10 franchise marketing strategies that drive proven results.

Franchise Marketing Strategies That Deliver Proven Results

When done right, franchise marketing can attract new customers, retain existing ones, and ultimately increase revenue. Here’s 10 ways to do just that.

For a franchise, brand recognition is the name of the game. Imagine this scenario: you’re strolling through a new city and you spot the golden arches on a QSR (quick service restaurant). Instantly, you know what to expect. That’s the power of strong branding.

Effective franchise marketing helps ensure your brand is consistently recognized, no matter where a branch is located. This consistency fosters trust and attracts customers along with future franchisees.

But we know marketing isn’t just about getting your name out there; it’s about driving sales. When done right, franchise marketing can attract new customers, retain existing ones, and ultimately increase revenue. Whether through promotions, social media campaigns, or local events, a robust marketing strategy can significantly boost your bottom line.

Understanding the Unique Challenges and Opportunities in Franchise Marketing

As you are well aware, a franchise model comes with its own unique set of pros and cons, many of which can be seen as two sides of the same coin. For example, organizations are able to leverage the local knowledge of franchisees and grant them the freedom to manage operations with reduced oversight. However, this also opens the brand up to the risk of inconsistent end-user experiences and messaging from one location to the next.

Much of these same pros and cons apply to franchise marketing, meaning that any promotional plan must account for the complexities of this specific business model.

How to Maximize the Opportunities

Combine National Guidelines with Localized Targeting

One of the biggest advantages of owning a franchise is the ability to leverage national campaigns while also executing local strategies. National campaigns build broad brand recognition, while local campaigns allow franchises to connect more personally with their community. This dual approach can lead to a more loyal and engaged customer base.

Connect with Local Communities to Make an Impact

Local campaigns are not just about sales; they’re about building relationships. By participating in local events, sponsoring community activities, or partnering with local businesses, franchisees can engrain themselves into the fabric of their communities. This connection fosters loyalty and repeat business.

Analyze and Scale Successful Franchisee Marketing Strategies

Franchisees can also benefit from each other’s successes. When one location discovers a winning marketing strategy, it can be shared and implemented across the entire franchise network. This collaborative learning helps elevate the overall brand, ensuring everyone benefits from collective wisdom.

How to Overcome Potential Challenges of Marketing via Franchisees

Equip Franchisees With Thorough Marketing Training and Guardrails

While corporate can provide guidelines, the success of local marketing strategies often depends on individual franchisees.  Empowering franchisees with thorough, up-to-date training not only provides added value to your organization but also helps them avoid missteps, whether it’s incorrectly responding to a negative review or understanding the appropriate cadence for marketing outreach. Marketing tools tailored to multi-location business models—like Voxie’s SMS management platform—not only assist with generating and scheduling complex text marketing campaigns, but also helps companies control just how much access franchisees have to various features.

Enforce Legal Compliance Across All Locations

Ensuring compliance with local, state, and federal regulations can be a headache for franchises. From advertising claims to promotional activities, every action must align with legal standards. Clear guidelines and regular audits can help mitigate these risks.

Remove Any Ambiguity Within Your Franchisee Marketing Guidelines

Consistency is key in franchise marketing. However, maintaining an unwavering brand voice across multiple locations can be challenging. In addition to a brand guideline and training, arm franchisees with company-approved media and communications they can use freely. Make sure to stipulate what can and cannot be modified, as well as any general stipulations.

Nurture Two-Way Communication Between the Franchisor and Franchisee

Disillusioned franchisees are more likely to go rogue and deviate from the marketing plan. This could happen for various reasons—perhaps your organization failed to convey the logic behind the strategy, or the franchisee has valid concerns about how the marketing plan applies to their customer base. Regardless, if you maintain easy, regular communication, they’re more likely to raise their concerns about your franchise marketing approach before posting a wayward social post or blowing their budget on a failing radio ad.

National vs Local Franchise Marketing Campaigns

To maximize the effectiveness of your franchise marketing efforts, it’s essential to determine which campaigns are best suited for a national rollout by the corporate team and which should be tailored by individual owners to meet local needs. Establishing clear boundaries simplifies marketing campaigns for both franchisors and franchisees, effectively removing the risk of confusion.

