How To Select A Franchise Marketing Agency
Marketing a business takes a lot more than it used to a few years ago.
With the advancement of technology, businesses are having to use creative marketing methods to get their businesses noticed.
Marketing franchise businesses is even harder since it requires a cohesive marketing plan that advertises multiple businesses instead of one.
That’s why your best bet is to get a franchise marketing agency that knows the ins and outs of franchise marketing.
This article will show you exactly how to select a franchise marketing agency that can help your business grow to new heights with proven strategies and methods.
What is a franchise marketing agency, and what does it do?
A franchise marketing agency is a company that helps franchise owners grow their businesses through the use of traditional and digital marketing methods.
They help the franchise build a positive brand image amongst potential customers and potential franchisees.
Franchise marketing is different from individual business marketing since it involves marketing multiple businesses collectively while maintaining brand consistency.
Franchises also require a much more in-depth marketing plan that includes marketing material, content calendars, preferred social media platforms, style guides, and more.
A franchise marketing agency will help you develop an effective marketing plan and do most of the work for you. This can include creating social media posts and marketing materials, writing content, setting up your email campaigns, and more.
Why should you hire a franchise marketing agency?
Here are the top five benefits of hiring a franchise marketing agency.
1. Get help from marketing professionals
Today, marketing encompasses a wide range of methods and strategies. With these methods constantly changing and improving, it requires a lot of effort to stay up to date with the latest developments.
By using a franchise marketing agency, you won’t be responsible for staying up to date with trends, nor will you have to become an expert in marketing.
The agency will take care of everything for you, and they’ll be able to combine techniques and methods that are specifically suited to your business to get maximum results.
2. Have experts who understand the challenges of franchises
In 2020, there were 785,316 franchise establishments in the U.S. alone. This means that competition is steep, and you need the help of professionals if you want your franchise to stand out above the competition.
As mentioned, franchise marketing is a lot more complex than individual business marketing because it has many owners in many different locations.
As such, it comes with many challenges, like having to achieve franchise brand consistency while also having to draw the attention of customers in different geographical locations who have different lifestyles and opinions.
A franchise marketing agency is equipped to handle these challenges and can market your business on a national (or international) level with ease.
The agency will create an effective marketing plan that’ll make your marketing efforts work together seamlessly.
3. Get new ideas for company growth
In addition to bringing in expert assistance, a franchise marketing company also brings fresh and exciting ideas that your team might not necessarily have known or thought about.
And, since the experts in these agencies have a lot of experience, you can be sure that these ideas have gone through trial and error and are backed by years of experience.
As these experts continue to work on your franchise’s marketing strategies, they’ll keep developing and implementing new ideas to ensure that you keep getting exceptional results.
4. Get help developing your franchise
As a franchisor, developing your business into new territories can be a daunting task. Getting a franchisee is much harder than getting a customer since it requires a huge monetary investment.
However, a marketing agency can help you do just that by implementing several strategies specifically suited to franchisees. Some of these methods include local marketing, advocate marketing, social media marketing, and more.
Agencies will also be able to help you leverage franchise opportunity websites to find people who are already interested in becoming franchise business owners.
This way, you’ll be able to find quality franchisees who already have the necessary funds and drive to become a valued part of your business.
5. Use social media to your advantage
Social media has billions of users, with Facebook and YouTube alone having over 5 billion users in 2021. As such, leveraging social platforms can create a lot of brand awareness for your franchise and attract tons of customers straight to you.
However, since your franchise has multiple businesses in several different locations, you’re going to have to create a solid social media content calendar to make sure that consistency is maintained throughout your social media channels.
Marketing agencies will help you achieve this by creating that calendar and the actual content that can be shared on your platforms for you.
Since 2009, we have helped hundreds of local businesses grow their online leads and sales strategically. Let us do it for you!
How to select a franchise marketing agency in 7 steps
Here are the seven steps to choosing a franchise marketing company that’ll suit your business.
Step 1: Know your needs and desired outcome
Before even thinking about looking for a marketing agency, you first need to determine your needs and objectives. This will make it so much easier for you to determine what type of role you want the agency to play in your business.
Is your objective to:
- Expand into new territories?
- Create brand awareness and accelerate overall franchise sales?
- Completely redesign your brand, including your website?
Whatever it is, you need to consider the amount of money you’re willing to spend, the specific skills you require (plus those you already have), and the amount of time you’re willing to invest in your marketing efforts.
Based on these factors, you need to make a list of the specific services you’d like to outsource to the marketing agency and which projects you’d rather have performed in-house.
For example, your team may excel at social media marketing, but they aren’t as well versed in search engine optimization (SEO). Therefore, you’ll want your team to continue managing your social media while outsourcing SEO services to an agency.
Typically, there are two types of marketing for franchise businesses:
- Operational franchise marketing: Marketing your franchise business to your ideal customers with the end goal of increasing your sales and revenue.
- Franchise development marketing: Marketing your franchise to prospective franchisees who might want to expand your brand into a new franchise location.
