Marketing is essential, no matter what kind of business you’re in. Whether your business is part of a national chain or a local franchise, you need good marketing. Franchise marketing, in particular, is essential to your business’ growth and success. You must connect with your community and the potential customers who work and live in your area.
With more than 750 000 franchise establishments in the US — which are outputting over $670 million — it’s of the utmost importance that you have a good strategy so you don’t get lost in the sea of local businesses already operating in your industry.
Franchise marketing isn’t always easy, so in this article, we’ll discuss how you can make sure that your efforts pay off. Without beating around the bush, let’s dive right into why you’re here: practical marketing advice!
1. Start a Referral Program
Referrals are really good for fostering personal relationships with your customers. You can ask them to refer their family and friends and give them excellent discounts, bonuses, coupons, or other awards in return.
With a good referral program, you can quickly turn your top customers into authentic brand ambassadors who act as lead generators. All that just because you reward them for bringing in more customers.
What’s more, if you approach your referral program the right way, you’ll have more returning customers. For example, you could give people higher discounts each time they return or offer a discount for every new customer they refer.
And because you’ll offer this referral bonus or award to every new customer, they’ll become returning customers who also bring leads in.
It’s safe to say referral programs are a must-have tactic for any franchise.
2. Host In-Store Events
In-store events can be a fantastic way to introduce your franchise to your community. They are also an excellent way to build relationships with your customers and community, build customer loyalty, and broaden your brand reach.
Of course, your event needs to be planned well, or it won’t go as brilliantly as expected. Set realistic goals for your event, and plan a budget that you will stick to. There are many ideas on what to do for an event, and your own creativity and imagination are your limit.
Themed events are good and can pull your event together in a way that makes it much more cohesive. Use the seasons or local festivities to create in-store events that appeal to your community. For example, if you’re in an area with a watermelon festival every year, tie it in with your event. Or, you can participate in a local trade show or market.
Ensure you don’t force the themes, though, because people will be able to tell that it’s nothing more than a marketing gimmick. Be sincere and authentic, and your community will love you for it.
You can also host exclusive events reserved only for a specific group. For example, if you sell clothes, hold a “ladies’ night” and sell while serving delicious drinks and snacks. Alternatively, if you sell beverages, hold a games night and have a trivia contest while serving drinks.
You don’t need to hold your event in person — hybrid events are increasingly popular and accessible with a bit of planning.
3. Donate to Local Causes
Getting involved with your community means playing a role in the local causes that lie close to the community’s hearts. These days, people are much more concerned with businesses’ role in their communities regarding charity, so it’s always a good idea to donate to local causes.
When your customers see you supporting their local causes, they will think more of your brand. They will also get to see the people behind the name and logo of your franchise. Consumers want to see brands that care about the community around them rather than distant and isolated companies.
You can also show that you’re part of the community and that you care by participating in local events. Support the area’s sports teams, show interest in the schools, and become active in events that bring awareness to problems shared by the community.
Being part of the community in such a direct way can also grow your relationship with your customers, making them want to support you over an uninvolved competitor.
4. Prioritize Local SEO
You probably expected SEO to be mentioned somewhere in this article — it is one of the biggest and most important factors in digital marketing, after all. Local SEO is more focused and better suited to franchises that serve an area rather than global customers.
You’re competing with local companies, so local SEO is what you need to do right. There are many ways to approach this form of marketing, including using location tags on social media platforms. These tags make it easier for your customers to find you on Instagram, Facebook, and other platforms.
You should optimize your website for your local customers and their desired experiences. For example, you can use infographics and images to boost your SERP (search engine results pages) ranking by making your website more engaging.
You can even connect with your local social media influencers if you’re lucky to have some living close by. Together, you can host special events and promote your franchise on social media. Or, you can try one of these giveaway ideas:
- A hashtag contest
- A countdown timer giveaway
- A referral giveaway
- A coupon-based giveaway
- An Art competition
5. Offer Combo Deals for Groups
Think about the last combo deal you saw — you were tempted, weren’t you? Combo deals are perfect for local marketing and are an effective way to attract your audience. It doesn’t matter what your industry is; giving people more than they’d bargained for will always make them happy.
Combo deals can even persuade customers into buying more than they planned because of the better deal they’re getting. You can even make a thing of it and choose specific days to sell these combos. So, for example, take the date when you first opened your shop and make it an anniversary combo deal.