National-Level Campaigns

Brand-Wide Promotions: Large-scale sales events, product launches, or new service introductions are best managed by the corporate team. These campaigns ensure a unified message and take advantage of broader advertising channels such as national TV, radio, or digital platforms to create widespread awareness.

Seasonal Campaigns: Marketing efforts tied to holidays or seasons—like back-to-school promotions, holiday sales, or summer specials—are also ideally suited for national implementation. Corporate can create cohesive, eye-catching campaigns that franchisees can mirror, ensuring a consistent brand presence across all locations.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Initiatives: If the franchise supports any national charities or engages in large-scale CSR activities, these should be driven by corporate. A unified approach ensures that the franchise’s philanthropic efforts are consistent and impactful, reinforcing the brand’s image as a responsible corporate citizen.

Local-Level Campaigns

Community Sponsorships and Events: Franchisees are best positioned to sponsor local events, support community activities, or engage in neighborhood festivals. These grassroots efforts help build personal connections within the community, fostering loyalty and encouraging repeat business.

Localized Social Media Engagement: While a national social media presence is crucial, local engagement allows franchisees to interact directly with their specific audience. Responding to local trends, participating in community conversations, and highlighting local events can help build a more personal relationship with customers.

Targeted Local Promotions: Tailored promotions that cater specifically to the tastes and preferences of the local market can be more effective than a one-size-fits-all approach. Franchisees can offer special discounts, loyalty programs, or local partnerships that resonate better with their community.

By striking the right balance between national and local campaigns, franchises can leverage the strengths of both scales, ensuring cohesive brand messaging while also maintaining a personal touch that engages the local customer base.

10 Franchise Marketing Strategies with Proven Results

Whether you’re a new franchisee or an experienced franchisor, having a reliable set of tested and proven tactics can help you avoid a creative slump. That’s why we’ve compiled ten franchise marketing strategies that drive customer engagement, foster brand loyalty, and boost revenue.

1. Leverage SMS to Build a Relationship with Customers

SMS marketing provides a direct line of communication with your customers—immediate, personal, and effective. In fact, Gartner and similar studies all suggest branded text open rates are as high as ninety-eight percent! As a relatively new franchise marketing strategy, it remains largely untapped, ensuring your messages are seen rather than lost in an overcrowded email inbox.

Text marketing not only facilitates more visibility, but also more interactions. Modern customers demand more than just promotional messages; they crave interaction. SMS facilitates two-way conversations, allowing customers to ask questions, receive answers, and feel more connected to your brand. (We all know how frustrating it can be when a brand talks at you rather than with you.) Franchisees can choose to respond to text-based inquiries manually or leverage tools like Voxie that employ AI-based conversational intelligence.

With Voxie, you can leverage AI-based conversational intelligence to provide immediate and accurate responses for the best user experience.

Just like its older counterpart, email, SMS can leverage automated drip campaigns to keep your audience engaged over time. These are a series of pre-scheduled messages sent at specific intervals. Or, alternatively, action-triggered campaigns, which are based on customer behavior, can be highly effective. For example, sending a discount code after a purchase encourages repeat business.

Click here to learn more about SMS trends you can reflect in your franchise-focused marketing.

2. Utilize Local SEO to Attract Nearby Customers

Local SEO starts with optimizing your Google My Business (GMB) profile. Work with your franchisees to ensure your business information is accurate and complete. Train them on how to optimally (and continually) update it with new photos, posts, and customer reviews to boost your visibility in local search results. While many franchise organizations let the local branches handle the day-to-day handling of the GMB profile, there should still be national oversight.

Another local SEO marketing tactic franchise-based businesses should deploy? Incorporate location-based keywords into your website and online content. Phrases like “best coffee in [city]” or “top-rated gym in [neighborhood]” can help attract local customers searching for these terms.

If local SEO is handled at the organizational-level, consider using software designed to update location citations and manage reviews across all locations. This ensures consistency and boosts your local search rankings.

