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Franchise Digital Marketing Strategy 101

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Franchise Digital Marketing

What Your Business Needs to Successfully Market Franchise Locations Online

You worked hard to build your brand, and now that you have franchised your business, your franchisees must be successful. No marketing strategy is complete without a digital game plan to drive traffic and sales! 

At Right Left Agency, we have worked closely with several franchises, including Pinspiration, FastFrame, and Donut Bar, to create scalable advertising strategies that increase traffic and sales for their locations across America. From web development to advertising to managing local listings, start here to create a robust franchise digital marketing strategy for your business and all its locations. 

Use Search Advertising to Drive Local Traffic to Franchise Locations

When marketing a local service people are actively searching for, Google Search Ads is often the best option. Essentially, your franchisee’s business is offered as the answer to local searches on Google. It works great for franchise networks because the campaigns can be geo-targeted down to specific zip codes or radii around store locations. PPC is also budget-friendly for franchise owners because advertisers only pay when the ad is clicked on. 

Here are some tips on how you can make Google Search ads successful for your franchisees:

Target Local Keywords – It’s a good idea to pair relevant keywords with local terms in addition to targeting locally. For example, for Pinspiration Craft studios, we used terms like “craft studio near me” or “paint and sip in Jacksonville” and got excellent results. Local terms to add to keywords include:

  • Your neighborhood
  • Your city
  • “Near me” 
  • “In-store shopping”
  • “open for dine-in.” 
  • “Curbside”

Target High-Intent Keywords – People looking to make a purchase use a different language from those simply browsing the internet. Their wording tends to be more specific and shows intent to take action. Here are some keywords that are low intent compared to their high intent counterparts:

  • “Painting” is low-intent, but “paint and sip studio near me” is high intent
  • “Frames” is low-intent, but “Custom frame quotes” is high intent
  • “Doughnuts” is low intent, but “Best doughnuts San Diego” is high intent

Add Call Extensions – If you have your free Google My Business Account setup, you can add a call extension to your PPC Google Ads! This will boost call traffic and conversions.

Pay-Per-Click with Google is a tried and true method for advertising local businesses online, but don’t forget about Facebook Ads. Facebook Ads can be a strong asset for advertising franchise locations when used correctly. Facebook allows you to create multiple business locations so information is location-specific.

Use Awareness Campaigns To Boost Local Interest

Facebook Ads Offering
These two Facebook Ads showcase local franchises and their fun offerings 

Google’s PPC reaches customers when they already know what they want and are now weighing their options. Before this stage in the decision-making process, your company can impact potential customers with Facebook and Instagram ads.

These ads are ideal for boosting website traffic, building email lists, generating awareness, and securing impulse purchases for your locations. The goal is to find customers who are not yet aware they need what you are providing and guide them down the conversion funnel. 

You can publish ads that feature:

  • Informational videos
  • Education on your brand
  • Education on your product/service

Facebook and Instagram ads work best for extremely visual brands like Pinspiration or Donut Bar, but may not be as successful if your franchise offers a B2B service or something intangible. 

Manage Your Local Listings

Set your locations up for success by managing their local listings. Once upon a time, simply adding your business info to the phonebook was enough. Nowadays, your business’s name, address, telephone number, and hours of operation need to be managed across multiple platforms. 

Services like Yext can lighten the load by letting locations manage their listings in bulk, while also letting the franchisor optimize across locations easily. Yext will ensure you have business accounts for the most important platforms; if you choose not to use Yext, you should be sure to create the following directly:

Google – Google is the first place people go when searching for local businesses! Your business is likely already on Google Maps, but if you haven’t created a Google My Business account for your location, then you won’t have control over your listing. When a business is unclaimed, Google relies on patrons and volunteers to update the listing, leading to misinformation and lost sales! GMB also makes your ads more interactive by letting people call directly from a search result. 

Yelp – This is the second most popular way people search for local businesses, so keeping your Yelp page up to date and active is essential for attracting customers.

UberEats / Doordash / Grubhub (Food Businesses Only) – Any business that delivers your products should always be up to date and well managed since they deal directly with your franchise’s income and customer service.

Once your listings are set up, encourage customers to leave reviews! A well-rated business on Google, Yelp, or elsewhere can do a lot to increase web traffic and store visits. Remind customers in-person and via email how important reviews are for small, local businesses and tell your locations to put a “Find Us On Yelp”  sticker in the window. With enough good reviews, you may be sent a coveted, “People Love Us On Yelp” window cling!

