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Researching a Franchise

Attract Those Franchisees Today

Struggling to find high-quality franchisees? You need to take a close look at how you market your franchise.

Entrepreneur

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Growing a franchise can be hard work. You have to think about corporate sales and marketing, as well as providing for the franchisees.

It looks something like this:

  1. Corporate marketing programmes
  2. Corporate marketing programmes for franchisees
  3. Additional marketing programmes offered through corporate for the franchises

Each of these initiatives takes a lot of work — and you can’t do just one. The thing is, they all work together. You need to have corporate marketing to attract franchises and grow the size of the brand. Then you need to have marketing for the franchisees because if they are not successful, neither are you.

It will also be hard to attract more franchises if your current ones are going under and not profitable. The additional marketing programmes also help a lot.

In some cases, you will have an owner who owns multiple shops or just one that wants to be a big spender.

If corporate offers these programmes through vendors, they get to have some control, provide more value to the owners and help grow the size of the brand.

Related: The Danger Of Being Franchisee No. 1

Corporate Marketing Programmes

When I say corporate marketing, I mean marketing just from the business-to-business perspective. Basically, you’re trying to attract more franchisees to the franchise. Here are some of the things to consider.

Have a location-based strategy. Almost all franchises have some kind of location element. That means all of your marketing strategy should be tied to location. On the corporate level, you’ll want to focus your efforts on the regions that you’re trying to build out first. When you do this, you need a good mix of online and offline marketing to build the brand and take the location by storm.

Consider the following:

  • Local SEO
  • Local Google AdWords
  • Yelp ads
  • Yellow pages
  • Local directories
  • Microsites or landing pages (there is a lot to know about this one)
  • Local content marketing
  • Social media ads and social media marketing
  • Radio advertising
  • Buy billboards in the area
  • Sponsor sports teams in the area
  • TV in the area
  • Direct mail
  • Try to set up a pipeline for your franchisees.

One of the main draws to any franchise is that there will be demand for business due to the brand credibility in consumers’ eyes. The idea is that the franchise is so established that when someone buys into it, the customers will automatically come.

Get on lists. Large business sites often have lists of franchise opportunities. In addition, people are constantly writing on the topic. Many of these lists are industry-specific, and will often state the best franchises to own at any given time. As part of the franchise-marketing strategy, it is a great idea to get on these lists. People read them often and they can drive a lot of business.

Get them into a funnel. People research franchise options heavily before purchasing one. There are a lot of options, price points, business models, set-up costs, etc. One of the most important things you can do is get them into a funnel.

Now, this can be some type of drip campaign using a tool like Infusionsoft or just a basic MailChimp email newsletter. Either way, you need to stay on their radar after you have captured their email and other actionable information.

While they might download your information packet at first, they might soon forget the franchise if this is not put in place. Keep in mind that getting them to be a part of your social communities or follow your blog can also accomplish this.

Make your brand glow. Not all of the marketing needs to be direct response. Keep in mind that people need to really like the brand.

They need to feel as though the franchise is greater than their current business. Or if they don’t have a business, that it is a great opportunity and sure-fire win in general. Invest in great creative, a nice website and plenty of positive marketing to make people proud to invest in a franchise.

Have a strategy to target similar businesses. This is different for every type of franchise, but one of the main ways some franchises acquire new franchisees is by going into a non-franchise business and doing a presentation about why they should switch over. This demands a great deck, plenty of supplementary marketing materials and a sales team. If done well, it is one of the most effective strategies for acquiring new franchisees.

Related: Should You Purchase An Existing Franchise?

Corporate Marketing Programmes For Franchisees

In addition to marketing to acquire franchisees and build the brand, it is also a good idea to have marketing services on the franchise level. Of course, it all depends on the franchise and the needs, and it will be highly targeted to the individual location. If possible, there should be one standard package and other larger packages that franchisees can contract directly for.

You will need a baseline programme. The baseline programme should be provided by the franchise, but it can come out of a franchise fund. Generally, franchises will vote on a marketing programme and budget at annual meetings. This would then get allocated to this programme.

The programme should be location specific. If it is online, that is a given, but if there are offline elements, such as billboard or radio, that also needs to be very targeted. Direct mail also needs to be highly local. The most important thing is to ensure you are delivering in the right markets based on the level of franchisees you have there.

You should have options to upgrade. When creating the options to upgrade, you want to make sure they are all somewhat affordable for the franchisees. Options should then be priced in a general range that makes sense across the board.