3. Leverage Social Media for Brand Awareness and Engagement

Creating one central brand account on social media allows for consistent messaging, while local accounts can focus on community-specific content. This dual approach maximizes the franchise’s marketing reach and the ability to engage with your audience on a macro and micro scale.

To ensure brand consistency, equip your local account managers with comprehensive policies and clear guidelines. This includes dos and don’ts, brand voice, examples of stellar posts, mistakes to avoid, and response templates for common queries. Providing these resources ensures consistency while allowing for local flavor.

Pure Barre of Ardmore location based Instagram account to promote local events.

Example: Pure Barre of Ardmore

Because, ultimately, social media is the place to showcase your brand’s personality while also connecting more deeply with localized audiences. Franchisees should share behind-the-scenes content, customer stories, and fun facts. For example, some franchisees within the Barre network promote their instructors while also sharing organization-wide special offers. Other ideas for franchises to leverage within their social marketing? Spark engagement with your audience through polls, contests, and interactive posts.

4. Implement Targeted Email Marketing Campaigns

The first rule of marketing is to avoid sending generic, impersonal emails to your entire audience. Effective franchise email marketing hinges on segmentation, making each email feel tailor made. Categorize your list into segments like new customers, regular buyers, and VIPs. Crafting messages tailored to each segment enhances relevance and engagement.

Consider segmenting your email list by location, allowing you to deliver targeted promotions and updates specific to each franchise locale. Personalized marketing content significantly boosts engagement and conversion rates.

Multi-step nurture campaigns help maintain audience interest over time. Distribute a series of emails that offer value, such as tips, stories, or exclusive deals, mixing franchisee-specific content features with brandwide promotions.

Triggered emails, on the other hand, are dispatched based on specific actions—like a confirmation email after scheduling a service, or a discount code for someone who viewed your pricing page but didn’t complete a booking.

5. Host Local Events

Hosting charity events is an excellent way to give back to the community while enhancing brand visibility and nurturing a more intimate relationship with a franchise’s customer base. Partner with local nonprofits and invite customers to participate, fostering goodwill and strengthening community ties.

Offer workshops and demonstrations related to your products or services. For instance, Lowe’s hosts monthly DIY-U workshops where kids can build items like birdhouses and earn a builder award. These events provide value to your customers and highlight your expertise.

DIY-U by Lowe’s was created to engage their local communities and drive repeat business through free workshops.

Collaborate with local schools or businesses for mutual benefit. Sponsor events, offer discounts, or host joint promotions. These partnerships expand your reach and create new opportunities for customer engagement.

6. Develop a Strong Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing is all about delivering valuable information to your audience, focusing on how you can enhance their lives rather than what they can do for you. Diversify your franchise content marketing strategy by creating engaging how-to guides, eye-catching instructional videos, and insightful blog posts. This not only positions your brand as an industry leader but also helps you naturally attract customers.

Need some inspiration? Check out the success story of Massage Heights’ blog. They deliver wellness tips, highlight the benefits of massage therapy, run exciting raffles, and showcase their franchisees. Their content educates and promotes their services all at once, creating a win-win for everyone involved.

Informative content not only can help bring visitors to your website via Organic Search, but it can be used by franchisee’s in numerous ways. Franchisees can include the readings in their email marketing, their localized web page, or even use it to maintain an active social media presence.

Example: Right at Home, Main Line PA writes content to help inform, and provide value to, their community.

7. Co-Marketing and Partnerships

Co-marketing is a strategic partnership where brands collaborate to leverage each other’s strengths for mutual benefit. Unlike co-branding, which involves creating a new product, co-marketing focuses on joint promotional efforts like shared campaigns, co-hosted events, or combined social media initiatives. The goal is to reach a broader audience and improve marketing effectiveness by pooling resources and cross-promoting.

For example, British Swim School recently partnered with Peppa Pig. This strategy adds a new element to the child’s experience while integrating a beloved brand, making it more enjoyable and engaging.

