Three Ways Franchisees Can Better Target and Engage Customers at the Local Level

kristen_pechachek_2017_preview.jpgIt’s one of the biggest challenges franchisees face every day – how do you balance marketing efforts from corporate, with the nuances of the local market for each individual franchisee? What may work well at the corporate or at the brand level doesn’t necessarily translate to an effective strategy at the local level. Not only that, but how do you empower franchisees to tailor their marketing and social media efforts while staying true – and consistent – to the master brand?

Like any other franchise, Anytime Fitness has faced these challenges and solved for them by finding the right systems and partners to work with to be successful on both levels. It doesn’t have to be a tug-of-war, it’s an opportunity – franchisees have the local insights into what works for customers in their city or town and they can marry this with the direction from the franchise itself. It’s a win-win.

But how? Where do you start? Here are three things I recommend you keep in mind when beginning your journey:

1. Leverage a Model that Blends Oversight and Ownership

Each franchise location needs to be able to engage with customers directly while still being true to the corporate brand and ensuring a consistent voice as well as overall positioning. Anytime Fitness is unique in the latitude it gives its franchisees. With the exception of one corporate post per day, it’s up to the owners and managers to tailor their social accounts to their local audiences (with a few guidelines to keep things consistent).

2. Provide the Needed Tools for Localized Engagement

There’s only so much time in the day with all that franchisees have on their plate, so corporate brands need to quickly and easily provide each franchise with content, oversight/management of reviews on social media (e.g. Facebook, Yelp, etc.), and the ability to create tailored, relevant ads. We partnered with MomentFeed – a leader in mobile customer experience management for multi-location brands – to empower our franchisees with an easy to use platform to engage with their community and make mobile marketing simple. We offer a curated content library of pre-vetted images and text that can be used on any social media platform so each social feed has content to make it unique. We also allow managers to oversee reviews on social media and respond to each one in real-time.

3. Analyze your Data to Demonstrate Successful Strategies and ROI

It’s one thing to think you’re doing a great job at managing your franchise’s marketing and social media, but it’s another to quantify it and see the actual increase in traffic to social media platforms, website traffic and positive reviews. Through MomentFeed’s reporting and insights, we found that in just nine months our social organic reach increased by 210% due to franchisees being more active and posting more engaging, community-driven content. We’ve also seen a 297% increase in traffic to the website originating from Facebook.

At the end of the day, this model of franchise independence empowers each of our fitness center owners to deliver standout-marketing results while saving time and reallocating resources to other projects and initiatives. And from a corporate point of view, we’re able to maintain a consistent, unified brand voice while allowing each franchisee to cater their outreach and marketing to their unique, local community. The MomentFeed platform provides Anytime Fitness with all that our franchisees need to be successful marketers—and have more time to run a profitable fitness center (and maybe, just maybe, get in a longer workout).

Kristen Pechacek is the Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Self Esteem Brands, home of Entrepreneur’s Top Global Franchise, Anytime Fitness, and promising newcomer Waxing the City. By day, she focuses on customer acquisition through digital mediums and by night she raises a vivacious three-year-old on a beef cattle hobby farm in rural Wisconsin. She has worked with over 90 clients on their social and digital presence and prior to her time at SEB, worked with the Minnesota Vikings. She is dedicated to digital marketing tools and technologies and serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls.

www.anytimefitness.com