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Franchise Marketing: Employing a Holistic Marketing Approach

Your franchisees are part of your professional family. You should be as selective about who you accept into that family as they should be about choosing a franchise that is a good fit for them.

When it comes to franchise marketing, you want to attract the right business-minded individuals who are aligned with your business values, who will help you successfully grow your brand.

Easier said than done, right?

Franchise recruitment is more than simply tossing a net into teeming waters and hauling in the most fish. You need to carefully vet potential franchisees to ensure they’re the right fit for your brand. After all, their success is your success. And vice versa.

So how do you do that? By developing an integrated franchise marketing strategy that leverages digital advertising, social media, email marketing, content marketing, public relations, and SEO.

The Value of Your Franchise Marketing Story

Table of Contents

You’ve probably told this story dozens of times. What do you say when people ask you how you started your business and started franchising?

This is your franchise story, and it’s a key attractor when seeking the right kind of franchisees. Polishing that story and presenting it in an appealing package across different marketing platforms will be a siren call to the kinds of individuals who will work to grow your franchise brand.

Identifying the Type of Franchisee You Want to Attract

Maybe you’ve never given thought to the types of franchisees you want in your brand family. If you have an existing franchise network, consider the qualities of your most successful franchisees. You’ll likely find they share certain characteristics.

Are they of a certain demographic (age? location? gender? background?)? Do they have experience in your industry? Or maybe they’re simply self-starters ready to roll up their sleeves and do what it takes to thrive in their franchise.

If you don’t already have a document outlining your franchisee personas, this is a good place to start before you begin marketing to them. Essentially, you create a character for each type of franchisee that you want to attract.

For example, maybe you have a lot of Entrepreneurial Eddies. These franchisees have owned businesses (or franchises) in the past, and know that it takes hard work and dedication to succeed. Maybe most of these Eddies are male, aged 45-55, with advanced degrees.

Knowing all of this information, you can better market to find and connect with similar potential franchisees.

Don’t have franchisee personas established yet? Not to worry. TopFire Media can help with that.

Why You Need a Multichannel Approach to Franchise Marketing

Brands who “DIY” their franchise marketing strategies often struggle to connect with the right prospects, and there’s a reason for that. Often they are using just one or two franchise marketing media options or channels, rather than taking a multichannel approach, and that simply doesn’t work in today’s marketing landscape.

In a given day, you probably use your phone to check social media and the news. Then your desktop or laptop to work or browse websites. The same goes for your potential franchisees, and each of these channels represents another opportunity for you to connect with them.

The key is being everywhere your audience is. That’s why incorporating social media, content marketing, SEO, email, and digital advertising is imperative for making that initial contact with a prospective franchise buyer and then reinforcing your value to them across other channels.

That’s the benefit of working with a franchise marketing firm like TopFire Media: we have a team of experts in every aspect of marketing and public relations, and we can customize a franchise marketing solution to maximize your exposure to your target market.

 

Why Hire TopFire Media for your Franchise Marketing Strategy?

Certainly, you can work with the consumer marketing firm you use to connect with customers, but we’ve found that re-purposing marketing strategies built for consumers, to try to speak to a franchise-buyer audience doesn’t usually work. Let those strategies do what they do best: bring you more customers. But when it comes to driving leads to your franchise site and nurturing what is often a long sales cycle, you need a professional, experienced franchise marketing firm to do the job.

We have fine-tuned the franchise marketing formula and know what works to generate leads in a crowded marketplace. We rely heavily on data and analytics to continually assess and tweak our strategy for your brand to ensure continued success.

We’ve worked with franchise brands in industries from fitness to food to education, and many more, and our work gets results. Rather than waiting for franchise prospects to find you haphazardly, it’s time to build a strategy that effectively announces to potential franchisees how rewarding and exciting your franchising opportunity is.

We want to tell your franchise story. We will help you attract people who believe in your brand and want to strengthen it by becoming franchisees. TopFire Media can promote your story and expand your reach to help you:

  • Acquire prospective franchisee leads that align with your specific standards
  • Create brand awareness of your franchise among qualified potential franchisees
  • Generate a buzz around your brand that gets the media and potential franchisees talking

Ready to launch your franchise marketing campaign?

Sign up for your free Franchise Marketing Assessment to get started.

Franchise marketing basics

An introduction to reach targeted franchisee prospects

Digital marketing ranks at the top of the list when it comes to developing sales leads for your franchise business. Knowledge of how to use online channels like social media, email marketing, advertising, content marketing, SEO and PR can turn your marketing efforts from ho-hum to on fire.

 

To the point: every brand should begin with basic steps to help you reach its ideal prospects, get them engaged with your brand and generate sales leads.

Dial in the right channels

Today’s savvy opportunity seekers use smartphones, tablets and other devices as their go-to tools for information gathering. That means the right prospect for your brand is online searching for information to help them make decisions about investments in their business future.

 

Today, it’s as important as ever to meet your audience where they are spending most of their time. Here are primary channels your prospects turn to throughout their decision-making process.

  • Search engines like Google or Bing
  • Social media networks like Facebook
  • Professional networks like LinkedIn
  • Microblogging on Twitter
  • Photo sharing on Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest
  • Video sharing on YouTube, Facebook Live, Vimeo

 

A franchise marketing strategy with search engine and social media advertising gives you a way to reach people based on their interests and demographics. A foodie may respond to your digital ad for a coffee shop franchise that you place on a restaurant review site. Fitness enthusiasts may find your brand message on an app that tracks their daily activity levels.

