Ten Key Principles of Franchise Marketing

Being part of a franchise system offers tremendous advantages such as, in most cases, instant brand recognition. But it also presents some limitations. Most, if not all, of your promotional initiatives must pass your franchisor's approval. Despite some restrictions there are plenty of opportunities for individual franchisees to help drive business.

1. Know your customer and market. If you have already purchased your franchise then you should be confident that there is a demand for your product in your community. Successful business owners know their customers and make adjustments according to cultural factors and trend.

2. The product or service itself is an important marketing tool. In a highly competitive playing field where similar businesses are selling similar products, product naming and packaging becomes highly important.

3. Promote your products and services through advertising campaigns, public and media relations efforts, TV and radio commercials, Internet advertising and direct mail initiatives. Many franchisors will have public relations representation and provide guidance or drive campaigns at the corporate level.

4. Position yourself as an expert. Additional ways to create brand awareness include writing or contributing to articles as an expert in your field.

5. Keep past customers coming back through in-store promotions, loyalty programs, coupons and special offers and involvement in your community (sponsoring sporting or charity events, etc).

6. A Web site is without a doubt an essential tool to getting customers. Most likely your franchisor has a Web site with the option to search for locations. It may be appropriate for some franchises, however, to have their own Web site for their local market.

7. Marketing collateral provides potential customers with information about your company. These include brochures, white papers, and sales videos. Not all franchises require marketing collateral. These materials may not be relevant to a fast food franchise but may be necessary for others, especially those engaged in B2B franchises.

8. Implementing a marketing database is a great way to log your marketing progress and keep track of customers and leads.

9. Establish a referral system with complimentary business owners. Another way to get referrals is through your existing client base. Ask customers to write testimonials, act as references or offer an incentive program for them to refer your services to others.

10. Identify innovative approaches for getting more business. One mistake in running a business is remaining static — if you want to remain competitive you must find new ways for reaching your target demographic.

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