Your franchising efforts should include linked and thoroughly developed strategies for your earned, owned and paid media channels. Used together, they can help emerging franchisors achieve favorable results for consumer sales and franchise growth.
Let’s review what each media channel of marketing is and how you can benefit from them as an emerging franchisor, followed by the possible outcomes:
Earned marketing is generated by third-parties, such as print, broadcast and online news. These types of media outlets are beneficial for emerging franchisors for a few reasons:
Being featured in a story can jumpstart awareness of your brand, whether it’s through a local news segment or in a national print publication. Consumers and potential franchisees have an opportunity to understand you and the brand better and they can learn about your history and values. Consumers and entrepreneurs can also learn why they should give you their business or join your business as a franchisee.
Bylines and other types of thought leadership articles in business and franchise trade publications position you as an expert in your industry, product or service and, of course, your unique franchise concept.
Coverage by local media is also valuable. For example, a story in the local newspaper that highlights the inspiring backstory of a franchisee who leverages his or her standing as a business owner to give back to the community can pay dividends.
What to Expect: Third-party sources of information are typically unbiased and are seen as honest and trustworthy. A positive story highlighting you or your brand in this type of media outlet therefore has a lot of sway among consumers and potential franchisees, and can result in increased sales of goods or services, and can inspire customer loyalty to sustain your growth. It may also boost the number of franchisee leads and subsequently increase the number of franchise deals awarded. The stories about you and/or your brand have the possibility of striking a chord with consumers and entrepreneurs. Earned media will ideally drive traffic to your website, which is owned media, where you can further influence consumers and entrepreneurs.
Owned media includes blog content, case studies, eBooks, white papers, infographics, videos and other pieces of collateral that you own. This material can live on your website, social media pages and company blog. Typically, owned media targets your audience to motivate them to either become more involved as a customer – by downloading your customer loyalty app, for example – or as a potential franchisee – by filling out a form to learn more about your franchise opportunity. Because you own it, you have control and can tell your audience things that earned media outlets may choose to leave out. This is your opportunity to explain why your franchise model is unique, talk about the benefits of being part of the industry you’re in, provide financial information to potential franchisees, as stated in your Franchise Disclosure Document Item 19, and much more. You have control over how to influence your audience.
What to Expect: Not only is owned media another way to educated consumers about your products and entrepreneurs about your brand and franchise opportunity, it’s also an opportunity for you to learn more about them. Whenever someone visits your website or downloads an app or any of your content, you can gather information about them with digital analytics. You can gain a better understanding of customer purchasing behavior and better market your products and services. You can provide your sales teams with this better understanding of potential franchisees, which will enhance your franchise development efforts and increase your ability to connect with potential leads. When you know your audience better, you can create content that better engages them.
Paid media refers to advertising. Brands pay media companies – newspapers, magazines, TV networks, radio stations, online publications or search engines – to display or broadcast their advertisements to get their message in front of consumers or prospective franchisees.
Since the use of the Internet has become widespread, advertisements of all forms have included website URLs that consumers and entrepreneurs could visit to learn more about the product, service or brand. Today, print, TV and radio ads still display or broadcast web addresses, while most ads on the Internet take the form of banner ads, remarketing ads and similar tactics to appear on websites their target audience is likely visiting. These are all attempts to direct the audience to the brand’s owned media, primarily their website. There’s also social advertising through Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. In many cases, brands sponsor a piece of content that is designed to drive leads or a specific action, like downloading a mobile app. Instead of purely pushing the sell, these ads amplify owned media using a variety of filters so that only a specific segment of the total online population sees it – ideally those who are most likely to respond.
What to Expect: You can anticipate more visitors to your website, which will potentially lead to more downloads of consumer apps and content aimed at potential franchisees. As with earned and owned media, paid media can result in new customers, customer loyalty and ultimately an expanding franchise system.
Winmark Franchise Partners, with 30 years of franchise experience and more than 800 franchise owners representing more than 1,200 locations for five brands, can help you identify the right mix of earned, owned and paid media to help your emerging concept achieve the results you desire.
For more information, contact us here or at (844) 452-4600.