Typically, a franchise marketing agency will offer both types of marketing. However, it’s always good to know which marketing services you require so that you can choose the right agency that specializes in that specific area.
Step 2: Find marketing agencies that understand your needs
Once you’ve determined your needs and objectives, you can start searching for marketing agencies that’ll be able to give you what you need.
Google is a great place to start.
Simply type “digital marketing agency” into the search bar, and see which agencies pop up. If geography is important to you, you can also add a location modifier in your search query. Something like, “digital marketing agency [your state].”
The agencies that come up organically on the first page of the search results are doing a great job ranking their own websites. Therefore, you know that they’ll be able to rank yours as well.
Additionally, agencies with ads at the top of search results clearly know how to run ad campaigns effectively. And, since search advertising is extremely effective with a market share of approximately 40%, you’ll likely want them to do this type of advertising for you.
Make a list of the agencies that pop up and start looking at their individual websites.
See if they:
- Offer franchise marketing services
- Specialize in your particular niche
- Have experience working with franchise businesses
This way, you know that the company is well-versed in franchise law as well as collective and individual franchise marketing.
Remove agencies that don’t offer what you need.
Step 3: Research the agencies further
It’s time to dig deeper. Look at the following to determine if an agency is right for you:
Have a closer look at the agencies’ portfolios to see if you like the work they’ve done for other clients. However, keep in mind that some services are hard to display.
For example, if a specific agency mainly specializes in SEO and content marketing, it might not necessarily be able to display such projects in a portfolio.
If this is the case, you can always just look at the agency’s client list to see which brands it has worked with in the past.
See if the agencies have any reviews or testimonials from past clients. Social proof is a big part of marketing. As such, these agencies should have at least a few reviews on their websites or social media pages. If not, this could be a red flag.
Aside from positive reviews, you also need to see whether they have any negative reviews. If so, look at what the reviews are saying and determine which areas the agencies struggle with.
Marketing agencies should know how important well-designed websites are. If an agency’s website isn’t well-designed, why should you trust it with yours?
This is especially true if you’re looking to outsource your web design and/or branding services.
Additionally, a website will also be able to tell you a lot about an agency’s core values and culture so that you can determine whether they’ll be a good fit for your business.
Step 4: Send a request for proposal
A request for proposal (RFP) is a document that introduces and describes a project with the goal of getting bids from different agencies to complete it.
You can send an SEO RFP, PPC RFP, or a Digital Marketing RFP to the shortlisted agencies that you think would suit your business needs best.
It’s important that when you express your vision in an RFP, you remain realistic with your expectations and objectives.
Include the following information:
- Your franchise’s background and position
- A summary of your objectives (what you want to achieve and specific requirements)
- Details on your target audience
- Your budget for the project
- All necessary timelines
- Contact information so that the agency can contact you for clarification or discussion
Step 5: Send an assignment
Along with the RFP, you should also provide these agencies with a service brief and ask them to produce an Audit Report and Strategy Report. In this phase, they’ll merely send the reports to you via email.
An audit will show you both the marketing agency’s capabilities and which improvements you need to make to your marketing.
On top of that, the audit also gives the agency a chance to get to know your brand on a deeper level, which will make them more invested in your company.
With a strategy report, the agencies will come up with a high-level marketing strategy that they believe would help your franchise reach its goals. Each agency will explain why and how its strategy will help your business grow.
This will show you the level of creativity that each agency’s team has. It will also give you the opportunity to see which proposal is best suited to your business needs.
Step 6: Assess their assignment
Now that you have the proposals, you need to review them in person or via a video conference. Here, the agencies will have the chance to present proposals to you and answer any questions you might have.
You’ll need to make sure that you create criteria for evaluation before the meetings start so that you can evaluate them fairly.
Make sure the following are included in your evaluation criteria:
- Agency expertise
- Ability to execute
- How results will be measured
- Quality of concepts
- The agency’s rates
- Expectations and suggestions for your project
However, you also need to make sure that the agency’s claims aren’t too good to be true. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Step 7: Meet them
At this stage, you should be left with only a few marketing agencies. Now, it’s time for you, alongside your head of marketing, to meet with these agencies at their offices.
These meetings will help you learn more about the agencies as it pertains to their company cultures, work routines, departments, and more.
You’ll also have a chance to express your concerns and ask questions before making your final decision about which agency to choose.
Remember that the agency you choose will become an extension of your franchise as a strategic partner. So, aside from the agency’s processes, you also need to consider its people and how well your team will get along with them.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are the people friendly?
- Do they seem to enjoy helping you?
- Are they great at communication?
Hiring a top-quality franchise marketing agency is vital if you want to see actual, measurable results. Choosing an agency that knows the best strategies to market a franchise business will help you achieve success faster.
Now that you know exactly how to select a marketing company that suits your needs, you can go ahead and start working through the steps provided in this article.
Need a better understanding of what exactly goes into a successful franchise marketing plan? Find out here.
Since 2009, we have helped hundreds of local businesses grow their online leads and sales strategically. Let us do it for you!