Digital Marketing for Franchises:
Your Complete Guide
With the advent of the internet and countless digital platforms, many enterprises and multi location businesses are investing in digital marketing and advertising campaigns to maintain consistent growth.
As any franchise owner knows, operating a successful enterprise business is one thing – but being able to duplicate the brand success across demographics is another challenge entirely.
As the franchising landscape gets more competitive day by day, enterprise business owners need to develop coherent franchise marketing tactics to effectively convey a unified brand message across locations and connect with their target audience.
With franchise marketing, however, everything from lead generation and content marketing to social media marketing and reputation management are more complicated than marketing a single-premise store.
When developing digital marketing strategies for franchises, there needs to be a balance between the marketing efforts for the parent company (franchisor) and the visibility of individual locations (franchisees). If individual locations do not have a robust brand strategy that aligns with the enterprise marketing plan, franchisees will not be visible in the markets they serve.”
— Jimi Gibson, Thrive’s Director of Operations
Fragmented digital marketing strategies for franchises could result in misaligned priorities, mixed brand messages and an inaccurate audience-targeting approach. Together, these increase enterprise marketing costs without producing profitable results across entities.
So, how do you achieve and maintain brand consistency across your franchise network? Optimize your franchise digital marketing strategy and gain control of your market.
This franchise marketing guide explores the major challenges in franchise digital marketing and the best practices to help you structure coherent digital marketing strategies for franchises that propel maximum brand growth.
What Is Franchise Marketing?
Franchise marketing or enterprise marketing is the practice of using various marketing tactics, including commercial advertising, digital marketing, radio advertising and public relations, to raise brand awareness, maintain brand equity and drive revenue across franchisees.
With the growth of technology and the increasing number of consumers and stakeholders relying on digital platforms to gather information and find local businesses, the majority of multi location businesses have shifted their focus to digital marketing and franchise advertising to strengthen their enterprise marketing system and support franchise development.
Does your enterprise business follow a detailed, data-driven franchise marketing guide to drive your enterprise business’s online marketing efforts? Learn the ropes of online marketing for franchises to reach interested franchise leads and achieve your enterprise marketing management goals.
Quick Definition of Terms
Enterprise: A company or organization that consists of 250 or more employees working together to achieve a common goal. An enterprise business supports a growing network of affiliates, local marketers and franchisees.
Franchise: A strategic partnership between a franchisor and franchisee, wherein the franchisees gain access to the franchisor’s business system in exchange for money or personal labor.
Franchisor: The parent company that sells the right to use its brand name and business system.
Franchisee: An entity that buys the right to sell the franchisor’s products or services under an existing business model and trademark.
Franchising: A form of marketing and distribution in which the franchisor grants the franchisee the right to use its business system (i.e., branding, trademarks, etc.) in selling a product or service. Franchisees are bound to a partnership agreement with the franchisor for a defined period.
Why Does Enterprise Digital
While traditional public relations and marketing methods may bring in a trickle of deals for your enterprise business, enterprise digital marketing offers an easier way to facilitate enterprise marketing management, reach a global marketplace and improve your local marketing efforts.
Online marketing for franchises allows you to:
- Become more accessible to your target audience
- Track the progress of your marketing efforts
- Leverage various digital platforms to achieve goals
- Generate targeted franchise leads
- Personalize audience experiences
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- Create and maintain brand equity
- Implement strategic budgeting
- Launch franchise advertising campaigns faster
- Gather advanced campaign analytics
- Facilitate 24/7 local marketing
- Save time, money and resources
As long as your franchise has an online presence, your target audience will find you. But, more importantly, a trusted franchise marketing agency can help you connect with the right market segments and increase your profit margins as you expand your business.
Tackle Your Franchise Marketing Hurdles Head On
and Ensure Your Brand’s Continued Expansion
No matter the size of your enterprise business, a strong franchise lead generation and marketing strategy is key to build your customer base and drive sales and revenue. Digital marketing for franchises, however, is not an easy task.
The enterprise digital marketing realm is plagued with new and recurring challenges that, when left unresolved, can not only hinder your brand’s online growth but also damage your enterprise business’s reputation.
Franchise strategy success requires hands-on management and planning to overcome these marketing challenges. More importantly, you must effectively split your time and effort between executing an enterprise marketing plan and supporting individual franchisees to employ a winning brand strategy that expands your domestic market.
Challenges and Solutions
As enterprise businesses continue to expand, maintaining brand compliance and ensuring successful implementation of franchise marketing strategy across affiliates also become more challenging. Tim Clarke, Rize Reviews’ senior reputation manager, said that, inevitably, some businesses might not be on board with adopting an enterprise marketing strategy – more people involved always leads to more challenges.
