Many franchisors are surprised when they see how different franchise development marketing is from consumer marketing. Obviously, the product is different, but the legalities are too. Like everything else in franchising, there is the matter of compliance. What you can and cannot say about your franchise system is important to know, as well as where it is legally permitted to market.
Having a solid understanding of compliance is step one. Next, you will decide which methods and marketing channels to utilize within your franchise development marketing plan. Most people think they can place a PPC ad or two, create a social media page, and then sit back and wait for the leads to roll in. It’s likely to be a long wait. Developing a holistic approach to franchise development marketing is crucial to speed up lead generation and create an optimal opportunity to collect high-quality leads that convert.
Five Things to Include in Your Franchise Development Marketing Plan
- Digital Marketing
- Public Relations
- Social Media
It’s a lot to think about, which is why some franchisors seek the help of a franchise development marketing agency. Even then, all franchise development companies aren’t created equal because they may not incorporate all five strategies for the most positive outcome. Let’s take a look at each component and explore why each plays a pivotal role in franchise development marketing.
It seems self-explanatory, doesn’t it? Digital marketing is marketing done online, a kind of umbrella for all marketing that takes place in the digital world. Indeed. But the web is enormous, and there are aspects of digital marketing that are quite specific.
The sheer size of the audience you need to delve into to find your target audience is daunting. There are 307.34 million internet users in the U.S. alone, not to mention other countries if you are trying to reach international investors.
Franchise Digital Marketing Home Base
First and foremost you will need an effective, well-positioned website from which to capture and convert leads. A good franchise development plan begins on your site for top-of-funnel (TOF) reach. Here is where you will make your case for your franchise opportunity with compelling content and calls to action. You will want a user-friendly franchise website that is easy to navigate, with simple forms throughout to make it easy for a prospect to express interest.
That sounds simple, but website design – from the colors and images to the font of the text – is enough to make your visitor stay or go in a matter of seconds, and the content must be professionally written and legally compliant.
Some franchisors make the mistake of believing they can simply combine their consumer website with their franchise website. On the front end, that could makes sense, t the back end however, there is an entirely different path of digital marketing that must take place. It’s important to remember that your consumer audience and your franchise prospect audience are very different.
Public Relations Plays a Key Role in Franchise Development Marketing
Public relations may be the most forgotten part of a good franchise development marketing plan. Often, we are so focused on the instant feedback that digital marketing provides, that we forget sometimes the best things in life are worth waiting for. Digital PR can give us some results quickly once there are placements, especially compared to print publications, but placement is the tricky part.
Creating buzz for your brand isn’t as easy as it seems. You know how terrific and interesting your business is, but there is a knack to getting others to embrace the hype. Influencers aren’t easy to woo, and media professionals have hundreds of opportunities each week to choose to cover. Finding a good PR agency may be a good move for your company if your budget allows. Finding a franchise development marketing agency that also does PR is ideal.
Content Marketing and SEO
Anytime you write or post anything about your franchise opportunity online, you create content. Content tells your story, explains your offering, captures your leads. A good blog on your website showcases your industry expertise. All solid components of your company’s digital presence.
Good content only works, however, if people can find it. There are nearly 2 billion websites up and running on the world wide web. How on earth do you get the right prospects to visit yours?
SEO to the rescue! What do people do when they want to find something online? They search, using keywords, via a search engine. Search Engine Optimization is the art and skill of bringing visitors to your site through your keyword-rich content. Keywords are always changing, and it takes time and skill to collect data and tweak them as needed before finding the winning combination. Once you do, you’ll see how an excellent SEO campaign can turn organic leads into conversions.
Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) operates similarly to SEO except instead of utilizing keywords for organic search, you use them in paid search, like Pay Per Click or Google ads. A good franchise development marketing agency can research, place, and tweak a paid search campaign to find what works within your budget.
Social Media in Franchise Development Marketing
Some people think of social media as a place to socialize, not conduct business. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Think of social media as a complement to every part of your franchise digital marketing plan. The right social media platform will be where your prospective buyer hangs out. It’s here you can see what their interests are (so you can find them in other places), market to them directly both organically and through paid search, and up your PR game. Social media allows you a direct channel of communication with your audience. It’s important not to waste it.
A Holistic Approach to Franchise Development Marketing
It’s difficult to say which franchise development marketing plan is better than another because they all work together. Don’t settle for an advertising platform that won’t deliver the best leads for your brand. Choose the one (or more) channel that is best suited for your target audience. The right franchise marketing agency will be prepared to customize its approach to your needs, work within your budget, and have a proven track record of success in franchise development marketing.