Our Top 5 Tips for Marketing Your Franchise
Implementing a great marketing strategy is essential if a franchise is going to thrive in a marketplace that is often already crowded. Today, we’ll look at why marketing is so important and five top tips for how franchises can do it successfully.
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Local Marketing for Franchises
Smart Insights comes up with a great analogy to represent franchising by likening a franchise business to a tree. The trunk is like the parent company and each branch signifies a different franchise. Each franchised location is unique and, similar to how branches can absorb sufficient sunlight without being in competition, each franchisee can market its specific location without competing with franchisees in other areas.
With that being said, how franchisees market their business in their local area can differ drastically across the UK. It’s important that franchisees properly research their local area and the current competition and use the information to dictate the direction of their marketing strategy, not just rely on what works for the other franchisees in the UK.
In sum, your main aim as a franchise owner should be to get word out in your local area. The franchisor will already have a nationwide marketing plan, but for local matters, it’s your responsibility. Locals will be more likely to visit if they see your impact on their community rather than what someone else did 200 miles away.
Top 5 Tips for Marketing Your Franchise
1. Push the boat out for your customers
If you want your business to stand out from the local competition, you need to think about how you can set yourself apart. For instance, by offering something unique or making your customers feel exclusive. This could be achieved through promotions that help promote a relationship with customers rather than just giving them money off.
Hosting a raffle could be an idea, but show customers that they actually have a chance of winning rather than being up against thousands of others. If you have a large pool of customers, run multiple raffles to help keep them relatively small.
Give customers a VIP experience by handing out loyalty cards to the individuals who visit your business the most. A coffee shop franchise could offer people cards to get an extra shot of espresso for free, or bars could offer a ten percent discount on all orders over £5.
2. Launch a great website
It’s a good idea to create your own website separate to the business’ corporate website. Even if you are listed on it and potential customers know you exist and where to find you, having your own creates more room for further marketing opportunities. Double check that your franchise agreement allows this before spending time and money on it though.
If you own the website, you can install software to track data and see if your marketing efforts are working. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to this if you don’t own the website.
3. Create strong, long lasting relationships with the media
The media is one of the simplest ways to market your franchise. Contact local radio stations, newspapers and even TV channels about a potential news story. Many of them will jump at the chance to talk about a new, exciting business in their local area and, before you know it, word will spread in the community.
Contact magazine editors about press releases, but make sure it’s interesting and relevant, otherwise people might get tired of hearing about pointless news stories. When trying to get in touch with publishers and other media contacts, remember to be persistent. If they’re bombarded with emails from other businesses, you don’t want them to forget about you.
You need to strike a balance between being memorable to the local people and not imposing too much.
4. Examine your competition in great detail
This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many businesses don’t spend long enough or dig deep enough. If you want to stand a chance of being the go-to Italian or number one convenience store, you need to make sure you are providing what the others already offer - and more! Be sure to have considered the following:
- If they take part in any community work
- If they sponsor any events
- What their strong and weak points are
- How they advertise themselves
- The range of services they offer
- Their prices and the structure they follow
- The number of competitors
- How you can offer something unique
5. Do good in the community
Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about whether the businesses they buy products or services from are ethical and give back to the community. If your franchise can demonstrate that it is putting time and resources into doing something helpful for the community, the public is likely to reward this with their custom.
For example, if you are a restaurant franchise, you could donate unsold food to a homeless charity. Or, if you are a construction business, you could help renovate someone’s house that has been damaged in a fire. Or, if you are a music franchise, you could go into nursing homes and play songs to the residents.
There are countless ways that businesses can ‘do good’, and often these gestures generate a healthy amount of media attention. In the past, this has seen many franchises boost their popularity and revenues.
Also, falling loosely into this category is sponsoring local events. This will help you connect with the local community and demonstrate to them that you care about them, not just their money.
Talk to your customers and find out what events they are attending or even putting on. This could be anything from a church fundraiser to a football event. After the event, share pictures, make blog posts and chat with your social media following.
Becky Martin, Point Franchise ©
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