5 Franchise Marketing Strategies You Need in 2024

min read
5 Franchise Marketing Strategies You Need in 2024

There’s no denying that franchises are an integral part of the American economy. In 2021 alone, franchise owners opened over 26,000 new locations, created over 800,000 jobs, and contributed a whopping $477 billion to the US GDP. 

The franchise model is so successful because it’s mutually beneficial — franchisees get to use a proven business plan and brand name to generate profits. They then kick a portion of their profits up to the franchise owner. The franchise owner reinvests some of these profits in the corporate marketing strategy, driving more leads for franchise locations. 

But without one critical component, your franchise marketing strategy can fall apart. I don’t mean to sound like a high school football coach in a Disney movie, but teamwork is the glue that holds everything together. Your marketing team needs to prove that it’s driving high-quality leads to franchise locations. Your locations, in return, need to ensure they’re converting those leads and providing an experience that lives up to your brand standards. Without both sides holding up their end of the bargain, you’ll damage trust and miss out on revenue. 

In this blog, I share the marketing strategies that leading franchises are using in 2022. I also share how franchise marketers are using conversation intelligence to improve collaboration with their franchise locations — proving the quality of the phone leads they drive, measuring call conversion rates, and quickly detecting customer experience issues.

What Is Franchise Marketing?

Marketing on behalf of franchise locations is a crucial aspect of the organization's success. By implementing a cohesive approach, franchisors can amplify the brand presence and drive customer engagement at each individual franchise location. This involves creating tailored marketing campaigns that align with the overall brand messaging while considering the unique needs and target audience of each local market. Franchise organizations provide a framework and support system to guide franchisees in their marketing efforts, ensuring consistent branding, messaging, and quality across all locations. This collaborative approach allows franchisees to leverage the established brand reputation, marketing resources, and collective expertise of the franchise organization, resulting in increased visibility, customer loyalty, and ultimately, business growth.

What Are the Benefits of Franchise Marketing? 

Franchise marketing is all about nurturing the loyal family you already have, and let me tell you, the benefits are sweeter than a freshly-baked batch of Cinnabon rolls. Here are just five reasons why this approach will have your franchisees singing your praises: 

1. Local Domination: Think of your franchisees as a pack of hungry wolves (minus the, you know, teeth and territorial howling). Operational marketing arms them with the tools and strategies to dominate their local markets. We're talking targeted social media campaigns, SEO optimization for their specific areas, and community-building initiatives that turn them into neighborhood heroes. The result? More foot traffic, more loyal customers, and more "cha-chings" echoing through their doors. 

2. Brand Amplification: Let's face it, a single voice shouting in the wilderness is easy to ignore. But a whole chorus? Now that's a symphony worth listening to. Franchise marketing empowers your locations to become vocal brand ambassadors. We're talking about co-creating content, sharing best practices, and leveraging each other's successes to amplify the overall brand message. It's like having a built-in army of megaphones, all spreading the good word about how awesome your franchise is. 

3. Data-Driven Decisions: No more flying blind! Franchise marketing brings the power of data to your fingertips. We're talking about tracking campaign performance, analyzing customer behavior, and identifying what's working (and what's not) in each local market. This goldmine of insights allows you to tailor your marketing efforts for maximum impact, ensuring every dollar spent is a dollar well-earned. 

4. Innovation Playground: Forget stale, one-size-fits-all marketing. Franchise marketing turns your franchisees into co-creators, unleashing their local knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit. We're talking about testing new marketing channels, experimenting with localized campaigns, and adapting strategies to fit the unique needs of each community. It's a breeding ground for innovation, where the next big marketing breakthrough could be just around the corner (or, you know, across the street from your local franchisee). 

5. Franchisee Satisfaction (and Loyalty): Let's not forget the real prize here — happy franchisees. Marketing on behalf of your franchisees shows them that you care about their success, that you're invested in their local markets, and that you're there to support them every step of the way. This builds trust, fosters a sense of community, and creates a network of loyal brand champions who bleed your colors (metaphorically, of course). And when your franchisees are happy, they work harder, they innovate more, and they become your biggest cheerleaders. That's a win-win-win situation in anyone's book.

What Are the Greatest Franchise Marketing Challenges? 

So, you've embraced the magic of franchise marketing? High five! But before you high-five all your franchisees, let's acknowledge the elephants in the room. Franchise marketing is not all sunshine and rainbows. Like most things, it takes work, so here are 5 challenges you might face and how to tackle them like a true marketing leader: 

1. Balancing Centralized Control and Local Autonomy: You want brand consistency, but your franchisees know their neighborhoods best. This tug-of-war can be tricky. The solution? Open communication, clear guidelines, and flexible tools. Provide a framework for local adaptations while ensuring core brand elements remain strong. Think of it as a jazz ensemble — each musician has their own riffs, but they still groove to the same melody. 

2. Measuring ROI Across Diverse Markets: Tracking success in one city doesn't necessarily translate to another. The challenge? Apples and oranges, my friend. To conquer this beast, embrace localized analytics. Track performance in individual markets, identify what's working (and what's not), and tailor your approach accordingly. Remember, data-driven decisions are your secret weapon. 