To combat these challenges, the first step is creating a definitive enterprise marketing guide that tackles each franchise marketing hurdle and outlines the best practices in developing and launching a franchise marketing strategy.
6 Biggest Enterprise Marketing Hurdles
and How To Overcome Them:
Lack of Understanding of Franchise Marketing Demands
According to Gibson, challenges can occur when the balance between leveraging the power of the franchisor and managing each location is not achieved.
Franchisors take the lead on developing and executing a marketing strategy to promote the entire brand and ensure consistent messaging and brand offers across franchisees. Some marketers, however, are not fully committed to implementing a local franchise digital marketing strategy. Additionally, some franchisees tend to depend solely on the enterprise business to handle their franchise marketing campaign.
Digital marketing for franchises requires the cooperation of all entities to achieve success. “It seems like it should be ‘cookie-cutter,’ but each location is often very different in its strategies, promos offered, even services offered,” said Lauren Holland, Thrive’s PPC manager.
Don’t try to be a jack of all trades. Use the power of digital marketing to educate existing and potential franchisees about the importance of developing local marketing strategies to provide a personalized brand experience and keep franchise leads warm throughout the process.
Incoherent Goals and Strategies
One of the most common problems franchises face is the lack of a unified goal and approach to franchise marketing. When a franchisor and its franchisees have different priorities and franchise lead generation and conversion tactics, this could lead to brand inconsistencies that result in poor market perception, franchise marketing plan inefficiencies and, worse, financial loss.
Changes in digital marketing for franchises are often met with resistance from within the organization. As such, communication, alignment and collaboration are vital to avoid business fragmentation.
Start small and break down the silo mentality by:
- Creating a unified vision for your enterprise business
- Setting goals that benefit the whole organization
- Developing a standardized enterprise marketing guide that clearly states the negotiables and non-negotiables
- Leveraging collaboration tools
If you’re unsure where or how to begin your enterprise marketing strategy development, a reputable franchise marketing agency could help you determine your marketing pain points and design a cohesive enterprise marketing guide that your franchisees can follow.
Creating Content With Consistency and Differentiators
There’s a fine line between giving your franchisees creative freedom and ensuring brand consistency in your enterprise marketing strategy and collateral.
“When managing a franchise, you want to represent the company brand yet have unique content that sets you apart from the corporate pages,” said Alyssa Tear, Thrive’s organic social media senior manager.
Tear noted that it could be challenging when the franchisor does not have or provide unique content outside of what the corporate is posting. If a franchise location posts the same content as the corporate pages, there’s no reason for prospects to follow both the enterprise and local accounts.
Have a clear brand and content policy to ensure a consistent brand image and avoid confusing your target audience.
More importantly, don’t forget to localize your inbound marketing and outbound marketing strategies to allow a level of personalization of their franchise digital marketing approach. Establish a clear franchise marketing strategy guideline that each franchisee should follow while creating custom campaigns for each location.
Inappropriate Outbound and Inbound Marketing Strategy
A robust inbound marketing strategy and outbound marketing strategy are essential in attracting customers and potential franchisees and convincing them to take your desired action.
Implementing unfounded outbound marketing strategy and inbound marketing campaigns, however, could ruin your brand image and fail to target your desired consumers.
Unoptimized content marketing efforts reduce your brand’s local search visibility. Additionally, the lack of personalized customer outreach campaigns can make potential customers feel undervalued and drive them away.
Quick Definition of Terms
Inbound Marketing: A brand strategy that involves creating and distributing marketing materials that draw more people into your website.
Examples: webinars, video marketing, topical blogs, social media marketing.
Outbound Marketing: A marketing strategy centered on proactively reaching out to prospects to move them down the conversion funnel.
Examples: email marketing, direct mail, event sponsorships, public relations.
Do your market research and SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis to determine marketing opportunities and structure a tailored franchise marketing plan that is worth your investment.
With so many locations to keep track of, getting contact lists and monitoring the campaign success of each franchisee can be a challenge. Insufficient data exposes franchises to the risk of spending their marketing budget on costly inbound marketing and outbound marketing campaigns that are ineffective for the enterprise business.
Invest in advanced tracking and reporting tools that allow you to customize the metrics and show the most important key performance indicators (KPIs) for each franchise advertising and marketing campaign. CallRail, for one, enables you to separate phone numbers per source and listen to calls to determine the lead quality.
