Many entrepreneurs decide to buy a franchise business instead of starting a business of their own. The main reason is that some entrepreneurs either lack the resources to start their own venture or they lack the experience required to run a business. Regardless of their reasons, running a franchise business is a good way to reach success and become an accomplished entrepreneur.
If you’re not familiar with the concept, a franchise is an already developed business model that’s supported by a franchisor, i.e. a trademark or a brand. That means that a franchisor will provide your business with continuous support, which includes, financial support, training, inventory, staffing and so on.
However, even with all the support that’s provided, it’s still up to you as a franchise owner to ensure your business is successful and profitable. One of the crucial steps towards reaching that goal is developing a great marketing plan. That being said, here are a few essential elements of a franchise marketing plan.
Research should always be on your agenda when developing a business plan. Knowing about your local audience and potential customers will help you make more strategic decisions. What’s more, a franchisor will provide you with information regarding their consumer base and their overall preferences but it’s still important to get to know your local customers well, in order to make sure you can meet their needs, expectations and demands. Here are a few elements you should include in your market research:
- Determine who your customers are – Identifying your target audience is crucial for product or service placement.
- Determine your audiences’ needs – What do your customers want, need, expect and demand are vital questions to ask and answer when developing a marketing strategy.
- Identify your audiences’ pain points – What are the most common issues your customers face on the market and can you help them resolve those issues?
- Determine their demographics – Who are your ideal customers, what is their age, gender, location and so on? The more you know about your customers, the better you’ll be able to tailor your messages to them.
Determine the right marketing channels
Crafting the right messages for your audience won’t do you much if you don’t know how to reach your audience effectively. Therefore, identifying the right marketing channels should be included in your plan. For example, there’s a good chance your target audience is present on social media platforms.
However, which social networks are they most commonly present on should be your main focus. In other words, you don’t have to establish a presence on every network, even if you have the time and resources to do so. Instead, focus on a few networks that are vital to both your franchise and your audience.
Moreover, consider what other channels are best suited for reaching out to customers, such as email, traditional marketing, a blog and so on. Sending the right message is important but sending the right message at the right time and at the right place is even more important for your marketing efforts.
Improve local awareness
It’s no secret that franchise businesses must compete on a local market. The entire purpose of a reliable service business idea for franchises is to penetrate a new market and establish a good presence there. After all, it’s the method franchisors rely on to reach out to foreign markets and expand their area of influence.
That being said, improving the local awareness and exposure is also an essential element of your marketing plan or should be for that matter. One of the ways you can do that is by leveraging local SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Local SEO can help you improve the visibility, awareness, exposure and credibility for your franchise business.
The main reason is that modern consumers oftentimes research local businesses before they decide for which option to opt for. Appearing on the top of the list for local businesses may easily give you an advantage over other local competitors. Updating every available business listing directories with information, such as business location, phone number, opening hours and other information is essential for your local SEO efforts.
A competitive analysis
As mentioned before, competing on a local market means having to outrun local competitors. That may not be as easy even with franchisors reputation and support. Therefore, a competitive analysis is a must in your marketing plan.
The purpose of this analysis is to determine who your main competitors are, as well as to determine how they operate. However, you’re not trying to copy them but instead learn from what they do right and what they do wrong, in order to gain an advantage over them. Here are a few things you should focus on when conducting competitive analysis.
- How are your competitors interacting with customers – How efficient are they at providing customers service, support and the overall experience?
- How do they develop their marketing strategies? – You should analyze their efforts, such as SEO, content marketing, social media activities and so on.
- What are their strengths and weaknesses? – This is self-explanatory, as you shouldn’t attempt to outrun competitors at their strongest points unless you’re absolutely certain that you can. Instead, focus on their weak points and improve your efforts to avoid their mistakes.
The more you know about your competitors the easier it will be for you to position your franchise on the local market and gain a much-needed advantage.
Developing a marketing plan for your franchise is crucial for its growth and future development. Your franchisor will provide you with developed and proven marketing strategies they oftentimes use, but it’s still important to adjust those strategies to your local market needs. Simply put, you cannot accomplish any of that without developing a solid plan first.