Posted on Nov 15th 2018
Buying a franchise is attractive to many entrepreneurs because they consider it a turn-key approach to owning a business. After all, the brand developmental work has been done, and the business model is already established and operational.
Franchisors even offer proven marketing and sales methodologies that have worked to make the brand successful enough to be franchised!
However, it’s up to each and every individual franchisee to take the marketing tools they’ve been given and implement them.
Let’s take a look at the essential components that make up the ultimate marketing tool kit for your franchise:
Franchisors use a variety of marketing techniques to promote the brand on national and regional levels. Additionally, they provide support and guidelines for individual franchisees to market their business within their own area.
One of the most important and influential tools to market to your franchise locally is social media. It’s a powerful mechanism to engage directly and spread the word organically within your community.
The thing to remember about social media is that you need to remain active and involved in it. Posting fresh and relevant social media content while keeping the public engaged takes a good deal of time. However, there are social media scheduling and management tools that will streamline the process of consistent and effective postings.
Just be sure to follow the guidelines and standards set forth by your franchisor. These have been designed to ensure brand messaging is consistent across the network.
Word-of-mouth is another highly influential element of your marketing tool kit. Satisfied customers make the best brand ambassadors and help you build a great reputation within their social circles.
At Romp n’ Roll, we think of it as a ripple effect. We strive to give families in our communities great experiences. In turn, they share their exuberance with friends and family. Hopefully, these friends and family give us a try, and then share their experiences with more friends and family. The ripple expands and spreads throughout the community.
To help facilitate this ripple effect, we offer reward programs for client referrals. This is a useful tool that helps build your client base and a strong reputation in the community.
No marketing tool kit would be complete without promotions. Promotions help you build awareness and sales by giving customers incentives for their patronage.
Creative promotions can be used to attract new customers and encourage existing customers to try something new or additional.
For instance, at Romp n’ Roll, many franchisees have boosted membership by offering discounts on new memberships during certain months. Additionally, birthday party promotions secure bookings throughout the year as well as introducing potential new clients to the business.
The most effective promotions have a limited time element to give customers a sense of urgency.
I strongly encourage franchisees to continuously build and update their client contact database. Gathering customer contact information (and keeping it current) is a necessary component of direct marketing.
Today’s direct mail is so much more than printed postcards. Not that there is anything wrong with printed postcards. They can be a great component in an overall marketing strategy. However, digital technology has now allowed us to stay in contact with customers easily and affordably.
With a solid email database, franchises can send eNewsletters or email blasts with relevant news, promotions, and specials.
Email campaigns are also a great way to promote special promotions and offers. They can even be used to connect with customers on a personal level, such as to wish them a happy birthday. And, they can help you reach out to past customers to remind them of your services and products.
For instance, at Romp n’ Roll, we know parents are always looking for great birthday party ideas for their kids. We send parents emails prior to their child’s birthday to remind them of our spectacular birthday party program.
There are several fantastic email marketing platforms to help you create and schedule professional-looking, effective email campaigns. Just check with your franchisor to see if they have a preferred vendor.
It’s very important to establish bonds with individuals, businesses and professional organizations in your community. And nothing beats doing that in person.
Relationship building can, and should, be done even before your doors open. Join your local Chamber of Commerce and other networking groups within your community and surrounding areas.
Once you are open, stay active and participate in as many community events as you can. Organize your own themed events at your location and invite other businesses to participate.
One of the most powerful devices in your marketing tool kit is a fully-developed civic connection within your community.
You are the most essential element in your franchise’s marketing tool kit. Your vision, leadership and passion will be the most powerful tool you can use to get the results you need.
Making a personal commitment to marketing and sales will also inspire your employees to do the same. From customer interaction, to gathering customer data, to following through on marketing initiatives, your staff is an extension of you.
By yielding these powerful marketing tools with focus, determination and passion, you are well to making your franchise a success.
Read about the five common myths of owning a franchise.
Michael Barnett is the Co-Founder and CEO of Romp n' Roll. In addition to leading the Romp n' Roll management team, Michael is an active member of the International Franchise Association, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and serves on the Board of Directors for Connor's Heroes and Juniata College Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. He and his wife, Babz, were featured on the first season of ABC-TV's Shark Tank.