Wondering how to construct a marketing plan that will get you real results?
Follow these Ten Steps to a successful franchise digital marketing strategy and make sure that you know:
What you're trying to achieve
How you're going to achieve it
Whether you've succeeded...
- Why Do I Need a Plan?
Getting the biggest bang for your buck
Do you have unlimited funds? Unlimited time? Even if you did, your need for a solid marketing strategy wouldn't completely disappear.
A good franchise online marketing plan will let you focus time and funds where they're needed most. But on top of this, it will also let you set clear goals, and - critically - figure out whether you've achieved them.
- Understanding Your Priorities
What are you trying to do?
What's your goal with your current marketing campaign? An increase in sales? Increased awareness of your brand?
Whatever it is, you should have systems that will let you know how effective your franchise marketing is at achieving your goal. There's no point throwing money at a campaign if you're not even sure it's having a beneficial effect.
That's why it's important to measure your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These could be:
- Sales growth
- LTVs (LifeTime Value of a customer)
- Website traffic
- How well your website traffic converts into leads
- Email marketing performance
The list goes on. But one thing for sure: Whatever franchise marketing you're doing, it needs to be measurable. Otherwise, how can you know when you've succeeded? Or even when your marketing is harming your company?
- Write a business summary
Know where do you stand, and where you're trying to get to
Once you've decided what your goal is, it's time to elaborate on it. But you need to be realistic. Your dream might be a multi-million pound increase in sales in a decade, but do you have the organisational capacity and potential to get there within ten years?
A properly defined assessment of the current state and financial power of your business will help you decide that. Include not only a financial assessment, but also a summary of your company values and mission statement, as well as obstacles you've overcome so far.
- Define your franchise marketing channels
Is Tweeting really going to help your business?
Maybe it is. But not every marketing channel is necessary or helpful when advertising your type of company. Where is your biggest audience? Do you know?
That's where your attention should be focused. When it comes to social media, for example:
Do you get a whole lot of likes and shares when you put up your latest post on Facebook, contrasted with a lukewarm reception of your images on Instagram?
Again, measuring your KPIs in the past - in this case indicators like your social media engagement and reach or your email marketing performance - will be key to determining which channels you should use in the future.
Building an integrated franchise online marketing plan doesn't mean you have to integrate every available channel.
- Focus your budget
Do more by doing less
Once you've chosen your channels, it's time to focus on them. This means you'll get the biggest Return On Investment possible. But it does also mean you'll have to be ruthless when it comes to where you're getting your data...
Does your CEO love Twitter? Is a board member a huge SnapChat fan? The higher-ups' likes and dislikes aren't a solid basis for planning a marketing strategy. You need verifiable figures regarding where your best audience is.
- Work as a team
Creating a workflow
Overcoming the many challenges that franchise online marketing offers means it's necessary for all of your departments to work as a team. This means your IT team, your marketing team, your SEO experts, your social media specialists, professional copywriters...
Everyone needs to work together. With clear responsibilities set out. As well as clear deadlines for when projects need to be completed by.
This means individual teams should be very clear on who's depending on the work they're doing. Is the Paid Ads team waiting on the IT design team before you're able to launch a new PPC landing page?
Situations like this make it vital to:
- Be specific with goals and deadlines
Dead means dead
When you're defining your goals in Steps 3, 4, 5 and 6, you need to be specific. What exactly are you trying to achieve?
Does your franchise marketing strategy call for 30 new clients? Are you trying to increase sales by £5000? How long are you going to give yourself to achieve those targets? A month? Six months? A year?
You need hard and fast numbers for what will constitute success for your plan. This will help you when you...
- Measure, measure, measure
And measure again...
Because there's no other way to know whether your franchise marketing strategy is having any effect at all. Compare the results that your different marketing channels are getting. Is Channel A outperforming Channel B or Channel C?
This will help you know when you need to invest more in Channel A, or actively work to improve Channel B or Channel C's performance by applying the tips on how to build a marketing strategy you'll find in Steps 1-7 above.
- Manage your risks
What does the data show you?
Measuring your data is all well and good, but have you accurately assessed what those statistics actually mean?
For example, will a new franchise you've just opened be able to instantly establish itself in new markets? Or is there likely to be an adjustment phase while you wait for organic search results to start generating business? Have you taken this into account in your assessment? Perhaps some investment in paid channels would be a wise plan during this phase.
Properly evaluating your data will make it clear how to proceed.
- Check your work
Spot-check and measure again
As an experienced businessperson you already know how important it is to not just set up a system and assume it will work as designed forever.
Some of the most common mistakes when implementing a marketing strategy include:
- Communication problems: teams working in different fields can find it very hard to work together. Make sure everyone is speaking the same "language" when it comes to talking about the same issues.
- Lack of online marketing awareness: different teams or individuals may only have a limited knowledge of effective digital marketing practices. Make sure everyone knows what they need to know.
The best solution?
You could employ or designate someone to be an Internal Communications Manager - someone who has experience in every field, and who will be able to talk to individual teams in the "language" they understand.
Another solution might be having a team of experts on hand who can react to any marketing or communication problem.
Summary - How to Build a Franchise Marketing Strategy
But whatever you choose, when it comes to how to build your online marketing strategy it's important to bear in mind that situations can change very quickly. Don't just count on things staying the same - or working out as you planned they would.
Everything comes back to measuring your data accurately within defined parameters, and then correctly assessing what that data means before acting on it.
If in doubt, getting in a little professional know-how is always a good call. Especially when the entire future of your company rests on the plans you're making.