Research says that there are an estimated number of 32,879 full-service restaurant franchises in the United States. With competition getting fiercer due to more businesses deciding to go the franchise way and advancements in digital marketing, running a successful business in different locations is becoming quite challenging. No matter how good your products and services are, if your franchise marketing strategy is not robust, you can’t hope to succeed. Traditional marketing strategies that usually work for a business running in a single location may not work for a multi-location business.
This blog is a great place to get introduced to what works when it comes to marketing your franchise business and how to grow your business while getting the maximum returns on your investment.
Continue reading to know more.
What is Franchise Marketing?
A report by the Statista Research Department states that franchise establishments had an estimated output of USD 76.5 billion in 2022. This is set to increase to USD 78.2 billion by the end of 2023.
Looking at these statistics, it is no surprise that more and more businesses are giving individuals or smaller businesses a way to use their brand name to set up their outlets.
Having said that, these figures also indicate the competition that is gradually and steadily building up in the food and beverage franchise industry.
What then sets apart one food and beverage franchise business from the other selling similar foods and drinks.
The short answer is how well the business markets itself.
This brings us to franchise marketing.
It broadly refers to strategies that your business undertakes to get your potential customers to get interested in what you do. These activities are aimed at establishing your brand in the market, creating customer loyalty, and bringing in more customers, ultimately improving your revenues.
It involves the use of digital technology and traditional methods to promote your brand amongst the ideal, current and projected, customers. Franchisee marketing is not different from marketing any other type of business.
Why Should You Invest in Franchise Marketing?
Given the increasing competition in the restaurant franchise, the dynamic nature of consumer behavior, and the way digital media is consumed, a franchise marketing strategy is the only way to reach new customers and boost your sales.
Here are some reasons why it is essential to invest in a franchise marketing strategy:
Better Visibility of the Brand
Brand recognition is critical for not just success but also the growth of your franchisee business. How the customers perceive your brand impacts your sales and encourages them to choose your brand from among the many other options.
Your franchise marketing strategy helps keep your brand in the spotlight. It makes the customers familiar with your brand, nudges them to interact with and try out your business, and ultimately improves sales.
More Loyal Customers
Research says that almost 70 percent of restaurant customers don’t make a return visit. While most businesses focus on new customers, retaining your existing customers is 7X more cost-effective.
Imagine missing out on this huge chunk of customers.
However, a strong franchise marketing strategy that invites customer feedback and has a consistent social media presence is a great way to build loyalty among them.
One of the most important benefits of having a marketing strategy in place is that it keeps track of your data. Whether it is assessing where your targeted customers are, analyzing their buying behavior, or using analytics and metrics to know how your franchise marketing plan is working, you can know it all.
This helps in strategizing your campaigns better by generating quality leads and delivering to-the-point brand messaging.
Higher Returns on Investment
One of the top benefits of investing in a franchise marketing plan is that your returns on investment are maximized. Two main factors contribute to this.
First, when you create targeted campaigns, you reach out to the customer demographics that will help fuel your business and increase your profits. Second, digital marketing strategies are much more economical to implement than large-scale offline campaigns.
When you have more customers interacting with your brand, the chances of them converting into sales are higher. Add to this the revenues that you gain from returning customers, and you have a better chance of capturing a bigger market and earning more profits in the long run.
How to Prepare Your Franchise Marketing Strategy?
Just like every industry, the restaurant franchise business has its unique needs. The recent pandemic and new technologies have changed the way franchises operate and market themselves.
Add to this that as a franchisor, your marketing strategy must be coherent over different franchise locations while maintaining consistency in the branding elements.
Nonetheless, this has also brought in new opportunities.
A winning franchise marketing strategy is a sum of various factors. Here are some essential considerations that you need to base your marketing strategy on to help it succeed and generate more sales.
Set Your Objectives
You can only devise a successful franchise marketing strategy when you know what your efforts are directed towards. For this, you should know your objectives for developing your marketing strategy.