It may take some trial and error to find the right platforms, but it’s well worth the effort.

Create your own channels online

Your franchise-specific website gives you the right place to tell the story of your brand and why it’s a good investment for the right candidate. You own total control of all its parts – the design, content and where it lives.

You should also set up your social media business profiles on platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Share information that helps your followers solve problems or educate themselves. That means tips and techniques to evaluate a franchise opportunity. Or links to articles on how to find the right fit to invest in a franchise.

Your posts help position your business as an expert in your industry and engage audiences in your brand.

Keep the momentum going with email

Email has been around since the 1970s. It’s become an important part of the way we communicate for more than 85% of adults in the UnitedStates. Email marketing is a cost-effective tool that can help you achieve your franchise marketing goals.

Effective email marketing helps build relationships with your audience. The right content can drive traffic to your website or blog page. You can link content to your social media platforms. Or direct readers to other sources of business-related information.

Email communication helps build awareness about your franchise opportunity and positions you as a leader in your industry.

Tell your franchise story

An email marketing campaign is not a sales pitch. It’s a platform to educate your audience about your franchise business. 

Introduce your readers to your brand through email content. Tell them the story of how you started your business, challenges you’ve overcome and milestones along the way. 

A compelling message about your vision, purpose and values helps potential candidates decide if your opportunity is the right fit for them. It also turns the spotlight on what separates your business model from other franchise options.

Measure what works – and what doesn’t 

Numbers matter when it comes to knowing if your digital marketing strategy is effective or not. That’s why it’s important to make an ongoing commitment to analyze data and pay attention to shifts in lead generation.

Marketing isn’t a once-and-done project. It takes relentless attention to details to make sure you build long-term relationships with potential candidates as they move through the sales process.

An experienced franchise marketing agency knows what it takes to track results, adjust strategies, tweak tactics and get the results you need to grow your business. 

Learn more about how TopFire Media can help you use digital franchise marketing to generate quality leads and achieve your goals to grow your franchise business

Tools, techniques and tips to power up your franchise marketing strategies

Are your franchise marketing strategies ready for 2021?

 

Industry experts agree – this is an ideal time to grow your franchise business. It may seem counterintuitive, based on economic uncertainties in 2020, but the franchise industry traditionally weathers difficulties in the economy and rebounds quickly, and often even thrives in economic downturns.

Tomorrow’s growth opportunities will evolve from new marketing strategies and tactics that generate leads and move the right prospects through the sales process.

To position your brand for growth in coming months and years, take a critical look at every component of your marketing strategy. That includes digital advertising, social media, email marketing, content marketing, public relations and SEO.

What is a franchise marketing strategy?

A franchise marketing strategy is your blueprint. It forms the framework for the approach you plan to take to reach your goals. 

Your strategy – or blueprint – keeps you focused on what you want to achieve. It gives you a clear vision of your goals and how to measure your results.

Lead generation is a key goal for many franchisors like you who want to grow their business. If you’re launching your franchise business concept, build awareness about your brand through online marketing.

Are you an established franchise operation? The right strategies can set your business model apart from others in the industry, or help reach a goal to drive more visitors to your franchise website.

Marketing tactics are the steps you take to reach your goal. Well-planned marketing strategies use more than one tactic to reach the right audience. 

Digital advertising and social media are hot spots for connecting with your prospects. Email marketing, content marketing and public relations open up opportunities to engage audiences. SEO gives you the tools to jump ahead of your competition.

Adapt to changing times 

Today, effective digital marketing strategies and tactics are as important as ever to reach targeted franchisee prospects.

Take a close look at how you can adapt your franchise business and continue to move forward. With a few adjustments to your lead generation process, you can take advantage of what’s expected to be one of the strongest years ever for franchising.

Here’s a franchise marketing strategy introduction to steps that will help you reach your ideal prospects and get them engaged with your brand. 

Tell the story of your brand

You know your company better than anyone. How you got started, challenges you’ve overcome along the way, significant milestones. Most important, you know your brand – the values, mission and purpose that define your franchise business.

Turn your tale into a compelling story that grabs your target audience. Help prospects understand what your business is all about and what makes your concept different from other franchise opportunities. 

Make your prospect the central character and spell out challenges they face. Relate your own experience – those true pain points – that drove you to pursue your dreams.

Bring your story to its natural high point – the solution your opportunity offers. Give your prospects reasons to believe they can go beyond where they are now and change their future as a part of your team. 

End your story with a clear, concise call to action. You’ve piqued their interest. Give them an easy way to learn more – and stay connected with your brand.

Know your audience

Do you know where your prospect is? Is he buried in his phone 18 hours a day? Or is she following topics trending across social media? Your ideal candidate may choose videos or clips that spark interest and demand attention as their go-to source of inspiration.

Today’s information-rich landscape is filled with multiple pathways to deliver your story. The key is to know where your audience is spending time and meet them there.

Savvy opportunity seekers go beyond traditional advertising and news sources for their information. They turn to blog posts, video content, podcasts, e-books and other online marketing resources to explore options throughout their decision-making process.