It’s a good idea to work with an agency that has experience. To build out this type of system internally is very tough, especially if you are a new franchise with a small team. You need expert and experienced personnel. In most cases, it is a good idea to bring on an agency with heavy local advertising experience and, of course, franchise experience.

Additional Marketing Programmes

Some franchisees will only own one or two franchises, but others will own five, ten or even more. When this is the case, the franchisee will most likely consider their franchises as their own business.

A franchise needs to have an agency they can trust to provide custom solutions to these types of owners. Make sure you have a solution for them that is dependable and can get them the results they are looking for.

Related: How Risky Is That Franchise?

Summing Up Franchise Marketing

If you are looking to attract franchisees, you need to have a clear and profitable model, a strong case for making the investment and serious brand credibility. If you do a great job with your franchise marketing, you will be well on your way to attracting new owners.

Entrepreneur Magazine is South Africa's top read business publication with the highest readership per month according to AMPS. The title has won seven major publishing excellence awards since it's launch in 2006. Entrepreneur Magazine is the "how-to" handbook for growing companies. Find us on Google+ here.

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Researching a Franchise

How Your Fast Food Franchise Can Attract Quality-Conscious Consumers

In a world where customers are becoming increasingly picky about where they dine and what they pick from a menu, it can be challenging to meet demands.

Diana Albertyn

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“Major foodborne illness incidents and outbreaks seem to be increasing. Even innocent or careless mistakes can sicken guests and ruin a restaurant’s reputation,” says Francine Shaw, President of Food Safety Training Solutions Inc. “Foodborne illnesses are 100% preventable and could be avoided if food service organisations adopted a food safety culture.”

Following a listeriosis scare in South Africa early in 2018, consumers have become more conscious about the foods they eat. Today’s customer is more concerned about the cleanliness of the food they buy over its taste.

“How food is sourced, prepared and served is uppermost with many diners demanding transparency when it comes to where they spend their hard-earned money.” – Franchise Association of South Africa (FASA)

The addition of more nutritious choices to your menu may be attracting health-conscious consumers, but it’s the quality of the regular – and perhaps popular – menu items that may win over consumers concerned with quality and not just calorie content.

Related: 3 Ways To Make Your Franchise ‘Instagrammable’

Here’s how you can ensure your customers are at ease with having their next meal at any of your franchises nationwide:

1. Ensure everyone knows why and how it’s done

Even with buy-in from the top-tier, your food safety efforts will be futile if not incorporated into every training touch point and may appear to be optional, when they should be a priority, says Chris Boyles, vice president for The Steritech Institute. When you have well-trained workers who understand the ‘why’ behind food-quality policies, momentum is built and a culture of food safety is created.

“Through encouraging genuine, comprehensive behavioural shifts, your franchise will protect the brand, safeguard employees and sustain a reduction in risk,” Boyles adds.

2. Build food-quality impetus across the network

As a company that serves food to the public you’re in a position of great responsibility. It’s important to pass this message down to your franchisees too. “Co-operation between the franchisee and their employees in this regard cannot be stressed enough,” says Marcel Strauss, Managing Executive of The Fish & Chip Co. – which was voted the top fish brand in 2012.

To get your franchisees on board with tightened food safety regulations, ensure they’re aware of the looming food-quality changes you’re planning on implementing and the ROI for your brand. This enables them to make budgetary allowance for certain credentials and technology you may require to meet certain standards of food safety.

Related: Why Your Franchise Brand Should Be Culturally Relevant

3. Tell your customers every chance you get

Give consumers a glimpse into your production process by including your quality mission statement on customer-facing materials such as your website, social media pages, profiles on external review sites and menus. “Use stories, images and videos to show your practices in action,” Katy Jones, Chief Marketing Officer at FoodLogiQ explains. “Take customers behind the scenes into internal discussions. Practice is the way you demonstrate your commitment.”

To incorporate quality and safety messaging into customer relations, you need collaboration between your food safety managers and marketing managers.

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Researching a Franchise

The Future Of Franchising Looks Smaller (And Fancier)

Franchises are adding smaller locations and reduced menu options, as niche markets emerge, to attract the customer of the future.

Diana Albertyn

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As the owner of a thriving franchise, you’re well aware of the fact that fluctuations in the world economy has both negative and positive effects on business. When it comes to your successful franchise, tough times could mean adopting new trends or seizing gaps, potentially resulting in a new franchise concept you wouldn’t have otherwise thought of.

