Franchising is one of the best ways to approach entrepreneurship—especially if you plan to scale it. Not only is there a certain safety in aligning yourself with an established brand, but franchises also tend to be strong revenue generators. It’s why tons of pro athletes turn to franchising after their careers!
Owning a single franchise is a great stepping stone to scalability. If you know how to run one, you can run two, and so on, until you own a whole portfolio of franchises generating revenue. But this type of growth doesn’t happen overnight and it takes no small amount of effort and investment to turn one franchise location into many.
Digital marketing is the secret to scalability. It not only gives you the power to bolster business at each location, it can help franchise owners tap into the strength and reputation of the broader brand they represent. Here’s a look at how to use digital marketing effectively, to grow your franchise business from one to many locations.
The franchise marketing model
Franchises are successful for many reasons—namely their ability to quickly expand and scale. The model is highly effective because it pairs a proven, trusted name brand with the energy and drive of an entrepreneur. The entrepreneur can do what they do best (facilitate business), while the brand reaps the benefit of another successful location under good management. Expanding from one location to 10 doesn’t mean doing 10 times the work—under a franchising model, it means delegating to 10 different people and holding them all accountable to a single standard.
To franchise and grow depends on having well-developed processes that are repeatable and scalable. Thankfully, this is something any small business can achieve. Simply document what works! For example, if you’re going to take your successful local business and franchise it, you’ll need to document your operational processes so someone else can repeat them at the new locations.
With franchising also comes the need for solid branding and brand management. Having 20 franchise locations run by 20 different people is a recipe for chaos if you don’t have clearly established brand guidelines. Make sure you’re explicit in outlining things like logos, colors, fonts, verbiage, trademarks, and anything else that demands consistency. The goal is to create a cohesive brand at the top level, with enough room to develop an identity at the local level.
To see the franchise marketing model at work, look at a powerhouse franchiser like McDonald’s or Planet Fitness to see just how powerful these brands are. Walk into any location from Seattle, WA to Miami, FL and it’ll look and feel exactly the same, with the same products and services; however, there’s something distinct about each location. That’s the power of a franchise model.
The challenges of marketing a franchise
For all the benefits franchising affords, there are some unique challenges you’ll need to overcome. First and foremost, establishing good processes and support for new franchise owners. You might not be running every individual location, but they’ll certainly look to the brand to provide them with training, guidance, materials, and support as they focus on operations and selling. Be prepared to provide that support to your franchisees.
The second unique challenge facing franchises is developing brand ubiquity. You might have 20 franchise locations dotted all across the country, but if you’re not known outside of each individual market, it’ll be hard to strengthen the core brand. Make it a point to market aggressively both at the local level and at the brand level. Digital marketing is crucial here since it allows you to draw connections between single locations and the broader appeal of the brand.
Finally, franchising is all about synergy. If you don’t have scalability and a team to adopt initiatives at the local level, you’ll have nothing more than a collection of local businesses. Work hard to drive initiatives that are brand-focused, yet personalized for each location. Success in local markets will flow upstream to broader brand success.
4 reasons franchising works
Thinking about franchising? Not only is it one of the best ways to quickly scale your business from one to many locations, it’s also one of the safest approaches to expansion. Here’s why:
- Proven brand umbrella. The support of the broader brand gives protection and traction to new locations. Even if your newest location gets off to a slow start, it can rely on the proven strategies and support of the brand to get up to speed sustainably.
- Scalability of the brand. Once you’ve franchised two locations, you can do 20. Or 200. The key to franchising effectively is in process development, and once you’ve got that down, it’s easy to do it over and over and over again, refining as you go.
- Systematic process. Once your new franchise location is up and running, you won’t need to figure out what works and what doesn’t—you’ve already gone through this with other locations. Do what works to generate revenue and profit quicker, with fewer pitfalls.
- Operational uniformity. From digital marketing to delivery of goods and services, when everything is uniform, it’s easier to build success across locations. Making changes and improvements is easy, too—just duplicate what works across every other location!
Franchising is a proven model that has a lot to offer growing businesses. Marketing a franchise is easy, too—it’s all about branding at the top level and staying true to community roots at the location level. Put these two pieces together for a picture of franchise marketing that’s proven effective.
Capitalize on the momentum of a proven brand
The beauty of franchise marketing is that it creates a continuum—it grows the individual location’s reputation, which fosters more brand credibility, which drives more traffic and sales. Franchise owners can capitalize on the momentum of a proven brand to build the success of new, budding locations. After a while, adding new locations becomes systematic: doing what you already know works.
Remember to extrapolate good ideas. If your Kansas City, MO location had great success with a campaign, try it out as you open your Portland OR location. Adjust your efforts based on each location, but follow tried and true methods to drive continued success as you open new locations.