It takes time to find the right outlets for your message. And it takes more time to craft the right messages that will capture attention from people you want to move through your sales process. Even tracking data and response rates can seem like a 24/7 job at times.

That’s why a franchise marketing firm like TopFire Media can make all the difference in getting your story out there. The TopFire team knows every aspect of franchise marketing and public relations inside and out.

Here are effective tactics to promote your story and expand your reach.

Broadcast your story

No one size fits all when it comes to marketing franchise opportunities. Your prospects need to find your story on the channel that’s right for them.

The key to an integrated marketing strategy is to maintain a consistent story across all channels.

Here are franchise marketing channels that can help you reach your audience and engage the right candidates in your brand.

Paid digital marketing – More than likely, your target audience is on a smartphone, tablet, computer or other device all day, every day. That’s why paid digital marketing on search engines and other online resources is the go-to channel to generate leads for your franchise business.

Social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other media outlets give you a platform to promote your franchise opportunity. It’s like your own stage where you get to tell your story and connect with people who want to know more.

Email marketing – You can engage in long-lasting relationships with your prospects through email conversations. It’s a place to share deeper messages about how your business model can help the right prospect turn dreams of business ownership into reality.

Content marketing – This is where you demonstrate who you are, how you lead in your industry and what problems you solve for your audience. It’s a great way to improve your brand awareness, establish yourself as an industry leader and engage your audience.

Public relations – A solid PR plan helps you promote your franchise business and build a positive perception about your brand. The right tactics give your audience a reason to trust your brand and build a long-term relationship with you.

Search engine optimization – SEO gives you the data to turn the spotlight on your business instead of your competition. When you master data-mining techniques, you have one of the best franchise marketing tools available today.

Set your franchise marketing plan into motion

Do you have the resources to implement your franchise marketing plan

Every marketing strategy has a lot of moving parts. It’s important to keep everything organized and on track. And that takes time.

Turn to team members who understand your brand to help get the word out. Or bring in an experienced franchise marketing agency to guide your strategy and keep track of all the components of your plan.

An experienced marketing partner knows how to track response rates and look for trends. That gives you the powerful tools you need to understand what tactics work and which ones don’t.

Franchise marketing ideas from the experts

A franchise marketing firm like TopFire Media tailors a marketing strategy and tactics specifically to your franchise business opportunity. Experts in all aspects of marketing and public relations work together to give you the right exposure to the right audience at the right time.

We promote your story and expand your reach to help you:

  • Acquire prospective franchisee leads that align with your specific standards
  • Create brand awareness of your franchise among qualified potential franchisees
  • Generate a positive buzz around your brand that gets the media and potential franchisees talking

Find out more about how we can help you get your story in front of the right prospects and generate leads to grow your business. Contact TopFire Media

Franchise Lead Generation

Franchise lead generation tips to build your business 

A well-defined lead generation strategy is a powerhouse of possibilities when it comes to growing your franchise business. It gives you the breadth, depth and reach you need to attract the right candidates who want to be a part of your brand vision.

Today, digital marketing provides an ideal channel to reach potential candidates who are searching for opportunities to change their future. Effective online marketing gives you:

  • Access to a wide audience of prospects
  • Cost-effective method to target qualified candidates
  • Flexible platform to define your brand and engage entrepreneurial-minded prospects

Define your brand opportunity on a franchise-specific website

A well-planned franchise marketing strategy starts with a website dedicated to your target audience of potential buyers. That means it’s more than a page on your consumer website. It’s a full site, rich with content that potential opportunity seekers want to know before they make a decision.

Consider your franchise website the go-to resource for visitors who want to know more about why your brand is a solid investment. Use your content to answer questions prospects have as they weigh opportunities. Include information on: 

  • Your story of how you turned your dreams of business ownership into reality
  • Reasons to believe your opportunity has the potential to change the future for the right candidate
  • Financial facts and figures about the investment needed to launch your business model
  • Support and training you provide as franchisees build out their location and get ready to launch their own business
  • Steps to ownership and becoming a valuable part of your team

Capture contact information with free offers

Build into your website a simple-to-use process to earn contact information from visitors. If they are interested in what you have to offer, give them a way to learn more.

Offer a free e-book or tip sheet that keeps them engaged with your brand – and your opportunity. It’s a tried-and-true method to fill your sales funnel and increase your conversion rates.

Get involved with your audience online

Use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn to drive opportunity seekers to your website. Videos and podcasts you post can showcase your franchise story and testimonials by brand supporters.

Email messages give you a powerful tool to nurture franchise leads and move them through the sales process. Well-written content inspires readers to see themselves as part of your team and change their future.

Track results and respond to data trends

Today’s online marketing resources give you plenty of ways to measure the effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts. 

Look at the data on click-through rates from digital ads. Know how many people open your emails. Get involved with analytics on where you rank with search engine optimization.

A strong understanding of your SEO data gives you a clear picture of your ranking, visibility and traffic directed to your website. It also alerts you to changes that can help you take action to stay ahead of the competition.

Today’s savvy franchisor knows the power of digital marketing to generate leads and grow a business. Find out how a franchise marketing agency like TopFire Media can help you achieve your marketing goals.

What is a Franchise Marketing Agency and Why Should You Hire One?

Franchise marketing is different from consumer marketing.