Using the right tools, you can keep track of your campaign progress and gather advanced analytics to direct your franchise digital marketing efforts. Be sure to consult with a franchise marketing agency to determine the best tools you can use to remain on top of your campaign progress across demographics.
Lackluster Franchise Leads
Lead nurturing, or the process of developing and reinforcing customer relationships, is critical at every stage of the sales funnel. Without a solid lead nurturing process, it is difficult to build trust and convince prospects to make a purchase. For the franchisor, this could also mean a significant decrease in recruiting new franchisees.
Enterprise businesses that do not prioritize building customer relationships fail to move prospects down the sales funnel, build brand advocacy, optimize future campaigns and generate a return on investment (ROI).
Create your customer persona and get to know your target audience by launching targeted marketing strategies that promote brand communication and engagement.
- Optimize your Google My Business listings across locations
- Prioritize reputation management
- Develop a smart customer conversion and retention program
- Provide exceptional customer service
- Maintain active client communication across digital platforms
- Invest in local marketing efforts, such as content marketing and social media brand management
Also, keep in mind the importance of location targeting when launching franchise advertising campaigns. Be sure your approach is appropriate for the service area or customer radius for that particular location. Advertising outside of a service area can affect the quality of the campaign, reduce conversions and waste your budget.
Enterprise Sales Growth Formula
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to achieve success in business marketing. As an enterprise business owner, you need to develop a robust franchise strategy tailored to various local areas and multiple levels of your sales funnel to grow your business.
Marketing strategy development is the first and most crucial step in franchise marketing. With the right enterprise sales growth formula, you can solidify your brand presence in this competitive landscape and enter new markets to grow your enterprise business.
Review your overall brand strategy and lay out a concrete plan to encourage franchise loyalty and achieve your sales goals.
Key Components of Successful
Attract New Business – Organic Strategy
Your brand’s inbound marketing strategy and franchise lead generation tactics are critical in attracting qualified franchise leads.
Organic inbound marketing strategies, including search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing, allow you to maintain a robust digital presence and generate a steady stream of franchise leads across demographics.
Digital marketing success requires hard work upfront to drive long-term gains, beginning with your franchise SEO strategy. A data-driven SEO tactic allows you to experiment with various search optimization tactics and determine which strategies will work best for your corporate account and which methods could be duplicated across the franchisees.
Expand Your Service Locations With a Standard SEO Practice
- Maintain One Enterprise SEO Website
- Perform Regular Website Audits
- Prioritize Mobile Optimization
- Follow Google’s Best Practices
- Create a Data Management System
To ensure each franchisee stands out in the local market, it is not enough that your main website ranks high on your target search terms. You need to double down on your local SEO efforts to boost your local visibility, drive targeted customers to your franchise locations and increase your sales revenue.
Improve Your Local SEO Strategy
- Build Out Location Pages
- Localize Keyword Targeting Approach
- Optimize Content for Local Search
- Design Custom Landing Pages
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Another key to achieving local search success is optimizing your Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business). Listing your different locations on Google allows you to verify your franchisees’ existence and authenticity and get targeted exposure. More importantly, Google Business Profile optimization increases your chances of ranking in Google’s coveted Local 3-Pack – the top three results that appear on local Search after the Google Ads and before the organic search results.
Optimize Your Google Business Profile Listing
- Claim and Verify Your Google Business Profile Listings
- Optimize Your Google My Business Profiles
- Follow Google Best Practices
- Maintain a Positive Online Reputation
- Keep Track of Your GMB Performance
- Leverage Google Business Profile Features
When it comes to social media marketing, enterprise business owners are faced with an important question: Should you maintain one social media page for your entire enterprise business or launch franchise social media marketing campaigns for each specific location?
Although broad marketing campaigns build your brand equity, localized social media marketing efforts sustain your brand, improve your franchise strategy efficiency and deliver profitable results. Organic social media marketing connects your business with targeted audience segments that are more receptive to your messaging.
Boost Your Social Media Marketing Results
- Create a Clear Branding Guideline
- Ensure Quick Response Time to Messages and Comments
- Localize Social Media Marketing Content
- Post Consistently on All Profiles
- Utilize a Mix of Promotional, Lifestyle and Valuable Content
Attract New Business – Paid Channels
Franchise advertising offers a faster way to grow your franchise leads across locations. Location-specific advertising campaigns not only increase your brand reach but also boost your conversion value and revenue.
Targeted franchise advertising efforts create a better online experience for your prospects by making it easier to find the location of your business that is most convenient for them. Additionally, PPC advertising provides your brand with instant online visibility and insightful results that you can use to boost the performance of each location.
