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Franchise Marketing: What You Should Know for 2024

Marketing

19 Oct 2020 • 9 min read • The loomly team

Franchise Marketing: What You Should Know for 2024

Looking for franchise marketing insights? This guide will examine how franchise marketing strategies can advance your business.

Let’s keep it real — franchise marketing has its challenges. Whether you’re a current franchisee or franchisor or looking to get into the game, there’s a lot to unpack.

This guide will unveil everything you need to know to run successful franchise marketing campaigns.

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What is a franchise?

A franchise is a license that grants a franchisee access to a franchisor’s proprietary business knowledge, processes, and trademarks to sell a product or service under its brand name. In exchange for acquiring a franchise, the franchisee usually pays the franchisor an initial start-up fee plus annual licensing fees.

What is a franchisor?

A franchisor sells the right to open stores and sell products or services using its brand, expertise, and intellectual property. Becoming a franchisor is incredibly viable for already successful companies. All franchisors assume the risk that a franchise could fail.

What is a franchisee?

A franchisee is a small business owner who operates a franchise. The franchisee receives continuous guidance and support from the franchisor. The franchisee markets and sells the same brand and upholds the same standards as the original business.

What is franchise marketing?

Franchise marketing refers to any activity a franchise performs to grow its business, including social media marketing, email marketing, content marketing, SEO, pay-per-click advertising, trade shows, and more.

There are two types of franchise marketing:

  • Operational franchise marketing is any marketing activity both franchisors and franchisees do to acquire and retain customers.
  • Franchise development marketing is any marketing activity a franchisor does to acquire and retain more franchisees in new locations.

This guide will focus on operational franchise marketing rather than franchise development marketing.

Franchise marketing plans strategically drive expansion with a delicate balance of uniformity and uniqueness.

Business owners maintain consistent branding across individual franchise locations and enable respective franchise owners to engage local audiences. Franchisors and franchisees accomplish this in two ways.

The power of partnership

A successful franchise marketing plan thrives on a solid franchisor-franchisee collaboration. Franchisors establish a strong brand identity by defining the vision, values, and guidelines. Franchisees tailor these to vibe with their local crowd.

Crafting the brand experience

Digital marketing efforts power online engagement, while local events and community involvement boost loyalty and a sense of belonging.

The synergy of online and in-person tactics creates an impression that resonates with prospective customers.

Understanding the franchisee-audience connection

Franchisees embody the brand for their communities. As local brand ambassadors, they play a pivotal role in connecting the brand with its local audience:

  • Bridging the Gap: Connecting the brand directly with communities
  • Adding a Personal Touch: Enhancing the customer experience with unique approaches
  • Tailoring for Tastes: Adapting offerings to match diverse local preferences

This connection is vital for three primary reasons:

  1. Community Insight: Franchisees reflect their community.
  2. Feedback Loops: Regular customer feedback champions a listening and constant improvement culture.
  3. Enduring Resonance: This connection and understanding takes the brand-customer relationships to an extraordinary level.

Why does franchise marketing matter?

Currently, an estimated 805,000 franchises are operating in the US, showing the importance of differentiation.

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For franchise marketing to work, the franchisor and franchisee must work in tandem.

On one hand, franchisors must create a consistent brand and business model that can be replicated across different locations and owned by independent entrepreneurs. On the other hand, franchisees must maintain their brand reputation and adapt to local conditions to succeed.

If both parties can fulfill these requirements and follow the franchise marketing blueprint, they have a high chance of succeeding.

How to design and implement a successful franchise marketing campaign

Here are the necessary steps to design and implement a successful franchise marketing campaign:

  1. Set your campaign goals and budget
  2. Establish brand consistency
  3. Plan and implement the campaign
  4. Review and assess the results

Step 1. Set your campaign goals

A franchise marketing campaign has to satisfy both the franchisor and the franchisee. Most franchisees will pay for marketing in their license fee, so they expect to see some ROI for each campaign.

At this stage, it’s worth considering how you will track the campaign goals and differentiate results for each franchise location.

For example, you could consider adding UTM parameters to track the location in the campaign. This would allow franchisors to provide campaign data to franchisees, showing them where their marketing fees have been used and how it affected their bottom line.

Step 2. Establish brand consistency

Brand consistency is essential for franchise marketing to work. Consumers should have the same experience of the brand regardless of location.

For example, you should be able to walk into a Starbucks cafe in the US and the UK and experience the same brand colors and similar menu items, right down to how your beverage is prepared and served.

Franchisors need to own and coordinate this stage with a marketing brand handbook that sets out expectations for each branch. The manual should keep individual franchisees “on brand” and prevent them from “doing their own thing” in their location.

