As a franchise owner, you’ve no doubt paid a premium to capitalize on the brand recognition of your parent franchise. But are you making the most of the benefits for which you’ve paid so dearly? Don’t let these four common mistakes sabotage your success and hamper your efforts at establishing a successful local franchise.
Mistake 1: Not Having Your Own Website
Sure, your franchisor has a main website where customers can go to see your menu or products, and even find the closest nearby location. That’s a great start but it’s not enough. You want customers to find you in local searches, and they won’t unless you have your own franchise website. Ideally it should be a subdomain of the franchisor, but you should control the content. Don’t simply replicate the menus and products from the main site; Google hates duplicate content. Instead use your site to display your location, directions, hours of operation, phone number, special offers and original photos of your location, staff, etc. Be sure to include your city or neighborhood location in the url and on page titles in order to boost your local search results.
Mistake 2: Not Utilizing National Franchise Resources
National franchises generally have a considerable marketing budget, and filter some of this money down to franchisees in order to help them with local marketing campaigns. Unfortunately, too often franchisees fail to ask for and utilize this free money, because either:
1) They don’t know about it
2) They’re just too busy to do their own marketing
Find out what resources are available to you, not just in funding but printed promotional materials, corporate discounts, artwork, logos, banners and more. The whole point of buying into a franchise is so that you don’t have to go it alone when it comes to establishing your brand.
Mistake 3: Not Taking Advantage of Free Local Business Directories
Corporate might be large, but you’re in charge. Many franchise owners turn all of their marketing efforts over to the franchisor, and expect customers to just come out of the woodwork — and sometimes they do, with a really popular franchise. However, just because you’ve purchased a franchise doesn’t mean you don’t need to do some of your own marketing, and this includes getting listed in all of the free online directories. Put some time and effort into claiming or creating your own local franchise pages or listings on sites like Yelp, Google My Business, Yahoo and Bing, as well as mapping apps like Google Maps, Apple Maps and Waze. A simple Google local search in your business category should reveal all of the top directories for your business, and most of them (if not all) are free. Not only do customers use these directories to search for specific types of businesses, but they provide reliable citations with links back to your website, giving you a much more robust online presence and improving search results. Just make sure to keep your NAP — name, address, phone number consistent across each of your listings.
Mistake 4: Not Having a Simple Message in Your Marketing
Remember, your franchisor is the one who is responsible for building brand recognition, and if corporate is doing a good job, then selling your specific product or service shouldn’t be too difficult. Rather than expounding on the quality of the products, focus your advertising on one particular deal or special relating to your specific location. That way you’ll have a clean, readable advertisement with one message and one call to action.
Buying into a franchise is a great way to get into business without taking on the extraordinary risk involved in starting a business from scratch. You already have brand recognition and a proven track record of success in your corner. Don’t throw it all away by failing to utilize each and every one of the marketing tools provided for you by your franchisor.