By Natalie Veli

If you feel like your franchise marketing has gone a little stale, old and musty, and in difficult times like the massive pandemic we are going through, don’t get despondent – your customer base will notice. When there comes a time to cut back on costs, never lose momentum in your marketing endeavours. Freshen up your marketing and your mind. Maintain a strong presence so that no matter what is going on around us, your franchise brand stays top of mind.

Have you included your community, customers, and franchisees in your marketing efforts before? Get them involved and create some hype around your plans. Marketing efforts might not work across your whole network as the same brand, same service / product may not work in a different location with a different audience – get some feedback from your franchisees as to what marketing they have found has worked for them in their location. What interesting insights can you pull from your franchisees to use across your network?

Consider these five tips when revitalising your franchise brand

1.     Jump into the Marketing Fund Budget

This tip helps both the brand and the franchisee. The additional monthly fee that franchisees pay which we describe as a contribution to the marketing services fund or advertising fee. This fund pays for national product advertising and marketing activities, so use it! Here are some examples of promotional and marketing ideas that the fund can go towards:

  • trade shows
  • social media
  • the development and conduct of marketing campaigns for national advertising
  • public relations
  • market research
  • fees for marketing consultants
  • website development and maintenance
  • administration fees relating to marketing

2.     Give your branding a makeover

Do you need a spring in your brand step? Evaluate your best-selling products within your franchise, what your customers give feedback on and then update your value proposition – why should consumers buy your product or service? Make a splash about your message and keep it consistent between all the different marketing channels – Website, social media, emails, print, audio and visual.

If your marketing has lost its shine and needs a little polishing, professional marketing services could help you revive your efforts and spark off some great ideas.

Careful thought must be given to brand updates to achieve an exciting new look that attracts new customers without isolating existing customers.

3.     Freshen up your website

  • Make your welcome statement captivating. Ensure that it immediately informs, convinces, and encourages your audience
  • Consistency. Make your website consistent. Are you talking to the same audience throughout your whole website or at least separate your audiences distinctively?
  • Testimonials. Have you included proof of your talent? A list of clients, testimonials, awards, memberships, accreditations etc. Audio/Visual works so well here, the ability to hear and see a person say their testimonial is more believable and perfectly objective.
  • Call to Action. Have a clear “call to action” above the fold of your website (before your first scroll on the home page).
  • UX. Make the user experience enjoyable with clear and intuitive navigation.
  • Be authentic. Show your audience the real you. Don’t pretend to be who you aren’t – it might bight you in the bum.
  • Smooth Navigation. Ensure you do not have any broken links on your website, it makes the website look “un-looked after” and can sometimes be seen as untrustworthy. Search engines punish a website for these sorts of things.
  • Spelling and grammar are of utmost importance.  If you are selling a professional service or product, you need to appear professional on your website too. Don’t be afraid to ‘play on words’ too if your audience is that way inclined.
  • Locations. Your locations will assist in your organic search. Search engines like the use of names of locations on a website. Think of when you are searching for a product/service on a search engine and you add the location, e.g., Fish and Chips Sandton – it narrows the search results down to what is really required.

4.     Pollinate your content efforts

The same formatted content over and over again can get boring! It would be ideal to get multiple writers with different thoughts, angles, and knowledge bases in to create varied content. Use different styles of writing:

  • A blog post,
  • White paper,
  • e-book,
  • Opinion piece,
  • Infographic
  • Slideshow
  • Video

If you are writing for Google to increase your website traffic, don’t forget that Google loves visual too!

Writer’s block happens! To spark an idea, re-purpose your existing content into something totally new. Find already published blog posts with high recorded traffic to:

  1. Create a short video on the topic
  2. Elaborate on a single point within that blog post and link to it the new blog to create flow on your website

5.     Ignite your confidence in social media

If you have not got a social media presence already, it’s time to get started! You’re not entitled to say you have one by having jut created an account, why is there no activity on your profiles and if you are active, do you have enough activity?

Have you developed a procedure in which you work with your franchisees as to how social media operates within your franchise? Do you have one social media account posting all franchise news or do you allow your franchisees to have their own social media accounts? At Franchising Plus, we suggest monitoring social media activity to avoid disastrous posts that could harm the brand’s image. We encourage the main franchise page to promote localised promotions on behalf of the franchisees.

Start off by growing your presence on social media by identifying your goals, objectives and target audience. Before you start posting, research the platforms you should be visible on and how each of them works. If you aren’t sure how to build your audience, you might need to invest some capital into a bit of advertising and possibly some collaborations with already established profiles.

Franchise training should include this as an important module.

Choosing the right social media platform for your brand/target market needs to be evaluated. Know your target market and know where to find them – ”fish where the fish are”.  Here is a guideline on choosing the right social media for your brand.

By Natalie Veli
Franchising Plus