How To Build A Successful Franchise Marketing Strategy

By Drew Galvin on December 6, 2023

As a successful franchise owner, are you wondering how to level up your business and stand out from the competition? If you don’t have a franchise marketing strategy, or you haven’t revisited yours recently, having one in place for the year ahead is key to ensure you’re allocating the right resources to support your business goals. In this blog, we’ll offer practical insights to help you get started crafting a successful franchise marketing plan.

A woman with a clipboard writing down her franchise marketing strategy.

Why Is A Franchise Marketing Strategy Important?

A franchise marketing strategy helps you clearly define what makes your business different from the competition. However, that’s just the start. Having an integrated marketing strategy helps your business:

  • Build consistency across franchise locations, which leads to more repeat business and the opportunity to open more locations.
  • Tap into brand recognition and awareness from the combined efforts of all franchisees.
  • Reach new regional markets to build relationships with potential customers.
  • Facilitate new product or service launches to set them up for success.
  • Compete against rival businesses in the area and decrease their share of the market.
  • Leverage data and feedback to continuously improve business plans and performance.

As you get started revising your old strategy or drafting a new one, reach out to your franchiser to see if they have any marketing plans or new data they can share. Once you’ve collected any resources available, here are some steps you can take to begin building your franchise marketing plan.

A franchise owner stands in a company uniform in the doorway of her business.

What To Consider As You Build Your Franchise Marketing Strategy

1. Learn And Relearn Every Aspect Of Your Franchise’s Brand Identity 

Staying connected with your brand’s identity is fundamental to successfully aligning with the established values and image of the franchise. Make sure to set aside time to review all the provided brand materials, like the franchise operations manual, brand guidelines, and training materials, especially if any have been recently updated. 

These documents typically outline the company’s history, core values, mission, and most importantly, its vision. Understanding these foundational principles, and any other changes made as the brand evolves, is essential to ensure your business continues supporting the overarching identity of the brand.

Beyond documentation, actively participate in any training programs, networking events, or workshops offered by the franchiser. This hands-on learning will help you continue internalizing the key aspects that are important and connect with other franchisees. Plus, you’ll gain useful knowledge about how others have found success and walk away with valuable insights you can apply to scale your operations. 

2. Know Your Target Audience

Or to get more specific, always know your audience’s pain points. You’ll want to have a clear idea of what personas (or demographics of customers) you’re trying to reach and track how they change over time. If possible, ask your franchiser for any recent market research and customer data they’re willing to share. 

From there you can use that information to determine what your ideal customers look like and identify the best opportunities. By picking which personas you’re trying to reach and convert, you’ll be better able to design marketing campaigns that resonate with your target audience’s pain points.

3. Determine How You’ll Measure Progress Toward Your Goals

Ultimately, if you don’t define or track key metrics, you’ll find it difficult to determine what marketing strategies are working and which are not. You don’t need to monitor all metrics, but we recommend defining a few marketing KPIs (key performance indicators) that are important to your business.

Some we’d recommend you consider include website traffic (measured typically by sessions), conversion rate, response rate, cost per lead, click-through rates, and open rates. Many of these you can collect for free by simply implementing a free version of Google Analytics. The metrics you decide to watch will also be influenced by what marketing tactics you choose.

A person putting a couple letters in their mailbox.

3 Tried & Proven Franchise Marketing Tactics To Pursue

Now that you’ve reviewed your franchiser’s recent brand materials,  studied your audience, and defined the metrics that matter, it’s time to consider your plan of action. Start by solidifying what you want to accomplish in the next year.

Is it opening a new location, offering a new service or product, or simply growing revenue? There are lots of marketing tactics to try, some more relevant than others, but here are three foundational options that work well in any franchise marketing strategy, regardless of your industry and structure.

1. Custom Signage And Print Marketing Materials

Any successful franchise marketing strategy should account for custom outdoor signage and sales materials. Both play a pivotal role in attracting customers, so it’s important to keep both up-to-date and in stock.

