Franchises offer the backing and support of a well-known brand – but there is so much more to operating a successful business than a name (albeit, a well-recognized one). While the franchisor has done the heavy lifting in establishing an identity and winning business model, capturing the local audience and establishing the franchise in your community is a responsibility all your own. Tragically, many franchisees fall into the trap of relying on the parent company for a business plan, marketing tactics – and ultimately – the customers. In order to steer clear of this common franchise pitfall, here are the top 5 franchise marketing mistakes to avoid at all cost.
#5 Not Taking Advantage of Corporate Marketing Funds
As a fledgling business, your brand new franchise may not have the capital for billboards or radio ads. However, your parent company probably has funds set aside for these very things. Tap into the powerful company infrastructure to kickstart your marketing efforts. Reach out to the franchise for printed marketing materials such as brochures or educational pamphlets and learn the trends for your industry and what previous promotions were successful. Wanting to try something is different is admirable, but also leverage the power behind the brand you just bought into.
#4 Not Relating to Local Community
Is there anything distinctive about your community that you can (respectfully) capitalize on? Perhaps a significant population of a religious community resides near your business and has dietary restrictions that you cater towards. Or maybe you’re located near die-hard fans of the local sports team. Use the franchise’s national marketing tools, but put a local twist on them to really establish your franchise as part of the community. Tap into regional interests for ideas on promotions, local ads, and your social media message.
#3 Ignoring Online Reviews
Online reviews are incredibly powerful in influencing consumer decisions. Taking the time to respond to bother negative and positive reviews is a great opportunity to give your franchise a personal touch and appear less like a stoic corporation. Also, if your franchise is competing with over franchises in a nearby radius, reviews can make or break your business. Nearly 49% of customers were found to skip establishments with ratings less than 4 stars. If you receive a negative online review, mitigate the damage by responding (nicely). This shows other potential customers that your business cares enough about customers to respond to individual grievances.
#2 Not Having Location-Specific (Digital) Presence
It goes without saying that one of the most important things a new business can do for themselves is to register with the (free!) local business directories. Local search is incredibly important. Start with the basics of Google Places, Google My Business, Bing, Yahoo, and Yelp. These sites make your business immediately discoverable by the public. Geolocation will automatically bring up your franchise’s location, providing free advertising by proximity without you having to learn a lick of SEO. Have location-specific digital platforms, like a website and regionally specific social media accounts, to be more discoverable by the local population. Some companies are very strict about controlling their brand’s digital presence and don’t allow for the creation of local websites or social media sites. If that is the case, optimizing what online resources you do have will be of the utmost importance.
#1 Not Having a Marketing Plan
Finally, the ultimate franchise marketing mistakes to avoid is one of the most common mistakes made: relying entirely on the parent company to supply materials, content – and at the end of the day – customers. The success of your franchise is entirely in your hands and it should be carefully planned using your intimate knowledge of your locale and client base. Tailor your message accordingly, and work towards discovering with which methods to reach them. The most effective way to ensure your message gets to your desired audience is with an SEO strategy. Is your local franchise optimized to be seen by the most relevant individuals?
If your franchise needs help navigating the digital marketing space, Next Level Marketing can be your guide. We are an elite search engine optimization agency of Google Premier Status ranking, the highest tier of Google’s partner program. Our techniques and practices have already helped hundreds of businesses around the country. You can be the next success story! Contact us to receive a free SEO audit, and take your franchise to the next level.