Marketing Your Franchise Like It's Your Business: Six Tactics for Increasing Visibility and Market Share

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Opening a franchise can offer the best of both worlds—the ability to run with a turnkey business concept while incorporating unique elements to make it your own.

Among the easiest ways to put a custom touch on a franchise business is to implement a localized marketing effort. After signing on with a franchise, owners are typically provided with marketing framework to set themselves up for success. This may entail everything from social media guidelines to e-newsletter templates and timely sales promotions to event plans. Some brands will offer greater flexibility and opportunities for exploration in this area than others.

One thing’s certain: Just as a franchisee is expected to uphold the specific parameters of the franchisor’s business model, it’s equally important to put a consistent foot forward with marketing.

It’s the power of a dedicated and well-planned program that pays the biggest dividends—drips and drabs simply won’t add up.

Both franchisors and franchisees may face limited time and staff resources to allocate toward marketing, which can lead to a “we’ll do it as we get to it” mentality.

Are you concerned about leaving potential customers behind? It may be time to pull in a partner. The Approach team has worked with global QSR franchises, health service providers and even local chapters of national nonprofit organizations to attract loyal local supporters.

And while every single company is different, there are several tactics franchise businesses can tailor to increase their visibility, market share and customer trial:

  1. Customize
    Marketing needs can vary greatly based on geography, competition and business goals in addition to local challenges like nearby construction. Don’t make the mistake of “copying and pasting” a one-size-fits-all program across locations. We have implemented drastically different campaigns for each location of the same franchise–even within the same city.
     
  2. Get Social
    If you’re able to manage Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter or other social media profiles specific to your business and location, these channels are the easiest ways to attract and engage with customers. You can get quite creative. But, social media is so much more than an occasional post. It’s important to create a brand voice, style and editorial calendar to dictate what you post and when. Particularly on Facebook, where organic page content receives as little as 1–2 percent reach, it’s also a good idea to activate a paid advertising campaign where your strongest content is carefully targeted to an age, location and interest-specific audience.
     
  3. Explore Strategic Partnerships
    Meet your potential customers where they are. And, that means putting thought into where you can find them. Is it at a nearby business? An event or shopping center? If so, look for ways to get your brand involved. Can you cross-promote an offer with a like-minded business to drive traffic between locations? Sponsor a booth at an expo or author an informative article for a local website about the benefits of your business? Keep your brand top of mind by being in obvious and not-so-obvious places.
     
  4. Find Your Influencers
    Word of mouth is by far the strongest marketing tool. Research shows we trust influencers nearly as much as our own friends and family. Influencers–and more specifically the highly-trusted “micro influencers” who have between 1,000–10,000 social media followers–serve as a great resource for sharable content, authentic recommendations and reviews. Look for ways to rally your biggest fans and turn them into raving brand ambassadors.
     
  5. Pursue Earned Media
    Articles in magazines or newspapers (both in print and online) along with mentions on TV or radio stations also rank highly in trust value. There are many ways to convey your story to the media whether it be through an opening, new product or service or a philanthropic initiative. This coverage can be used in multiple ways once it appears – on a website, used for social media advertising and with a sales team, to name a few.
     
  6. Prepare for the Unexpected
    While not necessarily a proactive marketing tactic, every business benefits by planning ahead of unexpected safety, personnel or customer issues. This way, you’ll have an approved playbook your team can turn to during a time-sensitive situation.

If this all sounds valuable but presents a challenge to execute, enlisting a strategic marketing partner can help you. We specialize in developing plans that accomplish these goals while alleviating a franchise owner’s packed schedule.

Read one of our latest success stories to discover how a custom-designed program delivered flavorful coffee into the hands of a new audience.