A long time ago, a solid marketing strategy consisted of literally yelling louder and physically getting in front of more people than the competition. However, in 2018, the avenues and options available to marketers in the franchise industry seem to be growing by the day. So, how can emerging franchisors with limited budgets best navigate the continually changing waters and set a course for success?
Williston Holding Company is a rapidly growing restaurant corporation that currently operates and franchises 56 restaurants across 5 states, including Überrito. Lindsey Hunt serves as Director of Marketing for WHC and said that there is tremendous opportunity outside of brick-and-mortar locations.
“In 2018, Überrito has maximized sales opportunities well beyond the four walls of each of our locations, allowing us to surpass traditional sales venues and locational limitations. We are constantly thinking outside the walls, evaluating partnerships and opportunities to ensure our brand’s reach goes well beyond a physical location. Our efforts have paid off, not only in additional revenue for the company but also through increased brand awareness,” she said.
The company has done this by maximizing delivery services like Uber Eats and Doordash, as well as leveraging the power of location-specific services like Fooda, who provide a platform to bring food to the business crowd. She added that Überrito is proactive in holding events and running promotions in concert with their real estate partners in ways such as catering and food tents.
“There is a lot organically that emerging brands can do with posting and engagement,” said Ball. “I think Instagram is the most important medium to invest in. People want to follow businesses because they want to be spoken to and engaged with. Facebook isn’t on the out – it’s just more of an advertising platform now. Instagram is a more organic platform. Getting more savvy with how you post and what you post is important. Making sure that your visual aesthetic is as high as it can be and making sure you’re thinking of the purpose of your posts is important. It should all be driven by helping people connect with your brand.”
Ball knows the power of that aesthetic-focused, design-centric strategy. When she began working with The Dapper Doughnut, it was just an idea. There was not a location open yet. However, by creating a buzz with renderings of the envisioned concept, 30 people signed up as franchisees – a testament to the impact digital marketing efforts can have on marketing success.
“I feel that all local businesses should be heavy in digital. You can measure the reaction and the results of digital campaigns and efforts. So, you can make better, honed-in decisions and optimize your spend. Your reach is so much greater and for less money. One of our franchisees said, ‘Well, just Millennials will be our audience,’ however, from the data available, we found that people 45 years and older were the largest group of people interacting and coming into stores. So, we can tailor our approach to them,” said Ball.
Both Ball and Hunt suggest a heavy focus on local targeting.
“Define a target demographic that fits within your core customer base and define charity opportunities that fit your company in a multitude of ways rather than taking a one-off, scattershot approach,” said Hunt. “For Überrito, we identified education as an opportunity for charity and promotions. We’ve committed to it wholeheartedly, whether it’s offering free food to teachers within location-specific areas during National Teacher Week, designing fundraising opportunities for school organizations, promoting back-to-school donations to help defray education costs or hosting our Burrito Battle to raise money for schools by pitting school rivals against one another during the opening of a new location.”
Überrito also implements a strategy of food trade for marketing exposure, partnering with media partners and other on-target organizations to deliver catered donations that make sense for each individual market. Hunt added that a focus on promotions like their $5 Chicken Mondays at the local level help them highlight the restaurant’s value and drive frequency.
For The Dapper Doughnut and for the clients that Ball serves at The Digital Design Co., the entire marketing strategy revolves around the local level.
“We have created a community around each franchise. Each franchise gets their own mini website and each gets their own marketing account. We help them with lead generation and engagement with social media advertising, specifically on Facebook and Instagram. We also give them a 200-page marketing manual and training at our headquarters in Las Vegas. We run a high-level strategy for them on their individual ad accounts. It's effective and data driven which overtime will lead to success,” said Ball.