Boost sales for your franchise business

If marketing campaigns from the franchisor aren’t producing desired sales results, take matters into your own hands with a local marketing strategy.

There are many advantages to operating a franchise business – brand recognition, established systems, and a support network, to name a few – but franchise owners often discover they must do more on their own in order to bring in customers beyond the marketing efforts of the franchisor.

Whether your franchise is well established or brand new, explore these strategies[1] to help attract customers and keep them buying again and again.

Create a local marketing strategy

It can be frustrating for a local franchisee to depend entirely on marketing campaigns and materials supplied by the franchisor that fail to deliver promised results. Sometimes, the national marketing materials simply don’t resonate with a local market because the materials can’t reflect the uniqueness of your community.

Or, worse, franchise operators receive no marketing support at all. The issue may be a lack of attention that local marketing receives as a part of the overall marketing plan of the brand.

Take control by developing your own local marketing strategy. You can do things such as:

  • Partner with a complementary business to cross promote to each other’s customers.
  • Get involved with local sports teams, schools, charities and community events.
  • Send expert articles to local media to publish.
  • Join your Chamber of Commerce to meet other business owners.
  • Support local service clubs such as Rotary, Kiwanis or Shriners.

Embrace social media

Subject to their franchise agreements and other legal limitations, most franchisees are free to promote their franchise using popular social media tools available to all types of businesses. Be sure to know what you’re getting into, because social media requires a commitment of your time and decent communications skills.

After conferring with your franchisor (if necessary), consider these suggestions:

  • Set up a Facebook fanpage and invite customers to join. On the page, share interesting articles, helpful tips, news about your business, contests, event invitations and promotional offers.
  • Open a Twitter account for your franchise and invite customers to follow you. Use Twitter to share information, tips and special offers. For example, a restaurant may tweet daily meal specials.
  • It doesn’t take much to write a short weekly blog on a topic of interest to your customers. Share your blog through your social media channels.
  • Create a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is ideal for business-to-business networking. Set up a profile and start reaching out to people to connect. You can also publish blogs directly on LinkedIn’s publishing platform, which lets everyone in your network see your content.

Focus on recurring customers

If there isn’t one available from the franchisor, create your own rewards program or incentive for your existing customers to return.

“Points” programs are an attractive option because customers can redeem their points for merchandise, services or a special event.  Search online for plug-and-play loyalty program providers in your area.

Show existing customers plenty of love. Host customer appreciation events, send an e-newsletter to keep in touch (with proper opt-in)[2] and respond directly to customer comments on your social media pages.

Network, brainstorm with other franchisees

Other franchisees in your network have probably experienced the same challenges and problems you have, so consider getting together to exchange ideas.

You can set up a breakfast meeting for franchisees in your area, or connect people from faraway places using an online conferencing service such as Skype. Set an agenda to get the conversations going and share notes back with meeting participants.

Chances are your fellow franchisees will share some valuable marketing and selling tips you can apply in your own business.

Next steps

  • Search online for additional sales and marketing ideas for your franchise.
  • Ensure your marketing strategies comply with applicable laws.
  • Ask your franchisor for direct help to increase sales – they may have resources available to you.
  • Speak with your Scotiabank Small Business Advisor about financial products and services available specifically for franchises in Canada

[1] This article highlights some ways that you can help promote your business, but nobody knows your business like you.  We can’t provide you with legal advice, so before trying any of the strategies here, be sure that you are legally and contractually permitted to do so.

[2] Be sure to investigate and comply with applicable laws as they relate to advertising, contests and electronic communication.

Canada’s laws and regulations about electronic communication will affect how you can legally reach out to existing and potential customers.  Be sure to investigate these rules before doing so.