New Year, New Franchise Marketing Game Plan

How to think strategically about targeting franchisee prospects

Perhaps on past New Year’s Eves, you found yourself gathered with loved ones, singing or humming that traditional song used to usher in the New Year, “Auld Lang Syne.”

But have you ever really listened to the lyrics—in particular that last verse?

And there’s a hand my trusty friend!

And give me a hand o’ thine!

And we’ll take a right good-will draught,

for auld lang syne.

I’m not here to provide a profound interpretation of this poem, written by the Scottish-born Robert Burns in the late 18th century. But, taking some creative liberties, I would like to look at the words through the lens of a franchisor making critical marketing decisions for the year ahead.

The big idea: you can’t do it all alone. When marketing your franchise, you need to ensure you are working hand-in-hand with your team, whether internal or external, to excel in this arena and generate and demonstrate real results.

But, just how should your marketing team be strategizing to get those results? To help you answer that question, here are a few essential concepts to consider when building a marketing and sales plan to capture franchisees from start to sale.

You need a strong digital presence

Franchise marketing is very different today than it was ten years ago, let alone in days of yore – i.e., the late 20th century, as the Internet was just starting to take shape. You and your team have to choose the right medium for your message, which more often than not begins on your website. Increasingly, visitors will be viewing your site from a mobile device, so you have to make sure your pages display well on smaller screens, like those on a smartphone or tablet. Additionally, they must be easy to navigate—the competition is fierce, and your audience won’t hesitate to bounce off your site to view a competitor’s offering.

But where a single strategy was once enough, now you must think in terms of the many, many different digital audiences and how best to reach them.

You need to draw people to that website

Once you and your team have built a website, use SEO strategies and PPC campaigns to make sure you’re found near the top of the list in a web search for terms relating to your franchise concept. This can be boosted by adding blogs to your site, as well as using social media channels, email and video marketing to get your concept in front of as many eyes as possible.

Once visibility is established, make use of broader public relations efforts to ensure your reputation is as controlled as is possible in today’s 24-hour, news-hungry audience. Across all platforms, it is important to make sure the message is consistent, or else you risk confusing your targeted audience and diluting your brand with unintended concepts.

You need a compelling message designed to convert franchisee prospects

After all that work getting a targeted audience to your site, now you need to actually sell them on your franchise concept! Luckily, if you and your team have made it this far, you likely have a solid pitch on your hands, so all you need now is refinement and iteration. Perfecting your sales message is not an easy process, but that’s where those extra helping hands can come in, since friends and family will be your guinea pigs for only so long.

Unfortunately, a franchisor can’t hope to effectively analyze such a complex process with a single analytical tool or procedure outlined in an article like this. But fear not: that’s what an experienced, qualified marketing team is for – whether it’s made up of colleagues or external agencies.

Do you have a trusty friend’s hand to grab as you go out and try to drum up franchisee prospects? If not, now might be the time to find that team of people you want to hold onto throughout the year ahead.

About the author:

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.

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