Step 3. Plan and implement the campaign

Next, you’ll need to decide which marketing channels to use at a global and local level for your campaign:

  • SEO content
  • Social media marketing
  • Email marketing
  • PPC
  • Content marketing
  • User-generated content (UGC)

Let’s look at some channels from a franchisor and franchisee perspective.

SEO content

Most SEO advice focuses on global or general techniques. But franchise marketing needs both international and local SEO if it’s to succeed.

Franchisors can use global SEO to increase the visibility and brand identity of the franchise in search results.

Franchisees can use local SEO to increase the visibility of individual franchises in search results, location pages, and online maps. It’s a vital part of local marketing:

  • In 2022, 87% of consumers used Google to evaluate local businesses.
  • 42% of consumers searching local queries click on a result in the map pack at the top of the Google SERP.
  • Brands that optimize their search visibility nearly double their visibility in the Google 3-Pack (Local Pack, Local Finder, Local Organic).

Franchisors will have to decide how they’re going to structure their website. Will they have one website with local franchisee pages, or will they have one corporate HQ site and then allow franchisees to build individual sites?

For instance, School of Rock keeps all its content on one site.

At the global level, it provides resources that are relevant to any location, such as guides for guitar, vocals, keyboards, and drums:

School of Rock guitar resources

At the local level, each location has its own subdirectory. For example, Scottsdale, Arizona, is located here: https://locations.schoolofrock.com/scottsdale.

However, if you search for “school of rock Arizona” in Google, you’ll see the local (map) pack for the three Arizona school locations:

School of Rock Arizona locations

For each franchise location, you get relevant information, including:

  • Business name, address, phone number (NAP)
  • Opening hours
  • Services on offer
  • Website link
  • Directions

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School of Rock takes this one step further with a Google My Business (GMB) listing for each school. For example, the Scottsdale listing:

School of Rock Scottsdale listing

Finally, they gather and display reviews and testimonials to boost each franchise:

School of Rock Scottsdale reviews

Social media marketing

Social media is a popular marketing channel for franchises across all industries and geographies.

The main difficulty is to ensure each franchisee follows brand and campaign guidelines. One way to overcome this is by franchisors developing a global template that franchisees adapt to their location.

A franchisor could create one central calendar with pre-approved, branded content and give access to all franchisees. From there, they could pull content into their local calendars to publish and promote in their location without any risk to brand consistency. Social media management tools like Loomly make this easy.

Consider using Facebook locations pages, ideal for franchises like shops, restaurants, dealerships, salons, and nonprofits in multiple locations. It’s a win-win for everyone:

  • Customers can find local businesses in their area.
  • Franchisors can manage all franchisee details in one convenient place.
  • Franchisees can offer localized and specific content, including ads.

Here’s how Holiday Inn uses “stores” for each hotel location:

Holiday Inn Facebook locations page

Email marketing

Marketers know that email is still one of the most effective channels to reach leads and customers. But how do franchisors control their brand?

The answer is segmentation — building and maintaining separate contact lists for individual locations and the global brand, which allows franchisees to target their leads and customers with relevant messaging.

Franchisors will also want to consider an email marketing service where they can share creative assets, such as logos, images, templates, and campaigns, with each franchisee to maintain brand consistency and allow local messaging.

Post-purchase email campaigns are also highly valuable. Sending a customized email shortly after a customer makes a purchase leads to an extremely high open rate (63.9%) and click-through rate (14.34%).

Pay-per-click advertising

Pay-per-click advertising is an excellent way to promote your brand, but you need to manage it carefully.

Franchisors can use display and search ads to promote the brand name and offerings. Maintaining and strengthening the brand helps you and your franchisees attract leads and sales.

Franchisees can customize ads to make the messaging relevant to their location and local audience. For example, you could use the location name (region/city/town) in the keywords to differentiate it from a national or international head office.

Content marketing

Content marketing is potent in fueling franchise marketing efforts. It can establish credibility, nurture trust, and resonate with your target audience in ways that truly matter.

It also allows you to continue reaching your target audience for years with evergreen content, such as recipes, how-tos, or guides.

User-generated content (UCG)

Franchisees can curate and spotlight UGC gems using a dedicated hashtag for their marketing campaigns.

You might remember Apple’s #ShotOnIphone campaign, where they shared fabulous user photos with this hashtag. It was wildly successful because Apple gave its users a platform while gaining free, organic advertisement.

