Operating a franchise is a big job.
From handling financial operations to taking care of customer feedback and requests, you’ve got a lot on your plate. And one of those things—whether you like it or not—is marketing.
We get it. Not everyone enjoys or understands marketing. But it’s a critical part of running any small business or operating a franchise, and it’s necessary to drive traffic and increase conversions.
We’ve put together this comprehensive marketing guide on how to develop a franchise marketing strategy. We’ll look at why you need to develop a plan, and what steps you can take to get one started. Let’s get to it.
How to develop a franchise marketing strategy
We’re not going to lie—developing a franchise marketing strategy takes a little bit of work. You’ll want to spend extra time on this because it significantly impacts your business. Truthfully, if you don’t market, how will people know about your business?
Let’s look at some data that highlights current trends in the marketing space:
Video content: Adding videos, instead of text, to your marketing plan is 50 times more likely to improve organic search results.
Local searches: For mobile users that searched locally, 50% of them went to the store within one day of their search.
Mobile users: Over 50% of people routinely open their emails from their smartphones.
Source: Really Good Emails
Mobile is an important marketing platform. Prior to starting your plan, you may want to optimize your websites and emails for mobile devices.
Now, let’s dive into the step-by-by strategy for developing a franchise marketing plan.
How to develop a franchise marketing strategy step-by-step
We designed this guide to be as simple as possible for busy franchise owners. You can make your marketing strategy as comprehensive or as simple as you like by following these steps.
1. Evaluate your target market
This is probably the most important thing you can do for your marketing plan—evaluate your target market. You absolutely want to know who you’re trying to sell to. Why?
For starters, most businesses have a set of personas that are based on their customers. This can help you segment your lists—something that’s critical to an email marketing strategy.
Do some analysis on people who’ve purchased from you in the past. To get an idea of what information you’re looking for, here are some ways email lists are commonly segmented:
Geography: You can divide your list by country, state, or even county (if you’re a local franchise). This can be especially effective if you own multiple franchises in the same area.
Age: The reality is that spending habits vary across generations. If most of your customers are millennials, you’ll want to adjust your marketing plan accordingly.
Channel: How your customer got to your website or location in the first place is an important piece of data. For example, you can present special offers for people who found you through Facebook.
The ways you can segment your lists vary, but make sure to look for things that groups of your customers have in common to guide your process. The possibilities are endless.
Once you have a complete picture of who your customers are, you can move to the next step.
2. Put together a marketing budget
You don’t necessarily have to spend a ton of money to create a comprehensive marketing plan.
To put together a marketing budget, start by figuring out where you stand with your expenses and revenue. How much can you comfortably afford to spend on marketing each month?
If you have a limited budget, that’s okay. You may need to spend a little bit of extra time rolling your sleeves up, but you can still use these relatively inexpensive marketing channels:
Email: Your list of email subscribers is one of the most lucrative pieces of marketing collateral you have. Emails can generate $38 for every $1 that you invest in the channel.
Social media: Creating social media profiles and interacting with potential customers is free. Set up accounts on all available platforms and let people know you’re ready to answer questions.
SEO: With a little bit of effort, you can use your website landing pages and blog to market your business. Figure out what keywords drive the most traffic to your store and update your site.
Putting your marketing budget toward these three channels is a good bet that you’ll have a successful marketing plan.
Okay, let’s take a look at marketing channels.
3. Narrow down your marketing channels
There are several marketing paths you can take to get your franchise noticed. They aren’t all going to have the same success rate, so you’ll need to choose the best channels for your business.
Evaluate the cost of each marketing channel, how much effort it will take for you to get it started, and how you’ll manage it once it’s up and running.
If you don’t feel comfortable with certain marketing channels, that’s just fine. Start with the channel that makes the most sense to you:
Social media marketing
Search engine optimization
After you’ve comfortably mastered one marketing channel, you can look at adding others to your plan. If you already have an email strategy, consider adding video content to it.
Now that you’ve spent time narrowing down the right channels for you, let’s get to the next step.
4. Set up a marketing calendar
This is an important step. The reality is, you’re a busy person. You have dozens of tasks to deal with already but letting marketing slide isn’t a good idea.
You may already use an online calendar—if you do, you should know how to set this up to maximize efficiency for yourself. Consider building a dedicated marketing calendar that you check daily.
If you’re preparing an email marketing plan, this is going to be the key to your success. Some pertinent things to include in your email marketing calendar are:
Subject lines: No email marketing strategy is going to work without a solid subject line. Brainstorm ideas and schedule them in your calendar.
Calls-to-action: An effective call-to-action is critical to getting conversions. Try to tie your subject line and your CTA together for maximum impact.
Keywords or topics: Forecasting the topics or keywords you need to cover in emails for the next week or so is the best way to stay on top of your email campaigns.
Try to keep this up-to-date for at least a week at a time. If you can schedule your emails, blogs, and other content out for a month, that would be even better.
Source: The Balance Small Business
Before you put the final touches on your marketing plan, there’s one more thing you can do.
5. Consider using email marketing tools
Not every franchise owner is going to be great at marketing (or even like it). That’s where marketing tools come in.
Email marketing tools, specifically, provide the most value for franchise owners. A good tool will have a drag-and-drop editor with some HTML capabilities.
But they do so much more than just allow you to craft well-designed emails. Some other features you can find in email marketing tools include:
Email marketing automation, which ensures emails are delivered when they need to be.
List segmentation, which ensures emails are delivered where they need to be.
Email analytics, which ensures you can further develop your email campaign.
Why are email marketing tools so important? Because emails drive traffic.
Wasn’t that easy? In just five simple steps, you should have the start of a solid franchise marketing strategy.
Learning how to develop a franchise marketing strategy isn’t that hard once you break it down into digestible steps. Let’s recap on the three things you need to do today:
Put together an email marketing plan to capitalize on its revenue-generating potential.
Spend some time evaluating the different marketing channels to see which is best for your business.
Look into email marketing tools that can save you time and provide optimum results.
Don’t forget to evaluate your marketing budget and see where you can make the best investments.
Looking for an email marketing tool for your franchise? Emma has a comprehensive platform that gives you freedom and flexibility to create an effective email campaign. Schedule a demo to get started.
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