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Are You Missing Out on Owned Marketing Channels?

Author: Rebecca Miller, Smoothie King Chief Marketing Officer on: Mar 11, 2020

Owned media marketing has become one of the best ways to reach consumers and franchisees. Owned marketing is any digital medium you build and control, like social media channels or your company blog. If you’re not taking advantage of these strategies, you’re missing out on an efficient and cost-effective way to reach nearly half the world’s population. More than 3 billion people across the world now use social networks.

Franchisors and many franchisees have been leveraging this medium to reach widespread and diverse audiences for years. The digital marketing concept has been around since the 90s, but companies began to grow their social media budgets by an average of 64 percent back in 2012.

While franchisors invest substantial amounts of money to foster brand awareness on a broader level, franchisees stand to gain a lot from optimizing and leveraging their owned channels on a local level.

By creating a strong local online presence, you can supplement a franchisor’s national marketing initiatives, while further enhancing local awareness and driving unit-level sales.

Here are a few reasons why it’s so important for you to cultivate a strong social media presence and optimize owned marketing channels for your local franchise:

Maximize Your Local Franchise ROI

When you run a business, it’s difficult to take time out of your busy schedule to dedicate to digital media.

However, digital channels, particularly social media and email, are some of the best ways to remain in front of consumers while they’re outside of the four walls of your business. As consumers spend more time online, it’s imperative to stay agile and market to your guests and prospects where they’re making purchasing decisions and consuming content.

In fact, 71 percent of consumers said they are more likely to purchase from a brand after a positive social media experience. By promoting your local business through owned media, you’re more equipped to keep your business top of mind for guests, engage directly with them and drive tangible sales.

Keeping your local business highly visible online is especially important for food concepts. Taking advantage of websites like Yelp can help manage your online reputation, which can positively impact your local search results while showing guests that you care about their input.

While you’ll have a certain percentage of regular guests, transactions are often driven by limited-time offers, so staying at the forefront of a guest’s mind whenever they might need a quick pick-me-up is crucial.

Tailor Your Messaging to Your Specific Market

Regardless of the marketing collateral franchisors create on behalf of franchisees, the corporate team will never be able to customize content with the same local relevance as the business owner.

Guests want to create meaningful connections with a particular store or restaurant they regularly visit. They want to see team members they recognize and keep informed of special promotions and events that are relevant to their local store. As a franchisee, local channels also offer you the opportunity to cross-promote and interact with other local businesses, positioning your franchise as a vital part of the community.

At the same time, be sure to incorporate any materials your franchisor has provided that you can use in your own channels and optimize your presence.

For instance, at Smoothie King, we provide franchisees with tools for both social media and email marketing management, which include libraries of pre-approved content that they can share directly, or customize based on their specific market’s needs.

Franchisees are able to tailor individual content to their community, or they can simply post a mixture of brand-wide approved content and local content they create themselves. Either way, these assets significantly cut down on the volume of content franchisees need to coordinate.

Similarly, we make sure our processes allow for a great deal of flexibility, so franchisees never feel pressured to post on their channel. Instead, they can deploy our assets automatically or schedule them for a future date. Our automated processes and programs also make managing multiple local channels more efficient and scalable for multi-unit owners.

Cultivate – and Interact with – a Loyal Guest Base

Directly interacting with your guests through owned marketing channels also provides you the invaluable opportunity to cultivate a more personal and meaningful relationship with guests. This further reinforces that you’re a valuable cornerstone of their community.

When guests feel connected to a local business, they’re more inclined to become regular guests. This drives guest engagement and loyalty – ultimately, maximizing sales and improving your bottom line.

Not only that, leveraging local channels allows you to solicit and respond to guest feedback, providing you with important insights that can help you improve your business. By monitoring this feedback and optimizing your operations accordingly, your guests will have a much more positive experience with your brand, while appreciating the value you place on their input.

Social media and other owned marketing channels are excellent ways to tell a unique story, keep your brand top-of-mind for consumers and interact directly with guests – all driving long-term guest satisfaction, loyalty and unit-level transactions.