As the franchise marketing industry expects a full rebound following the Coronavirus scare of 2020, many Americans are expected to be looking for new business opportunities, so, this the right moment to work in your brand new Franchise Marketing Strategy
With literally thousands of franchise options to choose from including some very well-established multi-billion dollar brands, emerging franchisors may find the prospect of competing with these global giants a daunting one.
However, emerging franchisors are going to find themselves in a very unique position- and one that with the right strategies in place, could ultimately work to their benefit as the franchise industry, like the world, resets itself and enters a new reality.
The following are some steps that emerging franchisors can take as they develop a franchise marketing plan:
Build a Brand and a System as a part of your Franchise Marketing Strategy
One of the most challenging aspects when it comes to strategy to franchise emerging brands is that franchisors must develop their own brand while simultaneously developing a traditional franchise system and network.
Emerging franchisors have this flexibility and opportunity to make adjustments to both their national franchise branding efforts while also refining and perfecting their franchise system.
Whereas large franchisors might sink all of their money into a major series of national ad campaigns that could quickly become redundant, emerging franchisors have more flexibility when it comes to marketing to both potential franchisees as well as brand consumers. When compared to larger brands, a smaller emerging brand is more agile and better able to respond to market changes, competitor actions, and other external events and to adjust their franchise marketing strategy as necessary.
Get Lean, Then Market
Big franchisors often have complex (and costly) systems in place.
It’s harder to change the system for a franchise brand with a thousand units. It’s far easier for a franchise system with less than ten units to be lean.
Emerging franchisors have a marketing opportunity to craft and demonstrate their lean and efficient systems, highlight low cost startup prices, and tout the financial benefits that larger brands are not able to offer. This is a crucial franchise marketing strategy in post-recession times.
Adapt, Improvise, and Build
What does the new market want? A potential franchisee is likely looking for a strong brand and a proven system, but also wants one that is open to adapting to new market realities and consumer demands.
For example, a national stand-alone quick service restaurant may not be able to incorporate a new in-demand brand feature such as online order and home delivery into their existing technology as easily as a new franchisor could. It is also easier for emerging franchisors to make system-wide changes and improvements with just five franchisees than with 500.
Franchise market Analysis: Assess the Competition
Emerging franchisors have the benefit of assessing what larger franchise brands in their industry are doing well- and where they can make improvements.
Emerging franchisors should conduct a franchise SWOT analysis of each of the major competitors in their space to see where improvements can be made. In addition to assessing their competitors’ products, services, pricing, and systems, emerging franchisors should assess their competition with regards to digital marketing strategy, grassroots marketing efforts, website content, SEO strategy, public relations campaigns and response measures, and overall brand image.
This information should help guide the emerging franchisor’s branding and franchise marketing strategy. This may seem like a daunting task, so emerging franchisors often choose work with experienced franchise marketing experts to craft such plans.
Capitalize on PR Opportunities
Now more than ever, the media will be looking for positive stories- especially ones that are centered around the economic growth of smaller businesses.
As an emerging franchisor, this is the time to tell your story- whether it’s about a new location opening, a special event, a charity endeavor, or a unique product or service.
The International Franchise Association points out that a steady stream of “good news” about your franchise and the success of your franchisees will go a long way when franchise prospects begin their research.
In the months to come, franchisees (like the general public) will want to see “good news” more than ever before. Aligning your franchise brand with “good news” is crucial when attracting new franchisees since the PR pieces will be some of the first results returned when they begin to search your franchise brand.
Be sure to not limit yourself to local media and to continue to seek out PR opportunities in national media as well as trade and industry publications.
Rally The Troops into your franchise marketing strategy
Word of mouth is one of the most cost-effective ways to market your emerging franchise. One way to encourage others to spread the word about your franchise is by offering referral incentives to anyone who refers a lead that closes.
This marketing strategy is particularly effective because people are incentivized by financial rewards and the lead will likely learn about your franchise from a trusted family member, friend, or colleague, thus immediately establishing some level of legitimacy.
Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork
In the recent crisis, people learned the importance of teamwork. In larger franchise systems, franchisees are often just viewed as a number.
Emerging franchisors should emphasize the important role that franchisees will play within the system as a whole. Emerging franchisors should highlight that they have the time, ability, and manpower to listen to their franchisees and to incorporate their feedback into system wide improvements.
In a volatile and uncertain economy, franchisees (like most people) want to feel secure.
The most obvious way to communicate financial security is by demonstrating strong financials and an in-demand product or service.
However, people also feel secure when they feel included. By letting potential franchisees know that their ideas will hold value with the franchisor before they have even signed, it is communicating to them the idea that they will be involved in the system.