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Franchise Marketing

6 Ways to Market Your Franchised Business

To attract the right target market for your franchise, use these marketing tactics to advertise your franchise.
Image credit: Blend Images - Dave and Les Jacobs | Getty Images
VIP Contributor
Author - Entrepreneur Magazine's Franchise Bible - CEO Franchise Hub/Vet Starter

The following excerpt is from Rick Grossman’s book Franchise Bible. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | IndieBound
If you think of marketing as a building, the pillars that give marketing structure are advertising, direct mail, sales, promotions, public relations and online marketing. The most successful franchisors have been able to break down the six pillars of marketing, assign the appropriate resources, track their return on investment and continue to fine-tune and adapt as the results vary. Following are the most important aspects of these pillars.

Related: 9 Ways You Can Build a Strong Franchise Community

1. Advertising

You may think of advertising as print media only. The truth is, advertising encompasses any media that allows you to purchase space to promote your marketing message. This includes print advertising such as magazines, newspapers and other printed formats, TV advertisements, radio advertisements, billboards, and now, with the onset of technology, internet advertisements, websites and more.

Although franchise advertising has been around for decades, today’s advertisements tend to have a much different call to action that those of the past. Instead of the standard “Call Now,” ads direct viewers to a franchisor’s website where they can learn more and engage via email with the franchisor’s development department.

Franchisors who create innovative advertising campaigns across all platforms realize the best return on investment (ROI).

2. Direct mail

Most of us think of direct mail as postcards that we receive in our mailbox. This is still an effective option depending on the strength of the message and the offer. With the onset of technology, other direct mail options are e-newsletters, drip email campaigns (a series of email messages sent to a prospect over a short period of time) and other opt-in alternatives that send information via the internet.

3. Sales

An effective sales process is a must for every franchise system. It’s imperative for every franchisor to have a systematic, step-by-step discovery process for their prospective franchise buyers to follow. This process should be simple to understand, since the prospective franchisee needs to have the information presented to them in such a way that they can absorb it, weigh the pros and cons and eventually make an educated decision. Methods of sales in the franchise world break down into the following sub-categories:

You will find that the best candidates will follow your discovery steps, will seldom miss appointments and will quickly get back to you when you leave messages. This is a good indicator of their ability to follow a system and of their enthusiasm and interest in your franchise concept. It also gives you an idea of their potential to be a successful business owner. One powerful tool is to utilize franchise-specific contact relationship management (CRM) software to keep track of your franchise prospects and their progress as they move through your sales pipeline.

Related: The 8 Things You Need to Know If You Think You're Ready to Turn Your Business Into a Franchise

4. Promotions

Traditionally promotions have been used to spark awareness and excitement in a marketing message. You’ve seen promotions like midnight madness sales, 24-hour sales, sweepstakes, giveaways, special events, customer appreciation dinners -- or any kind of special, out-of-the-ordinary promotion that's utilized by various companies to attract new buyers or existing buyers back again. Successful franchisors use a combination of traditional promotions and promotions that utilize new technologies. For instance, they may hold a sweepstakes advertised in traditional media such as print, billboards, radio and TV while also running the promotion on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets. The internet options have given franchisors a low-investment way to reach masses of prospective buyers, allowing the smaller brand franchises to compete favorably with the bigger brands.

5. Public relations

Public relations may be the most underused pillar of marketing. Traditionally, public relations campaigns would consist of press releases, press kits, sponsorships and other goodwill events and campaigns that would usually bring brand awareness through publicity. In the internet age, we have found that public relations is still a very viable and important pillar that needs attention. However, the delivery has changed considerably, and in some ways technology has made it far easier to launch a successful PR campaign.

An example of this may be a press release that in years past would have to be printed, put into a press kit and mailed to 100 or 200 news and other media outlets hoping that the individuals at those outlets would find it interesting enough to write it into an article or a category of one of their existing articles or stories. It was difficult to measure success with this technique.

Today, successful franchisors enjoy the ability to release their newsworthy articles via blogs and on industry and business startup blog platforms. In most cases this is free, and the more creative and informational the articles are, the more traffic they will draw. This method is also measurable since the analytics can be evaluated at the franchisor level and fine-tuned.

6. Online marketing

Many franchisors are still pretty new at online marketing -- this gives new franchisors with strong online marketing skills an advantage. Not too many years ago, the “big boys,” or well-known franchisors, had the advantage because they had far more money and resources to market their franchise opportunities. Back then, the marketing and media options were very expensive, and the new emerging franchisors were priced out of the competition. The internet has now leveled the playing field because the barriers of entry are lower, giving creativity and not big marketing budgets, the advantage.

Related: 8 Online Methods to Attract Potential Franchisees

Consider the following benefits and tips when you develop your online marketing efforts: