5 Steps to Build a Franchise Marketing Plan


You’ve put in the work to create a brand you really believe in, and it’s clear it’s time to start thinking about growing. Franchising is a great way to take your business to the next level, but have you considered how to market your franchise–not to customers, but to potential franchisees?

When you create a franchise, you need to create a franchise marketing plan before you start thinking about more locations. This is a different beast than your typical marketing plan, because you’re not trying to get people to purchase your services. Instead, you’re getting people to purchase the right to use your brand and established business to get a head start in the world of business ownership.

So how do you create a successful franchise marketing plan? We’ve put together five easy steps for you to get on the road to franchise marketing success!

Figure Out Your Goals

Before jumping into the world of franchising, it’s important to lay out all your goals outside of “more locations.” A few key things you should think about are:

  • Financial goals: Are you in a place financially where it makes sense to franchise? What financial goals do you want to achieve with your franchises, both long-term and short-term?
  • Involvement goals: Do you want to get to a place where franchisees run their businesses without your help? Or do you want to be extra involved in each location’s operation, marketing, and culture?
  • Expansion goals: How many locations do you plan to open? Are you already planning ahead for more than the next one? Do you want to go international? How are you going to maintain the customer experience that you’ve established?

Having a plan and established goals in place before you start expanding is key in any business, but especially if you’re actually planning to franchise. By establishing your goals ahead of time, before you even start your franchise marketing plan, you’re able to be ready for the “what next” that comes after getting started.

Establish Franchise & Brand Knowledge

Having a strong brand identity is an important part of creating a franchise. You’re not just building brand awareness with more locations–you’re also making it a selling point. But even if your new franchisee is obsessed with your brand before they buy, they’re not going to know all the ins and outs of your business–and the employees they hire definitely won’t. That’s why it’s up to you to create and organize your franchise knowledge into a guide for future franchisees and employees.

Some key areas to include are:

  • Business operations and procedures
  • Company culture
  • Background on the business
  • Target audience & marketing materials
  • Management expectations

The exact areas that should be addressed depend on the type of business: a retail or food service location may need to know the ins and outs of shipments and supplies, but a cleaning company might not. 

While you may have your company running like a well-oiled machine, you can’t assume that any owner will be able to do the same without a little help.  Creating a “how-to” manual or videos can be an essential part of a franchise marketing plan, so that potential franchisees know what they’re signing on for before they come onboard.

Decide How Hands-On You Want To Be

Another area that needs to be addressed as you create your franchise marketing plan is to decide how hands-on of an owner you ultimately want to be. While some business owners look at franchises as a “set it and forget it” business opportunity, others are deeply attached to their business concept and vision, and they want to be involved in the marketing and business plans of their entire franchise.

There are predominantly 3 ways that companies can go about their franchise marketing strategy:

  • Hands-Off: Let the franchise do their own marketing, creating content for their location
  • Optional Assets: Provide assets and marketing materials for the franchisees to use at their discretion
  • Hands-On: Create a set marketing and business plan to be used by every franchisee

Each option has its pros and cons, and ultimately it’s up to you to decide how you think your business should be run. By considering this while still in the planning stages, you’ll be effectively marketing the kind of opportunities that you want to advertise to potential franchisees rather than trying to come up with how you want to run your business while running your business.

Research and Implement A Franchise Marketing Strategy

Running marketing campaigns for a franchise are different than marketing efforts for a solo business. If you’re looking to franchisees, you need to attract them like you would customers–especially if you’re looking at creating a full franchise rather than one or two secondary locations.

You’ve probably already put plenty of thought into your brand and what sets your business apart from the competition. But when you market to potential franchisees, you’re selling more than your brand; you’re selling them a business opportunity.

Before you launch yourself straight into your marketing strategies, take a moment to think about what the best way to reach potential franchisees would be. Digital marketing and social media is a great way to get the word out to a wide range of people, and it’s much more effective than flyers and billboards. You can also reach a wider range of locations, which opens up more opportunities for expansion. With a bit of search engine optimization (SEO), you can make yourself one of the top franchise opportunities available to people searching online.

It may take some tweaking to figure out the exact way to market to the people you want to sign on as franchisees with your business, but it’s well worth the effort. And, if you’re feeling a little lost, calling in some franchising experts may be a good idea. An agency specializing in franchises knows exactly what to look for in a brand to get potential franchisees interested, and they have the ability to wield social media and digital marketing to make sure your opportunity is seen by as many people as possible.

Always Be Ready To Grow

You’ve done it–you’ve set up an effective franchise marketing plan and gotten franchisees invested in your business. Your brand is well on its way to becoming a household name, and you’re looking at more locations outside of your immediate area. So is it time to rest on your laurels?

Of course not! Even as you find success, maintaining your franchise marketing plan is essential for your business’s continued growth. And, unless you plan to sell your business and retire, there’s always more to learn and improve with your business and marketing. Keep up to date on marketing trends and new business practices to ensure your business grows internally as well as externally. Even if you’re more of a hands-off franchise owner, this is still your brand that people are working with, and you need to ensure it’s the best it can possibly be to keep attracting people to open franchises.

The world of franchising is beyond exciting, but it still takes work. By using these five tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating a successful franchise marketing plan that draws franchisees to your brand and builds your company up to new heights. By the time your first franchisee signs on, you’ll be able to sail on smoothly with an established business plan that gets you results.

And, if you need help putting together a roadmap for your franchise, Knock Out Franchising is here to help. Get in touch today, and we can turn your business into a total knock-out of a franchise.