Owning and operating a franchise is the best way to start an independent business. It is relatively easy to raise finance, as the lender knows that you have the backing of the franchisor’s proven model. Additionally, you will be provided with access to the franchisor’s operations manual. This is an invaluable tool that will guide you in nearly every aspect of your functioning.
Remember that your primary function as a franchisee is to promote the business of the franchisor and market its products. You are responsible for protecting the franchised brand and building up a loyal customer base for the franchisor’s products.
How can you establish the new business and attract an adequate number of clients? You will need to develop your marketing skills and ensure that your franchise is in a position to meet the requirements of its customers.
Here are five marketing principles that you can use to build up your business and set it on the path to success:
1. Marketing is about beating the competition
Regardless of the type of business that you operate, your customers are going to compare you with others who provide the same service or product. It is absolutely essential that you position yourself in a manner that places you ahead of the competition in the eyes of your clients.
The first step that you must take is to identify your competitors. Understand their business model and the methods that they use to attract customers. Don’t be a copycat, but at the same time, your business must be in a position to offer clients a value proposition that is greater than that which is provided by your rivals.
2. Differentiate yourself from the competition
When you are running a franchise, you will need to follow a standardized approach in most areas. But it is definitely possible to differentiate yourself. Here are some ways in which you can do this:
- Employee training and attitude – each of your worker’s should have a deep understanding about the product that you sell or the service that you provide. Your clients will place great importance on the quality of the interaction that they have with your employees. Well-informed and courteous employees can be your greatest assets.
- Offer a consistently high level of service – set the bar very high within your organization. Do all that you can to ensure that every customer is given the greatest respect. While mistakes will happen, it is up to you to acknowledge them and take corrective action immediately. Your clients will appreciate your candor and the fact that you made the effort to rectify the situation.
3. Understanding your customers’ needs
You must take out the time to understand your target market. Which is the customer segment that you cater to and what is the exact need that you fulfill? Getting this aspect right is crucial to the success of your business.
When you understand why a client buys your product, you will be in a position to work on enhancing its most important features. You must conduct some primary research to get this information.
Your objective should be that when your customer has a certain need or requires a solution to a particular problem that pertains to the area in which you operate, your business must be the one that first comes to mind. This is possible only if you have taken the trouble to understand what your clients are looking for and worked towards addressing those issues.
4. Measure the results that you achieve
Your marketing expenses will form a significant part of your total budget. While this expenditure is absolutely justified, you must keep track of how it is helping to establish your business and build up its reputation. Which activities provide the greatest bang for the buck?
Every marketing campaign that you conduct should lead to greater awareness about your business. Over a period of time, it should also result in more sales. Soon after you launch a marketing push, implement a program to gauge customer response. The feedback that you get will help you to take corrective steps and optimize your efforts.
Another way that you can measure the effectiveness of your marketing strategy is to see the effect that it has had on the competition. If your rivals try to copy you or introduce a variation of what you have done, you will know that you are on the right track.
5. Build strong relationships
People like to do business with those whom they are familiar with. It is important to establish and nurture long-term relationships with your customers. Try and find the best way to stay in touch with your existing clients as well as those you want to add to your customer list. You could do this through email, personal phone calls, or even individual meetings.
Once a customer gets to know you and trusts you, the likelihood of doing a greater volume of business will increase. In fact, strong personal relationships form the bedrock upon which many successful businesses are built.
Check with your franchisor
A large part of your marketing efforts will be based upon the guidance and inputs that you receive from the franchisor. It will be your responsibility to execute the marketing plan in a manner that provides the best results.
However, if you think that you need to take some steps that do not strictly adhere to the guidelines provided by the franchisor, it is best to check with them first. Their advice and the information that they provide can be invaluable in helping your marketing efforts to succeed.