3. Engaging a Scattered Network: Keeping dozens, or even hundreds, of franchisees on the same page can feel like herding cats. The solution is technology. Utilize online platforms, collaborative tools, and regular communication channels to share ideas, best practices, and keep everyone in the loop. Think of it as a virtual campfire where everyone can share their marketing marshmallows. 

4. Keeping Marketing Budgets Lean and Mean: You want top-notch results without breaking the bank? Stretching those marketing dollars across different markets and campaigns? To win this budget battle, you need to prioritize! Identify high-impact initiatives, leverage free or low-cost marketing channels, and encourage franchisee collaboration. Remember, sometimes the most effective campaigns are the most creative. 

5. Keep It Fresh & Relevant: The marketing world is a fickle beast. What worked yesterday might be old news tomorrow and staying ahead of the curve can be challenging. Encourage experimentation, embrace new technologies, and stay tuned to local trends. Think of it as a marketing tightrope walk — balance innovation with core values, all while keeping your eyes on the prize. 

Franchise Marketing Statistics You Need to Know

The power of franchise marketing is undeniable. It's the secret sauce that drives brand awareness, attracts leads, and ultimately fuels the success of franchise systems. But just how impactful is it? Let's delve into some compelling statistics that paint a clear picture:

  1. Franchised business output leapt to $860.1 billion in 2023, dwarfing the $825.4 billion of 2022. The booming output of franchised businesses paints a vibrant picture, but it's not just about the national headlines. This growth ripples down to individual markets, intensifying competition and amplifying the need for localized marketing muscle. (Source: franchise.org)
  2. 254,000 new faces join the franchise party this year, boosting total employment to a whopping 8.7 million! There is ample talent to tap into the franchise market, and the brands that attract the best employees will be poised to succeed. (Source: prnewswire.com)
  3. Growth for the coming year is blazing hot, with Texas, Illinois, Florida, and the sunshine states leading the charge. By equipping franchisees in these high-growth zones with localized campaigns, franchise organizations can reap the benefits of this economic boom. (Source: prnewswire.com)

5 Franchise Marketing Strategies You Need in 2023 

1. Optimize Your Google Business Profiles for Each Location

When consumers are looking for a local business, they often start their buying journey with a search. In fact, 46% of all Google searches have local intent. Therefore, it’s critical that your business ranks high in the search results — if you don’t, people will have a hard time finding you. They’ll likely choose a competitor who ranks higher.  

One of the easiest ways to rank higher for local search is to create Google Business Profiles (formerly known as Google My Business) for each of your business locations. When consumers run a local search, Google Business Profile listings are often among the top results. These listings provide a quick overview of your business on the SERP, including its address, hours of operation, Google rating, and a click-to-call button. Clicking into the individual listings provides additional information like reviews, photos, directions, and a link to your company website.

To ensure your Google Business Profile listings rank well in local searches, you need to include information that is accurate, complete, and helpful. First, make sure your addresses, hours of operation, and phone number are up-to-date. In addition, including appealing photos on your profile can help you tell the story of your business and increase engagement. Finally, you’ll need to have a strong review management strategy in place (more on this next) — your star rating and quantity of reviews are key ranking factors for your Google Business Profile page. You can learn more about how to improve your Google Business Profile ranking on this Google FAQs page.

One of the most common next actions after engaging with a Google My Business Listing is to call. 24% of people who click a Google Business Profile call directly from the listing. To get attribution for these calls and track the resulting conversions, marketers are placing call tracking phone numbers in their Google Business Profile listings. With a call tracking solution, you can see the quantity and quality of calls driven by each listing. With these insights, you can report your full SEO performance and make optimizations to your Google Business Profiles to drive higher-quality phone calls.

Don’t worry: adding DNI (Dynamic Number Insertion) trackable phone numbers to your website and listings doesn’t harm your SEO. It will not interfere with Google’s NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) ranking factors. 

2. Manage Your Online Reputation 

Your online presence can have a major impact on buying decisions — especially since consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling trust for a business. If your brand image doesn’t meet the mark the first time around, people are unlikely to give you a second chance. And, as mentioned above, reviews are one of the most important ranking factors for Google Business Profiles and other local listing sites. 

To ensure your brand’s online presence is credible and trustworthy, you should employ a reputation management strategy. Below are some quick tips you can use to manage your online reputation:

  • Audit your current reviews to understand what people are saying about your business
  • Implement an online review strategy and respond to every review openly and honestly
  • Encourage satisfied customers to leave a review
  • Monitor your brand’s social media channels
  • Own page one of the search results for branded terms
  • Develop a public relations strategy that aligns with your brand values
  • Use insights from phone conversations to prevent negative reviews
  • Provide outstanding service that gives customers a reason to review you

Check out our blog, 8 Steps to Improve Your Online Reputation Right Now, for a deep dive on this topic.