While this example demonstrates how franchises can co-market at the national level, consider allowing franchisees to execute similar initiatives on a smaller scale (with explicit approval from the leadership team). For example, Insomnia Cookies partnered with a beloved Philadelphia-based coffee brand, La Colombe to sell their canned beverages at Philadelphia locations.

Insomnia Cookies partnered with Philadelphia-based coffee brand, La Colombe to sell their canned coffee at Philadelphia locations.

8. PPC Campaigns

Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns on Google Ads involve advertising where you only pay when someone clicks on your ad in search results. They can drive targeted traffic to your website, generate leads, and drive sales, making them a crucial component of your franchise’s digital marketing strategy.

Social media ads on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can enhance visibility where your audience spends most of their time. Each platform provides distinct targeting options, so select the one that best aligns with your audience demographics.

Running national and location-specific PPC maximizes reach and efficiency by expanding your brand’s national presence while engaging local markets. This dual strategy combines broad-spectrum advertising with precise local targeting for a more effective marketing campaign.

9. Franchise-focused Influencer Marketing

Partnering with influencers can significantly enhance your brand’s visibility and credibility. Consider collaborating with both major influencers and smaller, niche influencers on platforms like TikTok or YouTube. Their followers trust their recommendations, which can lead to increased conversion rates.

Talk with your franchisees about whether there are local influencers that could sway their specific customer base, making such marketing strategies particularly fruitful. Take, for example, this collaboration between Pot Belly and Senor Foodie, a foodie influencer who primarily focuses on the Phoenix region.

Example: Senior Foodie partnered with Potbelly to promote a local LTO.

10. Customer Loyalty Programs

Customer loyalty programs are a powerful franchise marketing strategy. By offering incentives like discounts, exclusive rewards, or early access to new products, franchises can encourage repeat visits and foster loyalty.

Digital loyalty programs via mobile apps or websites can streamline the process by automatically tracking points and rewards. This simplifies participation for customers and provides valuable data for personalized marketing.

Case studies like Starbucks’ Rewards program and Sephora’s Beauty Insider show the effectiveness of well-structured loyalty programs in retaining customers and boosting sales. By offering meaningful rewards and maintaining strong engagement, franchises can turn occasional shoppers into loyal brand advocates.

Building a Franchise Marketing Plan

For large franchises, marketing planning should extend about one year ahead. This allows for long-term strategic initiatives, alignment with corporate goals, and addressing any questions or feedback from franchisees. Annual planning sessions can help refine and update the marketing plan based on market conditions, performance metrics, and emerging trends. It’s also critical to set quarterly reviews to adjust tactics and ensure the franchise remains agile and responsive to changes.

Building a successful franchise marketing plan involves several key steps:

  1. Identify Goals and Objectives: Start by outlining clear, specific goals for your marketing efforts, such as increasing brand awareness, boosting sales, or expanding your customer base. Your objectives should be measurable and time-bound to track progress effectively.
  2. Conduct Market Research: Understanding your target audience is crucial. Conduct thorough research to identify customer demographics, preferences, and behaviors. Utilize your first-party data, like previous purchase behavior, to help build your ideal customer profile. Enroll the assistance of the franchisees to help identify localized outliers to your general market research. For example, the majority of your suburban audiences may be millennials within a certain income bracket, but locations closer to colleges may report a younger customer base who favors lower priced items. Such insights will help both with the building of your franchise-focused marketing plan and the subsequent analysis.
  3. Create a Budget: Allocate resources wisely by setting a realistic budget that covers advertising, promotions, events, and other franchise marketing activities. Include a contingency fund for unexpected expenses.
  4. Choose Marketing Channels: Select the most effective channels to reach your target audience, whether that’s social media, email marketing, PPC advertising, content marketing, or traditional media.
  5. Develop a Content Strategy: Plan your content around your audience’s interests and needs. Create a mix of educational, entertaining, and promotional materials to keep your audience engaged and informed.
  6. Share the Marketing Plan and Resources With Franchisees: Be as thorough as possible about what tactics franchisees must execute to a tee and which strategies allow individualization (such as promoting staff on social media). Be clear on what localized marketing is permissible, setting a clear framework so franchisees can confidently operate within the boundaries. Above all else, ask for feedback!
  7. Implement and Monitor: Execute your plan and track performance through metrics such as website traffic, conversion rates, and sales figures. If some marketing strategies work well for certain franchisees but not others, work with both the successful and unsuccessful franchisees to pinpoint needed changes.
  8. Manage Franchise Marketing Efforts With a Consistent System: A centralized marketing calendar is crucial for franchise consistency and coordination. Key tips include using cloud-based tools like Trello or Monday, setting appropriate access permissions, scheduling regular updates, and incorporating a communication hub. These practices ensure aligned marketing strategies and efficient franchise campaign execution.