Almost every franchise business has the objective to increase its sales and improve its brand recognition. However, to attain this, you need to set more precise objectives. A more precise objective could be to improve your organic traffic by at least 25 percent and convert them into qualified leads.
Know Your Target Audience
Once your objectives are specified, the next step is to define who you will target your franchise marketing strategy towards. The benefit of this is that you save monies that you would have otherwise spent on targeting a general audience. Chances are that you already know who your target audiences are. You know who is dropping in regularly at your restaurant and who is engaging with your brand.
Once you know this, it is important to know ways to reach these audiences. You can conduct surveys to know how they heard about your brand, why they choose you over other brands, what they like about your offerings, etc.
Select the Best Promotional Platforms
Once you know your franchise marketing plan’s objectives and have determined who your target audiences are, you now need to define the best way to connect with them.
Ideally, given how much social media has percolated into everyone’s lives, you need to have a multi-channel promotional strategy. This means that you cannot stick to one or even two marketing platforms. Your strategy needs to be a mix of traditional and digital platforms. Include print marketing, SEO, email marketing, and other offline campaigns to gain the highest returns while maximizing your outreach channels.
Determine your Budget
Determining an air-tight budget is the only way to get the most returns on your investment. Once you know your objectives and your target audiences and have chosen which promotional platforms to harness, setting a budget should not be difficult.
Failing to set a budget and sticking to it may lead to overspending and ultimately loss of revenue.
Create Relevant and Engaging Content
Just creating a lot of content is not enough. It will only push away your customers. Instead, focus on making your content relevant, fun, and informative to hook your current and prospective consumers.
Make sure that your content is localized for the area in which your franchise operates and is optimized enough to be picked up by search engines. The content that you publish must be a good mix of blog posts, infographics, videos, and high-value images for it to be engaging enough for your consumers.
To maintain consistency in your content, you may choose to automate your content. Most social media and blog platforms allow you to schedule posts in advance.
Monitor Your Strategy
Once your franchise marketing plan starts to deliver results, it is time to analyze the direction that it is going to take in the future. Using tools like Google Analytics will help you know which keywords are working for your franchise, which branch is getting the most conversions, etc.
This will not just help you know if there are any roadblocks in your marketing plan but also improve your customer’s experience while engaging with your franchise.
How to Market Your Restaurant Franchise Business?
Just like any other industry, food and beverage marketing is also witnessing a lot of disruptions due to technology. People are spending more time on gadgets like laptops, tablets, and mobiles and accessing various social media platforms.
Similarly, there is still a huge chunk of people who still engage with traditional marketing platforms.
Understandably so, for a franchise marketer, may get overwhelming. Not just this, not selecting the right franchise marketing strategies may lead to costly mistakes and loss of brand value.
Our experts have created a no-fail blueprint of a powerful franchise marketing strategy to help you attain your objectives and drive your franchise business toward success.
Here are some strategies for you to consider:
Go Traditional- Use Print Marketing
A Pew Research Centre report says that almost 31 percent of people get information about local restaurants from the print media, particularly newspapers. That’s quite a sizable chunk of consumers, especially in the competitive restaurant franchise market.
A great franchise marketing strategy is to invest in advertising with local newspapers. Another way to improve your reach is to print and distribute promotional material for your business.
One of the most important advantages of this strategy is that it helps you target very niche demographics.
Sandwich Hog, a restaurant based in Texas, recently used social media very effectively to drive up their sales. The restaurant employs people with diverse talents and created a successful Instagram campaign to profile some of its employees and their special abilities. This helped them gain millions of followers, which converted into quality leads.
MDPI research says that almost 68 percent of restaurant-goers in the US visited a restaurant they had never visited before relying purely on positive reviews that they saw on social media.
Social media is the best tool today to reach all the customers and build their interest in your brand. Platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook are great for sharing interesting and sticky content about your franchise business.
These platforms also make it easy for you to know what the consumers think about your brand and convert their negative experiences into positive ones. You can also use targeted Facebook ads to boost your posts and reach a larger number of relevant people.