A well-designed and eye-catching sign can help your franchise location stand out and foster curiosity among the community to learn more. On average it takes between 5 to 7 impressions for someone to remember a brand, and having signs to capture attention from people frequently passing can help you accomplish that optimal exposure.

The value of exterior signage goes beyond just looks. Often serving as an introduction to your business, these signs can help you succinctly communicate your business’ value and offerings to make a lasting impression.
On the other hand, print marketing materials can also help communicate your value but are more flexible than signage. You can create flyers, brochures, and other leave-behinds with different messaging to speak to all the different customers you’re looking to reach. They’re also valuable if you’re looking to highlight special promotions or if your franchise is involved in events.

Any well-crafted print piece can help you cut through all the online marketing noise. If your competitors are investing more in all digital tactics, these print items might give you a better opportunity to break through and speak directly to your target audience. Plus, people are more likely to remember and interact with marketing they’re holding right in their hands.

2. Direct Mail

Depending on your target customer, direct mail may also be a viable option for your business. Studies in 2023 showed that direct mail has a response rate of 5.3%, which is much higher than most digital channels. Plus, 92% of consumers (including Generations X and Y) feel it’s more effective than digital outreach.

That sentiment is likely tied in part to digital fatigue. Deloitte noticed in their recent studies that post-pandemic, people are beginning to tire of devices and their digital presence, especially among consumers between the ages of 18 to 40. 

In fact, the number of devices a household owns has been slowly decreasing. As many adults are starting to rethink and redefine their boundaries with technology, direct mail can give you another means of building a relationship, especially with those who are shifting their digital behaviors to spend more time offline.  

That said, the success of your direct mail boils down to a well-executed campaign. A strong strategy will include:

  • Acquiring a list of qualified contacts
  • Designing an eye-catching mail piece
  • Printing the final piece with a perfect execution
  • Personalizing the mail material where possible
  • Tracking performance to understand your ROI
  • Integrating mailing data with online marketing

If you don’t have a lot of experience with this type of marketing, or simply lack the internal bandwidth to execute it, consider finding an experienced partner. The Safeguard by Innovative Team can help guide you, from start to finish, so you don’t end up investing your marketing budget into a poorly executed mailing campaign that doesn’t deliver.

3. Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the most effective and least expensive marketing channels out there. Although the numbers vary by industry, the average ROI for email marketing is $36 for every $1 spent by marketers.

Plus, one of the biggest benefits of email is that you can always have a direct line of communication to get in touch with subscribers. Unlike other channels, like social media, where you’re reliant on a platform and its rules to reach others, you own your contact list. Plus, those subscribers initially signed on because they want to hear from you. Between the intent of subscribers and the high ROI, email is one of the best methods for marketing a franchise.

Our Final Takeaway: Focus On Building A Consistent Customer Experience

Every tactic you pursue in your marketing should be an extension of the experience people have interacting with your brand in person. On the flip side, every interaction a customer has in person should align with the marketing they’ve seen beforehand. If you’re looking for a way to do more marketing at your franchise locations  and maintain brand consistency, consider if an eCommerce solution could be helpful for your team.

At Safeguard by Innovative, we can build a custom-branded eCommerce store that your team can use to order branded employee uniforms, branded marketing materials, signage, custom letterhead, promotional items, as well as other marketing materials that may be needed. This simplifies the process for your employees to get the marketing collateral they need. Plus, it ensures every item representing your business is perfectly executed in adherence to brand guidelines.

Our eCommerce platform also allows you to set up order permissions and collect real-time data. You’ll always have access to inventory, item activity, and order status reports, so you can gauge and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Looking beyond the items you’ll need to execute your marketing efforts, make sure you also communicate your franchise marketing plan with other key stakeholders. Aligning your team behind your strategy will ensure that it always feels consistent when potential customers see, speak, or shop from your franchise.

Still wondering how to market a franchise business? Contact our team of experts today for professional guidance based on your budget, goals, and timeline.