Business owners may be experts in the products they sell or the services they offer, but they are likely less familiar with the field of franchise development. Franchise marketing is more strategic and longer-term than product marketing. 

There are many components to consider when marketing a franchise opportunity, which is why more often than not, it is beneficial to seek out expertise when considering expansion of a brand through franchising.

Did you know there is a seasonality to franchise marketing? It’s true! Understanding how franchise sales fluctuate throughout the year, and then lining up a marketing plan with the demands of a consumer schedule is tricky business. There are also legal considerations to factor in, franchisee personas to consider and more.

What Does a Franchise Marketing Agency Do?

First and foremost, it looks, listens, and learns. Franchise marketing experts will take the time to understand the brand, learn about the industry it is in, study the competition and most importantly get to know the audience who will be interested in the franchise opportunity. They understand that each concept is unique and will research all key elements before creating a marketing strategy that is the perfect fit.

A good franchise marketing agency will create a strategic marketing plan that includes PPC, SEO, and expertise in franchise lead generation. If you are lucky, they will also provide services in public relations. An ideal agency will leverage all these tools. Plus, experienced franchise marketers understand FTC compliance. There are do’s and don’ts in this field, and they can differ by state.

Further, an elite franchise marketing agency will be able to spot a kink in the armor, a weakness in the franchise operations process that is hindering franchise sales, and then consult on a solution. Look for an agency that will afford you an account manager – or central contact. You need someone who can help you wade through important processes that encourage franchise sales or uncover challenges to set you on the right track. Franchise marketing is a niche segment, very different from consumer marketing. There is a reason franchise marketers who specialize are extremely good at what they do – it’s all they do!

A great franchise marketing team behind a brand can help provide years of business growth and opportunity and ensure an efficient use of franchise marketing spend. Seeking out an agency who specializes in this extremely unique marketplace could be the difference between good and great franchise sales outcomes.   

What is a Franchise Marketing Plan?

 A franchise marketing plan starts with a budget, ends with a goal, and aligns every strategic marketing opportunity in between. It is a road map, a way to expand a brand from Point A to Point B with the most efficient use of marketing spend to achieve the intended result. The purpose of a marketing plan is to provide strategic recommendations for the marketing of a franchise based on a geographically targeted market.

So, what does that mean, exactly?

There are several – many! – components to a Franchise Marketing Plan, that is why it is always a good idea to seek out an expert who understands the intricacies and legalities of franchise marketing. But for those who want to start to build one on their own, here are some things to consider.

A Good Franchise Marketing Plan Begins with a Process

Imagine a sales funnel that starts with a broader target audience at the wide end, or top of the funnel, and then narrows down to more specifically qualified candidates at the bottom. In franchise sales, it’s called a franchise pipeline and captured leads are worked through different stages of this process. A franchise marketing plan will drive leads down through this funnel by way of seven primary lead sources: They are: publicity (PR), print advertising, trade shows, direct marketing campaigns, internet or digital marketing, brokers, and referrals.

A marketing plan will establish goals for driving leads through the sales funnel, create ways to measure the marketing efforts (costs per lead, costs per meeting, costs per sale), and optimize the mix of lead generation sources within the confines of the franchise budget.

The introduction to the franchise marketing plan concludes with a clear understanding of the overall marketing goals, including how much to spend, conversion rate goals, close time from start to finish, maintenance of positive brand identity and more. Once goals are outlined, the rest of the marketing plan can take shape.

Knowing Who the Target Audience Is

The most important part of any franchise marketing strategy is understanding who the target audience is. By knowing the financial capabilities, professional experience, personal characteristics and business interests of a prospective franchisee, marketing campaign efforts can be customized to achieve optimal results. A marketing plan will factor in each of these specific profile attributes and plan accordingly.

For instance, imagine a medical services franchise who is only looking for licensed medical professionals who are interested in opening more than one franchise location. This is very specific criteria, both in way of experience and financial capabilities, and will create a marketing plan much different than a concept requiring no formal experience, single-unit operation and minimal start-up costs. See the difference? Imagine the dollars that could be wasted in areas misaligned with these details. All marketing plans are not created equal. Knowing your target is crucial.

Start with a Budget 

The meat and potatoes of any marketing plan is the budget itself; it recommends how much money to spend in which of the key lead sources. Start with a budget formulation. Focus on media placements and where they are located. Do some industry research per geographical location to note trends or average advertising costs in those areas. Decide how many franchises need to be sold in a year to reach overall goals. The average cost per franchise awarded is likely near $10,000, depending on the specificity of the target market. A franchise marketing expert will tell the franchisor whether this is a good benchmark to start with, or if they should adjust it according to their concept.

Timing and Seasonality

With a budget in place, the next thing to consider is how much time will be allowed to spend the money and reach the goals. The time allocation within a marketing plan depends on two factors. First, the readiness of the franchisor. Is there a replicable system in place, along with a support team in operations, marketing, and design, ready to help launch new franchisees?  Next, have the required legal documents been completed? This includes documents like the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) and Franchise Agreement that need to be created and reviewed by a reputable franchise attorney.

What seasonality issues are there to consider? A swimming pool installation concept that does 80% of its business in Spring and Summer, must make sure he has the manpower to support up and coming franchisees launching during this critical time period. A marketing plan for this concept would compare the seasonality of the business, with the seasonality that tends to take place within a typical franchise marketing cycle, and make sure the two complement each other.