Apple UGC hashtag campaign

Step 4. Review and assess the results

You should review and assess the results at the end of your campaign. If you’ve implemented the proper tracking and analytics in your marketing, you should be able to identify:

  • How many leads came from each franchise location
  • How visitors behave when they reach a location-specific page
  • What you need to improve at a global and local level for the next campaign

Benefits of building a strong franchise community

When franchisees collaborate, share insights, and learn from one another, they build a supportive community that sparks shared success.

This dynamic exchange creates a ripple effect across the entire franchise system. It produces enhanced marketing strategies, refined operational practices, and a heightened sense of brand cohesiveness.

Challenges faced in franchise marketing

As your franchise journey unfolds, it’s essential to anticipate and overcome marketing challenges that might arise.

Balancing branding brilliance with local flavor

Maintaining a consistent brand identity while allowing localized marketing approaches can be difficult. The trick lies in finding the sweet spot where both elements shine without overshadowing each other.

Review roller coaster

90% of customers make purchase decisions after reading customer reviews. Brace yourself to navigate this landscape, ensuring your franchise garners positive feedback that resonates with potential customers.

Cultural sensitivity in expansion

Be prepared to tweak your marketing strategies to suit diverse cultural nuances. What flies in one region or country might not in another.

Communication hiccups and synergy shortfalls

Creating synergy between franchisors and franchisees can be challenging. Miscommunication can muddle marketing efforts.

Overcome this by fostering open lines of communication. Work to understand each other’s perspectives and craft a cohesive marketing strategy that aligns with your shared marketing goals.

Decoding digital marketing

In the age of digital dominance, choosing the right marketing strategies can be perplexing. But with the proper guidance and a clear roadmap, you can navigate this digital landscape effectively.

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Examples of successful franchise marketing campaigns

Some of the most successful franchises in the US include restaurant and food chains like Subway, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Burger King, and Dunkin’ Donuts. Other successful franchise businesses include hotels, resorts, auto rentals, shipping companies, gyms, and cleaning companies.

Here are four examples of successful franchise marketing campaigns:

Wendy’s

Wendy’s leverages shares to garner tons of free social media advertising. They’ve built up an enormous social media presence with 3.8 million followers on X (formerly known as Twitter) and 1.1 million followers on Instagram.

Wendy’s engages in the current digital culture and embraces memes and humor. In their own words, “We like our tweets the way we like our fries: hot, crispy, and better than anyone expects from a fast food restaurant.”

Wendy's Instagram posts

Jimmy John’s

When you step into any Jimmy John’s store, the heavenly smell of fresh-baked bread greets you. It’s a small thing that makes ordering a sandwich feel like a mini adventure.

Jimmy John’s social media game is as fresh as its ingredients, with posts that make you want to grab a sandwich ASAP.

Hilton Hotels

The waitstaff at Hilton‘s restaurants are also certified mobile photographers. Trained to capture high-quality images of guests and their meals, “waitographers” bridge the gap between impeccable service and visual storytelling.

Patrons can then share glossy photos of their culinary adventures at Hilton online with hashtags like #HiltonMemories, #Waitographer, and #TasteOfHilton. Hashtags and geotags amplify these posts, generating buzz and exposure for the Hilton brand.

Allstate

Insurance brand Allstate launched their #ResolutionsAreMayhem campaign during a College Football National Championship game. Allstate encouraged viewers to prepare for disaster through viral videos featuring their Mayhem character. They also used the hashtag #ResolutionsAreMayhem on social media with content focused on making resolutions, struggling but keeping resolutions, and breaking resolutions.

Additional digital marketing strategies for franchise marketing

Franchise website optimization

Elevate your online presence through strategic website optimization. This ensures a seamless user experience that bolsters your target customers’ trust.

Online reviews and reputation management

76% of potential customers read online reviews regularly while browsing local businesses. Encourage satisfied customers to leave glowing reviews, cultivating a positive brand reputation. Address negative reviews promptly, showcasing your commitment to customer satisfaction.

Social media engagement

Four in ten working-age internet users use social media channels to research businesses and products they plan to purchase.

Forge lasting connections by actively engaging with customers on social media platforms. Responding to inquiries improves customer loyalty, increases brand awareness, and nurtures a sense of community.

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Retargeting campaigns

Utilize retargeting to recapture leads with prior interest, enhancing the likelihood of conversion.

Franchise marketing in a nutshell

Successful franchise marketing plans demand a unique approach, uniting franchisors and franchisees to safeguard brand reputation. This joint effort forms the bedrock for shared achievements and sustained expansion.

Harness marketing tools like Loomly, an industry leader in social media management, for an enhanced franchised marketing journey. Your franchise can thrive through its insights, just like these impactful Loomly success stories.

Unleash your potential with Loomly and chart your course toward franchise prosperity. Start your 15-day free trial with Loomly today!

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