How to market your new franchise business

So you’ve done it. You’ve got the funding, found the perfect franchise opportunity, completed the training programme, and set up your shop or office.

You’re basically all ready for your big launch. But amongst the excitement there is probably one niggling little worry at the back of your mind – will I have any customers?

There is one simple way to make sure people know about your business, your services and products, and where to find you – marketing and PR.

For those with no marketing or PR experience putting together a marketing strategy can seem a bit daunting, however any good franchisor will be on hand to guide you through.

Some franchisors not only provide marketing and PR support, but will also implement their own campaigns that benefit the entire franchise network. For example, in recent years ChipsAway, Granite Transformations and Cash Generator have all advertised on national television.

Even if your franchisor has a fantastic advertising campaign in place, all franchise owners should think about marketing their businesses within their territory (and yes this does even include McDonald’s franchise owners).

Leaflets and adverts

One simple way of advertising your new business is through leafleting and adverts in local newspapers.

Many business owners don’t like the idea of putting leaflets through people’s doors, as they, often rightly so, believe homeowners get fed-up with junk mail being pushed through their doors. On the other hand, if your leaflet is promoting a service the homeowner actually wants or will use, then rather being an annoyance, the leaflet will be welcomed.

When leafleting it is a good idea to put careful planning and thought into which houses you want to target – a bit of research will be able to tell you whether the area you are targeting is the right one. For example if you own a garden maintenance franchise you should make sure that the houses you leaflet have gardens large enough to require maintenance and plan to do your leafleting in the spring time.

Another way of helping to ensure your leaflet doesn’t go straight into the bin is to put discounts and offers on it. Very few people will turn down the opportunity to save a bit of money, especially in our current economic climate.

Many franchise owners have also had success through advertising in local newspapers. Although placing an ad in the paper might be costly it could, in the long run, help drive up sales, however you should be absolutely sure that the cost is worth the investment.


If you don’t have the money to spend on an advert there are other ways of getting your business in the newspaper. Perhaps you could invite reporters to your launch? Or send a press release about your launch to the news desk? Or perhaps you have an interesting reason about why you are setting up your business? Basically, newspapers thrive on stories and reporters are always on the look out for original content for their newspapers.

Social media

In today’s world there is no escaping social media and whatever your personal thoughts on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are, they are perfect marketing opportunities.

Free to use, these social networking sites provide numerous ways of connecting with existing customers while also attracting new ones.

Do you own a café or restaurant franchise? If so then having a Facebook page will enable you to promote your business to customers in the 16-35 age range. Remember to keep your page current and informal with lots of pictures. It is also the perfect place to promote any special offers you have on or if you have added new menu items.

Perhaps your franchise is a weight-loss counselling business? Then twitter is ideal in keeping your members motivated throughout the week, while also allowing them to ask you questions and for building supportive relationships between group members. Keep in mind that everything posted on twitter is accessible to all, so remain positive at all times.

Alternatively, is yours a business-to-business franchise? If so, LinkedIn is a great social media platform for your business. Not only is LinkedIn free to sign up to, but also allows you to network with other business owners from the comfort of your office or home.

Websites

The importance of a business’ online presence is so great now that there are very few companies that do not have a website.

Over the last few years most franchisors have become experts in ensuring their websites not only promote the business but also generate customers for their franchise owners.

On top of this, some franchisors encourage their franchise owners to set up their own websites. If you have, or are in the process of, setting up a website make sure that you keep it updated, as an out-of-date website will reflect badly on your professionalism.

Even if you don’t have your own website, there are many other ways of increasing your business’ online presence.

Perhaps you are creative? If so you should consider setting up a blog. Again, most are free to set up and provide a perfect opportunity to promote your business while also networking with other bloggers. All they require is the investment in time of writing and uploading your blog posts.

Also in recent years there has been a growth in online community websites. These often promote local services and events and can provide ideal advertising opportunities.

Remember that a successful marketing campaign does not have to cost a small fortune. It does, however, require time, dedication and a little bit of imagination.


Written by Derin Clark