10 nailing strategies in franchise marketing & advertising

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An outdoor digital signage advertises a franchise restaurant business
29

Jul

Admit it, folks!

The concept of franchise marketing has had businesses scratching their heads for the longest time. Nah! It isn’t because they are unaware of the best marketing channels for their businesses but a conception that franchise advertising is the hardest nut to crack!

Now, that’s perhaps the biggest misconception!

I’m here to tell you ten franchise marketing and advertising ideas that got to be the wind beneath your brand wings, but before that, let’s take a look at what franchise marketing means.

What is Franchise Marketing?

A Randy's donuts outlet shows a large donut sign mounted atop the building
Image: LA Times

Franchise marketing broadly refers to strategies undertaken to identify and attract customers and franchisees who might be interested in what you do. It helps target people who are not just intending to make a purchase but also those looking to be an investor in your franchise, therefore, needing a marketing plan that is consistent and easy to replicate.

Franchise-focused marketing is beneficial since franchisees willing to get on board don’t need to chalk out a separate marketing plan, instead following a proven idea that helps generate profits faster.

Franchise marketing ideas for businesses: Offline & Online

Now that we have an idea about franchise marketing, the next big question is how to market a franchise? First, you must build a plan that for both online and offline channels showcasing your values as a brand.

How to do offline marketing for franchises?

Franchise businesses are typically spread across several locations, with the franchisor running the show. That’s why franchise marketing and advertising should preferably be done on digital signage platforms.

Since it is impossible to be physically present at every customer touchpoint, the franchisor needs a central signage content management system (CMS) to monitor everything remotely.

A high-yielding way to cash in on digital signage at your franchise stores is introducing screens at various points of purchase like product shelves, PoS or checkout areas. Compelling content on your in-store displays stir users to run in for a purchase (even when they did not intend to).

A PoS display at a franchise store advertises 50% discount on products for the Easter Sale

Ever noticed the screens displaying the menu alongside add-ons while walking into KFC? Or a Marriott hotel showing customer ratings at the reception? That is what digital signage means for your business: a focal point where customers see all your marketing communications and take actions.

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How to promote a franchise business via online marketing?

When it comes to promoting your franchise online, social media and website marketing should be your prime areas of focus.

Your website is often the first point of contact with a potential customer or a franchisee. It’s your e-shop to highlight who your brand is. Make sure your franchise logo and tagline are visible across all online platforms, and there are no errors in any information you choose to give out!

Marketing your franchise online will also help you understand your audience’s behavioral patterns and how the local market might respond to your products. This is essential in determining which regions you’re bound to perform well in and what to avoid.

Creating your franchise digital marketing plan vis-a-vis franchisee locations

This is an indispensable part of understanding your target audience, and franchise social media marketing is exactly what helps you understand this. Using personalized ads hits the right chords with the locals and identifies what suits their needs.

Using analytics powered by Facebook, you can find the regions where customers are most engaged with your products.

A local franchisee that understands people’s needs is not just the perfect brand ambassador to your target customers but also a selling point to more franchisees in the region. You should always keep your franchisees aware of your franchise marketing moves.

10 bang-on franchise marketing strategies to keep ROI high

When managing a brand with the association of third parties, a solid marketing strategy must be clearly outlined to all the stakeholders. Remember these ten essential things while developing your franchise marketing and advertising plan.

1. Maintain brand consistency throughout marketing channels

3 Starbucks cups with 3 different drinks show the same Starbucks logo.
Image source: Business insider

Perhaps the most important aspect of franchise marketing is ensuring brand consistency across all marketing channels. Be it online or offline, keeping communication lines clear and open is indispensable for creating brand consistency. Your franchisees should feel free to reach out to you in case of doubts while formulating marketing strategies for their franchise business.

Another critical factor in maintaining brand consistency is providing franchisees access to the franchisor’s assets like logos, images, fonts, and colors.

2. Keep an eye on local SEO: don’t forget Google My Business

The Google My Business account of Miley's franchise shows all details like address, contact number, popular time, open hours.

Focusing on local SEO refers to optimizing your website for a specific region.

Suppose you own a restaurant franchise in Los Angeles and want people to discover you. So, you would eye on ranking yourself when a user searches ‘best restaurants in LA’ or ’top diners in California.’

Registering your franchise business with Google Your Business (GMB) is the first step to penetrating a local market. When you highlight your business details like what you do and the areas in a particular region you service, location business markups will help Google identify you as a local business and rank you in your area(s) of service.

3. Display online reviews on offline marketing platforms

A clothing store displaying happy customer reivews on the digital display screen avilable at the store.

Several resources have shown that buyers like to check product reviews, brand ratings, and customer feedback before making a purchase.

Now, most of your competitors will make the mistake of leaving those online reviews online. This is your vantage point. You should bring your online reviews in front of your store customers using the store TVs or digital shelf displays.

Your digital display software may already have Google Reviews or Yelp app integrations; it makes your work 10X faster. You can sensibly place these reviews near the product shelves to influence the buyer’s decisions.