Invest in Web Development and Search Engine Optimization

Your online presence is essential to your growth. Having a beautiful and easy-to-use website isn’t just for appearances; it builds credibility and is a persuasive marketing tool. Furthermore, a well-made website with search-optimized pages for each of your locations is necessary for search engine optimization.

Having a well-made website is equal parts art and science. For the best customer experience, ensure that your web page offers these functions:

Consistent, Yet Distinguishable Design and Branding – Franchisees and customers are invested in your brand’s identity, voice, and experience! Make sure when developing your brand’s national website that it truly represents your company’s personality. Within this framework, ensure when developing local franchise web pages that their location is clearly distinguishable from others to avoid customer confusion. Put location names under logos, include images of the brick and mortar locations, and provide location-specific information.

A Location Finder – Your national page will likely be the first result on Google when people search for your company, so make navigating to their local franchise’s web page easily by including a location finder! Pinspiration’s location finder is zoomable, searchable, and helps market their future locations to potential franchisees.

Local Web Pages – As mentioned earlier, your business should have local web pages for each franchise. This improves search engine optimization for your company as people tend to Google businesses local to themselves. Local pages also give your franchise locations a direct line of communication with their customers for posting event calendars, business updates, and providing customer service.

Another tried, and true way to attract more people to your web page is by publishing newsletters and blogs! We believe in this method so much that we wrote a blog about it.

Give Each Location Its Own Social Media

Your company has its own social media page (right?!), and so should your franchises! Customers frequently look to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the most up-to-date information about local businesses. Furthermore, having more personalized posts can build a strong sense of community with customers and staff. 

Managing social media across different locations and accounts can be difficult. Luckily, we have some tips to simplify social media management for your company’s locations while still giving each location its own personal flair:

Set Social Media Standards – With guidelines in place, you can trust franchisees to post fun and informative content that stays true to your brand’s voice. Guidelines include what is allowed to be posted when it is posted, how much time should be devoted to management. 

Create Content Calendars – Have an action plan in place month by month by creating a schedule of recommended posts. Any company-wide promotions, events, or fun posts can be provided as standard posts for your franchisees. Make sure to include spaces where franchisees can post local events details, new products, candid customer moments, and humanizing staff images.

Automate! – Using Facebook’s own scheduled posting tools or a third-party site like Hootsuite allows your business to save ongoing time by posting for you. This makes managing multiple accounts much easier. Whether you schedule on behalf of your franchisees or they schedule for themselves, a tool like Hootsuite frees up time to run your business.

A well-run, informative, and fun social media page is a must for reaching people with your brand message. Giving each location their own page helps them build local followings and share location updates to their communities.

Provide Franchise Marketing Support

Whether big or small, it is always best practice to support and oversee your franchisee’s marketing efforts. Ensure that franchisees are representing your brand properly and avoid multiple locations from competing with one another by taking an active role in their marketing efforts. 

Develop Marketing Channel Guidelines – Your brand’s personality gives your franchise value, so protect this value by setting marketing guidelines! Wherever your franchises interact with customers, there should be a clear course of action that properly represents your brand. Examples of marketing channels that can benefit from guidelines are:

  • Social Media Posts
  • Customer Service Replies
  • Email Campaigns
  • Newsletters

Guidelines should include visual examples, the tone and language that should be used, proper uses of logos and brand graphics, language or imagery to avoid, and notes about your brand personality.

Set Clear Expectations – Whether your company uses a very hands-on approach with developing marketing materials or gives franchisees full freedom with marketing materials is up to you! Get clear on your strategy and support your franchisees accordingly. If you are more hands-on, you might want to require all franchisees to send you ads and brand materials for approval before they are used for marketing. If you are more hands-off, maybe a brand guide is enough.

Work with a Digital Marketing Agency – As your company expands, give your franchisees the support they need by delegating national and local marketing efforts to an agency like ours whose passion and specialty is Franchise Digital Marketing.  Contact us to learn more about what a digital marketing agency can do for your business!

Our Franchise Support team is waiting in the wings for your locations! We can provide everything from educational webinars to one-on-one training for each franchisee. If you would like to implement any of the strategies discussed here, let us know, and we would be happy to talk about your digital marketing strategy.