While the franchise market is believed to be on the decline in some countries, in the United Kingdom, it appears to be growing at a rapid rate. The franchise industry is believed to have contributed over £15 billion pounds to date to the UK economy. More and more entrepreneurs are seeking franchise opportunities to provide more work-life balance. And franchises are lucrative because someone else has already done all of the preliminary research on what is needed to get the business off the ground.
Today, there are over 900 franchise brands in operation in the UK. Banks also love to lend to franchisees because of their high success rates. So, with consistent growth, the likelihood of getting funding, and the ability to have more quality living time, those pursuing franchises are destined for success. Kind of.
While in the franchise market, the initial work has been done for you, it is now up to the independent franchise owner to keep the business operating. Just because there is an abundance of franchise opportunities in the United Kingdom, it doesn’t mean you can hop in and just ride the wave. There is definitely more work to be done.
Marketing – The Key to Franchise Success
These tips below are designed to help you once you have opened your franchise business. However, these questions can be equally important in understanding the size of the prize for the franchise you are interested in before you make a final decision and investment. In many cases, much of this work will be done for you by the franchise holding company. And don’t assume that they will pass along all of that tribal knowledge to you. Sometimes, information gets lost along the way. Whether you are seeking this information before investing in a franchise, or your business is in place, and you want to attract more customers, be sure to ask these questions:
- What is the value proposition that your franchise provides?
- Why is your product or service different from that of the competition?
- What pain point is your perceived customer trying to solve?
- What keeps your perceived customer from buying (what objections do you need to help them overcome)?
- What are the demographics of your perceived customer? Income is important, but it is not the only piece of information that you should seek to understand. Consider age, gender, presence of children, home ownership, disabilities, education, employment status, and marital status.
- What channels resonate most with your perceived customer?
Now that you have all of this information, what should you do with it? Well, keep reading.
Developing a Cross-Channel Marketing Strategy for your Franchise
A cross-channel marketing strategy that is well defined is paramount to your success as a franchise owner and operator. When thinking of your channels, in the least, you should consider the following:
- Social media – Key platforms are likely Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. (Note: If you are a B2B marketer and you are reading this article, add LinkedIn to your list. You may also want to thoroughly research if your buyer is on Instagram and Pinterest before investing in those channels).
- Traditional marketing – This can include print advertising (advertising in the local newspaper), press releases (which can actually turn into great social media content in modern marketing), etc.
- Community events and event marketing – If there are events hosted in your community, such as a fair or local business trade show, this is a great opportunity to host a booth and get time to talk to potential customers in person.
Within the above channels, your content marketing and brand marketing strategy can evolve to ensure you get in front of the right customers, at the right time, in the right place, with the right content. This really becomes a focus on sales funnel marketing, starting with top-of-the-funnel content and working your way down to the bottom of the funnel.
If you are not familiar with the traditional sale funnel and the content marketing that aligns with each phase, leverage the below list as a quick refresher. And, know that the typical stages of the sales funnel, from top to bottom, are awareness, interest, consideration, intent, evaluation, and purchase.
|Top of Funnel||Middle of Funnel||Bottom of Funnel|
|Awareness and Interest||Consideration and Intent||Evaluation and Purchase|
|Blogs and websites Social media SEO Video marketing – company awareness and value proposition online advertising influencer outreach||ebooks case studies white papers Quizzes Video marketing – product overviews||Free assessment video marketing – demo videos|
The goal of aligning your content to the sales funnel is to ensure that you can nurture potential customers throughout the process, hopefully ending with a purchase and then a repeat purchase down the road. And this content needs to be developed to engage those customers, regardless of which channels they peruse.
Don’t Forget to Measure Your Success
Important for all businesses, but perhaps even more so when your own money is invested in the success of the franchise, is to have a way to measure your spending and your return on investment (ROI). Develop a dashboard that outlines your performance against your goals. Look at click-through rates, web visits, video completion rates, etc. And, if you have a CRM system, pay attention to the content that has been put in front of your customers and when. Then, look at whether or not those customers eventually converted. Don’t make any changes to your strategy for a few months though. Sometimes, it takes time for customers to notice us truly. We often bore off our strategies long before our customers do. As long as you don’t get too excessive with how often you get in front of them, a regular cadence is good.
Finally, stay on top of trends. Watch what’s going on with social media, and pay attention to new technologies that might be coming out. And keep your eyes open in the community. If a competitor shows up, make sure you get in there and figure out what makes them tick, and then make tweaks to your marketing strategy so that your messages keep you differentiated and relevant.