3. Send Your Audience Local Campaigns Targeted to Their Geographic Region

As companies mine increasing amounts of personal data, consumers expect personalized experiences in return. When you deliver seamless experiences that make customers feel valued and known, you’re more likely to earn their business. In fact, 99% of marketers say personalization helps advance customer relationships, with 78% claiming it has a“strong” or “extremely strong” impact.

For multi-location and franchise marketers, it can be especially impactful to give customers ads personalized to their nearest franchise location. This is because buyer personas can differ across locations. People face different problems in different geographical regions and their cultures and idioms can differ as well. Targeting everyone with the same value proposition and language, therefore, can cause your messaging to come across as inauthentic or tone-deaf.

For instance, a national lawn care franchise should promote drastically different services to customers in Minnesota versus Florida. Mosquito control would be a critical service to promote to Florida residents, whereas Minnesota residents would be more interested in ice melting services. Understanding these differing needs and value propositions is critical to engaging your audience.

To execute local campaigns via email, you should segment your contact list by their “home” location. You can then send out targeted email campaigns for each region — this will allow you to highlight local specials and promotions as well as events that may be happening nearby. To target your audience with local search or display advertisements, you can plug in your segmented email list or simply use your ad platform’s geo-targeting features.

4. Track the Phone Call Conversions Driven by Each of Your Marketing Channels

Phone calls are often the most valuable leads for multi-location and franchise marketers. According to Forrester, 84% of marketers report phone calls have higher conversion rates with larger order value (AOV) compared to other forms of engagement. To get full visibility into phone lead volume, top franchises use call tracking.

Franchises that lack call tracking data face several challenges. First, the hundreds or thousands of franchise locations have no way of knowing if leads are being generated, the quality of those leads, or if the leads are being converted to sales. At the same time, corporate marketing doesn’t know if franchisees are capitalizing on the leads they’re being sent. This creates a lot of finger-pointing and friction, damaging relationships and making it hard to reach your revenue potential.  

By using Invoca’s conversation intelligence solution, Miracle-Ear can drive and track high-value franchise leads, resulting in a reduction in contact center costs, increased efficiency, and double-digit improvement in digital marketing performance within the first three months of use. Miracle-Ear realized a 15% increase in call efficiency, 65% reduction in spam calls, and a 16% improvement in media efficiency. Want to learn more? Watch the video below.

5. Use Insights from Phone Conversations to Improve the Buyer Experience at Your Locations

According to our recent Buyer Experience Benchmark Report, 68% of consumers say phone calls are their preferred way to contact a business. Consumers like the reassurance that speaking to a live agent can provide — they also like the ability to ask specific questions about their purchase that may not be available online. 

These phone conversations are a valuable source of insights for marketers — your consumers are literally telling you what they want and how to meet their needs. To harness this data, leading franchise marketers are tapping into these conversations with conversation intelligence tools like Invoca. 

With conversation intelligence, you can see exactly how many of the phone leads you drive are being converted by your locations. You can also detect issues that may be harming your conversion rates — for example, there’s an issue with your online shopping cart, one of your locations is understaffed, or callers are being routed inefficiently. Rather than sifting through individual call transcriptions, conversation intelligence allows you to set up AI-powered signals to automatically detect trends or search your transcriptions at scale. 

Sample Invoca call transcription. Request your demo to see more.

When you act on conversation intelligence data, you can quickly correct experience issues at your franchise locations before they affect more customers. This will allow you to increase conversion rates, ensure a consistent brand experience across all locations, and get one step ahead of negative reviews on your Google Business Profile and other listing sites.

You can also use Invoca’s Lost Sales Recovery feature to get a list of all your missed calls, organized by which are most likely to be quality leads. This will allow you to prioritize your follow-ups and recapture opportunities that may have been lost from customer experience issues.

Comfort Keepers: Redefining Franchise Marketing with Data-Driven Precision 

The Comfort Keepers case study isn't just a story of successful lead generation; it's a masterclass in data-driven franchise marketing that unlocks exponential growth.  Comfort Keepers and its agency Search Discovery used Invoca to track the phone leads driven by Google Ads, allowing them to understand which keywords and campaigns were having the greatest impact. This allowed them to double down on the campaigns driving high-value call conversions and reduce wasted spend on campaigns that were driving non-sales-related calls.

The results paint a picture of resounding success: 

  • 20% increase in Sales Inquiries From Paid Search: Their ad campaigns resonated with the right audience, attracting a surge of potential customers eager to learn more about Comfort Keepers' services. 
  • 50% Increase in Phone Sales Conversions From Paid Search: Not only did they attract more leads, but they also converted more of their phone inquiries into sales, indicating their marketing efforts effectively communicated the value proposition and built trust with potential clients. 
  • 59% Increase in Annual Call Volume From Google Ads: The overall phone traffic surge highlights the campaign's effectiveness in driving engagement and sparking immediate action from interested individuals. 
  • 50% Lower Overall Cost-Per-Call: Remarkably, even with the increased call volume, their cost-per-call dropped by half, demonstrating a highly efficient campaign that maximized ROI. 

Additional Reading

Want to learn more about how Invoca can help you supercharge your franchise marketing strategy? Check out these resources:

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