Why Service-Based Franchises are Booming + 5 Marketing Strategies to Drive Growth
Franchising, Especially Service-Based, Heats Up
The popularity of entrepreneurship in the USA has trended up as a result of the pandemic. “The Great Resignation” has been coined as a term describing the large numbers of people who have quit their regular jobs after realizing they don’t want or need to work for someone else anymore. People accustomed to working a 9-5 corporate job have decided to take control of their own destiny and dip their toes into being their own boss. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 2021 has seen about 50% more new businesses start in the US than in any year in history!
Many of these newbie business owners have opted to go the franchise owner route because of the level of support that franchise systems offer in terms of set-up, marketing strategy, business planning and development. As a result, growth of new and existing franchise brands has accelerated during 2020 and 2021 and the franchise industry is poised for an even bigger boom in 2022.
But The Great Resignation isn’t the only phenomenon to come out of the pandemic. Spending more time at home has become a reality for almost everyone, even as we begin to see the effects of coronavirus ease off. And with this trend, people are spending much more money on improving their homes or doing activities inside them! Think painting, roofing, landscaping, blinds, mobile car wash, lawn service, junk removal, in-home care, tutoring, and the list goes on! Franchise businesses that offer these types of services have thrived, and new and seasoned franchise owners have clamored to invest in service franchise brands because of their “Pandemic-Proof” nature.
Nuances of Service-Area Businesses
The appeal of service-based franchises is not simply because they’re recession-proof. They also have a lower barrier to entry in terms of investment, compared to a retail or food franchise, and they can have low overheads because many can be started and run from home. Service-based franchises also allow the luxury of setting flexible hours, especially if the business is appointment-driven.
With the pros also come some cons. You need a special set of technical and customer service skills for a service franchise. Hiring, training and retention of qualified staff is often more challenging than for other franchise types and has become even more difficult during the pandemic as the labor force goes through some significant shifts. The supply of labor has fallen way short of the demand.
5 Considerations for Marketing a Service Franchise
A large portion of our client-base is made up of service franchises. Many of these brands fall into the 3 top spaces for recession-proof businesses – children, seniors, and pets – but also cover other verticals like lawn service, junk removal, real estate, and handyman services. While getting the balance between enterprise and local marketing is imperative for all franchise businesses, we customize the strategy for service-based businesses in specific ways.
1. Customer “Service” Marketing
Service-based means customer service is a top priority. Managing and being responsive to feedback is a key component here. Helping our clients to garner and manage their customer reviews, whether that be on Google, Facebook, or other platforms, means we’re helping them to gain trust and ‘stickiness’ with their customers. Our LOCALACT platform allows franchise owners to respond to reviews from one place, and our Local Listings Management (LLM) service ensures that franchise locations have high visibility on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) to showcase those reviews.
And when it comes to reviews, we know how important it is for our clients to amplify their customer reviews in the form of User Generated Content (UGC) and testimonials. We highly recommend incorporating this type of content, preferably in the form of video, into social media and YouTube campaigns.
2. Local is Everything for Service-Based
Local service area geo-targeting is foundational when it comes to service-based franchises, as each location has strict service area territories. It’s critical to avoid overlapping of targeted geos when setting up advertising campaigns.
Local content is another component of marketing that really comes into play when you’re promoting a service-based franchise. Not only is it essential to keep your website updated with engaging photos and videos of your team members in action, showing the human side of what you do every day, but also to leverage this content on your Google Business Profile and promote it on social media and paid ads, especially video channels such as YouTube. We find that videos of local business owners delivering top-notch service to their customers and behind-the-scenes footage highlighting the quality of work being done, go a long way to driving a trusting and loyal customer base!
3. The Power of Neighbor Recommendations
Nextdoor is a social media platform that is incredibly powerful for service-based franchises. It was built around the concept of neighbor recommendations. Advertising your business on this platform increases awareness of your brand, while exposing your brand to an audience who is to recommend you to their neighbors, friends, and family, after they’ve had a good experience.
4. Quality Lead Gen
With service business marketing, your goal is often to attract leads that you can nurture and convert to booked appointments rather than driving an immediate transaction or a store visit as you would with a retail-based business. We prioritize a full-funnel approach to driving leads effectively and efficiently, leveraging advertising channels and organic tactics. With customer data privacy taking center stage this year, we focus on strategy that will drive quality lead capture, allowing our clients to build a valuable source of first-party data which is a crucial consideration for the long-term success of any business.
5. Recruitment Marketing
Finally, we see recruitment marketing campaigns as a key part of the overall marketing strategy for any service franchise because this is an area that has increasingly become a bottleneck to growing the business. It’s more and more challenging for service-based franchises to hire quality workers. These workers are crucial to sustaining and growing the business. Recruitment marketing is traditionally handled by the HR department, but we believe it’s smart to make it part of your overarching marketing strategy. Why? Because the approach is no different from consumer marketing – targeting your Ideal Customer (Candidate) Profile, following them across their digital journey and driving conversions using the same tactics as you would with consumer marketing. Recruitment marketing also has a halo effect on your consumer marketing efforts!
It’s never been a greater time to own a service-based franchise, and having a customized, strategic, and service-focused approach to marketing will set you up for success both on the corporate and local levels.
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