Design a Great Website
A recent survey says that nearly 77 percent of people are likely to visit a restaurant’s website before they dine in or order takeout.
As a franchise, your website need not be a rip-off of your parent company’s website. While you can use that as an inspiration, you can develop your design scheme to reach your consumers.
A well-designed and easy-to-navigate website is the greatest tool that your franchise business can possess. Some great ways to make your website more user-friendly and conversion oriented are:
- Use a mix of videos, blogs, and images that resonate with your offerings.
- Have enough CTAs on your website. This will help consumers make quick and easy purchases.
Make sure to use CRO (Conversion rate optimization) to test how your website is faring when it comes to lead conversions.
Use Local SEO
Almost 97 percent of Google searches are about finding a nearby local business. When people are looking for places to eat and your business is not visible, it could be an expensive mistake.
One of the best ways to rank at the top in the local results is to profile yourself on Google My Business. Restaurant SEO will allow your business to profile your location, opening and closing hours, reviews & ratings, and FAQs.
This is also an excellent way to improve your brand’s awareness and reach amongst relevant audiences.
You can boost your SEO by combining it with a pay-per-click strategy. This is a way to generate ads for your business based on the keywords that people enter while searching for businesses offering similar products to yours. This, when combined, with a higher SEO ranking leads to better reach to prospective consumers.
Get Influencers to Talk For You
Spring Kitchen, a hotel in Manhattan, recently experienced a huge surge in the number of consumers coming in to buy their strawberry rhubarb ice cream. The reason was a single post from a local food influencer on Instagram that motivated thousands of people to visit the hotel.
As a franchise business, you know how important word-of-mouth promotions are. Now what about this word of mouth comes from a local celebrity or an influencer?
Recent research says that nearly 37 percent of consumers trust social media influencers over brands. They help more people get aware of your brand and visit your restaurant as compared to restaurants that don’t use influencer marketing. This is because the followers of that influencer see this as an endorsement and want to try out your food.
That’s not all, having an influencer talk about your business also lends it credibility.
Utilize Email Marketing
Well-crafted email marketing strategies help your business not just get new people to try out your food but also remind recent visitors to dine again. For starters, it has a high ROI. For instance, every dollar spent on email marketing gives you an average return of almost $36. Research also says that the email open rate in the restaurant industry is almost 20 percent.
Here are some expert-recommended email marketing best practices:
- Introduce yourself in a welcome message. Share the kind of content that you will be sharing in your subsequent emails.
- Pay special attention to the email’s subject and preview. They must be interesting enough to prompt your customers to open them.
- Ensure that your emails are personalized for the receiver and don’t look like those sent in bulk.
- To make the customers even more interested in your restaurant, include good photos of your food in your emails.
- To keep your email lineup interesting, announce special discounts, seasonal offerings, and events through templates and creative posts.
Go offline with events and BTL activities
One of the best ways to go out there and put your story out is to create an awesome offline marketing strategy. While the future lies in digital, these offline strategies are great for establishing a one-on-one connection with your customers.
These activities help you reaffirm your presence in your local area of operation. They also help in brand recall while creating an interesting buzz around your brand name.
Here’s what our experts recommend:
- Nothing goes together like food and music. To create a lively experience for your diners, you can invite a local band to play at your restaurant.
- Keep yourself relevant by participating in local food festivals. If your customers see you in food festivals, they are sure to remember you when they are finding places to dine next.
- Another great way to enhance your brand’s awareness and be seen as an empathetic brand is to host charity events. Remember it should be something that resonates with your brand and helps you give back to the community.
A good franchise marketing strategy lets you leverage your brand’s USP and helps you stand out in an already crowded market. Just make sure that your marketing plan is relevant, engaging, and result-oriented. To get value for every dollar that you spend and to keep your approach distinct from your competition, we recommend you go with experts who can create a tailor-made marketing plan for your franchise business. Get in touch with us today to know how we can fuel the growth and success of your business and create a niche space for it.