Franchisees face unique challenges with internet marketing. While some struggles are shared among all companies fighting for digital visibility, others are unique to the franchising business model.
Internet Marketing Challenges for Franchises
Out of the many issues franchisees face with online marketing, there are 5 main internet marketing problems rather unique to franchises:
#1 Local Digital Campaigns
Individual franchises are not always well equipped to find and target the right group of people in their local areas, resulting in a poor localized digital marketing strategy.
#2 Cannibalistic Advertising
Because franchisees are generally responsible for their local marketing, franchises can accidentally compete against each other for advertising space. Franchise networks without a clear structure and framework for PPC advertising and other internet advertisements may end up damaging each other’s ad campaigns, resulting in higher costs.
Some competition is natural, but in the case of PPC campaigns, ad cannibalism may disproportionately impact marketing budgets and ROI. Separate franchises may be bidding for ad space on the same keywords, causing the CPC to increase while reducing the likelihood of ads being seen on different search result pages (SERPs).
#3 Fragmented Marketing Strategies
If a franchisor does not have both a national and local internet marketing strategy, individual franchises can feel the effects through brand inconsistency, misaligned priorities, inaccurate audience targeting, and mixed messages to customers. This can result when each franchise takes a different approach to marketing itself locally, instead of making a combined effort to promote the overall brand both nationally and locally.
Without solid and consistent messaging, individual franchises can lose online visibility. When franchisors do not coordinate the national and local messaging, the result is underwhelming campaigns that are moderately successful and inevitably drive up advertising costs.
#4 Duplicate Content
SEO depends heavily on unique content and original listings for each franchise. If individual franchises do not have their own unique website content, they may be penalized by search engines for having duplicate content (i.e., content that also appears on other web pages and/or websites).
#5 Insufficient Tools and Skills
Not all franchisees are well-versed in digital marketing, making it a challenge for many franchises to launch their own internet marketing campaigns. Some franchises excel, while others struggle to gain visibility online. This also contributes to the fragmented marketing strategies and ad cannibalism mentioned above.
Along with varied skill levels, franchisees may not possess adequate internet marketing tools. Data collection, storage, and analysis all assist in monitoring the performance of different digital marketing campaigns. The data is vital for making informed decisions. Therefore, without the right tools, it is difficult to acquire the necessary information for marketing the local franchise online.
Franchising is a great opportunity, but it presents unique internet marketing challenges, especially when the franchisor does not have an online presence that empowers local franchises.
Unfortunately, some franchisees do not realize the challenges of locally marketing their business online until they are locked into a contract. As a result, they find their costs are higher than expected.
Most importantly, if you are thinking about buying a franchise, find out whether your local website from the franchisor is a stand-alone site over which you have full control. If not, realize that as a franchisee you will probably need to create your own website from which you market locally. This, of course, will increase your overall cost of operation.
We advise, therefore, prospective franchise owners consult a reliable internet marketing company before purchasing a franchise, in order to understand the pros and cons of locally marketing the franchise. In some cases, there are multiple franchisors in a specific industry, and local marketing may be significantly less costly with one franchisor over another basely solely on the type of website provided to the franchisee.
For a free consultation to learn more about locally marketing a franchise you either own, or you may purchase, please contact us.