When it comes to digital marketing, franchises are in a tricky spot. Each location is unique and needs to be optimized for identifiers that set them apart from other franchises, using data such as location information, yet still adhering to corporate guidelines and regulations.
Think of this scenario as a common parent-and-teenager relationship. The teenager (or franchisee) is trying to grow up and start a life of their own, while still living under the roof of their parents (the corporate company) and still having to live by the “this is my house, my rules” philosophy. This is why it is essential for franchises to have a clear online marketing strategy, for each location to differentiate themselves enough from the parent company to feel as though they have adapted well to their own local market and personality, but still have close ties to the corporate entity.
To more clearly understand this concept, it’s important to keep in mind that franchises are uniquely positioned to take advantage of online marketing due to their business structure. According to Localvox, the corporate office traditionally defines the brand as a whole while the local franchises can use their connections in the community to further develop the brand at the local level. However, the corporate office needs to provide their franchises with a clear framework from which to develop their own online localised marketing strategy.
Local franchises have the benefit of direct access to their communities. One of the best things a franchise can do is use social media to form an online community around their specific franchise offerings. This way, they can connect with customers in the community easily and purposefully. If local customers post negative reviews of the franchise, the owners can reach out to these customers directly and try to correct the problem. Leveraging social media can help to increase your franchise’s organic and local reach through the “friends of friends” functionality that social media platforms allow within advertising. For instance, when a user ‘likes’ your Facebook page or sponsored post, or retweets a tweet of yours, that user’s own social friends will also see that content pop up on their timelines, extending your post’s reach. Social media is a great platform for franchises to connect with their audiences on a more personal level and show that the brand is genuine and cares about their customers’ pain points.
When customers search for local information about a franchise, they’re typically looking for information like store locations, hours and product availability. According to Franchising World, local franchises can take advantage of this knowledge by posting this information on their Facebook pages, in local advertisements, and by setting up Google “My Business” pages for access across smartphones, computers and tablets. This way, franchises are able to interact with the online customers and provide them with relevant, local information about their franchise.
Ideally, the corporate office and the franchise should work together. However, for a local franchise to be able to do their part, it must be clear they have permission to do so. This is why a clear online marketing strategy is so important. If you’d like to learn more about online marketing strategies for franchises or any other kind of business, feel free to contact us.