Digital marketing has become essential for a high percentage of businesses and the franchising sector is no exception. Social media marketing, chatbots and artificial intelligence are just as applicable in this sector as elsewhere, but how can they be of help to franchisees in particular?
Spreading the word
While franchisees are usually expert in their products or services, they are not usually marketing experts. Where in the past the obvious route might have been to advertise in local directories or publications, technology has opened up a whole new range of options in building brand awareness and engagement.
Sites such as Instagram, for example, offer the chance to get interesting visuals showing a product or service in action in front of people. Social media platforms including Facebook enable firms to target people in specific age groups or geographical areas so that franchisees can be sure that their message is reaching the right audience and that they’re not encroaching on another franchisee’s territory. In any online messaging, it is, of course, possible to capitalise upon the franchise brand too.
Marketing automation is increasingly playing a part too. The internet offers franchisees the ability to know more about their customers than ever before. It’s relatively easy to identify what people are interested in and to target marketing efforts accordingly.
A degree of automation is essential here, allowing firms to send emails and determine their effectiveness by following the recipients’ actions. They can, if necessary, follow up with further messages to specific customers as required. Once again, ads on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google allow you to accurately get your message to the people for whom it holds the greatest interest. This can be combined with search engine optimisation (SEO) to ensure that the correct keywords are used to target potential customers for the franchise.
Keeping it fresh
Relying on the same channels over and over again can lead to a decline in interest and the associated volume of new leads. It’s important, therefore, to keep the message fresh and to explore new ways of getting it across.
Franchisees are starting to explore the potential of machine learning to improve the effectiveness of their messaging and help to optimise their marketing spend. Personalisation remains key here as research indicates that consumers respond better to a message that they feel is aimed specifically at them.
Having seen all of these benefits, it’s also essential that franchisees keep an eye on the principal goal, which is building a sustainable business. It can be all too easy to get caught up in the marketing and let it consume all available time. Franchisees must remember why they are making this effort; the marketing isn’t an end in itself, the business that it brings in is the goal. This is where artificial intelligence and machine learning are so valuable, as they can help to uncover insights – such as the most popular product enquiries – without having to spend too much time analysing data manually or trawling through reports.
In franchise businesses, the need for a technically aware management team is greater than ever.
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