Franchise Content Marketing Strategy for Successful Franchise Marketing Campaigns
It is not easy to produce a successful franchise marketing campaign but when done correctly the results are rewarding. Content is the cornerstone for any outstanding marketing campaign.
Content marketing is about getting in from of the audience while building authority.
Although understanding the importance of having marketing content many franchise organizations shy away from investing time and resources into content production.
Table of Contents
1. What is franchise content marketing?
2. The Franchise Marketing Mystery
3. Franchise Content Marketing “Must Haves”
3.1 Franchise Website
3.4 Franchise Brochure
3.5 Social Media Presence
3.6 Franchise Webinar
3.7 Print and Online Publications
4. Franchise Content Marketing Strategy
5. Franchise Content Marketing and the Franchise Sales Funnel
What is franchise content marketing?
The Content Marketing Institute, a reputable resource for content marketing related topics created a definition of content marketing:
“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
Is this definition clear to you? How does it apply to franchise marketing?
Let’s look at what content is absolutely necessary to run successful franchise marketing campaigns and what can be put on the “marketing back burner”.
As a franchisor, you’ve probably heard the same questions multiple times when you try to on-board a new franchise lead generation company:
Do you have franchise marketing content? What is your franchise content strategy?
You’ve probably spied on your competitors trying to find out what kind of franchise content they have, thinking if you should have the same.
Franchise sales brochures, franchise website, videos, testimonials, articles, podcast appearances, the list goes on and on… Where to start?
Just bring your wallet and there are companies waiting to create franchise content for you. Content you need and content you don’t need.
But what franchise content do you really need? Can you make it yourself or you need professional help? How much should you pay for the content?
The Franchise Marketing Mystery
OK. Let’s try to solve the franchise marketing content mystery!
If we look at the definition of content marketing, the key word is valuable content. Franchise content must have value for the audience that will be receiving it.
Let’s look at franchise lead generation. The target audience is franchise leads that have the potential to become franchisees.
Franchise leads can be at different stages of the franchise sales funnel; different content should be presented to them depending on their stage in the franchise sales cycle.
Content will also be delivered to franchise leads through different mediums – e-mail marketing, social media platforms, franchise website, etc. – so, before creating franchise content, we have to make sure we are aware of the mediums we are going to use to deliver it.
Things are getting complicated …. but you don’t need to worry.
This is an introduction to franchise content marketing, so I promise to keep it simple. We can build on these franchise marketing concepts in other articles on this topic.
Now, let’s look at must haves in franchise content.
Franchise Content Marketing “Must Haves”
1. Franchise Website
This is one of the main resources any franchise organization should have. I am talking about the website that has franchise business development as its main purpose. It should contain information about franchise opportunities, financial information, case studies, etc. For more details on building your own franchise website, we have an article called The Best Practices for Building a Franchise Website.
A picture is worth a million words… I am sure you’ve heard that expression before.
The advice here – take professional photos of everything franchise related. Product, people at work at your franchise, the building your franchise store is in, grand openings….
The key word here is “professional” : this means photos taken by professionals.
These days, mobile phones have a camera comparable to professional cameras, so photos taken with mobile phones can work. However, the task of photo taking should be assigned to individuals who understand photography. If current budgets prohibit hiring a photographer, my suggestion is to ask your video production company if they can take photos.
There are several types of videos that can be super helpful in franchise marketing – testimonials, success stories, thank you videos, educational videos, award ceremonies … just to name a few.
If you do not have videos in your franchise marketing toolbox, you are likely falling behind. But don’t worry, getting up to speed with video content is not that complicated and could cost way less than you think. We have several articles on how to build franchise video content, strategy and practical advice, so you are in good hands here.
One piece of advice here – hire a video production company! You might get away with taking your own photos, but when it comes to videos, please hire professionals.
You might hear that self made videos look original and cool, but not when it comes to franchise sales. The best way to make sure your franchise videos are completed on time is to schedule video production with a local company of your choice. This way you will guarantee that videos will be completed and you will not procrastinate making them.
I can’t emphasize this enough – as a franchise, you need to have videos in 2019.
4. Franchise Brochure
Usually, this is the first piece of franchise marketing content created by franchise organizations. Here are a few points on franchise brochures, as I assume you have a brochure by now and can use some advice:
- Keep franchise brochures up to date.
The best way to keep franchise brochures up to date is to read them from time to time. Although it sounds silly, we see many franchise brochures that are outdated by several years.
- Keep franchise brochures online.
Most brochures have a lot of images, making the file size quite large for email systems to handle. Instead of sending franchise brochure via email, upload them online and send prospects a link to them.
- Keep your franchise brochure consistent.
Make sure that information you have in your franchise brochure is the same as that on your franchise website. This applies to images, logos, brand colors, and especially facts – financial information, number of franchise locations open, etc.
- Send prospects your franchise brochure at the right time.
There is a time and place for the franchise brochure to appear in the franchise sales funnel. The best way is to automate sending your franchise brochure through your franchise CRM or email marketing drip campaigns. We have several articles in which you can learn about CRM and franchise email marketing automation.
5. Social Media Presence
Social media is one of the main mediums for franchise organizations when it comes to communication with franchise leads and building the franchise sales pipeline. There are different social media platforms that can be used effectively by franchise organizations, and we have several articles on best practices for utilizing social media for franchise marketing.
No matter what social media platform you decide to use for your franchise, remember one key word: consistency. You have to be consistent in creating social media posts and communicating with your followers.