Bringing the Plan Together

The rest of a good franchise marketing plan breaks down specific dollar amount recommendations to be spent across different marketing channels. An example of this might look like the following:

Marketing Channel

  • Publication Marketing
  • Internet Portal Advertising
  • Franchise Directories
  • Direct Marketing
  • Search Engines (PPC & SEO)
  • Public Relations
  • Trade Shows
  • Referral Programs
  • Social Media

Why Build a Separate Franchise Website?

This is a question frequently asked by franchisors, or business owners who are considering franchising their business as a means of expansion. Why not simply add a paragraph or page to the consumer website about an opportunity to franchise? The most straightforward answer is this: consumer marketing and franchise marketing websites serve very different audiences, and when it comes to lead capture, you want to be targeting the right people.

The sole purpose of a franchise marketing website is to capture leads, or contact information, for those interested in investing in a franchise opportunity.

Important Factors in Franchise Website Design

There is a lot that goes into a well-performing franchise website design, so it’s always a good idea to seek out an individual or agency who specializes in franchise marketing. If, however, outside help isn’t an option, here are some guidelines to keep in mind.

In general, the consumer site and franchise site should “speak” to each other. It is important to establish links from one to the other via a tab or button, and the overall design and feel of each site should complement and coordinate with the brand. 

Each section should be organized by different tabs, ideally in sequential order for the reader. Every page should include a form to retrieve contact information, perhaps with a promise of something of value in return, such as an eBook or report that would help to increase conversion rate.

Make sure the franchise website development is responsive. 90% of internet users have access to the internet via their mobile device, and last year nearly 4.9 million of them were unique mobile internet users,[1] so the website should display properly on mobile and desktop devices. There should also be a privacy policy, legal disclaimer and the site should be ADA accessible.

Include keywords, metatags, descriptions, and titles to improve searchability, and don’t forget to include any trademarks or logos at the top and bottoms of each page.

SEO for Franchise Websites

Content is key in SEO for franchise websites, but there is such a thing as too much content for a website to perform like it should. The idea is to offer just enough information to entice a prospective franchisee to seek out more information. Text should be skim-able, not daunting. You want visitors to fill out a form or pick up the phone to ask questions, to then guide them through the discovery process of the franchise opportunity. As a side note, it is extremely important that the person on the other end of that call or email be experienced in the franchise development process. The wrong first impression can result in a lost lead. Franchise Website Pages

There are about five key pages to include on a franchise marketing website. They are HOME, ABOUT, OPPORTUNITY/INVESTMENT, SUPPORT, and FAQs. Sometimes it is appropriate to add a sub-page about the founders of the company, a longer format “GET STARTED” inquiry page, and a BLOG page can be added to promote any related franchise activity or industry news.

Let’s break these pages down for clarity.

The HOME page is perhaps the most important of all of the pages. This provides the visitor’s first impression of the brand and is somewhat of a landing page for the opportunity. Along with the banner and appropriate form at the top, the HOME page should include written copy, high-resolution imagery and video if available. A visitor should understand WHY the opportunity is a good one, and view snippets of the other tabs or pages. It should offer testimonials to validate the brand, and clear steps to ownership.

The ABOUT page should speak to the history of the brand and what exactly it sells or does. This is the only page that should share some of the same information as the consumer site. What is our business anyway? How does it serve the public? What does it offer? The natural procession of information begs the next question: why should I invest in this concept?

The OPPORTUNITY / INVESTMENT page should answer that question. This is the place to talk about why this is the perfect time to expand the brand. It should display industry statistics and provide a summarized list of why owning this particular concept beats out the competition. What is the differentiator and why is it beneficial? How much do franchisees have to invest in the franchise business? What will the franchisee get for their money?

The SUPPORT page offers peace of mind. This is the place to promote the benefits of franchise ownership – how franchisees are in business for themselves, but never by themselves. This is the page to list items like initial and ongoing training provided, help with site selection, build-out and design, inventory and grand opening assistance, access to vendors and suppliers, proprietary confidential owner’s manual, and anything else the franchisor will offer to launch and help a franchisee build their business.

FAQ pages breakdown the nuts and bolts of the franchise opportunity. What skills or experience are being sought in future franchisees? How much does it cost to become a franchise owner? What’s included in that price? Are there additional fees to consider and how do they get started?

In Summary

A good franchise marketing website whets the appetite of a potential franchise prospect. It is easily searchable, legally compliant, easy to sift through and offers something of value in exchange for contact information. Line these key elements up properly and reap the benefits of good lead capture-focused marketing vehicle. 

How to Budget for Franchise Marketing Efforts

A franchise marketing plan, or any proposed means of generating leads for franchise expansion, needs to have a budget before it gets off the ground. In its simplest form, a budget is created based on goals to be achieved, and the resources available to reach them.

There are two ways to begin to outline a budget for franchise marketing efforts. Either let the speed in which the brand expands drive the budget or let the budget drive the speed of expansion.

A Winning Formula

Before business owners can even think about a budget, they need to know what their goals are for growth. In other words, there needs to be a growth strategy put in place. One way to develop a growth strategy is to create a hypothetical formula for a long-term goal, and then backtrack to create a short-term goal. For example, let’s say the goal is to sell the business in ten years for a 20% return. How much in franchise fees and royalties collected from how many units, would be needed to make that happen? From there, divide by ten years and come up with the number of franchises that need to be sold each year.