Generate Profitable PPC Results
- Perform Specific Competitor Research for Each Location
- Use a Specific Geo List
- Be Specific About Service Offerings
- Apply General Findings Between Locations
- Use the Right Ad Types and Formats
- Launch Location-Specific Advertising Campaigns
- Leverage the Right Tools
- Build Out Unique Landing Pages
- Track Campaign Performance
- Develop Separate Cost Per Click (CPC) and Budget Recommendations
Paid social media is one of the simplest ways to get your message in front of qualified franchise leads, improve local brand awareness, drive targeted website traffic and get more appointment bookings, store visits, page post engagements or sales for a particular location.
Enhance Your Paid Social Media Campaigns
- Define Your Franchise Advertising Goals and Budget
- Localize Advertising Message
- Perform A/B Tests
- Optimize Ad Format and Location Targeting
- Measure Campaign Success for Each Location
Convert Leads Into Customers
Once you have generated franchise leads, the next step is to convert those leads into paying customers. It’s crucial to implement the right marketing strategy in this phase to create a profitable sales funnel and drive maximum conversions.
Ineffective conversion tactics result in higher bounce rates, missed sales opportunities and wasted money and effort.
Communicate your brand value, address customer needs and establish your thought-leadership brand with SEO-optimized content that resonates with your local market. Different content marketing materials, such as blog posts, white papers and infographics, facilitate the decision-making process of your prospects and allow them to make informed choices.
The more targeted your content marketing strategy, the higher your chances of nurturing franchise leads and driving conversions.
Develop Content That Effectively Converts Leads Into Customers
- Research Your Audience
- Localize Your Content Topic
- Use Geo-Specific Keywords
- Write for Different Buyer Personas
- Create Engaging, Informative and Relevant Content
- Use Clear Calls-to-Action (CTAs)
Conversion rate optimization centers on improving your website elements to provide the best possible brand experience. From your CTAs and form fields to your content and web design, you must ensure all site elements are designed and optimized with SEO best practices and your target audience in mind to scale your enterprise business. Performing conversion rate optimization leads to a significant increase in your bottom line.
Increase Your Conversion Value
- Run Regular CRO Audits
- Optimize Website Structure
- Prioritize Page Experience
- Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
- Use Clear CTAs
- Track Campaign Metrics
One of the biggest challenges in designing and managing a website for multi location businesses is how to get each location’s unique information to your prospects as efficiently as possible. To convert more website visitors into paying customers, build out location pages and optimize your navigation so website visitors and search bots can easily navigate your site.
Maximize Your Website Conversions
- Optimize for the Google Page Experience Update
- Make Your Website ADA Compliant
- Maintain Brand Consistency
- Build Multi-Location Landing Pages
- Use Location-Based URLs
- Ensure Each Location Page Has Complete NAP
(name, address and phone number) Information
- Publish Geographically-Targeted Content
- Design Your Navigation Structure for Growth
Video marketing is a popular brand strategy that businesses of all types and sizes use to communicate their brand message. High-quality video content drives website traffic and conversions. Additionally, optimized video placement and video type enhance the user’s browsing experience.
Convince Prospects To Take Action Using Videos
- Keep the Overarching Design Elements of the Brand
- Communicate Your Brand Messages or Core Values
- Continuously Explore New Ways To Deliver Your Message
- Add Clickable Links
- Customize Your Thumbnails
- Make Your Video Concise and Entertaining
Interact With Customers
Digital marketing for franchises doesn’t stop at converting customers. As an enterprise business owner, you must actively engage with your target audience to boost your retention rate and successfully build a community of brand advocates.
Customer retention programs strengthen your word-of-mouth marketing efforts, reduce customer churn rate and generate a better bottom line.
Leverage social media channels to boost your local SEO efforts and help customers get to know your unique locations. Active social media management allows you to provide customers with an easier and more convenient way to access your brand resources and raise their concerns.
Strengthen Your Social Media Presence
- Regularly Post Relevant, Localized Content
- Engage With Followers Across Social Media Channels
- Maintain Brand Consistency
- Follow Branding Guidelines
- Monitor All Your Social Media Accounts
- Leverage Various Content Types (i.e., Videos, Images, Texts, etc.)
- Create Consistent Handles
SMS marketing is a key component of an effective outbound marketing strategy. It facilitates seamless customer communications, motivates customers to connect your brand and increases feedback and reviews.
Nurture Healthy Client Relationships Through SMS Marketing
- Use Automation Software
- Build Your Contact List
- Route Messages to Appropriate Account Managers
- Send Personalized Mass Messages
- Request Online Reviews
Use email marketing to reach customers in real-time, communicate in-depth, relevant information and launch personalized campaigns. Incorporating email campaigns in your ongoing marketing strategy is also an excellent way to collect feedback, launch surveys and timely campaigns and generate traffic to your website.
