I’m often asked about tactics which can fit into a marketing strategy, so this month’s tips focus on a few different ideas that can be done alongside your existing 2008 campaign.

Often the temptation is to focus all efforts on recruitment when in fact, your existing franchisee network is capable of much more than you think.

Franchisees at Exhibitions
Taking a franchisee to an exhibition with you gives two very clear messages to prospective franchisees. That you are happy for prospects to chat with an existing franchisee and that you have happy franchisees. So much time is spent on the lead up to an exhibition in the preparation of the stand, signing off final artwork and sorting last minute freebies to tempt prospects onto your stand. The best possible attraction that a franchisor can have on their stand is a real life franchisee (even if they wear a t-shirt saying “I’m a Franchisee”) the message will be strong, clear and powerful. So make sure you take a franchisee with you and get them talking to the visitors

Franchisee recruitment questions
Franchisees are the best possible advocate for your brand and franchise package. It has been proven that when prospects are given a chance to talk to or visit and existing franchisee, they ask better questions and therefore find out at an earlier stage if the franchise is for them. After all, the franchisee is doing the job that they hope to do. They will have many questions and will want to find out what it is like in their shoes. This may require some training and agreement from a particular franchisee and is well worth the effort.

Marketing collateral
Use your chosen franchisees on marketing materials, within press releases and on your website. People like to see people and their testimonials will aid your franchise success for the future. All franchisees should be encouraged to report on positive feedback, gain comments from their own customers and to take photos where possible. You never know when this material might come in handy saving time and money when a promotional opportunity requires such materials. However, be choosey on which materials you use as they must meet your brand standards and give the right message.

Research for future development
Your existing franchisees can offer valuable insights into the future development of the franchise package. A system for capturing their feedback on everything from initial training to newly launched products is essential for continual improvement to maintain a competitive advantage in the future.

Useful Tips
1. Try to build a bank of franchisee case studies which ideally cover several key market areas. Such market areas can include women in franchising or couples in franchising. This allows you to have marketing collateral at your disposal to target specific market segments.
2. Always take a franchisee when you attend events and exhibitions to recruit new franchisees
3. Ideally have a franchisee that is available for serious prospects to talk to.
4. Encourage a marketing focus within your network and reward your franchisees for offering customer case studies that you, as the franchisor, can use.