There needs to be a detailed strategic planning and financial analysis, as well. As part of that analysis, a franchise marketing budget can come from anecdotal industry averages for cost per franchise sale. Multiply the number of units to be sold each year by cost-per-sale industry benchmarks, and you have the makings of a yearly budget. For example, the goal to sell 12 units in a given year, at an annual industry average for cost-per-sale at $10,000 per unit, results in a franchise marketing budget of $120,000 for the year. 

What happens if the growth strategy is unobtainable, either because of a lack of manpower to fuel such an aggressive rollout, or lack of capital needed to market for each unit based on industry guidelines? Perhaps our hypothetical business owner doesn’t have $120,000 in the first year of expansion, even with franchise fees rolled in from each sale. He could then flip his hypothetical formula on its head and either reduce the short-term goals or increase the length of time to reach the original goals.

Adjust as Needed

It’s important to remember a franchise marketing budget is fluid; it’s a guideline that can be altered as results and information reveal themselves throughout the process. But knowing how much money is available for marketing efforts will dictate where ad dollars are spent. A more conservative budget may rely on tried and true methods versus more expensive, less predictable media.

Developing a Marketing Budget Doesn’t Have to Be Intimidating

It doesn’t take an economics genius to create a franchise marketing budget, but some franchise industry know-how makes it a lot easier. Set goals. Create a growth strategy based on goals. Craft a budget based on industry benchmarks. Monitor results, including cost-per-lead and cost-per-sale, and adapt accordingly. These steps, when executed correctly, can set the foundation for a successful marketing program for recruiting franchisees. 

 

Franchise PR: How Public Relations Strategies Translate to Franchise Marketing

Public Relation’s Circle of Wins

Practitioners of public relations today have a multitude of informational channels to help promote brands, manage reputations, and strengthen community relations (among many other reasons).  

Platforms include social media, real-time news platforms, the 24-hour news cycle, print and online publications, emerging influencers, traditional celebrities, and the conventional chase of earned media. The public relations industry is further segmented to include niche markets, including:

  • Franchise PR
  • Corporate PR
  • Franchisee PR
  • Crisis Management
  • …and others.

No matter the niche industry, the process and foundation remain the same: 

“Connect with the right message with the right people, on the right platform(s)”

For a Franchise Public Relations program to be successful, here are the three roles and their responsibilities (as we see it): the brand, the agency, and the media.

Franchise PR: How Public Relations Strategies Translate to Franchise Marketing

Public Relation’s Circle of Wins

Practitioners of public relations today have a multitude of informational channels to help promote brands, manage reputations, and strengthen community relations (among many other reasons).  

Platforms include social media, real-time news platforms, the 24-hour news cycle, print and online publications, emerging influencers, traditional celebrities, and the conventional chase of earned media. The public relations industry is further segmented to include niche markets, including:

  • Franchise PR
  • Corporate PR
  • Franchisee PR
  • Crisis Management
  • …and others.

No matter the niche industry, the process and foundation remain the same: 

“Connect with the right message with the right people, on the right platform(s)”

For a Franchise Public Relations program to be successful, here are the three roles and their responsibilities (as we see it): the brand, the agency, and the media.

The Role of the Brand’s Team in Franchise PR

Engaged clients are critical to any successful public relations program.

Being a good client is just as important as choosing the right public relations agency for your business. 

This is a two-way street, and in the PR partnership model, both sides must bring their “A” game.

One of the most critical internal decisions a company can make when entering a new PR partnership is to assign a dedicated liaison to manage the relationship and be the day-to-day contact.

Secondly, treat the person leading your PR program as an internal team member and make sure there is a reliable, open line of communication.

The client’s liaison and the PR representative should be communicating daily. This will be particularly important during the discovery phase of the budding relationship as well as when strategies start to pay off. Bottom line: invest in the people leading your PR account.

 

The Franchise PR Agency

The PR agency sits in the driver’s seat of your overall communications program.

They will offer strategy, drive execution, and be the extension of your company that mingles with the media.

The person from the agency assigned to your account must be dedicated, creative, and understand your business, positioning, and messaging.

Not only should they know your brand, but they must monitor what your competitor brands are doing.

A good PR partner will communicate regularly, create project trackers, and continually come up with unique and exciting strategies to promote your business or service.

Many agencies play within certain niche markets. These include franchise PR agencies, corporate PR firms, crisis management agencies, and so forth.

At its core, the profession of public relations does not change much with specialization agencies. The end goal is the same: connecting with the right message, with the right people, on the right platform(s). It is more important that the person, or team, working on your account understand your goals, your message, your business, and how you can communicate and grow within the market. Making sure your PR team can creatively tell your story, believe in your brand, and approach media in innovative and interesting ways is much more meaningful than the “type” of agency you choose. Remember that agencies are made up of people, so invest in the person, or persons, leading your PR strategies and outreach.

 

The Media on Franchise Marketing

 

Today’s media is a fickle beast.

It is an ever-changing entity that requires a “finger-on-the-pulse” approach.

