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Digital vs. Traditional: Where Should I Spend My Franchise Sales Budget?

While the traditional norms of franchising sales have been uprooted due to COVID-19, there may still be a market for old-school sales strategy.

By Justin Wick1851 Franchise Contributor
Updated 9:09AM 12/07/21

To say the franchising industry has taken a new shape in the last two years is a huge understatement. Traditional marketing strategy has been uprooted in favor of new innovative strategies, but even despite the changes COVID-19 has brought, many brands have found a means to utilize traditional sales strategies to their advantage.

1851 Franchise took a deep dive into this new landscape of strategies and advancements, comparing the old with the new in an ever-changing landscape.

Digital: Website Design

Digital ordering has been an ongoing craze in the restaurant franchising industry, and many brands are being left behind if they don’t adapt to the trends of delivery service.

The franchising industry at large can take a page out of this book, and recognize that online ordering is more popular now than it has ever been. As sites like Amazon have only continued to progress over time, the development of a comprehensive website can quickly catch the attention of a modern consumer.

Allocating a hefty amount of a franchise sales budget to a digital web design strategy can ensure that a brand follows the digital trends that consumers are following. Larger franchises can take advantage by hiring on a full team dedicated to website development, while even an emerging brand can commit a significant amount of money toward a website sales strategy with outside consultation.

Digital: Social Media Accounts

If website design is one way for a brand to separate itself, social media is another method brands can use to gain recognition. Brands are easily recognized on social media with a committed strategy in place, and this level of recognition can often require a team dedicated to these duties.

As social media has developed over time, so have the insights for what makes an excellent strategy. Many top startups in the U.S. have promoted social media marketing as a common skill, suggesting the changing landscape of sales budgets will be forced to embrace a financial commitment to social media. Collegiate curriculum has even shaped itself to cover these duties, suggesting there are key insights to an effective social media strategy that are developed in diligent academic settings.

A social media presence is excellent in answering customer questions in real time too, often doubling as a traditional form of customer service. Rather than seeking an in-house manager or addressing complaints in person, a consumer has the ability to post their comments to a social media account where they can expect a far quicker response when their comments are visible to the masses.

Addressing these comments alone is worth an investment for companies, as consumer comments are best managed in a quick time frame.

Traditional: Franchise Brokers

When 1851 outlined the best digital and traditional sales strategies of 2020, franchise brokers were credited as a leading method of traditional outreach. Such remains the case in 2021, if not more than before.

Franchise brokers are able to provide an invaluable consulting strategy, which could be exactly what a franchise needs to reshape its business model for modern success. A broker can instantly give input and feedback for existing strategies, and while such advice is deemed a ‘traditional’ strategy, the consultation is far more forward-thinking than a time-old service might suggest. Brokers are able to develop business leads with greater efficiency, all while educating the brands they assist.

For a brand to succeed post-pandemic, a few enhancements to efficiency might separate a stagnant franchise from an emerging one. Brokerage firms like FranNet exist to expedite this process, and those services are also able to match brands with prospective investors for all angles of brand expansion. This can be essential for emerging brands looking to expand with the right team of franchisees, as a larger footprint can often integrate a more comprehensive sales strategy.

Traditional: Ground-Game Sales Strategy

As the world anticipates a post-COVID return to normal, we are bound to see a few sales strategies regain relevance. Companies that had previously depended on yard signs, flyers or other ground-game marketing strategies were unable to market as usual during the height of the pandemic. 

With looser restrictions on public gathering, we are bound to see more of this ground-game strategy — and we’re bound to see it have more success than a year ago.

With COVID-19 vaccines available, the public has gradually adopted person-to-person contact far more than just a few months ago. This isn’t to say there won’t be lingering effects and reluctance, of course, but more people might be responsive to a flyer or the handing over of a business card than they would have been just a year ago.

A simple ground-game strategy can be extremely simple, and it often doesn’t require a large financial commitment. Using it in certain sales capacities could be met with hesitation, however, as many people may be averse to a person-to-person sales approach after such interaction was limited in 2020. This could cause ground-game marketing to get more clever, too, but it also happens to feature some of the most clever strategies for brand development. This form of clever strategy could be getting more innovative over time.

The ideal digital and traditional sales budget has changed dramatically, and it’s only subject to more change over time. As brands continue to progress the trends of franchising, these traditional and digital means are bound to change, too.