The fran­chisor-fran­chisee dynam­ic is one of the most unique rela­tion­ships in the busi­ness are­na. The fran­chise mod­el requires uni­ty while also encour­ag­ing auton­o­my, and that can be a com­pli­cat­ed envi­ron­ment to main­tain. Coor­di­nat­ing mar­ket­ing ini­tia­tives with­in that mod­el can be par­tic­u­lar­ly chal­leng­ing. But if both par­ties wish to suc­ceed, they must strike the appro­pri­ate bal­ance in exe­cut­ing key tac­tics that each is best equipped to man­age.

This is espe­cial­ly true in man­ag­ing dig­i­tal strat­e­gy, where avail­able resources often dic­tate the chan­nel and scale of the tac­tic. At Location3, we man­age dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy for more than 100,000 fran­chise and mul­ti-loca­tion busi­ness­es, and we’ve learned that open and clear com­mu­ni­ca­tion between both par­ties is essen­tial and should be used to estab­lish expec­ta­tions for mar­ket­ing objec­tives at every lev­el. Here’s a list of dig­i­tal tac­tics that each side can focus on to build a rela­tion­ship that ben­e­fits all.

Enterprise Management

Paid Search: Fran­chise brands can dri­ve cus­tomers to indi­vid­ual fran­chise loca­tions by deliv­er­ing nation­al paid search cam­paigns. These cam­paigns com­bine online ad copy and geo­graph­ic tar­get­ing to con­nect with poten­tial cus­tomers who are search­ing online for spe­cif­ic solu­tions. Man­ag­ing these cam­paigns requires sig­nif­i­cant resources and exper­tise, mak­ing it a tac­tic fit for a cor­po­rate team.

Paid Media: The mod­ern media land­scape is com­plex and requires that brands use a vari­ety of out­lets to reach con­sumers. Using advanced tar­get­ing tech­niques and ad opti­miza­tion tools, a brand team or part­ner is capa­ble of serv­ing ads to the con­sumers most like­ly to make a pur­chase based on demo­graph­ics, loca­tion and pre­ferred device. Whether it’s video, social media adver­tis­ing or dis­play, the fran­chisor should be respon­si­ble for cre­at­ing effi­cient cam­paigns at the nation­al lev­el that dri­ve both brand aware­ness and cus­tomer actions.

Tech­ni­cal SEO: While fran­chisees should incor­po­rate basic SEO tac­tics into local con­tent, brands should sup­port them with a more in-depth SEO strat­e­gy. The foun­da­tion­al ele­ments of SEO, includ­ing site struc­ture, title tags, meta descrip­tions and back­links aren’t as excit­ing as a new video cam­paign, but they set the stage for over­all SEO suc­cess for all fran­chise loca­tions.

Con­tent And Social Plan­ning: Coor­di­nat­ing con­tent and social media ini­tia­tives at the enter­prise and local lev­els is among the most com­pli­cat­ed tasks in this rela­tion­ship. In addi­tion to strate­gic guid­ance, fran­chisors should pro­vide a brand style guide for fran­chisees and estab­lish well-defined guide­lines for pub­lish­ing con­tent. Fre­quent com­mu­ni­ca­tion between par­ties is vital for encour­ag­ing local con­tent cre­ation that simul­ta­ne­ous­ly pro­motes the fran­chise loca­tion and the over­ar­ch­ing brand.

Loca­tion Data Man­age­ment: Dis­trib­ut­ing key loca­tion data across hun­dreds of chan­nels and opti­miz­ing that data helps your cus­tomers find your loca­tions. This foun­da­tion­al tac­tic is most effec­tive when loca­tion data is cen­tral­ly man­aged as opposed to leav­ing it to indi­vid­ual loca­tions. A cen­tral man­age­ment part­ner or tech­nol­o­gy plat­form is more capa­ble of lever­ag­ing this data for cus­tomer acqui­si­tion.

Ad Tech Man­age­ment: Increas­ing effi­cien­cy across the board, whether it’s data mea­sure­ment, track­ing return on invest­ment, attri­bu­tion mea­sure­ment or cus­tomer rela­tion­ship man­age­ment, is only pos­si­ble through tech­nol­o­gy. Effec­tive ad tech man­age­ment allows enter­prise brands to mon­i­tor all of this data in one place — pro­vid­ing quick insights on past per­for­mance while guid­ing future strat­e­gy.

Local Engagement

Local Con­tent: Cre­at­ing con­tent at the fran­chisee lev­el can seem over­whelm­ing, but it’s impor­tant for fran­chisees to set aside time and/or resources to build out and exe­cute a con­tent strat­e­gy. Local con­tent includ­ing blog posts, video and social media posts build trust and loy­al­ty with cus­tomers in the com­mu­ni­ty. I rec­om­mend using video because of its supe­ri­or abil­i­ty to engage view­ers and con­vert them into cus­tomers.

Review Man­age­ment: Man­ag­ing online busi­ness reviews can be stress­ful, but reviews are a valu­able forum for fran­chisees and their cus­tomers to share and val­i­date per­son­al expe­ri­ences. When cus­tomers leave reviews, it builds brand aware­ness. When fran­chisees respond to reviews, it builds trust with local cus­tomers. When respond­ing to reviews, fran­chisees should remem­ber to keep respons­es short, be nice and thank both pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive review­ers for shar­ing their expe­ri­ences.

Google Posts: Fran­chisees can pro­mote events, prod­ucts or ser­vices through Google Posts, a Google My Busi­ness fea­ture that allows fran­chisees to pub­lish text, video or pho­to con­tent direct­ly to Google Search and Maps. These pro­mo­tion­al posts can inform and attract poten­tial cus­tomers before they even vis­it your web­site. Be sure to keep the posts short and include a call to action.

Ques­tions And Answers: Google Maps allows users to ask ques­tions about busi­ness­es and places found in the app. Fran­chisees can respond direct­ly to these ques­tions, pro­vid­ing anoth­er avenue to con­nect with poten­tial cus­tomers. Fran­chisees should answer the ques­tions as specif­i­cal­ly as pos­si­ble and avoid “yes” or “no” answers as users can edit their ques­tion at any time.

Conclusion

Coop­er­a­tion between fran­chisors and fran­chisees is crit­i­cal to suc­cess, but not all mar­ket­ing strate­gies are cre­at­ed equal. Fran­chise dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing is mul­ti-faceted and requires a vari­ety of skill sets. Fran­chisors should focus on nation­al cam­paigns that require dig­i­tal exper­tise and large bud­gets. Fran­chisees should focus on local cam­paigns that require area knowl­edge and a per­son­al touch.

The result should be a high­ly coor­di­nat­ed enter­prise plan that effi­cient­ly dri­ves poten­tial cus­tomers to fran­chise loca­tions, where the brand-cus­tomer rela­tion­ship is cre­at­ed and sup­port­ed through local knowl­edge and ser­vice.

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