Introduction to Franchise Digital Marketing
Franchise digital marketing is somewhat of a new one adventure for many business owners and franchisees. It can be tricky trying to advertise your franchise locations with digital marketing when you are used to traditional marketing, but I am here to help you find your way to success!
Many people take a national approach to their franchise digital marketing, but that isn’t necessarily the way to go. With traditional marketing it often made sense to use a more blanket approach to franchise and multi-location marketing, but that’s not the case in this digital world. While national marketing can be great for a franchise as a whole, the real money making advertising is local digital marketing at the franchise location level. This means that each of your franchise locations should have a different marketing campaign.
“…the real money making advertising is local digital marketing at the franchise location level.”
National Vs. Local Franchise Digital Marketing
Would you rather listen to this part? Check out our podcast on this very topic!
This is where I often lose franchisors and multi-location owners when talking about franchise digital marketing. They want to see results, but they don’t want to create separate marketing campaigns, websites, social media pages, and content for each franchise location. There must be an easier way! Spoiler: There isn’t.
That’s not entirely true, as you can hire an agency (such as the one writing this article), to run your digital marketing. However, I really want to focus on how franchise digital marketing works and why it works in this article, so I’m going to keep the agency stuff out for the most part. National marketing is the marketing that really highlights your brand to consumers, and showcases who your brand is. National marketing, however, doesn’t drive foot traffic directly to a specific store location. While national marketing can be very important for a franchise brand, it’s not what the individual franchisee should be focusing on. When you invest in a franchise you expect the franchise to have a strong brand to support you, but you also need to support your individual location with local marketing.
Local marketing can still use some traditional marketing platforms such as radio, but you will want to drive listeners directly to your store location. This is not the time to run a branding campaign, as you want people in your store, not just any of the franchise locations. With digital marketing it is even more important to focus on the individual locations because of things like Search Engine Optimization, Local Search Directories, and Social Media Platforms.
Local Digital Marketing Example
What are some examples of local digital marketing that you could use in your franchise’s digital marketing mix? Let’s make a mock marketing mix and then explain the reasoning behind it. For this example we will use a clothing retail franchise as our example.
- Facebook Page
- Instagram Page
- Google Display / Retargeting Campaign
- Snapchat Ads
- Google Paid Search
- Waze Local Ads
Let’s pretend that you own 10 locations for this same franchise brand. All of your locations are in the same state and the same general area, but they are located in a few different cities.
Pop Quiz! How many total Facebook Pages will you need for this marketing mix between your 10 stores?
You will need 10 unique Facebook pages for this marketing mix to work! You will also need 10 Instagram pages, 10 websites, 10 Google Display / Retargeting campaigns… you get the picture. It would be much easier to just have one website and one social media profile for your locations as a whole, but that’s not how digital marketing works these days. Search engines reward content updates, unique content, and local search results. This also allows you the freedom to run events, sales, promotions, and special hours for individual locations rather than forcing yourself to always run the same things for all 10 of your locations at the exact same time.
This also allows you to show up as a much more relevant listing when users are searching for a business just like yours in their local area. If the search engines see that you are located in 10 different places they may get confused and not show your website to the people who are searching for exactly what you offer in their area. Imagine trying to run one Google Display campaign for 10 different locations and keeping it organized. Nearly impossible, right? That’s why you should make a new campaign for each franchise location. You should do this on as many platforms as you can, as this will help you compare results and see which locations are responding the most to your advertising mix. Some digital marketing platforms may work better for some locations than for others, but it will be hard to know if you don’t keep your results organized by location.
Finally, I know that franchise digital marketing just got way harder than many of you probably thought it would be. However, don’t get discouraged! As a franchisee you are invested in a brand, and that brand should be providing you with the creative images, logos, and website designs that you need. Remember when I said that you need a separate website and social media profile for each location? As a franchisee you have the advantage of being able to replicate your website and social media pages, while only changing a few minor details! Your brand is already set, so you don’t need to change that. Rather than making 10 unique websites and 10 totally different social media accounts you have the luxury of being able to essentially duplicate the main pieces of each, and add unique content as you go. You can even use the same creative imagery and social media posts across the different accounts, but try to spice it up and add some variety to the pages every now and then.
If you have any questions about marketing your franchise or multi-location business, please visit this page and we’ll be in contact soon!