Franchise marketing is key to success
Sally J’Arlette-Joy, founder of Sandwich Baron, says the key to success lies in a corporate marketing strategy dovetailing with a franchisee’s local marketing strategy.
J’Arlette-Joy has a number of proven tips for franchisees. These are relevant to any franchisee, even though tailored for Sandwich Baron’s 49 outlets nationwide. “Much of our focus has been on maintaining a strong Internet presence, and we would similarly recommend this to franchisees. When you google ‘sandwich’, ‘Sandwich Baron’ is the first website that comes up. But to maintain that search engine presence requires constant updating.
My advice is: first put aside a modest budget for online advertising. Understand that no form of marketing can outperform word of mouth praise based on the quality of service. Person-to-person marketing is the most effective, albeit a time-consuming strategy.
The buying experience has to be the franchisee’s primary focus. “Know and welcome your customers. Have your staff make a fuss of them? I did this with my first store, and had people coming to buy from me every day.” As the owner, make them feel that seeing them is the absolute highlight of your day, which it should be. Then they’ll buy frequently. This is this phenomenon which makes face-to-face marketing so successful.
J’Arlette-Joy urges franchisees to get to know local businesses and make an appointment to take these CEOs a free lunch. They will often then give you access to their entire staff. This can be achieved by looking in the local newspaper for local businesses and their contact details. Scout around your location to a radius of 9-10kms. “Don’t forget smaller customers. In many neighborhoods, residential properties have been converted into businesses and staff often don’t go out. Bring the food to them!”
She cautions that service levels must come first. Outlets require sufficient staff to deliver quality service and products before flooding the neighborhood with marketing. “Poor service will turn away customers and they are unlikely to return if you get it wrong in the beginning.”
Another means of attracting new customers in greater bulk is via digital tools. J’Arlette-Joy recommends an email strategy, Utilizing social media channels, as well as a presence on all the business platforms including LinkedIn. Facebook is recommended as the primary marketing tool for franchisees, as their marketing efforts can be targeted according to demographics and geographic.
“The idea is to build up as many contacts as possible. To get full value from Facebook, franchisees need to advertise on it. We now have a large address list at head office which we use to promote specials and incentives group-wide. The same should be done on a community basis, and we encourage franchisees to do so. Send out emails offering a free meal to anyone who provides the names of five friends. Get a substantial email list together. Then you can start marketing to them directly. Ideas include: daily specials, interesting information on things they’re interested in, such as Banting, or offering them a free meal on their birthday,” she explains. A favorite with franchisees are flyers attached to the food packet.
J’Arlette-Joy concludes that success depends on how much energy an individual franchisee puts into it. An important element of marketing is that it has to be continuous. “People change jobs, addresses and clear out their desks, losing your phone number. You have to regularly contact them to maintain the relationship. A business’ success also depends on how well that franchisee gets to know her customers. When you get to know your customers, your business is bound to succeed.”