Got a killer franchise concept? Unless people know about it, it won’t matter how profitable or scalable your business model is.
These days, launching a successful business means marketing and more marketing. But when it comes to franchising, there are two parts to the equation. While it’s vital to make sure there’s a demand in the market for a franchise brand, it’s just as important for franchise companies to attract brand ambassadors.
“One of the most important aspects of marketing for new franchisors is lead generation. When we think about franchise marketing, it’s important to determine how to get your message to your franchisee prospects,” said Bill Paige, vice president of marketing for Francorp. “When we talk about marketing to each of our clients, we ask them to tell us who they’re targeting, then we ask them to the point of view from their audience’s shoes. What will attract them?”
According to Paige, marketing is one of the most important things you can do for your new franchise—but it’s also the most overlooked. Francorp will help develop a comprehensive plan for generating franchise sales leads. This plan, which is based on an understanding of the client’s goals, will recommend specific marketing activities. These can range everywhere from SEO, building a website, garnering a social media following, attending tradeshows, networking, webinars and getting involved in associations. But Paige believes the most important aspect in marketing your business is public relations.
“Public relations is the one constant in every marketing campaign. It’s the main thing that will get your business rolling,” Paige said. “You can’t be afraid of putting yourself and your business out there. Too often people will think they have everything in place when they first open their doors, but are surprised when nobody shows up. You can’t expect your great concept to speak for itself. Instead, utilize the media and their resources to do that job for you.”
Despite its importance, Paige said that most people are spooked by the idea of marketing.
“People tend to be a little gun shy,” Paige said. “There’s a paradigm out there that marketing is a difficult thing. And it’s really not. We have a team of experts who will work with you to tailor a strategy.”
Francorp offers training classes to educate franchisors about the appropriate steps and marketing tools needed for a franchise to grow to the next level. Franchisors will learn about identifying the ideal type of buyer, building brand strength with internet marketing, understanding analytics, creating a web presence and understanding the tools of social media. The training will also help franchisors identify where and how to market their franchise in print, on the internet, or at trade shows.
While training is important, Paige explains that for many franchisors who are already putting in a lot of time and money just running their business, sometimes marketing can fall between the cracks. Oftentimes when money is tight, marketing is the first thing to go.
“We’re such an instant gratification culture. When you’re paying money, what you pay for today won’t result in an instant outcome. You have to be patient and understand that this is something that will pay off in the long-term,” Paige said. “But once you sell that first franchise, you’ll realize how much it pays off.”
In the end, marketing is necessary to build momentum and to build a brand. It requires discipline and commitment, and it’s important to trust that it’ll all pay off in the end—no matter how slow things are in the beginning.
“You have to market. If you do nothing else when launching your new business, do marketing.”