Improve Your Email Campaign Performance
- Perform Campaign Audits
- Automate Drip Campaigns
- Manage Your Email List
- Build Local Landing Pages
- Create Template Designs
- Use Clear, Engaging CTAs
- Test Email Marketing Campaigns
- Track Analytics
Manage Your Brand
Ongoing brand management is critical to ensure all franchise digital marketing efforts align with your enterprise business’s branding. Strategic brand management tactics include handling both noticeable and intangible aspects of the business, including brand message, marketing materials and brand offerings, to create and reinforce strong brand identity.
Social media platforms offer lucrative opportunities to grow your enterprise business and connect your brand with targeted communities. By maintaining a robust social media management strategy, you ensure your social media pages stay top of mind with prospects and customers.
Build a Better Social Media Presence
- Audit Existing Social Media Strategy
- Keep Your Social Media Pages Active
- Engage With Followers
- Track and Analyze Campaign Metrics
- Use Social Media Management Tools
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Customer reviews have a big influence on your brand’s reputation and online success. Through hands-on online reputation management, you gain control of your brand perception and increase the level of trust in your enterprise business.
Protect Your Brand Image With Proven Strategies
- Ensure All Listings Are Accurate and Up-to-Date
- Require All Locations To Ask for Reviews
- Leverage Reputation Management Software
- Develop an Active Review Response Tactic
- Report on Reviews by Market, Region and Location
- Schedule Campaigns by Location
Maintaining brand consistency demands continuous efforts from all franchisees. From the tone of voice and graphic elements to the brand message, it is vital that franchisors establish clear guidelines to build brand authority, trust and loyalty.
Maintain Brand Consistency Across Channels
- Create Clear Brand and Content Policies
- Communicate With All Entities
- Execute Consistent Messaging
- Create a Positive Image
- Use Caution When Rebranding
Foster Trust Among Your Target Audience
“Brand consistency across locations is maintained through close adherence to a corporate style guide and understanding the voice of the brand,” said Gibson.
Depending on the organization, these standards may be less defined. As such, it is crucial to understand that each business is at a different stage in its growth and history with digital marketing. Aim to understand the specific financial goals and timeframe desired to reach those goals.
How Digital Marketing Helped a Multi-Location Business Improve Its Brand Presence Across 22 Locations in the U.S.
A multi-location restoration and reconstruction firm serving more than 22 locations in the United States needed help in developing a clear-cut enterprise marketing plan that would bolster its brand awareness, drive more franchise leads and improve its local rankings across all target demographics.
For this client, a competitive market meant that hands-on enterprise marketing management was key to adapt successfully to the changing face of the business environment and take advantage of growth opportunities that the digital marketplace has to offer.
Since the enterprise digital marketing campaign’s launch in 2020, our franchise marketing agency has generated record-high results for the company:
To meet the firm’s expectations and achieve its enterprise marketing goals, our franchise marketing agency formulated a franchise marketing plan focused on optimizing the firm’s local search performance through:
- Local SEO
- Google Business Profile optimization
- Local franchise advertising
- Social media paid advertising
- Reputation management
The main goal was to build strong brand equity for the whole enterprise business and generate profitable results across locations. With a greater focus on improving the company’s franchise marketing plan to target new locations and launch geo-specific advertising campaigns, this multi-location restoration and reconstruction firm is poised for big growth in the coming years.
Develop an Impactful Brand That Resonates
With Your Target Audience
Now that most businesses and organizations operate in the digital marketplace, enterprise digital marketing is the best way forward. Successful franchises invest in a long-proven franchise marketing strategy to scale online growth and drive more conversions.
Franchise marketing, like other brand marketing systems, however, is complex and intricate. And according to Tear, it requires a strong balance of the corporate brand image and each location's unique brand voice.
Understanding the allowances for individual expressions of the franchisee in relation to the parent company is critical to improving the quality of your campaigns and generating valuable conversions. More importantly, there is no templated marketing approach for each location. You need a specific franchise marketing strategy based on each entity’s budget, service offerings, seasonality and level of competition to get the most value from your partnerships and enterprise digital marketing investment.
Build a strategic enterprise marketing management system and catapult your business’s digital success!
Thrive Internet Marketing Agency works closely with your enterprise business and franchisees to set a consistent approach across all digital marketing efforts. Schedule a consultation with us to learn more about our franchise marketing services.