Every day, consumers see ways that franchisees err in trying to get their franchise and its product or service noticed. By recognizing those potential mistakes earlier, you can keep yourself from falling into these pitfalls.
Check out these six marketing mistakes, so that you can keep from making them, whether you are a first-time franchisee or have been in the franchise business for years.
1. Not developing your own marketing plan.
Although are likely to receive some marketing support from the franchise company, it’s good to have your own efforts and marketing plan. Your marketing plan will allow you to tailor efforts to your geographic location and target audience and maximize the use of your marketing dollars.
2. Not having an online presence.
Creating a website, registering for online business directories (Bing, Yahoo!, Google Places, Yelp, etc.), and connecting via social media, with a company Facebook page, a Twitter account and a profile on LinkedIn are all steps that smart franchisees take to market themselves.
3. Not tracking advertising and marketing efforts.
So much information is available for you to understand which of your online marketing efforts are being effective and which are not, so that you can adjust accordingly, says Nannette Staropoli, founder, CEO and chief social media strategist of MARKIT Group, which has offices in Bonita Springs, Fla.; New York City; Pittsburgh and Charleston, S.C. Analytics tools through Google, Facebook, and other companies show where your traffic is coming from, broken down to gender, age, country of origin, and other demographic information.
Even more traditional forms of marketing, such as using coupons, can be tracked when the customer redeems the coupon. Or remember to ask customers simply, “How did you hear about us?” and encourage your staff to do the same, then track their responses.
4. Not researching the franchisor and its marketing efforts.
An Inc.com piece on top mistakes among potential franchisees points out that it’s important to evaluate your franchisor’s marketing strategy and discover what type of advertising and promotional dollars are available. But don’t rely completely on the franchise company for market research — do your own research and create your own marketing plan, the article advises.
5. Not fully using corporate marketing money.
HubSpot’s Inbound Internet Marketing Blog notes: “If you are a franchisee and you’re not taking FULL advantage of any corporate marketing dollars available to you, you are missing a huge opportunity to grow your local franchise. Why? Because this is essentially free money that franchisors give to their franchisees in order to market and grow their business in their local area. Don’t leave these dollars on the table.”
6. Not including a “call to action.”
Including a “call to action” could entice a customer to respond immediately. Some customers may stop into your business even seconds or minutes within seeing or hearing the ad or offer. Consider including a coupon, a discount or free gift if they mention they liked your Facebook page, followed you on Twitter, or mentioned that they saw your ad. This small effort could increase your base of new customers, then your strong customer service and the quality of your product will keep them coming back, willing to pay full price.
–Additional reporting by Carolyn Crist