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If you’re a new franchise owner, you’re probably looking forward to benefitting from your franchisor’s national marketing efforts. Whether mandatory or not, marketing support is one upside of owning a franchise. But it’s essential to keep in mind that franchisee marketing on a local level is equally important.
Here are 4 ways to build your business on a local level.
Franchisee marketing tip #1: Create a strong online presence
Building an online presence involves more than just brushing up on SEO techniques to increase your website traffic. Make sure your location is included in online business directories, customer review sites, and social media pages. These include Yelp, Facebook, Yahoo Local, Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Waze. To ensure that the almighty Google search engine recognizes every listing as belonging to you, make sure the formatting for your name, address, and phone number is identical and consistent each time. Variations (e.g., “road” vs. “rd.”) will work against you on Google.
Monitor your reviews on sites like Yelp, Amazon, an Angie’s List on a regular basis and respond appropriately. A string of bad reviews can quickly hurt your business. In some cases, having no reviews can be as bad as having negative reviews. Invite your loyal customers to talk about and review your franchise online.
Franchisee marketing tip #2: Utilize digital marketing
Digital marketing can be a cost-effective way to build brand awareness and consumer loyalty. Local advertising can include both pay-per-click campaigns and social media ads. Try combining franchisor-approved creative messaging with local deals to benefit from brand awareness while upping your social media presence. Over time, routine exposure on social media platforms will benefit your bottom line.
Through email and SMS/text marketing, you can gather useful demographic information in addition to spreading the word about your franchise. Give your customers an incentive to sign up for your text and/or email newsletter and notices by offering coupons and deals they can receive only by signing up.
Franchisee marketing tip #3: Be a good neighbor
As a local business, your neighbors are also your customers, so it’s wise to stay attuned to the issues and events that concern them. Sponsoring a youth sports team, contributing to a local charity, hosting a booth in a local fair or festival, and holding well-publicized contests are all ways to build your community presence. Spend some time out in your community speaking with your neighbors to see what’s important to them.
Franchisee marketing tip #4: Develop a reputation as an expert
Guest blogging gigs and LinkedIn content are just two ways to generate leads and shore up your reputation as an expert in your field. Create content that provides value to your audience and builds relationships. Industry insights, tips and advice, or even entertaining behind-the-scenes videos are creative ways to reach your base of potential customers.
All franchisees face some constraints when it comes to local marketing. It’s very likely that the franchisor will set guidelines and budgets that you must adhere to. Work within these parameters to develop strategies that work for you, and your future will be bright.Read More
If you want to be your own boss and are comparing the prospect of a business startup vs. a franchise, be sure to take a look at the relative risks. A business startup can be risky business. According to data from the Small Business Association, 20 percent of small businesses fail in their first year and 50 percent fail by their fifth year. However, there are many reasons why buying a franchise usually carries less risk. Let’s look at four of them.
With a franchise, you’re gaining an established brand
It can take years to establish a brand and develop a base of customers. But buying a franchise gives you a shortcut: you get the benefit of a fully-formed brand identity, including logos, slogans, signage, marketing plans, and more. And in most cases you’re starting off with a known brand that is already familiar to consumers.
The franchisor has tested the waters
Mistakes can be costly and even embarrassing. On this front, there’s a big difference between a business startup vs. a franchise. With the latter, the franchisor has already gone through a period of trial and error in testing the business concept and figuring out the path to success. You’re not reinventing the wheel. You’re buying into a proven system and in most cases, the mistakes have already been corrected.
It may be easier to find financing for a franchise
Financing a business can be a challenge. There may be more hurdles to jump for a business startup vs. a franchise. You’ll need to develop your business plan and sell your idea to family, friends, and/or lenders. But when you’re buying a franchise, the franchisor (and your franchise consultant) can help you with the process. They can connect you with preferred lenders, provide references, and help you determine how much money you’ll need to raise in order to become a franchise owner.
Franchisees have built-in support
High-quality franchisors provide extensive support for their franchisees in areas including technical support, legal assistance, and peer guidance. They help with site selection, marketing, and sales training. And as a new franchisee, you can easily compare notes with other business owners (your fellow franchisees) who’ve already gone down the path you’ve chosen. Startups don’t have the benefit of this important safety net.
When you’re contemplating business ownership, it’s wise to take a good look in the mirror and figure out the degree of risk you can tolerate. If you’re looking for a safer choice, franchising might be your answer.Read More