Infographic - Why franchises need a digital marketing strategy

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Why Franchises Need a Digital Marketing Strategy

I don’t think anyone could argue that in today’s business climate, having a comprehensive marketing strategy is essential to success. A big part of that strategy has to include digital marketing. Digital marketing includes the website, email marketing, text messaging, and of course, a social media presence. For franchise brands, there are some extra challenges that need to be considered when developing and implementing a digital marketing strategy. There is no clear line of demarcation of which party is responsible for what, as there is with any other type of business. This infographic looks more closely at digital marketing for franchises.

It Starts With Asking the Right Questions

Obtaining the right franchisor-franchisee balance in local digital marketing:

  • Will there be one voice (franchisor only) or many (each franchisee)?
  • Who establishes the local digital presence?
  • Who manages the local digital presence?
  • How is brand consistency enforced?
  • How do franchisors ensure that franchisees follow through with local comments, requests, and complaints?
  • How they can help drive engagement with each other?
  • How are crises handled?
  • What strategy or policy does the franchisor already have in place? If nothing yet, the franchisee should take the initiative and propose one
  • Who controls the email list?

11 Benefits of a Digital Marketing Strategy

  • Can be very cost effective (social media)
  • Builds customer goodwill
  • High perceived value
  • Can be automated
  • Scalable
  • Easily track results, engagement, and effectiveness
  • Franchisees feel empowered to contribute and control their engagement with customers
  • Can tailor a message to the region, demographics, culture
  • Big brands can act like a local business online
  • Social media allows for flexibility with interactions, engagement, calls to action, and being able to connect to the franchisor
  • Fantastic branding opportunity

Not All Locations Are Created Equal

  • Urban vs. suburban location customers
  • Different demographics = different customers
  • Socio-economic make up
  • Commercial vs. residential locations
  • Variation in pricing, products, promotions, coupons
  • Advertise local events or community involvement

The Numbers Don't Lie: 12 Facts About Digital Marketing

  • 88% of people who search for a local business on their mobile device go there within 24 hours (Google)
  • 20% of Google searches are local (Google)
  • 64% of franchisees are unhappy with the level of marketing support they receive (LocalVox)
  • 88% of franchisees see locally synchronized marketing campaigns as a competitive advantage (LocalVox)
  • 95% of unhappy customers will return to a business if their issue or complaint is quickly resolved (BrandMuscle)
  • 86% of feedback on social media is missed by national brands (LocalVox)
  • 70% of customers are likely to use a local business if they have a social media presence (comScore Networks)
  • 66% have bought something after getting an email message about it (BrandMuscle)
  • 90% of potential franchisees use Google and a vast majority use social media for their due diligence
  • 1 billion users on YouTube
  • 800 million active users on Facebook
  • 750 Tweets per second

Who Does What in a Successful Digital Marketing Strategy?


  • Responsible for overall branding, including maintaining the franchisor website with location services
  • Determine your strategy
  • Provide guidelines to franchisees
  • Build a library of brand approved posts, images, templates, profiles
  • Monitor customer interaction to identify problems
  • Source content
  • Recruit new franchisees through social media — soft sell
  • Bring national campaigns to the local level


  • Manage brand reputation
  • Build relationships
  • Enhance customer service experience
  • Determine your strategy
  • Source content
  • Promote local specials, products
  • Marketing has to be in line with the message coming from headquarters
  • Execute national promotions on a local level

It’s Time to Take Action — 5 Things to Do Now

Now that you know some of the basics, it’s time to spread the word and start the conversation.


  1. Ensure your digital marketing plan is included in your Franchisee Handbook and FDD, where applicable.
  2. Determine what you will manage and what the franchisee will be responsible for:
    • Branding
    • Local presence
    • Local listing on the main franchise brand website
    • Main social media accounts
    • Email list building
    • SEO and driving traffic
  3. Develop overall “look” of website, social media (style guide). Build a library of approved posts, images, templates, profiles.
  4. Use social media to recruit new franchisees.
  5. Instruct franchisees how to bring national campaigns to a local level.


  1. Check your franchise documents (FDD and Franchise Handbook) to learn about your brand’s digital marketing strategy. Discuss your specific digital marketing guidelines with the marketing team.
  2. Understand franchisor expectations and what you’re allowed to do; maintain corporate branding and tone.
  3. As allowed:
    • Set up your location(s) website (make sure you’re capturing visitor email addresses to build your list)
    • Make sure your locations are listed on location-specific sites such as Google Local, Yelp,
    • Set up your social media presence
      • Facebook
      • Twitter
      • Instagram
      • Pinterest
  4. Establish a social media plan and schedule for promotions, engagement.
  5. Encourage customers to leave reviews on Facebook or Yelp.

Learn More...

Interested in starting a franchise? Or looking for tips on how to run your franchise better? Gain access to our complete library of franchise resources by signing up for a FREE membership to Birkhoff Research Group»

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