Franchise Marketing: Step-by-Step Guide (2023)


Franchising is one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S., and it’s set to keep booming for years to come. In fact, there are currently more than 753,700 franchise brands in operation across the country. 

To get ahead in this highly competitive industry, you need to know how to create a strong franchise marketing plan. 

This step-by-step guide teaches you everything you need to know about building a successful franchise marketing strategy: from figuring out your target market to creating a strong sales pitch

franchise marketing infographic

What is Franchise Marketing?

Franchise marketing is a set of activities designed to help you make your brand more visible, memorable, and ultimately successful. There are two main approaches to franchise marketing: operational and developmental. 

Operational franchise marketing includes the advertising methods you use to promote your business, generate leads, and increase sales. For example, press releases, direct mail, search engine optimization (SEO), paid ads, and social media marketing. 

Developmental franchise marketing includes developing the brand and expanding your franchise business into new markets or countries.

Franchise Digital Marketing Strategy: Definition & Goals

A franchise digital marketing strategy is a plan for how a franchise company intends to use digital media to promote and market itself. 

The goal of a franchise digital marketing strategy can be broken down into three main stages:

  1. Brand awareness and reputation management: Build a strong brand presence in the digital space.
  2. Customer acquisition: Identify and attract target customers.
  3. Customer loyalty: Keep customers engaged with your brand and grow.

What Are The Key Elements Of A Franchise Marketing Strategy?

Let’s take a closer look at the crucial elements any franchise marketing strategy should include:

Know Your Buyer

To build a solid franchise marketing plan, you first need to understand your potential customers. 

That means identifying their needs and how you can fulfill them with your product offerings. This way, it’s easier to develop a marketing message that resonates with them. 

You can use surveys and public forums to uncover the key motivators for your target audience. You can also research your competitors’ buyers by going through their social media posts, blogs, and websites.

Understand Online Marketing Platforms

There are many different types of online marketing channels, including social media, search engine optimization, email marketing, and more. 

And while a lot of franchise brands think that they need to use every platform available to them when it comes to marketing their business, that’s actually a really bad idea. 

Why? Because not every channel works for your business. You need to determine which online marketing platform is best for your franchise and its target audience. 

For example, if you own a restaurant franchise, then you might want to focus on using social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram. However, if you own an insurance franchise, you might want to focus on using SEO and email marketing.

Establish Your Marketing Budget

You need to figure out how much money you can afford to spend on your marketing efforts. These not only include advertising campaigns but also public relations, website development, market research, etc. 

There are two main factors that determine how much you should spend on marketing: your business model and your goals for revenue, growth, and customer acquisition.

Stay Consistent

Whether you’re a franchisor or franchisee, you should always be looking at ways to make sure you have a consistent message, branding, and visual presence.

This means making sure all your marketing materials (website, logo, colors, writing tone, etc) are in line with each other and consistent with your overall brand identity.

If you don’t, you can confuse customers and make them doubt the quality of your products or services.

6 Steps To Create a Franchise Marketing Strategy Plan 

1. Choose an online marketing platform

Selecting the best online marketing platform for your business is a crucial first step in creating a successful franchise marketing strategy. Here are a few questions you can use to make sure you’re choosing the right one:

  • What’s the type of business do you have? Is it product or service-focused?
  • Where does your target audience go for information or news on your industry?
  • What are the main marketing channels of your competitors?
  • What’s your budget and what’s the platform’s cost structure? Is it free or paid?

2. Set clear brand guidelines

Brand guidelines are a must for any business. They allow you to communicate your brand with customers, employees, and franchisees, which is essential for making sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to your franchise identity. 

The best way to set clear brand guidelines is by creating a franchise manual. This manual should explain the company’s vision, mission, and values as well as its history, management, marketing strategies, and growth plans.

3. Invest in local SEO

If you have a few franchises or franchisees in different locations, it’s important to ensure that they are visible to the right customers. You can do this by investing in local SEO for each location. 

This means using local-based keywords to rank each website or blog, as well as listing each franchise on local directories. 

4. Pick the right franchise marketing tools

In order to execute your franchise digital marketing strategy effectively, you need to have the right tools. For example:

  • Marketing software
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) systems
  • Branded templates

5. Automate your digital marketing campaigns

If you want to create a successful franchise marketing strategy, you need to automate your efforts.

With the help of automation, you can manage many different campaigns at the same time with less effort. This allows you to focus on more important things like developing new products or providing a more personalized experience for your clients.

6. Use storytelling 

When you’re crafting your franchise marketing strategy plan, you need to use storytelling to tell your story and connect with your audience in a meaningful way. Stories are more memorable than facts —and thus more powerful. 

If instead of talking about your prices or past successes, you share an emotional or relatable story, people would feel connected to your brand. This not only increases brand reputation but also customer loyalty and sales.

Final Thoughts

A franchise marketing plan is key to making your business a success. 

Whether you’re a franchisor or franchisee, creating one is the best way to build a cohesive strategy that keeps your brand top of mind with clients and prospects, as well as provides a solid foundation for building relationships with potential franchisees.