Local Franchise Marketing (Within Your Franchisor’s Brand)

Local Franchise Marketing Within Your Franchisor's Brand with Elizabeth Gillian

Tips for franchisees wanting to excel & localise (within their franchisor’s brand & systems!). Elizabeth Gillam specialises in developing high performance franchisees and enhancing their franchise marketing strategies and profitability.

5 Questions You Can Answer After Listening To This Episode on Local Franchise Marketing with Elizabeth Gillam:

  1. As a franchisee, what can I do to optimise my local marketing strategy?

  2. Who does Elizabeth think would win in a karaoke-off between her and David Eddy?

  3. In Elizabeth’s opinion, what is the biggest advantage of owning a franchise versus your own small business?

  4. What are some tips for local marketing within a franchise?

  5. What special trick can Elizabeth do with a lolly snake?


Franchisees are faced with unique marketing challenges, as well as some unique opportunities. Elizabeth Gillam knows a thing or two (or three) about local franchise marketing, having owned three different franchises at the same time in her hometown of Toowoomba, QLD.

Now the founder of Franchisee Success, Elizabeth specialises in developing high performance franchisees, enhancing their franchise marketing strategies to improve the productivity and the profitability of their business.

In today’s episode we’ll be drawing on Elizabeth’s wealth of experience to discuss some actionable local franchise marketing tips and how to implement them within the limitations of a brand.

Whether you’re thinking of buying a franchise, want to improve the one you’ve got or are simply interested in learning new systems and processes for your own business, Elizabeth is one intelligent, down-to-earth (not to mention hilarious) woman well worth lending an ear.

INTERLUDE! If you’ve just discovered Vicinity Marketing, below is a short video about who we are and what we do. If you just came for the article, you can simply skip past the video and keep reading 🙂

Video production by our friends at Thirty3South Films in Newcastle


How Much Power Does A Franchisee Have Over Local Marketing?

Every brand is different, but the answer is more than you’d think. Franchise marketing is a multifaceted machine, with countless effective local marketing strategies outside of paid advertising.


“You can’t go out and do just anything yourself… but why would you want to when you’ve got a whole head office marketing team?”


One of the biggest advantages of owning a franchise versus your own small business is having that head office team at your disposal. While the marketing department takes care of national TV campaigns and sales promotions, you as a franchisee can focus purely on your store, meaning you don’t have to be a marketing expert to be successful.


Can Franchisees Contribute To Their Local Online Marketing?

Ideally, as a franchisee you would be given the opportunity to take ownership of your local online marketing platforms. It’s understandable however that a franchisor may not want to risk their brand’s reputation by giving that much freedom on social media, especially considering things like Facebook Live have the capability to go terribly wrong.

So how do you work within the structures of your franchisor’s brand to create unique, localised online marketing material? The first step is to make sure you’ve got a fantastic relationship with your franchisor and marketing team (more on that later) and start a dialogue.


“The answer’s already no before you ask.”


Once you’ve opened the conversation with your franchisor, together you can begin to draft the types of content you want to create, put guidelines and systems in place, plan your marketing strategy and (most importantly) figure out how to track ROI. Don’t be afraid to ask your franchisor for something you think might benefit your franchise because remember, your business is their business.


What Are Some Effective Local Franchise Marketing Ideas?

The difference between an average and a high performing franchise is determined by two factors: how well the franchisee communicates with the marketing team and how well they use the brand’s existing value. Here are Elizabeth’s top 6 franchise marketing tips that utilise these very two things.

1. Immerse Your Store In Every Promotion

If your brand is releasing a new product or running a special promotion, every member of staff should know the ins and outs of it before they begin their shift. Is it a new item on the menu? Get them to make it and then eat/drink it. A new tool or operating system? Train them how to use it. A new sales promotion? Show them how to action it.

Understandably you can’t always be on site to train every member of staff in every new campaign. That’s why it is imperative to have an efficient training system in place that ensures your brand’s marketing strategy is optimised at a local level. This could be as simple as creating a checklist or quiz for each employee to complete and sign when they’re fully versed in the new campaign.

2. Get To Know Your Local Area

It is so important that you connect with the people in your local area and stay abreast of every opportunity to be involved in local events. If the owners of your brand could do this, if they knew the area as well as you did, their business wouldn’t be a franchise.


“The reason they have franchisees is because they know their particular area better than anybody else.”


Don’t just know your community, be a part of it. Find an organisation or cause that aligns with your brand and donate your time, effort or products to it. It doesn’t hurt to do some good and give back by things like offering giveaways or discounts at a relevant event, or sponsoring a kids’ footy team.

Local franchise marketing strategies that work well in some areas may be complete losses in others. If you’ve been given a local marketing budget, make sure you use it effectively by knowing which media will get the most bang for your buck in your area.

In a regional area it may well be that radio is the cheapest and most effective medium, or if you’re in the city it could be local awareness social media ads. Knowing how people absorb information in your local town or suburb is crucial for any successful business, whether you’re a franchisee or small business owner.

3. Implement Your Brand’s Marketing Direction

The marketing department know their brand strategy better than you (it’s their job) and every poster or promotional hat they send you has a purpose. Franchises are often subject to mystery shoppers, so apart from benefiting your sales, it’s a good idea to follow the visual merchandising guide just to avoid getting your hide tanned.

Some of the most successful local campaigns, especially in retail franchise marketing are those which create excitement within the store or at the point of sale, like discounts & giveaways.


“You’ve got to give to get.”


It can be really hard for a franchisee (or any business owner) to hand over their products for nothing, but don’t be afraid to test out these strategies, you might be surprised. While focusing on the sales you’re giving away, you’re not noticing all the extra sales you’re bringing in due to the excitement generated by this promotion.

4. Add Your Local Flavour

First And Foremost, do what you’re told. Implement the marketing direction from head office, then go over and above, enhancing your local franchise’s approach. This may be as simple as personalising the sales conversation or adding a local touch to your point of sale. The team at Elizabeth’s Boost franchise loved any occasion to dress up, so when Boost were promoting The Wiggles cups, they all wore The Wiggles skivvies.


“I’ve worked in pyjamas, I’ve worked as a pineapple… go over and above what the franchisor sends you.”


So how do you draw the line between abiding by the campaign guidelines and putting your own spin on it? With a sharp pencil.

Personalising your franchise marketing strategy within your local area is a great idea as long as the line between your franchise and the brand doesn’t become blurred. Remember to stay to true to your brand’s campaign objective, because consistent messaging is effective messaging (and you don’t want trouble from head office).

5. Have A Great Relationship With Your Brand’s Marketing Team

Getting on well with the team at head office is a no-brainer for any successful franchisee, yet fostering an open and communicative relationship with the marketing department can have some really unique and exciting benefits. If you’ve build a foundation of trust, you will be able to discuss and negotiate things like:

  • Augmenting or replacing certain campaigns that might not work or even be detrimental to business for your local franchise
  • Taking ownership of your own separate social pages and adding a local flavour
  • Managing and optimising your local listings on sites like True Local and Yelp
  • Local email marketing
  • Integrating review acquisition/management into your local marketing strategy

6. Co-op Your Local Franchise Marketing Budget

Whether you’re interested in growing your empire of franchises or just want more bang for your marketing buck, combining funds with other stores nearby can be a very effective strategy.

Franchise marketing budgets are based on percentage of sales, so obviously the more individual stores’ budgets you’re playing with, the bigger your opportunities are. For example, if you own one store but there are two others within a 20km radius, you could each contribute to a bus or radio campaign and get more value than you would ever have had going solo.


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