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Navigating Your Franchise Digital Marketing Strategy During COVID-19

Eric Goudreau | March 31, 2020 |
Reading Time: 3 minutes

As most of us sit home and wait for the coronavirus to run its course, U.S. businesses of all sizes are faced with a massive economic downturn that could spell their demise. It’s a bleak picture for sure, but the fact is, some companies, some restaurants, and some retailers are better prepared to weather this crisis than others — and many of them are the partners of franchise brands. Why do they stand a better chance of survival? Well, in the immortal words of Bill Rosenberg, founder of Dunkin’ Donuts and one of the innovators of the franchise business model, franchisees are “in business for themselves but not by themselves.” Simply put, franchisees have help during times when they need it most — and this is one of those times.

Aspiring business owners have long gravitated to the franchise model for precisely that reason, and if nothing else, the COVID-19 outbreak brings into stark relief just how important it is to be able to rely on the corporate support of a franchisor. But beyond that, it’s an important reason why franchisors should not let up on their franchise digital marketing campaigns, though they might be tempted to do so. In fact, perhaps now more than ever, franchise brands should be striving to reach a bigger and broader audience to tell their stories and to reiterate why partnering with them is a smart alternative to going it alone

“Right now, business owners are in a fight or flight mode,” says Eric Stites, CEO and Managing Director of Franchise Business Review. “For many of them, decision-making has all but stopped. But for others who are part of a franchise system, they can count on a checklist of things they can do to secure their businesses and improve their chances of coming out of this whole. Independent operators are paralyzed in the same way. The difference is, they don’t have the support.”

That support doesn’t just begin and end with the home office, either. Franchisees of all brands can tap into the comforting network of their fellow franchisees, knowing they aren’t alone.

“Many, many franchisees are taking part in online support groups and networking opportunities that allow them to hear others talk, share ideas, voice concerns, and just feel less alone,” says Stites.

Helping Others is Good News and Good Business

The benefit of the support and connection that franchisees feel during tough times is just one critical distinction that franchisors should be highlighting now through their franchise digital marketing presence. Now is also the right time to share with people how your brand is making a difference in the lives of the communities you serve. 

“Let’s face it,” says Stites. “Everybody is at home right now, and most of us are online. Now is the perfect time for brands to share their stories about the community services they’re performing. People want feel-good stories right now, and brands that are doing something to relieve suffering deserve to be noticed and should be telling their stories — and encouraging others to do the same.”

Remember, your brand isn’t some empty entity; it’s a collection of people, of ideas, of values, and goals. Now is the time to emphasize the humanity of your brand, and there is no better way to do so than through your well-planned and ongoing franchise digital marketing efforts.

Back to Normal

It’s important to remember that the coronavirus is not going to hinder us forever. There will be a time when it subsides — or is even eradicated — and we will no longer be susceptible to it or to the impact it has on our daily routines.  Life will return to normal, and now is the time to prepare for that.

“Brands can start educating folks now about the opportunities to come, after this is all over,” councils Stites. “For people who may have lost their jobs and who might be looking to reinvent themselves, franchise ownership can offer a path to recovery, especially for those who were in senior career positions." 

A robust franchise digital marketing campaign can help you reach your best audience and put you in place to meet their needs and grow your brand as a result.

IDS Can Help

Integrated Digital Strategies (IDS) is a recognized expert at franchise digital marketing and can help you reach your target audience and grow your brand through a variety of highly effective means, including SEO, SEM, robust optimized content, and beautiful and informative websites. 

“Our team knows the value of a well-tailored approach,” says Steve Galligan, CEO and co-founder of IDS. “It’s what we do, and we make sure to listen to the needs of our clients to deliver a digital marketing campaign that is intelligent and responsive.”

Like thousands of other businesses across the country, IDS has taken the steps necessary to stay safe during this exceptional time in our history. But we remain ready and prepared to do business. We think you should be, too.

Ready to find out more about how a strong franchise digital marketing strategy can make a difference? Get in touch with us today!

About the Author

Eric Goudreau

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