There are several ways to understand the ebb and flow of the media landscape today. In both roles of “brand” and “agency,” understanding your specific media playground is crucial. Media still do a great job of offering editorial calendars along with the willingness to accept creative pitches from PR personnel.

As a PR professional, relationships mean everything, and getting to know the reporters and editors covering the industry of your particular client’s business is one of the most important things you can do.

 

TopFire Media Expertise in Franchising PR

 

At TopFireMedia, we are dedicated to being one of your brand’s most prominent champions, no matter if your goal is to promote corporate PR, franchise PR, or an industry executive.

We select our clients with care while seeking beneficial partnerships with reciprocated respect and professionalism. From there, we quickly move into a partnership model once both sides have agreed to move forward.

At TopFireMedia, your account is in the hands of seasoned PR professionals with years of journalism experience. We invest our time and resources into becoming not only a brand ambassador but a media partner. Through traditional earned media, writing bylined articles and utilizing relationships with journalists across all platforms of media, our goal is to position your brand as a leader within your industry niche.

What is Local franchise Marketing? 

Breaking down the top strategies for local franchise marketing 

Marketing your franchises is one of the most important aspects of running your franchise business. Franchise marketing typically involves two separate, yet complementary efforts: national franchise marketing and local franchisee marketing. As the parent franchisor typically creates a series of national marketing efforts, this is typically done with the intention of building overall brand awareness.

So what is local franchise marketing?

Simply put, local franchise marketing involves creating local marketing campaigns based on the franchisor’s brand standards, but targeted to key market segments in local communities where franchisees are operating. This approach involves identifying target customers and segmented groups and crafting a series of impactful messages that will deeply resonate with them and ultimately cause them to patronize a franchised business. Since the most effective messaging involves multiple impressions from a variety of sources, it is crucial that companies diversify their local franchise marketing efforts to reach their target audience in multiple ways.

Additionally, franchises should identify local media outlets during this phase. Depending on the size of the community, this will involve identifying daily newspapers, weekly newspapers, lifestyle magazines, radio and television stations, and more. If a franchise is located in a large city, then identify food and beverage, lifestyle, and local event reporters, editors, and outlets as part of the research phase.

Now that you know that answer to the questions “what is local franchise marketing?” it is time to identify some specific strategies as to how to create and execute effective local franchise marketing campaigns.

Local Market Research for Local Franchise Marketing

Local market research is an important first step in creating a comprehensive marketing plan for a franchise. It’s important to identify where targeted customers live and work in the community as well as what motivates them to patronize a business. During this phase, also research local competition and identify their strengths and weaknesses so that local marketing efforts can show how the franchise offers benefits that your competitors do not.

Digital Strategies for Local Franchise Marketing

Social media is crucial for establishing a “virtual” presence in a community. Thanks to platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, franchises can create hyper-localized campaigns targeting ideal customers. A presence on social review sites such as Yelp is a must-have for restaurants, in particular, since many customers make their decisions about restaurants based on Yelp reviews. Savvy businesses  should always be sure to monitor Yelp reviews and respond to dissatisfied customers. This will demonstrate a commitment to quality customer service and show that franchises  are attentive to their guests.

Print Strategies for Local Franchise Marketing

Print marketing consists of coupons, postcards, flyers, etc. This is a way to print a logo and information about the local business and get it literally in front of targeted customers. Franchises can use direct mail or distribute printed materials to nearby businesses in the local area. Door hangers are a great way to introduce a business to a community and to offer potential customers some sort of special or discount. Print marketing also includes signage such as a grand opening banner, gift cards, and any other tangible items. Remember — the more places that the public sees a brand’s logo, the more likely that it will remain at the top of their minds!

Grassroots and Networking for Local Franchise Marketing

Word of mouth is one of the most valuable tools for a local business. Franchisees can contact other local businesses nearby and introduce themselves. The sooner the seeds are planted for this type of relationship, the more luck there will be with creating cross-marketing opportunities.

A franchise owner can simply walk in and introduce him or herself, stating, “Hi, are you the owner? My name is Joe and I am opening the new franchise restaurant three doors down from you. I thought it would be nice to meet some of my neighbors….” Franchisees may also wish to attend professional networking events such as those held by a local Chamber of Commerce. This gives them an opportunity to integrate into the local community.

As a franchised restaurant, it is important to network with large businesses in the local  community – especially if the franchise location offers catering. Many businesses regularly hold holiday parties, luncheons, and other corporate events and will be looking for a reliable, quality caterer.

Other types of grassroots efforts include offering referral bonuses or discounts, or creating localized loyalty programs if the franchisor does not already have a standardized one. Essentially, grassroots marketing includes efforts to get to know people and organizations that are specific to the community and tailoring those efforts to appealing to them in a way that only a local franchisee can.

Public Relations and Media Relations for Local Franchise Marketing

One of the best ways to get a brand name out in the community is through the media and becoming involved in community events. This involves marketing effectively through public relations initiatives such as press releases and inviting local media to cover special events. Media is most likely to cover a franchise restaurant if the owners are holding a charitable event that benefits the local community. Franchsiees should work with their franchisor or designated media agency to write a press release that highlights the franchise brand’s key features as well as benefits for the local community. Today, public relations also involves reaching out to local food and beverage bloggers as well as influencers that offer suggestions for activities and attractions in a local community. Franchise networks should identify these media outlets during the market research phase of each franchise opening.