We will not go into the details on how many posts to make and what time of the day to post, as we have a detailed article on this here. The best way to make sure you are consistent with social media posts is to create a library of posts for several weeks in advance and schedule those posts. At Franchise Hive, we create a calendar of social media posts one month ahead, let our clients review and provide suggestions about the posts, and we proceed to schedule them.
As far as content for social media, you can use the professional photos and videos we discussed earlier in this article, as well as be “authentic” by taking photos and videos with your mobile phone and encouraging your staff to submit content from afield.
Don’t overthink social media posts, just remember to be consistent in posting and engaging with your followers.
6. Franchise Webinar
Franchise webinars are widely used by franchise marketers and business developers to educate franchise leads about franchise details and the necessary steps to become a franchise.
A couple things to know about franchise webinars. You can run them live, or have franchise webinars pre-recorded. Pre-recorded webinars are sometimes referred to as evergreen webinars.
There are several different webinar platforms that are suitable for franchise development teams, and we cover franchise webinars in an in-depth article here.
The main goal of the franchise webinar is to make visitors commit their time with the franchise sales team. The webinar platforms allow you to handle large groups of franchise leads at the same time, answer questions, qualify leads, and schedule franchise discovery calls where specific questions can be answered.
7. Print and Online Publications
This is franchise marketing content created by your PR agency or outside, third party sources.
Take advantage of having this content in your franchise digital marketing toolbox. Link to these articles on your franchise website, mention them in your social media posts, use them as testimonials for your franchise advertising campaigns.
A good PR agency can attract a lot of attention to your franchise organization. Learn to use PR to your advantage and leverage its marketing power.
A PR agency can also be helpful with managing negative news about your franchise organization.
Let’s be real, things happen…
What matters is how the negative news is handled when it leaves the walls of your headquarters and gets online and on social media.
My advice here is to monitor the news about your organization, not just corporate but also how franchisees portray themselves in the media. Franchisees are the ones who make you money, but they can be a marketing nightmare for corporate.
The best monitoring tool is Google … seriously. Google your company and see what kind of content you can find. Do it often. There are tools that you can use that will send you an alert every time your franchise organization gets in the news online – good and bad.
We have an article about role of PR organizations and how they can help with franchise marketing. Check it out here if you want to learn more.
This concludes the list of franchise content marketing types that franchise marketers can use on a daily basis. There are some advanced tools that can be also used, likes franchise blogs and franchise podcasts, but they require commitments and resources. These can be considered at later stages in developing franchise marketing content.
Franchise Content Marketing Strategy
Now that we’ve mentioned a few key franchise content marketing components, it is a good idea to look at how to use them and have a road map for implementation in place.
To make things simple and clear it is always smart to start with the customer profile.
Who are you creating content for and how will they consume the content you are about to create?
It’s time to introduce another marketing term here: franchise buyer persona.
A franchise buyer persona is a research-based representation of your ideal franchisee.
There is usually more than one franchise buyer persona per franchise organization. The purpose of creating them is to know exactly who to attract and build your franchise marketing strategy around them. Franchise buyer personas have to be described and documented.
Often overlooked or ignored by franchise marketers, building the franchise buyer persona is super important and has to be done.
Can you run franchise marketing campaigns without creating a customer persona? Yes.
Will they be effective? No.
When asked about their ideal franchisees, the typical answers from franchise organizations who failed to build a franchise buyer persona are often:
People who want to be their own boss? Corporate professionals who want to start their own business? People with industry experience?
Sounds familiar? For the record, this is not a definition of franchise buyer persona.
We have an article about building a franchise buyer persona here. Take a look – it will make building franchise marketing content much easier and will put your franchise organization ahead of your competition.
But for now just keep in mind that you need to build franchise buyer persona before you start building marketing content.
Franchise Content Marketing and the Franchise Sales Funnel
Now that we’ve identified what franchise marketing content we need to create and who we are creating it for, it’s time to look at how to use franchise marketing content effectively.
Let’s take look at the basic franchise sales funnel.
At the top of the franchise sales funnel, we have cold leads coming in as result of franchise marketing initiatives. The “temperature” of the leads increases as they move through the funnel with the help of franchise lead nurturing campaigns. Franchise webinars and franchise discovery calls bring the leads closer to the decision making stage, and, as a result, produce franchise sales.
Here is a basic example of using franchise marketing content at each stage of the franchise sales funnel.
- Franchise images are used for social media advertising campaigns, targeting the identified franchise buyer personas. The main objective of social media advertising campaigns is to drive cold franchise lead traffic to the franchise website.
- Once on the franchise website, leads consume web content and signup to download a franchise report in exchange for providing their information – name, email address, phone number, etc.
- Shortly after collecting the prospect’s information, a nurturing email and SMS messages are sent, providing a link to the franchise marketing brochure. A follow up email is sent in a few days, containing a video case study to educate franchise leads about your franchise organization.
- The next franchise lead nurturing email goes out a few days later, and has links to online publications that positively mention your franchise in the news and other franchise PR materials.
The goal of this sales funnel is to schedule a franchise webinar or franchise discovery call. The franchise marketing content delivery flows along the franchise sales funnel.
We have a detailed article on building franchise sales funnels and using marketing content at each stage. If you are interested, read more here.
I hope that after reading this article you have got an idea about the importance of having franchise marketing content. There are several content related articles are linked here so keep reading if you are interested in learning practical advice on the topic.