Buying a franchise is a great way to get ahead in business – especially when it comes to marketing:
After all, part of what drew you to the network you've decided to join will almost certainly be the strength of their brand advertising...
But, while that strength is a huge advantage for you, you can't simply skip having a franchise marketing strategy of your own.
Here are a few things to avoid when making a marketing plan for franchise businesses:
Top marketing mistakes franchises make
1) Straying too far from the parent brand
One of the major reasons to buy a franchise is to benefit from the huge exposure and national-level promotion that the best franchisors will do on your behalf:
Customers will often be visiting your store because they trust or have been alerted to the existence of your parent brand.
This makes any time that you deviate from your parent's branding – their logo, colours, well-known phrases, even the way you interact with customers – potentially a serious misstep.
Creating any kind of mental disconnect in the mind of your clients is always a bad idea:
It's for this reason most franchisors provide brand guidelines for everything from interior decorating to digital marketing for franchises under their name.
2) Not creating a local marketing plan
A smart, clearly laid-out overall brand marketing strategy is good.
However, you need to make sure that there is a plan in place for your specific area. If not, you'll need to create one – in cooperation with your parent brand if necessary.
Your location-specific online marketing should include:
- Local SEO – for franchises can be a challenge. But it will repay your time and investment ten-fold. When it comes to SEO, franchise opportunities which are worth your time will know the lay of the land.
- Local business directories – your business needs to be found on these.
- Google My Business – make sure your listing is current and correct in all details.
- Location-specific website – confirm with your parent brand to see if they will offer you a local website. The best ones almost certainly will.
3) Not managing online reviews
A huge part of franchise digital marketing is the management of online reviews you've received.
In the modern world, you simply cannot afford not to do this. Almost any prospective customer will check your reviews before buying from you.
You need to respond to positive reviews and show that you're a lively and grateful company.
If you don't know how to respond to negative reviews, it's time to teach yourself. Even a negative review can be turned into a positive PR situation if you handle it right.
Assign someone the responsibility, ensuring they follow your own and your parent brand's guidelines.
4) Ignoring social media
Not everyone has an in-depth understanding of social media. For your personal life, that's not a problem.
But unfortunately, one of the top marketing mistakes businesses make these days is to ignore social media...
Usually, because it seems like a lot of time and effort for something where the rewards aren't clear if you're not familiar with it.
A Facebook profile is pretty much the minimum you want to aim for. Depending on your business type, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and many smaller more specialist platforms may make good choices for you too.
5) Not staying cohesive
You don't want to risk missing marketing channels which might be profitable just because one channel definitely works.
This makes it important to research the right channels for your business type. Then try some of your best strategies out on them.
What's more, remember that “marketing” isn't just the advertising you put out. It can also include:
- Your store's internal décor and layout
- Your logo and brand colours
- The uniforms your team wears
- The way your team interacts with customers (online and in-person)
Avoid the franchise marketing mistakes listed here and make sure that all of your efforts create a cohesive picture in the mind of your customers.
That's how to create the most powerful brand of all.