could even turn some customers off.
Two months to go
Franchisees that have thought about marketing nice and early will be able to plan a proper launch party. Once again, building interest online is a vital tool, but you can also spread the word in person. Ask your local library, community centre and even place of worship if you can leave flyers for potential customers to see. You could also pay for advertising space in local newspapers (online and physical), on community notice boards and use promoted posts online to increase how many people are finding you.
You could even go all out and enlist the help of a copywriter to write press releases and interesting content that will drive people to your page. Even if you’ve got a small budget, you can find freelance writers on sites like Upwork, who will make even the most boring parts of your business sound fascinating.
When it comes to an actual party, you will need to check what your franchisor is happy for you to do. Larger franchises will provide everything from balloon arches to banners to free cake to keep your launch consistent with the brand, but a smaller franchise might let you get creative. Still, don’t make any big decisions without consulting your franchise team.
Keep the event simple but fun. Provide basic refreshments, like wine, juice, cakes and light nibbles, to draw people in, and offer something, like music, a local celebrity or just your fantastic products, to entertain the crowds and get them to stay. Try and greet as many customers as you can, and make time to talk to as many people as possible to build that connection.
Six months to go
Some franchises require a longer training period and you might be eager to get cracking with your marketing. But it’s not actually that helpful to start building brand awareness too early. Yes, you should be planning, setting up your online pages and even drafting out how you’re going to introduce your brand. However, if you raise lots of interest in your business but can’t offer any services/products for half a year, that initial enthusiasm among potential customers could be forgotten.
It is pretty unusual, though, for a franchise to have such a lengthy onboarding process. Most will have you up and running in a few weeks, so make sure you’ve given marketing some thought before signing up for a franchise opportunity.
>> Read more:
Make some noise
Whether you’ve got the full backing of a franchisor or you’re going it alone, we hope these tips will make the launch process more exciting and get people to take notice of your business. Remember, marketing is something you need to invest time in regularly. A new, shiny business needs to be promoted, but so does one that’s been around for years. By constantly reminding previous and prospective customers you exist, you’ll make sure your business is successful for years to come. If you’re looking for the right franchise opportunity, check out our UK franchise directory.
Sophie Cole, Point Franchise ©