Franchise opportunities are seemingly endless these days! From food trucks to health services and everything in between, if you like the idea of being your own boss, there are many options to explore.
Before investing your hard-earned cash in a franchise, there are many questions you should ask of yourself and the company. While prospective franchisees often think to ask about financials and brand reputation, all too often, marketing queries are overlooked.
Save yourself from a potential “I wish I’d known that before!” moment. When considering a franchise opportunity, make sure to investigate how marketing and advertising are handled with these handy questions:
- Will I be required to contribute to national marketing and advertising campaigns?
Many companies that offer franchise opportunities require franchisees to contribute a percentage of their profits to a fund used for national advertising campaigns. If the company you’re interested in utilizes this method, are you comfortable with the percentage you’re required to contribute? Is it standard for the industry, and will your business benefit from it?
- What marketing support do you provide to franchisees?
It’s essential to know how the larger corporation will support your local marketing efforts. Do they offer franchisees training or guides on how to market in a new service area? Will they provide you with access to assets like a style guide, quality photos and videos or templates for business cards and flyers?
Additionally; how often are those assets updated to ensure they’re fresh and relevant? What file formats are logos and template documents created in – do you know how to work with them?
- What kind of input can I have on overall marketing or marketing for my franchise location?
If the company does provide marketing guidelines and assets to franchisees, it’s also important to know whether you’re required to use them. Are you able to do any customization, within brand guidelines, to make them unique for your location? Can you manage your own marketing campaigns?
- What types of marketing are other franchisees engaging in? Can I see examples?
Often, one of the best ways to get a feel for the kind of marketing you should be doing is to see examples from others. This can really spark ideas! Ask the company you’re considering if it’s possible to see examples of ads and materials from franchises in other areas, and make sure to check them out on social media!
- Do you have approved vendors I must use for marketing services and materials, or can I hire my own?
A quick and easy query, make sure to ask whether you can pick a local printer in your area or must use the preferred vendor of the company. Knowing this from the start can determine how much marketing materials will cost you and how much lead time will be required.
- Must I run drafts of my marketing materials, blogs and digital ads by someone at corporate prior to use?
A practical question for planning purposes, it’s good to confirm if you’re required to seek approval for your marketing materials and plans or if being a franchise owner gives you the freedom to create what you’d like, within branding guidelines.
It’s also helpful to determine if you’re considering working with influencers or buying advertorial space in relevant publications.
- How much are franchisees spending on marketing?
As well as benefiting from the examples of others, it’s also a great idea to know how much they’re spending on marketing. Is it typical for franchisees to retain the services of a marketing agency? What are their average expenses for printing, events, public relations and marketing services?
- How much are they budgeting for digital ads?
Sometimes, potential franchisees are caught off guard by the expense of digital ads, but they’re highly effective and shouldn’t be overlooked. As of 2020, the average cost to reach 1,000 people with online advertising ranges from $3-$10, while the average cost to reach 1,000 people with traditional advertising is $22 or more.
Digital ad budgets vary depending on competition in the area and for keyword bidding, but they remain an essential way to put your new business out in front of potential customers. Having an idea of what other franchisees are spending per month on Facebook and Google ads will be ideal for understanding a starting point.
- Will I have my own website or a dedicated page on the corporate site?
It doesn’t have to be a deal breaker if the company you’re looking into offers franchisees a page on their corporate website in place of their own, dedicated site. However, there are benefits to creating a solo site, like having more control over content, dedicated SEO and the ability to add Google and Facebook code for tracking KPIs.
- Will I have access to install Google Tag Manager, Facebook Pixel and Google Analytics for tracking KPIs?
If having your own website is a no-go, ensure you have the ability to add these tracking services to your webpage. Without them, you won’t have a full picture of how many people are visiting your site, converting from digital ads or other essential visitor behaviour.
Alternatively, if the corporation will be managing your webpage for you, ask for access to GTM, GA and your pixel for tracking purposes and to monitor your stats.
- Will my site/page be optimized for local SEO or will I have access to do that?
If you’re able to create your own site, engaging in SEO is an essential part of the project. Quality, ongoing SEO work will help new customers find you and aid in developing your presence in the area you’ll serve.
If the company you’re looking into will take care of your website for you, ensure that SEO is part of the process and that they have a good grasp on local areas and search terms.
- Will I be able to write blogs on my site/page?
Blogs are a valuable asset for potential clientele; they’re also incredibly useful for SEO. Ask if your franchise webpage can host blog posts to help your site get discovered and offer distinct benefits to those interested in your company.
- What types of marketing are other franchisees finding the most or least successful? Can I see examples of their KPIs?
In addition to seeing what other franchisees are doing, it’s imperative to also understand what’s been effective. As well as anecdotal evidence, ask if it’s possible to see some key performance indicators, such as return on investment or ad spend.
While confirming what you can do is important, two of the most essential aspects of marketing your franchise are to monitor results and make data-driven decisions. Learning what other franchisees have found effective and coupling that insight with your KPIs will help you make decisions that are evidence-based and most likely to bring you the results you’re after!
There is a lot to consider when it comes to any new business venture. When it comes to marketing, don’t leave it to chance. Have your questions answered before you invest in a franchise, partner with a franchisor who has marketing in mind, then kick off your new business with an audit and strategy that will set you up for success!
Danielle Windecker is a marketing expert and account manager at Jelly Digital Marketing + PR. She is passionate about developing strategic, creative marketing strategies for each of her unique clients.
Kendall Ansell is founder and principal at Kendall Ansell Interiors and Belle Construction. She believes that happiness starts at home and loves helping bring her clients’ unique visions to life within their spaces!