4 digital marketing challenges faced by franchises (and how to overcome them)

By Marcela De Vivo

One of the biggest challenges facing a franchisee’s growth is their ability to execute a winning digital marketing strategy that is unfettered by a franchiser.

A struggle often exists between a franchiser’s need to control their brand, and a franchisee’s desire to market their business through their own strategies.

According to Jason Decker of Search Engine Land, franchises are failing at:

From poorly managed PPC campaigns, to a general lack of digital marketing expertise by franchisees, let’s take a closer look at how you can overcome many of the most common franchise marketing challenges.

1. Fragmented strategies and goals

The largest issue for franchises is a poorly integrated digital marketing strategy. The franchise may have clear goals, but the goals of franchisees may be different. This creates fragmented marketing strategies.

The very nature of franchises is “structured”, however, when it comes to marketing, that structure often lacks. If there is no unified digital marketing strategy with clear guidelines in place, a mixed marketing message and fractured consumer targeting approach will occur.

Is it essential to have clear strategies and goals in place for franchisees?

“Franchising is based on conformity and uniformity, not freedom. As a franchisee, you do not really hold the reins,” Karsten Strauss of Forbes explained. “You may technically be the boss of your shop, but you must follow the orders of the home office.”

This doesn’t mean that a franchise should lay down the law without room for collaboration. Franchise HQ and the many franchisee branches need to work together in order to define branding and unified marketing message.

Providing a core marketing strategy that will serve both the franchise and franchisee will ultimately serve up increased growth and revenue for everyone involved.

Core marketing strategies for franchisees to integrate include:

  • List of brand assets franchisees can employ for all marketing channels, like social media, website, and email direct marketing
  • Monthly marketing calendars highlighting promotional opportunities and consumer events at the global and local level
  • Develop or integrate an in-house platform where franchisees can access all marketing assets

2. Cannibalizing Pay Per Click (PPC) efforts

Franchisees, if not in sync, could end up competing against one another for PPC ads. This PPC cannibalism could result in lost marketing budget and poor ROI. This is not optimal for the competing franchisees or the franchisor.

What can franchises do to eliminate PPC cannibalism between franchisees?

Just as the case of overcoming fragmented marketing strategies due to different goals, a clear plan needs to be in place for PPC. Franchises need to set guidelines across their franchisee network to ensure the same logic and goal is in mind. Increase engagement and profit without competing against one another.

A few PPC campaign tweaks for your franchisees should include: