Achieve success by never stopping your brand’s marketing and by following this guide to maximize revenue.

By Alex Porter, Location3

Last year was one of those years that reshaped how we do business in franchising, particularly at the local level. While the economic effects of the pandemic are likely to linger well into this year, it’s more important than ever to stay committed to the old adage that a business should never stop marketing. Whether your franchise is looking to rebound from a sub-par 2020 or your growth goals are significant as we look ahead, there Marketing is no doubt that bottom line revenue is top of mind. When it comes to marketing programs that are focused primarily on driving customer leads, store visits and purchases, your focus in 2021 should be on developing increased localization with a properly integrated media mix. Regardless of where the advertising fund or marketing spend comes from, the following guide can help you achieve success in maximizing local revenue.

Same Store Growth

Whether your businesses were labeled as “essential” and thrived during 2020, or your franchises saw significant revenue hits due to the nature of your business model, there is no question that there is an opportunity for same store growth in the months ahead. Every marketing and advertising dollar is likely to have increased importance, so it’s critical for business owners to be able to track and measure the effectiveness of their campaigns. Th is is where digital has a significant advantage over traditional media. From a tactical perspective, we recommend starting with paid search marketing. Paid search (PPC) often produces the best ROI because it gives businesses the ability to target prospective customers that are lower-funnel and actively searching for related products and services. Even a few hundred dollars per month in ad spend can produce significant revenue in return.

It’s critical that your search campaigns take advantage of parameters like location extensions, phone call tracking, localized ad copy and specific calls-to-action, rather than broad, general ad copy. With a solid paid search strategy in place, a good next step is layering on paid social advertising where you can expand your target audience by incorporating lookalike audiences and customer match lists that are based on your current customers. In addition to creating a larger audience pool, social media ads also give you the ability to leverage visual creative to capture the attention of your audience. If you have a brick and mortar presence, you should also ensure tracking for Store Visits (search and social) is implemented so you can measure online-to-offline (O2O) marketing performance and quantify the subsequent lift in revenue produced by your digital media.

Location Expansion & Brand Growth Speaking of growth, many of you are likely planning on opening multiple new franchise locations in the year ahead. Your local media mix for these eff orts should reflect these specific goals and KPIs, and not simply be a carbon copy of your same store growth campaigns. Considering your target audiences are likely more upper-funnel initially, direct mail, print, programmatic display and video campaigns should be considered as part of your media plan to drive new customer awareness in your market. Whether your local media is traditional or digital in nature, be sure to take advantage of localized calls-to-action within your ad campaigns to move customers down the funnel toward direct response.

Take the time to assess how your KPIs align with your strategies, tactics and business goals, and develop a clear plan for measurement using data technology.”

Whether you’re highlighting things like promotional offers aimed at getting customers in-store or sending consumers to a localized website for next steps, consider the ways in which you can track and measure upper-funnel traffic based on the actions you’re expecting customers to take. Even if your goal is brand/location awareness, a thoughtful CTA can assist in tying your campaigns back to actual conversions as well.

Buying National Media with a Local Activation Mindset

If your main KPIs for success include in-store visits, purchases and local revenue, your national media buys should reflect your business goals and go beyond brand awareness. One media impact of the pandemic was a significant increase in time spent online by consumers of virtually every age group and demographic. Connected TV/OTT user engagement has jumped dramatically over the past 12 months in particular. If this isn’t reason enough to consider these channels part of your media mix this year, it’s worth highlighting that not only can you run the same high-quality visual and audio ad content you see on traditional TV and radio, but you can also tie performance metrics from these campaigns back to brand lift, in-store visits, revenue and customer lifetime value. Even if the media buy is placed at the franchisor level by your brand marketing team, you can still scale localized ad copy and calls-to-action for each and every franchise location to focus on direct response results with the right technology.

Performance Tracking, Measurement & Optimization

Once you’ve established your initial media plan, it’s important to maintain a mindset that focuses on continually testing, learning and optimizing your media mix in order to produce the best ROI. Take the time to assess how your KPIs align with your strategies, tactics and business goals, and develop a clear plan for measurement using data technology. Further evaluating where each media placement fits in the overall consumer journey and then tracking it’s impact on assisting final conversions like leads, store visits and sales, will also allow you to develop better consumer insights and marketing attribution models. Th is process will only serve to benefit you in your efforts to achieve scalable, sustainable local revenue growth.

Alex Porter is the CEO of Location3. For more information on International Franchise Association (IFA) supplier member Location3, visit location3-media.