The internet has become a powerful marketing tool, opening up opportunities for businesses worldwide, especially as the uptake in connectivity has increased in developing countries. Marketing goals for franchises should include crafting a global marketing strategy that appeal to international audiences, and keeping it up to date, ahead of the competition.
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Your website is the online face of your franchise, and is critical in communicating what your franchise can offer potential customers. As such, it needs to be engaging, because you may have only a few seconds to convince potential customers before they move on to another site. If you want to engage international customers, you must have content they can relate to, so tailor your marketing strategy to take into account different nationality audiences. A website should also be interactive. Traditionally, marketing was very one-way, but interactive marketing has become increasingly important, as customers have grown savvier. Essentially, interactive marketing is an opportunity to establish a two-way dialogue with the customer; soliciting their opinion on what direction they want to see a franchise take.
Social media is a great way to engage audiences online and develop a customer base. Marketing strategies can be seamlessly integrated into Facebook and Twitter. Reaching potential customers on Facebook can be as straightforward as putting up a Facebook Business Fan Page which users can “Like”. Facebook is strong on visuals, so have a strong visual presence to attract potential customers. Twitter is another great platform for social media engagement, but be sure to mix tweets about special offers and franchise news with quirkier tweets, and be sure to engage with users, answering their questions and re-tweeting when something nice is posted about your business.
Figures from 2014 show more than 2 billion users of social media worldwide, out of a total global population of 7.18 billion, so that gives you an idea of the incredible reach of online marketing. After Facebook, the social media platforms with the longest reach are QQ and QZone, both of which are Chinese-owned, which should tell you the importance of tailoring your global marketing strategy to take account of local customers.
Franchise marketing expertise
Consumer Capital Partners has considerable experience in marketing franchise restaurants operations from the ground up. Founder Rick Schaden has developed such names as Smashburger, Live Basil Pizza, and Tom’s Urban. He understands the importance of using the internet to create brand awareness. His blog offers lessons on how to succeed in business and, as such, represents another platform through which to promote his business interests. By regularly updating his Twitter account, Schaden reflects someone committed to and engaged in building an online presence. This is a valuable lesson for those franchises that think they can merely create a website or social media account, and that their presence online alone will drive potential customer engagement. Online or off, marketing strategy needs to be updated constantly if it is to succeed.
A valuable lesson is in understanding that creating a successful international marketing strategy for your franchise will take time. Mistakes are bound to be made at the start, but the best thing you can do is learn from them. Listen to feedback – from customers and staff alike – and incorporate it into your strategy.