4. Design content based on audience

A large-scale franchise brand has to overcome a lot of cultural challenges to penetrate the local markets of different countries. Your pre-launch market survey should give you intelligence on the type of content the potential customers might prefer.

Accordingly, you can design your marketing content in ways like:

  • Creating multilingual advertising and marketing content:

    The global cafe franchise Starbucks is a great case study in this regard. Here’s how the Starbucks website looks for the Japanese audience.

    The Starbucks website shows all promotional content in Japanese for the Japan customers.
  • Modifying your products based on the taste of the local people:

    In India, 39% of the population are vegetarian, and 81% limit meat in their diet. Only 7.35% of the population consumes beef. This data contrasts that of the home base of McDonald’s, where the annual meat consumption amounted to 27.3 billion pounds in 2019. So what did McDonald’s do? They introduced a range of veg-only burgers and meals and bid farewell to beef and pork on their menus.

    McDonald's menu for India has veg burgers and no beef meals.
  • Understanding what is considered profane and indecent in a culture:

    Cultural appropriation is a huge mistake many brands make, especially when trying to market themselves in a new country. More often, this happens due to a lack of proper cultural research and the lack of involvement of local strategists. In 2018, clothing brand H&M faced severe backlash when they put an African-American child model wearing a hoodie with the message “Coolest Monkey in The Jungle.” Such tone-deaf content can do unimaginable damage to your business.



  • Identify what the culture celebrates:

    Again, taking the example of India, Thanksgiving is not widely celebrated in India. So, Thanksgiving-special messages may not resonate among your Indian customers. Instead, a warm Diwali ad will definitely work the charm. Have a look at this Diwali-special ad by McDonald’s for the Indian audience:



5. Do community based franchise marketing

Well, let me clear this up for you.

A community does not always mean people from the same region but a network of people who might bond over something they share a common interest.

Let’s take the example of the Canada-based retail brand Lululemon. Lululemon’s strategy combines its made-for-fitness product philosophy with actual real-life fitness programs to build a community of loyal customers who are health-conscious and interested in athletics.

Lululemon's website shows their local collaborators for community-based marketing

6. Prioritize social media marketing

The Instagram page of the franchise brand 7-eleven shows consistent social media marketing efforts and a follower count of 882K

For retail brands, including franchises, the success of your social media marketing can often be a decisive factor in the overall franchise marketing success.

According to Statista, social media marketing activities brought in 60% more sales and grew business partnerships by over 50%. An advertisement on Facebook or LinkedIn can not just ring in customers but also expand your franchise business by bringing in more partners.

7. Check if your website is mobile-friendly

This franchise marketing tip is essential (because not everyone is running around with a PC)! Unless your franchisees and buyers can access your site from anywhere and everywhere, they’ll lose interest in your brand. And once disinterested, they are less likely to ever find out what you have on offer.

Do you want to find out if your site is mobile-friendly? Then run a quick test right here.

8. Be where your audience is…always!

A bus stop digital signage shows an advertising that says Franchise opportunities are available.

It goes without saying!

Follow your audiences’ footsteps and see which touchpoint generates the maximum brand engagement (yep, a franchise digital marketing plan is handy for discovering this the fastest)! Once you know where your audience is, get to them. Reach out, build connections, and get your groundwork done.

Quick Tip: Get the right people onboard. Many franchisees might be interested in your business, but you have to identify who understands your vision for the best! Look for franchisees who share the same core values!

9. Don’t ignore word-of-mouth marketing

You’re mistaken if you think word-of-mouth is a completely out-of-place idea in today’s digital world. So, what does word-of-mouth marketing entail?

It can be simple but highly effective things like telling your friend about the tastiest taco you had or putting up an online review of a holiday resort you just for your summer vacation. It can also be vlogging or blogging about a product or service you liked. Word-of-mouth marketing is anytime your customers voluntarily promote your brand to their peers.

10. Come up with a unique email marketing plan

A recent study discovered that emails are 40x more effective at generating traffic than any social media platform. So if your franchise isn’t sending out emails to stay in touch and connect with current and potential customers, you are missing out on some attractive revenue.

And you know what matters the most here? Sending out emails according to the region, season, and culture.

Say the weather in Paris is scorching right now, and you are offering a Fresh Mint Choco Punch ice cream that’s both delicious and refreshing.

Your franchise in Melbourne isn’t doing the same since it’s relatively cold, and people would not prefer something like that. Sure, your corporate team can send out an email meant for the masses, but with a tailor made (aka franchise-specific) message, you would grab more attention.

Parting words

Franchise marketing is an ever-evolving area; you see something today, and another idea is demanding your attention the next day! But what remains the same are the fundamentals.

If you are new to the world of franchises, the most important thing you need to do is understand your metrics and audience. Set realistic goals and see how they are working out. For when running a franchise, remember you are one tree with several branches, and consistency is what bears you fruits.

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Shivangi Chatterjee

Shivangi writes for Pickcel. She consumes knowledge on the world of business & marketing at the same rate she consumes her cups of coffee. When she is not writing, you will find her reading books, grooving to music or admiring art.

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