A guide to digital marketing for franchises

If you’re a business owner, you probably know digital marketing is essential. 

And in an increasingly competitive marketplace, digital marketing helps franchises stand out from the competition. But a franchise that fails to wow potential customers with their online marketing strategy can quickly fall behind. 

Consumers are increasingly turning to digital sources to find places to frequent. That’s why having a strong web presence is critical for every business. When implemented correctly, franchises can use digital marketing to earn a better reputation, more customers, and ultimately more sales.

Luckily, getting started doesn’t have to be complicated. We’ve compiled a step-by-step digital marketing strategy guide for franchise owners. 

Here are six things you can do if you’re in charge of digital marketing for franchises.

Step 1: Decide what your franchise offers 

The first thing to consider is what unique value your franchise offers in the marketplace. Select a niche audience segment you want to target and discover their greatest need. Then, consider what expertise you have to offer that satisfies that need.

How can you go about this? It’s pretty easy - just list out who your audience is and what they’re interested in learning. For example, if you own a sports store franchise, your customers may be parents looking to enroll their kids in recreational sports for the first time - or they may be adult competitive athletes. These two groups will obviously be interested in very different content. 

Adidas China basketball example

Source: themost10

If your customers are mostly buying things for their kids, your content will be focused on helping parents navigate the challenges of enrolling their children in sports. You may create content about how to prevent injuries, or how to size equipment properly for youth. 

Next, consider your expertise. Your specialty, and your audiences’ needs, should meet where you focus your digital marketing for your franchise

As a sports store, your expertise is likely in equipment sizing or selecting the right type of products for different athletes. These topics should be the focus of your content creation efforts. 

However, you might want to consider widening your scope to include a broader range of topics. For example, if we continue with the sports store analogy, you might also research articles about the health benefits of putting children in sports, or the best ways to communicate with child athletes. This helps build trust with your audience, and position you as the brand that parents can count on to keep their kids safe. 

Step 2: Pick your channels (the more the merrier)

Gone are the days when you could simply target one platform. Now, you’ll need to create content across multiple channels to be successful. The more platforms you’re active on, the greater chance you have of your business being discovered by people in your target audience. 

Keep in mind: Different channels require different content. Long posts might be appropriate for Facebook or email, while short, punchy clips of copy are better for Twitter or Google Ads. Photos are necessary for Instagram, and video is best for YouTube. You’ll also have to decide if paid or organic advertising is best for your franchise.

Demographic composition % of leading social networks

Source: Social Media Week

Select what channels work best for your needs by considering the following factors:

  • On which platforms is your audience most active? People ages 15 to 30 use Snapchat, whereas those in their 50s like to use Facebook.

  • What content showcases your product best? A sports brand should be making visual content, whereas a tech company will likely need more copy to convey their message.

  • What resources do you have available at your disposal, and where are you willing to invest? Content needs to be executed properly in order to succeed. If you don’t have the necessary equipment or expertise, considering outsourcing help.

Tip: Create content that can be repurposed across your different channels. For example, a podcast can be turned into a video, which can be turned into an image, then a caption.

Step 3: Use video wherever possible

Video is the way of the future. 

Globally, 75% of mobile traffic will be video by 2020. And in 2016 alone, online video spending increased by 10 billion dollars. 

Globally, 75% of mobile traffic will be video by 2020

Source: HubSpot

You should know: The organic reach of sites like YouTube and TikTok are still substantially higher than the reach of strong SEO content. Therefore, it’s good practice to invest in producing high-quality videos to build your brand. At the moment, those that build their brand with video have a competitive advantage.

Tip: Instead of linking from one site to another, upload videos separately to each platform. This will help with SEO and engagement.

Step 4: Set up a funnel with email 

Once you know what type of content you’ll be producing and where you’ll put your content, you’ll want to build a funnel. 

A funnel is a way to turn people who engage with your content into customers. You can collect people’s email addresses using a form, and then send them emails based on the data you collect. 

A funnel is a way to turn people who engage with your content into customers

Source: Emma 

By testing different emails to see what works for each customer type, you can create unique customer profiles and allow data to drive what types of emails you send. 

Each email sequence can be automatically triggered by potential customer behavior.

Tip: Emma can help you build targeted messages through automated email.

Step 5: Guest posting and collaboration

To attract attention to your brand, borrow the audience of another brand by posting your content in front of their audience. This can be achieved by something called ‘guest posting.’

Whether you go on another person’s podcast, appear in a video, or write on someone’s blog, appearing as a guest is a great way to grow your audience. Pick other brands that are relevant to your audience and offer to produce content for them. Or, use influencer marketing to put your product in front of a larger number of people. 

Continuing with the sports store franchise example: This franchise might want to collaborate with a fitness influencer by paying them to promote their products.

Step 6: Go for quality, quantity, and consistency 

Finally, succeeding in digital marketing for franchises is possible only with a strategy

A content strategy keeps everything organized. It stops the temptation to randomly post on different channels at sporadic times, and concentrates resources around doing only the highest-value activities. 

A content strategy keeps everything organized. It stops the temptation to randomly post on different channels at sporadic times, and concentrates resources around doing only the highest-value activities.

Source: Content Marketing Institute

A good content strategy allows your digital marketing campaigns to have enough quantity, quality, and consistency to succeed. Too often, one or more of these three elements are disregarded, leading to the failure of any digital marketing campaign. 

If you stick to the strategy, you won’t waste resources. You’ll be able to create useful, valuable content, at scale. Ultimately, that’s what it takes to generate business from digital marketing. 

Tip: Plan with help from the experts. Your marketing strategy will become a valuable asset to your business if you invest in it.

Wrap up 

Getting started with digital marketing for franchises doesn’t have to be difficult. Follow these six steps to create your own successful strategy:

  • Decide what your franchise offers: A successful strategy revolves around great planning. Think through how you want to position your content by discovering your audiences’ greatest needs and how you can meet them.

  • Pick what channels to use: There’s a variety of available platforms, but they’re not all created equal. Pick which to use based on your audience and the type of content that works best for your brand. 

  • Incorporate video wherever possible: Video marketing is undervalued, which offers a huge opportunity to those brands willing to capitalize on it.

  • Set up a funnel: Seeing a return on investment (ROI) is only possible with an established system for turning prospects into customers. Email funnels can be highly targeted to influence customer behavior.

  • Collaborate and guest post: Collaborating with influencers or appearing as a guest in front of an established audience is a surefire way to grow your own.

  • Use a strategy: Content quality and quantity are equally important. A regular uploading schedule is necessary for success. These can only be achieved with a well-defined strategy.

Even if you’re not the most savvy digital marketer, you can use these steps to build or revamp the digital marketing strategy for your franchise, and stand apart from the competition.

Now that you know how to build a digital marketing strategy for your franchise, you’ll need the right software to help your emails succeed. Contact Emma today and see what our cost-effective tools can do for you.

About the Author

Emma Email

Emma is an email marketing platform that gives you all the tools you need to send campaigns that really connect with your subscribers. With our​​ powerful automation and personalization features, you can create and send email campaigns that reach the right customer at just the right time. It's email marketing that works for you.

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