Or have special game days where people can get combos if they meet specific requirements. You can be very creative with this strategy and let your customers have fun.
If your franchise is heavily family-orientated, maybe consider doing family combo deals that apply only to families of the community. This can be a bit restrictive, though, so plan it carefully.
6. Use Geotags and Local Hashtags
Geotags are available on social media platforms like Instagram. They can take your content and bring it in front of the loyal eyes that need to see it. Geotags are location tags that are added to photos on the platform.
By adding geotags to your images, you add them to a photo map displaying their location. That way, anyone looking for your kind of products or services in your area is more likely to find you online.
Hashtags are another great idea to attract local customers. Use them correctly, and your engagement with your local audience will skyrocket. The best hashtags include area names, street names, and local references.
Of course, you need to post your content at the right time, or it may not be as effective as you’d hoped.
The best time depends on what platform you’re using. For example, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are the best days for Facebook, and posting after 8 PM will have great results. Research the best times for your goals so you won’t be disappointed when your efforts don’t pay off.
Consider using many different types of posts as well. We don’t have time to dive too deep into this, but if you’re interested in Facebook as a platform, check out this article.
7. Try Multichannel Marketing
Multichannel marketing is highly effective because people are active on more than one channel, and you’ll be able to reach them in more ways. With that said, it can be challenging to get it right, so it’s worth spending a reasonable amount of time and effort on fine-tuning your strategy.
You need to create and maintain one single view of your customer base on all the channels you use, whether it’s social media marketing, print ads, email marketing, or all of them. Then, you need to create customer experiences that are consistent on all these various channels.
Using chatbots is also a good idea because it gives you a way to keep your audience engaged and improve customer service. By giving your customers multiple ways of contacting your franchise’s customer service, you improve how they feel about your brand.
Note that there are many different chatbot tools, so make sure you use a high-quality option that uses the latest technology and can be customized as you see fit.
8. Engage Customers Via Mobile
If you’re not reaching your customers on their mobiles, you’re missing out on some serious marketing potential. People spend hours on their phones, giving companies a great opportunity to engage with them. According to Semrush, in America alone, ad spending for mobiles was over $598 million, and this number is expected to grow significantly in the coming years.
You can use SMS marketing to reach your audience and remind them of specials run by your franchise, competitions that are currently ongoing, etc. Company apps can also be a great way to promote your franchise if feasible, and mobile bookings apps are fantastic for improving customer experiences.
You can also send out push notifications to your customers and community, as long as you don’t annoy or frustrate them. Find a good balance of when to send notifications and what to use them for.
There are many ways to engage your customers via their mobiles, and sometimes something unique to your franchise will make a better impression than following typical marketing ideas. Be creative!
9. Segment Your Email List by Customer Niche
Email marketing is another highly effective strategy that can work better than many local business owners realize. To nail this strategy, you need to build a customer email list and then segment it so you can send relevant and valuable emails to them. Use customer niche to determine the segments you want to work with.
For example, you can send emails to new customers to welcome them and let them get to know your franchise. For loyal customers, you can send emails thanking them for their support and maybe giving them rewards in the form of discounts.
Build different segments based on different criteria and market accordingly. Sending mass emails to each segment will have great results, but only if you do it correctly.
Your emails need to be personalized and well-written, and every customer must feel special even when they’re receiving one of many emails you’re sending out. Well-planned personalization strategies can see your sales increase by 19% on average, so it’s well worth the effort.
10. Offer Coupons
Coupons can be a brilliant way to convince uncertain customers to go ahead and buy from your franchise. They are used by almost every small business in one form or another because they work.
There is one catch, though. You need a strong sales pitch to ensure your coupons are interesting and alluring enough to attract your customers. A good sales pitch can convey the value of your offer effectively and gets your potential customers one step closer to taking that final step and buying. If you are looking for inspiration, look at this sales pitch from Hipmunk:
As long as you keep your customer’s objectives in mind, use emotion well, and keep it to the point, your sales pitch for your coupons should be just fine. Coupons don’t have to be just about saving a few bucks on a purchase; you can be creative with them as well.
And remember — scarcity sells, so make them limited in some way. Don’t have coupons every week. It’s all about finding the perfect balance.
Entice Your Customers with Brilliant Franchise Marketing
Now that you’ve read this article, you have the knowledge to build a remarkable marketing strategy.
Remember that your franchise needs its local community to grow, so make sure your community needs you back. The pen is in your hands now; what will your strategy look like?