When it comes to developing a marketing strategy for your local franchise business, you have more hurdles to overcome than most other local business owners.
You need to consider how your online marketing efforts will affect other franchisees, as well as restrictions placed on you at the corporate level. Before you initiate any type of marketing strategy, it’s important to determine the types of marketing practices that are allowed or preferred by the franchisor.
In many cases, compliance policies contained within your Franchise Disclosure Document related to Internet marketing and local search may be outdated, and chances are, several franchisees within your specific organization may already be in breach.
If you have a local franchise business and are trying to generate new customers or clients, it will be very difficult to do so if they don’t know you exist, know little or nothing about you, have no idea where you are located or how they might do business with you. Building a properly developed website for your local franchise business is a critical component to establishing an online presence and should be your primary area of focus as you begin your local online marketing journey. While it is important how your website looks, it is even more important how it works. The objective is not to “look cool”, but rather to allow people looking for your type of goods or services, your prospective customers and clients, to easily find you and learn something about your business and how you can help them.
The subject of individual franchisee websites has long been a “bone of contention” within the industry. Many Franchisors are vehemently opposed to individual Franchisee websites and are reluctant to relinquish website control to Franchisees. On the other hand, many Franchisees feel that their “hands are tied” since they have little or no control over the marketing decisions for their own business. These feelings become even more apparent when the local Franchisee determines that the Franchisor’s marketing campaign is ineffective and the resulting new business lead generation is virtually non-existent.
Most franchisees need qualified leads more than anything else, and the best way to generate leads (not referrals) is through a local website for each franchise location that is optimized for search in the geographic area where they conduct business.
To better understand the best path to a successful local franchise marketing strategy, check out our most recent franchise marketing article: SEO for Franchise Businesses – What is the Best Strategy for Local Search? . The article explores how multi-unit enterprises and franchises can work together to develop a strong local online marketing program and narrow the widening gap between corporate control and the local franchise owner’s need for lead generation and business growth.