Empowering Franchisees for Local Marketing Campaigns

Empowering franchisees to conduct their own local marketing campaigns, while aligning with national efforts, is essential for maximizing brand cohesion and local market penetration. Here are some strategies to achieve this:

  1. Create a Brand Guide: Ensure consistency across all franchise locations by creating a comprehensive brand guide that includes the brand mission and vision, values, logo usage guidelines, color palette, typography, imagery style, and tone of voice. Make clear what can (and can’t) be modified.
  2. Provide Comprehensive Training: Equip franchisees with the marketing knowledge they need through robust training programs. Include modules on digital marketing, social media management, and local market analysis to ensure they understand the broader marketing strategy and their role within it.
  3. Develop Customizable Marketing Materials: Create a library of marketing assets that franchisees can tailor to their local needs. This can include templates for flyers, social media graphics, and email campaigns, which maintain brand consistency while allowing for localized messaging.
  4. Offer Marketing Support and Resources: Supply franchisees with the tools they need to succeed, such as access to marketing platforms, software, and a dedicated support team to assist with their campaigns. Regular webinars and Q&A sessions can also keep them updated on best practices and new marketing initiatives.

By implementing these strategies, franchises can empower their franchisees to execute effective local marketing campaigns that support and enhance national efforts.

Equipping Franchisees and Yourself With the Right Marketing Tools

The right marketing tools enable franchisees to streamline their marketing efforts, maintain brand consistency, and efficiently reach their target audience on both a national and local scale. By leveraging these tools, franchisees can optimize their marketing strategies, ensuring cohesive messaging and effective outreach. We compiled a list of 5 essential tools to help franchisees achieve their marketing goals:

  • QR Code Marketing Tool: Beaconstac

    This tool allows you to create and manage QR codes, enabling easy access to promotional materials and engagement with your audience.

  • Franchise Management Software: FranConnect

    FranConnect streamlines the operations of your franchise, offering solutions for recruitment, onboarding, and performance management.

  • Digital Customer Experience Platform: Birdeye

    Enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty with Birdeye, which helps manage reviews, interactions, and feedback across various platforms.

  • Social Media Marketing Platform: Sprout Social

    Sprout Social simplifies social media management, helping you schedule posts, analyze performance, and engage with your audience across multiple social media channels.

  • SMS Marketing Platform: Voxie

    Connect with your customers directly through their phones using Voxie’s SMS marketing capabilities. Voxie is the only SMS software designed specifically for franchises and multi-location companies, enabling a single account to cover the entire franchise and its various locations. This framework lets corporate create clear guidelines for franchisees, and empower individual locations to focus on their specific audience and send targeted messages to their unique contacts. See how Voxie can galvanize both restaurant and retail SMS marketing!

How to use unique segments to create highly personalized SMS conversations with Voxie.

Conclusion

By integrating these strategies and tools, franchisors can foster a robust marketing environment that empowers franchisees while maintaining brand cohesion. From comprehensive training programs to customizable marketing assets and essential software solutions, each element plays a crucial role in the overall success of the franchise system.

Want to see how SMS marketing can triple customer lifetime value?

Voxie empowers multi-location organizations to maximize their text message marketing with ease, thanks to tools that streamline the deployment of messaging strategies across franchise networks. With Voxie, you’re not merely adding software to your tech stack; you’re partnering with a team of strategic SMS specialists. Request a demo ->

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