This morning I was scrolling through a list of America’s fastest growing franchises…Cookie Cutters Haircuts for Kids, Vitality Bowls, etc...and I was blown away by the surge of names.
The truth is, the number of franchises in America is soaring, and those soaring numbers mean it’s getting harder and harder for nascent or lesser-known franchises to stand out.
So, let’s say you’re the owner of a lesser-known franchise, and you want to increase your recognition in local communities—what do you do?
First, you come to talk to Entrepreneur Magazine’s #1 franchise marketing company about key channels like display advertising, social media, and paid search… ;)
THEN, you figure out how to divide your precious marketing dollars to get the best bang for your buck.
And you determine how to make that division by looking honestly at your brand recognition.
What does that mean?
Well, allow me to explain...
Build Brand Recognition Before Investing in Paid Ads
A major benefit of investing in a known franchise—and a contributing factor to their generally higher success rate than independent businesses—is brand recognition.
Open a Panera Bread and people will flock to your restaurant for the melty paninis and savory soups they know and love.
Open a D’Angelo Grilled Sandwiches, a small franchise that many have never heard of, and it’s going to be a battle to get customers through the door (at least early on).
This is because of brand recognition.
Of course that D’Angelo franchise could enlist the help of a marketing company to spread the word about their delicious grilled sandwiches, and those marketers will likely turn to paid ads...
But here’s the thing:
Paid ads don’t work as well for lesser-known franchises.
Why? Because customers are less likely to click on paid search ads for franchises they don’t recognize. Not only does this result in less customer engagement, but it costs advertisers more money, as less engagement means a higher cost per click.
There are a handful of exceptions but this is generally how it works.
So, instead of jumping straight into paid advertising (which you should do eventually), franchisees with low brand recognition are better off investing in brand awareness.
Improved brand awareness can be achieved using a variety of methods such as content marketing, SEO, sponsoring events, PR and others (let me know if you want ideas for your business specifically).
Why do it this way? Because when people know and trust your brand, they’re more likely to engage with your marketing (in the case of our example above, paid ads).
Supercharge your Paid Ad Engagement
Regardless of your business size or level of brand recognition, the best marketing strategy is one that includes a diverse mix of channels. Like your financial portfolio, overinvesting in a single area is sure to produce disappointing and expensive results.
Paid campaigns offer a huge upside for franchisees to land new customers, but care must be taken to select the right keywords and target the right audience – one that is familiar with you – otherwise your CPC will be unsustainably high due to lackluster engagement.
The big takeaway: Advertising to people who know your brand will result in significantly higher engagement.
And while there are certainly exceptions to this rule, the reality is by taking measures to raise brand awareness now, franchisees of lesser-known businesses will ultimately see a higher return from their paid campaigns in the future.
Scorpion helps franchisees and franchisors grow their brand and create profitable digital campaigns. Contact a franchise marketing expert today to learn the next best move for your business.