Franchise owners face a unique set of marketing challenges at both the local and national levels. Conventional digital advertising, which requires identifying and targeting specific audiences, can be difficult to implement with a business model based on geographic diversity, especially when those locations might cater to different demographics.
At Excelerate, we've identified a number of effective digital marketing trends that are equally effective for franchise owners at all levels. The key is to balance a cohesive brand story, which should be consistent across all locations, with specific localization efforts designed to appeal to disparate audiences. In this article, we outline just a few of these strategies as they apply to the most common mediums of digital marketing.
A robust social media marketing plan should be one of the first steps in improving a franchise's digital presence. Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter present an unparalleled opportunity to engage directly with your target audience on a human level. Creative campaigns can also encourage users themselves to post about your product, drastically increasing the visibility of your franchise for potential consumers and licensers.
A fully fleshed-out social media plan should comprise multiple strategies. Ads can still be useful, especially when they are customized for different geographic regions served by your franchise. But beyond paid advertisement, it's important to leverage the personal connections these platforms allow: your corporate office and individual franchises should draw on unified posting guidelines to generate relevant content and engage with individual communities. Strategic use of influencer programs or employee advocacy can provide additional avenues for promotion and conversation.
Search engine optimization (SEO) remains one of the most pivotal elements of any digital marketing plan. Identifying high-intent keywords, or phrases that commonly indicate an imminent purchasing decision, can help corner consumers who are ready to buy from you or request information about opening a location.
The SEO strategy for a franchise is slightly more complicated than it is for e-commerce or single-location businesses. With a franchise, each individual location's webpage should be optimized for local geographic searches to ensure visibility among nearby customers. At the same time, relevant franchising information and general information also need to be readily accessible within the first few search engine results to maximize sales. An experienced marketing team can optimize content, formatting, keyword density, and other factors to ensure you're reaching every searcher who might be ready to engage with your brand.
Many marketing experts consider content marketing to be the future of advertising. The strategy involves creating relevant, engaging multimedia content that speaks to your audience's needs. Search engines tend to reward this kind of genuinely useful content, increasing your visibility while also establishing your company as a trustworthy name in your field.
Franchisors should consider putting out authoritative content about opening a franchise location or about hot topics in their industry. In doing so, the brand becomes visible to searchers who are most likely to consider opening a location themselves without appearing overly promotional. Individual locations can instead focus on community events and local interest topics: this creates an image of community connection while also increasing brand visibility in even loosely-related searches.
At Excelerate, we understand the need for your digital marketing to exude passion and distinction. A one-size-fits-all marketing roadmap will never accomplish that-especially for a franchise with multi-faceted promotional goals. We partner with each franchise client to develop a detailed, sustainable digital strategy that is tailored specifically to their vision. To learn more about what this might look like for you, get in touch with our talented team today.