“The buzz word in global franchising is ‘flexibility and adaptability’,” according to the Franchise Association of South Africa (FASA). “Whether a result of a need to inject some life into stagnant franchise brands or as a result of the new world order brought about by the recession, franchising is embracing alternative and options in a big way.”

Related: As Consumers’ Tastes Change Can Your Franchise Keep Up?

You can do this by either devising innovative areas to franchise or allowing more flexible ways for franchisees to operate to help with their bottom line. FASA has earmarked these as some of the biggest franchising trends in 2018 and beyond:

Smaller, more cost-effective franchise models

When franchisees don’t have high franchise fees and start-up costs to worry about, they can focus more on what customers want, and deliver. The added benefit of smaller spaces include having fewer employees and reasonable rental.

Among the new frontiers in franchising are the food court losing its legacy as the preferred setting for food franchises, as service stations increase in popularity in the industry. A number of brands – like Steers, Debonairs and Mugg & Bean On-the-Go outlets – are co-locating with major fuel retailers to create fully-integrated accessible centres.

Niche markets are offering one-of-a-kind franchises

“The opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a new franchise trend is also on the rise,” notes FASA. This could be offering a unique gourmet food experience in your outlets or a ‘green’ space of energy saving technology in your operations.

“Consumers have gained control of what they want,” says Morné Cronjé, head of franchising at FNB Business. “It is no longer about what you have on the menu, but how your product or service can be tailor-made to what a customer really wants.”

Founded just five years ago (2013), RocoMamas boasts over 60 franchise outlets, clearly responding to the essence of this trend –allowing consumers to build their own burgers without having to pay for items they’d rather leave out.

Related: Key Franchising Trends To Consider For 2018

Stay ahead of the game

For long-term success, franchisors who want to expand their business should start exploring beyond present circumstances and current predictions.

“2018 will no doubt bring its challenges, however for every challenge there is a window of opportunity to explore. We are advising franchisors to scrutinise these trends carefully, it can definitely give them a boost for 2018,” says Cronjé.

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Researching a Franchise

As Consumers’ Tastes Change Can Your Franchise Keep Up?

More of your customers are eating in, and if you’re not packaging, portioning and pricing your food accordingly, they’re heading to a retailer that does.

Diana Albertyn

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It’s generally believed that it’s cheaper to cook your own breakfast, lunch or supper than to go out and pay a much higher price for the same food in your fridge at home. But today’s consumer’s live fast-paced lifestyles – so food is becoming more about convenience.

31% of 6 022 middle-to-high income South African earners surveyed by BusinessTech, put eating out and entertainment at the top of their list of things they’re most willing to cut their spending on in 2018 to save money. Research by supermarket giant Pick n Pay correlates, reporting an increase in customers buying quality convenience food, not just to entertain at home, but for dining at home.

Related: Driving Your Business Growth Towards More Customers

Consumers are empowered by variety

You’ve heard about the ‘fast casual generation’, aka Millennials? They are demanding healthy, affordable eating experiences. But do you know how this affects the future of the food industry, and your business in particular – because they’re not the only ones adapting their lifestyles.

An increasing number of food brands and chefs are compelled to create complete ranges of new, convenient meal options that are not only packaged, portioned and precooked attractively, but affordable too.

The fastest growing sector of retail foodservice for the past four years has been the convenience store sector. Non-traditional avenues of distribution are growing, gobbling market share while establishing new patterns of consumption, price points, and customer loyalty.

Shoppers are becoming value-focused

A savvy franchise would acknowledge that although pre-packaged and pre-cooked convenience food isn’t a new trend among consumers and supermarkets, it is gaining popularity. “Some of the most notable trends in 2017 were an increasing shift to convenience foods as customers looked for both value and convenience,” says Pick ‘n Pay’s Head of Marketing, John Bradshaw.

Related: 5 Techniques To Leave Customers Grinning And Vowing To Return

Value for money and healthier food choices will continue to be top of the convenience food list for consumer in 2018, as more shoppers cut down on luxuries.

“We’ve seen significant growth in the number of customers looking for an easy way to enjoy a good meal without the cost of eating out,” says Bradshaw.

But he cautions that South African shoppers have always been value-focused, and while the most significant shift Pick ‘n Pay has seen is how all its shoppers, no matter what their income levels, are watching their budgets.

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