Modern day franchisees are not armed with marketing degrees.
The 21st century franchise owner is too busy with day-to-day business operations to worry about whether their marketing campaign looks good or not. Today’s franchisor advertises their business as a complete package, but often lacks a comprehensive marketing strategy for both the franchisor and the franchisees.
Marketing is why customers come through the front door. If the marketing campaigns are not being utilised to their maximum potential then the customers are simply not going to come and so begin the franchise
“The franchisor marketing campaigns aren’t working”
“No one is buying the products from the catalogues”
These are all too common in the franchising industry and truthfully, they are rather easy to fix. With a little bit of effort from the franchisor’s marketing department and a few nifty tricks from field coaches, the franchisor can help manage how the franchisee executes their local marketing strategy. Here are a few of my favourite franchisor tips for getting better engagement and results for your franchisees
HAVE A PLAN:Plan everything, and I mean everything! A 12 month marketing planner set by the franchisor allows the franchisees to directly sync their local area marketing campaigns with that of the national campaigns. However, the marketing calendar isn’t just a thing to set and forget – it needs to be enforced. Christmas, Easter, EOFY, special events, celebrations and milestones all need to be included to develop a thorough week-by-week plan.
The calendar should then be used by both the franchisor and franchisees to coordinate national and local area campaigns. If the franchisor is running a Boxing Day promotion, every franchisee should be too.
In fairness, most franchise systems are already good at having a plan and preparing a budget – but for those lacking structure; a plan will provide guidance.
PROVIDE MATERIALS:The main reason why people join a franchise system is because they want support. They need a HR Help Desk, they need operational manuals, and they need help with the development and execution of marketing, including marketing material.
So then, why not provide and exceed the level of expected support to your franchisee?
It is likely your marketing department will have already put together countless national campaigns – would it be that much additional work for them to put together some basic local area templates? Definitely not, but the difference that it would make to the franchisees would be significant.
By sending out a marketing kit for each promotion, you will stop wasting the franchisees precious time with meaningless tasks, and instead let them simply print and display marketing material that is directly related to each promotion or special event, and consistent across the brand.
The key is to make it as simple as possible.
A LAM portal assists the franchisor’s marketing department in the development and distribution of local area marketing campaigns. The marketing department designs and uploads campaign material which can then be easily updated by the franchisee with no marketing expertise whatsoever.
This type of portal also allows the franchisor to protect their brand image. Using pre-approved marketing material would result in the franchisee only being able to print or publish artwork that has been approved by the marketing department.
ENGAGE THE COMMUNITY:The most successful franchisees engage with their local community. They know their customers by name; they know what is popular but most importantly their customers know about the services and products that are available.
For the franchisees that are disengaged with the local community, the franchisor needs to know the local demographic– and then pass this information on to the franchisee along with strategies as to how they can better engage.
For retail stores targeting pre-teens and teenagers, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube are the mediums to use to reach your target.
A retail store targeting home decision makers would get better audience coverage through Pinterest, radio advertising or letter box drops.
B2B products might use LinkedIn or Twitter for a targeted campaign.
Engaging the community is not a once in a blue moon event, it’s a constant onslaught of soft-selling your product and services to your target audience.
TRAINING THE FIELD COACH:Your field coaches are experienced business coaches, but they also need to have the same technological prowess as Gen-Y has today. Without the knowledge and how-to of the digital world, field coaches will not be able to help franchisees engage with their target audience.
So what can we teach the field coach that will improve the bottom-end marketing for franchisees?
1. It’s almost impossible to reach your entire following without sponsored ads.
68 per cent of Australians are on social media, and one in four people check their social media accounts more than 5 times a day. So your field coaches need to understand what the franchisee needs to do to be constantly in front of their customers.
The size of a franchisees Facebook page can vary depending on the type of franchise and location. The rule of thumb is that without sponsored content (advertising) you will only ever reach 5 per cent of your audience on any given post.
2. There is no one size fits all
CPM, PPC, CPC, CPA – there is no guaranteed method to success – each franchise, each location, each promotion is going to have different characteristics that drive what does and doesn’t work. Information as to why and when needs to be passed on to the franchisee by field coaches – so familiarise yourself with how each one works.
3. Measuring ROI
Calculating return on invest in traditional marketing is fairly simple – Profit divided by investment = ROI per cent but with social media ROI calculations tend to be a little more complex. How do you track which customers walked into the store after seeing a Facebook post? Well that’s where it gets tricky and you have trust that what you are doing is working.
In order for marketing to be successful, it is important to remember who your target audience is and how best to reach them. Unfortunately marketing, especially digital marketing, can be very hit and miss. What works for you this month, may have poor results the next month, so it’s critical that you as the franchisor are constantly in control of what is happening within your network. Your field coaches need to understand the areas in which they lack, and rectify this by getting the training needed so they can provide franchisees with information that will benefit their day-to-day business operations. When everyone across the brand is on the same page and aware of their individual responsibilities, successful campaigns will be easier to implement and are bound to see the best ROI.