Franchises make up a meaningful portion of the businesses in the US. There are around 750,000 individual franchise establishments just in America.
Of course, when most people think about franchises, they think in terms of setting up a business through an existing franchise. One of the big draws of that business model is that you get some support in terms of established practices and even marketing help.
Yet, many franchise owners find that they need a more developed franchise marketing strategy than the one they get from a franchiser. If that sounds like you, keep reading for some tips on developing a strategy for marketing your franchise business.
Review the Franchise Rules
Before you worry about marketing franchises online or digging into social media, review the franchise rules. Many franchises have very strict rules about what kind of marketing you can do. Other franchises play pretty fast and loose with marketing as long as you don’t violate a few cardinal rules.
Make sure you understand the limitation you’ll work under before you start.
The heart of online marketing for most businesses, franchise and otherwise, are their websites. That pushes you right into a discussion of SEO and franchise marketing.
The good news here is that SEO will work pretty much exactly the same way for a franchise because the search engines apply the same expectations to all websites. The tricky part is that you’ll need the technical side of your website in order. You’ll also need the same kind of keyword research, content creation, and link building that most other businesses need.
If you’re already feeling overwhelmed, you can see what third-party SEO services offer for franchises on this site.
Content for Franchise Marketing
Content for franchise marketing, such as blog posts, is especially tricky ground. If you’re going to accidentally violate your franchise rules, it’ll probably happen in your content. You also need that active flow of content to keep the search engine algorithms happy.
Make sure the staff member, third-party service, or freelancer you hire for the work understands the rules very clearly.
Like it or not, you’ll need a social media presence for your franchise. Social media is where people talk up their favorite places. It’s also a golden opportunity to interact with your customers and solve small problems before they become big problems.
Again, make sure that the person managing your social media profiles has a clear understanding of the franchise rules.
Developing Your Franchise Marketing Strategy
Like most good strategies, you should have a clear overall plan for the individual tactics you’ll use. For example, how often you’ll post new blog posts or how often you’ll interact on social media.
For your franchise marketing strategy, start with the essentials first. Get your website up and running and get the SEO locked down. If SEO leaves you feeling cold or breaking out in a cold sweat, look for a third-party company to handle it for you.
Looking for more digital marketing tips? check out the posts over in our Online Marketing category.