Franchise owners know one thing, either they are getting enough marketing support from corporate or they need to take matters into their own hands. Unfortunately, the latter is the usually the case. In today’s era of budget cut backs marketing is usually the one line item in the corporate budget with the bull’s-eye on its back. Franchisees need to take matters into their own hands and deploy the marketing strategies that Fortune 500 companies are executing.
Create An Online Presence
Most Franchisers already have a website and list down all of their franchisees. Most franchisers also restrict the franchisees to create a new website for fear of a loss of brand control. If you own a franchise and you are allowed to create a new website then create one toward marketing to your target demographic. If you already have a website and are restricted in creating a new one then see if your franchisor will allow you to create a Blog or separate landing pages. These are great alternatives to websites and can accomplish the mission of brand recognition and promotion.
Social Media Counts
Every franchise should be deploying social media and using it to their benefit on a daily basis. Think about some of these statistics concerning social media:
-Facebook has 200+ million users adding 600,000 users per day (InsideFacebook)
-LinkedIn has more than 40 million users / 12.4 unique visitors per month ( TechCrunch )
-Social Media book marketing website, Digg, receives 21 million unique visitors each month (Quantcast)
-In 2010 Twitter is projected to have 18 million users (eMarketer)
Based upon these statistics, your target market is using some form of social media. They are having conversations about every topic known to man, chances are, your franchise is being mentioned. Shouldn’t you take a part in that conversation? You can easily build value and information the marketplace about your business. Social media gives us a real-time public relations engine. Join the conversation, add value, and see leads being generated.
Just from looking at Social Media’s statistics, we know that consumers are going to the Internet to communicate. 1&1 Internet conducted research and discovered that nearly two-thirds of online shoppers carry out internet-based research about retailers before making a purchase. More confirmation that your business, be it a franchise, needs to be marketing online. From pay-per click advertising on Google, Bing or Yahoo to niche specific websites like Business.com and even Facebook online advertising, online advertising is a great way to promote your business and give it the added exposure to increase brand awareness and drive new leads.
Don’t Forget About Email Marketing
So you talk to customers every day, do you remember to ask them for their email address so you can enroll them in your monthly (or weekly) newsletter so you can send them promotional coupons? Why not? Email is the best way to take an existing customer and get them to buy more and at a higher frequency. Instead of throwing out another statistic like, the small business administration states that for every dollar spent on email marketing, you get $57 in return, I would much rather tell you a personal story. I live right outside of Washington DC and needless to say, we got pounded with snow this last month. In between snows, I received an email from my favorite wine store located about 10 minutes the road. The subject of the email said, “Beat the snow and save 20%”. I hurriedly opened up the email and thought to myself, save 20% on any wine then had in stock? Done deal! I ordered a case and saved about $100. I fell prey to email marketing, any why not? I saved money. You customers will feel the same way. So go ahead and ask for their email and start your routine email campaign.
Most franchisers will supply you with all of the corporate literature you need. But most won’t provide you with online PDF brochures that have your specific location and contact information on them. Not to worry, ask corporate if they can supply you with the graphic files and get a graphic designer to customize that corporate brochure to your specific needs. If corporate doesn’t have an online brochure then make one. It’s the perfect sales tool when someone calls you up on the phone and inquires about your services, ask for their email (see previous paragraph) and send them the online brochure with your services. Online PDF brochures are a great and inexpensive promotional tool.
Don’t Be Beholden To Anyone
Most franchises do contribute to a marketing fund as part of their franchise agreement. The help from corporate is always appreciated but assume that’s all you can do. You do have a lot of options at your fingertips to generate leads and to penetrate into existing sales channels. Look for ways to promote your brand and to spread the message that you have a product/service that needs to be bought. Let marketing be your growth engine. Use these tools and others to make you successful