Starting a new franchise could be compared to zip-lining for the first time. The experience is new and exciting, but you also have this gut-dropping feeling and countless thoughts racing through your mind right before you start.
Suddenly, you begin to ask yourself questions like, “How will I get the best franchisees to join my system? Will the new franchise locations attract a strong customer base? Am I doing the right things to ensure this business venture is a success?”
But, once you take that leap into franchising, you are on the ride of your life!
Through this “business-lining” adventure, you’ll encounter twists and turns as they relate to franchise development and marketing. Web design, pay-per-click advertising, social media, content development and public relations are just a few of the many things you’ll face when marketing your franchise. Plus, so many franchise concepts are fighting for the same thing – to attract the best franchisees and become the best in their industries. But, how can so many franchises fighting for their voices to be heard actually rise above the tree-line?
The short answer is integrated marketing. It can employ numerous tactics, including content marketing campaigns, social media advertising, and search engine remarketing. This all may sound foreign, and even intimidating, to some start-up franchisors, which is why many seek outside guidance and education to help them navigate this new field of play.
Keep in mind that, for most franchise companies, it is very easy to get lost in the fray. There is a lot of competition out there and a franchisor, as well as the system’s franchisees, have to make every effort to make a lasting impression on the public. A fully integrated marketing campaign can give a company the kind of brand recognition it needs to stand out in the crowd.
Integrated Marketing Increases Chance of Franchise Leads
Integrated marketing can help create program awareness and attract prospective franchisees to a particular brand and system – with tactics and media options varying based on whether the target audience is single-unit mom & pop owner-operators, or sophisticated, well-capitalized multi-unit investors. Services like pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and remarketing can be used to direct traffic to a system’s franchise recruiting websites and form fills, which, in turn, help to capture a digital lead. But PPC is just part of the equation; a smart franchisor knows that brand awareness and engagement is also crucial and can also influence website traffic – and this is where PR, social media, and other tactics come into play.
Integrated Marketing Generates Buzz
You want to get people talking about your company. But, they have to have something to talk about, right? Combining public relations, content marketing and social media is a key part of generating that buzz. In addition to amplifying the franchisor’s marketing initiatives, an integrated approach that includes these tools gives the company more positive media exposure, which can help in securing credibility and, ultimately, public trust.
Blogging about your company’s efforts and/or securing a thought leadership piece in the media can ensure public exposure. Also, developing press releases about new franchise locations, creating a social media contest, or sending out a monthly newsletter to your network with company news and industry insights are great ways to stir up conversations about your brand. And, of course, landing a coveted feature article about your franchise in a trade publication or national news outlet only further elevates and exposes your concept to a wider audience.
Integrated Marketing Means Creativity and Variety
Any company can distribute a press release or buy print ads. It takes creativity and thoughtful use of all the marketing tools—such as developing an interactive and mobile responsive website, delivering brand messages through social media and promoting services through mobile marketing—to really make an impact in today’s competitive franchise industry. The important thing is to start getting your message heard and your brand recognized in as many unique ways as possible in order to bring in prospective franchisees and build a strong customer base.
That “business lining” ride might feel like it will last forever as you stand at the top of the line. But when you see the other end of the rope—which I like to call “success”—you’ll definitely have a feeling of relief, as well as a reward. Much like zip-lining, fear of the unknown in franchising can be very real the first time; but after riding the line a while, you’ll be well prepared for whatever comes down the line. And when you’re armed with solid, integrated marketing strategies, you’ll be well on your way to developing a stand-out brand and system – one that ultimately will help you sell more franchises, and help your local franchisees perform better in their local markets.
About Matthew Jonas
Matthew Jonas is the President of TopFire Media, an award winning integrated public relations and digital marketing agency specializing in franchise marketing and consumer branding. Together with the leaders of iFranchise Group and Franchise Dynamics, Matthew established TopFire Media to provide a strategic and synchronized method for digital marketing in the franchise industry.
As a digital marketing strategist with over a decade of in-depth experience in SEO & PPC, social media publishing, conversion based marketing, inbound marketing, sales management, and online lead generation, Matthew has built a career dedicated to delivering an integrated marketing approach that achieves client success and long-term relationships.