There are also numerous opportunities for advertising on local media whether it be print, radio, or television.

It is also important to remember that new ideas can be incredibly valuable. If franchisees have an idea for local franchise marketing that they think will work well in the local community, then they  should be encouraged to share it with their franchisor contact. If you are an existing franchisor and looking to help create effective and impactful local franchise marketing strategies for your franchisees, contact TopFire Media today to learn more about the services that we provide.

What is Social Media franchise marketing?

Today, almost every person in the United States is connected to the internet. Digital technology has not only brought people from around the world closer together, but has also allowed for franchises to use the internet and social media to advertise and market to their local communities and target customers, as well as to potential franchise buyers.  Social media franchise marketing encompasses all of the activities that a franchise engages in on social media platforms including organic content and posts, paid advertising, and personal interactions. While the idea of marketing on social media may seem daunting or overwhelming at first, it is important to understand the different aspects of social media and then create effective strategies for social media franchise marketing based on your franchise’s specific marketing goals.

What is social media?

In the early 2000s, people began using the internet to connect with others who shared similar interests. In its simplest form, social media encompasses all websites, platforms, and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. The most common social media platforms today are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Over the past decade, social media has become an attractive marketing tool for franchise businesses, at various levels. It is a way to connect with potential customers as well as potential franchise buyers on a platform where they can broaden their presence in the community and in the franchise marketplace. As social media has grown, all of the major platforms began developing business-facing profiles where companies could display their brand personality, connect with their customers on a more personal level, and promote deals and specials, while also promoting their franchise offering to potential investors.

Facebook is the largest social media platform by far, boasting over 2.7 billion monthly active users as of the second quarter of 2020. Facebook allows for a myriad of posting options as well as the creation of groups, events, and business pages as well as a wide variety of engagement options for businesses. Twitter, which allows for “micro-posting” (limited, shorter content and photos) has about 68 million monthly active users in the worldwide while Instagram has about 1 billion monthly active users. Instagram is primarily a photo-sharing platform and allows users to use hashtags to interact with their followers and to search for new content that matches their interests. Other emerging social media platforms include Snapchat and TikTok.

What is Social Media Franchise Marketing and why is it Important?

Your social media strategy should directly support your franchise business objectives to grow your business, recruit franchisees, while also increasing traffic to your location(s), and to expand online brand awareness in local communities. When done right, a franchise’s presence on social media can help your business to drive sales, strengthen customer relationships, and create a committed online community. This is achieved through a twofold approach: organic and paid social media marketing efforts.

Crafting Organic Strategies for Social Media Franchise Marketing

Organic content includes original posts that will likely include some combination of text as well as photos and/or videos. Some examples of organic content include event photos, contest announcements and announcement of winners, franchise grand openings, special event announcements and recaps, product/service/menu item photos, local community involvement endeavors, holiday greetings, important announcements (weather or holiday closures, changes to hours, etc.), and customer or franchisee testimonials.

Creating Advertising Campaigns and Other Paid Strategies for Social Media Franchise Marketing

Paid social media campaigns are a great way to target local potential customers as well as potential franchise owners. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all allow you to filter by location, gender, age, interests, and other demographic characteristics when creating an ad campaign. This ensures that your paid marketing efforts are hyper-localized and hyper-targeted and that you are maximizing your marketing dollars in an effective manner.

Maintaining Your Brand Voice on Social Media

You should take care to craft your posts in a way that is in alignment with your franchise brand voice, values, and goals. The most successful franchises craft their posts in advance and then schedule them for automated posting during times that will garner the most engagement (this will vary greatly depending on the type of business and your local market). Your tone should be professional, positive, and upbeat. You should refrain from engaging in any form of communication that could reflect negatively on the company’s brand, including comments or other posts about drug or alcohol abuse, profanity, off-color humor, and other inappropriate conduct. All of your posts should be respectful of all individuals, races, religions, and cultures. You should always address the company, co-workers, customers, partners, franchisees and competitors in a respectful manner. Your graphics and visual posts should also be in alignment with your franchise brand standards with regards to color, font, logo usage, etc. Your goal is to engage your audience(s) with valuable, actionable content that makes current them feel appreciated and welcomed.

Interacting with the Public on Social Media

Many business people think that social media is a one-to-many broadcast medium, meaning that a business makes a post and it is simply disseminated to a wide audience. This is not always true. As a franchisor and as a business owner, it is vital that you take the time to listen to the people who are not just messaging you, but also posting on your page. Thank the people who check out your business and address concerns or complaints in an appropriate manner. You should also encourage customers to share user-generated content such as photos or videos of them at your locations. Social media contests are a great way to build an audience and to encourage your current customers to share your brand with their social network. The most successful business people know that social media should be about developing a loyal community that is based around your franchise brand. They also know that social media is always growing and evolving.

While specific franchise social media strategies vary based on type of franchise, market, and other specific variables, across all franchise businesses, the key to a successful franchise social media marketing strategy is creating a structured and organized system that maintains a consistent message and brand presence. You must also regularly evaluate your efforts and make modifications as necessary as well as stay abreast of new social media platforms and new ways to engage with your target audiences.

If you are a franchise executive and you are interested in maximizing the value of your social media presence, contact TopFire Media to learn more about how we can help you take your social media to the next level!