The great thing about franchising is that there are so...
3 Questions to Ask
Difficult times often cause a lot of rethinking, and right now is certainly an example. Many Canadian franchises have already reviewed and revised their personnel, operations and customer services areas, so marketing is the natural next step. When you rethink something, that doesn't automatically mean reducing it, although that could happen to your marketing budget in some cases. Essentially, what you want to do is start with a question: What do you need to do differently now? To help get to this strategic answer, here are three questions to answer first.
What has changed about how your customers are finding you?
This is a huge question because it will tell you how much you should invest into marketing and where that money should go. For example, with home delivery and shipping on the rise, you may have customers finding your franchise in ways you've never dealt with before, or at least not to the degree you're seeing now. Customers might be shopping your category in a direct way instead of using a referral. Perhaps radio and other methods are now less effective because people in your area simply aren't out as much. Overall, what you need to do is see how your customer's journey has shifted so you can allocate your marketing money accordingly.
When is the last time you reviewed your digital basics?
When you're busy or distracted, it's easy to set your digital basics and forget all about them. If this applies to you, it's time to look at your website, Google business listing, social media feeds and your current SEO strategy with a fresh perspective. If, for example, you're now delivering a service or product you weren't before or you've changed your operational hours, you want all of that to be clear to the people finding you online.
Where is the strength of your customer retention efforts?
Acquiring new customers is always more costly than keeping your current ones. However, when times are tough economically, people often start to switch brands. Do whatever you can to keep your current customers, especially if you're in a category that is now struggling. You don't want your customers to forget about you. Provide them with information that is helpful. Talk about a new service or product. Try email if you haven't already--the response rates of emails have risen recently.
Of course, it's not entirely down to you. Your franchisor is important, too, and everyone in the same brand "boat" should row in the same direction right now. Your franchise may be able to help you with your marketing, especially when it comes to the message you want to convey, so don't be afraid to ask for assistance and insight. Part of the advantage of being a franchisee is that you have a brand with experience and research behind it, so don't forget to make those resources work for you, particularly if you're just not sure what direction your marketing should take right now.