A Complete Guide to Digital Marketing for Franchisees

As a franchisee, you have certain opportunities and benefits that are generally unavailable to independent business
owners. Perhaps the biggest advantage to investing in a franchise is the ability to trade off of the established brand

In addition, the franchisor (the person or company who grants you a franchise) also provides materials for advertising
and marketing, on-site training for your employees, and advice regarding site selection. All these benefits will give
you a higher chance of succeeding in the long-term.

Despite this, there are still a number of obstacles that you have to overcome as an ambitious franchisee. One of these
challenges is developing a tailored digital marketing strategy for your franchise.

As you navigate your way through this ever-expanding digital landscape, a few key questions will likely arise. For
example, how do you set your business apart from other franchises that essentially offer the same products or
services? Is it possible to represent the brand faithfully while also ensuring that your franchise stands out? How do
you make sure that your local customers find your website and store?

To help you answer these questions, we’ve created this digital marketing guide for current and aspiring franchisees.
It’s worth bearing in mind that some of these strategies may not be applicable across every industry. For example,
what might work for a fast-food franchise may not work as well for a cleaning company. To address this, the piece will
also point out a few important marketing peculiarities in certain industries.

What are the digital challenges for franchisees?


Before creating a digital strategy you should work to understand the challenges that franchisees face in
order to be as successful as possible.

Here are some of the most common digital problems that franchisees encounter.

  • Brand restrictions

    As a franchisee, you will face a range of guidelines and restrictions regarding how you can market your
    products and
    present your business online. Creating customised marketing material can be tricky due to the clearly defined
    franchise guidelines.

    These restrictions make it extremely difficult to stand out from the crowd. This issue is even more problematic
    the digital space where independent competitors are constantly finding new and creative ways to promote their
    and services.

  • Maintaining a consistent online presence

    If there are already a significant number of existing franchises under the same brand, you’re going to need to
    make sure that your online presence is distinct, clear and consistent. That is to say, your customers should be
    able to discern your location from other franchises (and indeed other independent businesses) in nearby areas.

    To do this, you need to have the right information on your Google Business Profile, update your website
    manage your social media pages, upload up-to-date photos of your location, list the proper products or services
    and so

    If you own multiple locations, you also need to make sure that each one is showing the correct information on
    the relevant Google Business Profile. You don’t want customers getting confused about which location is which.

  • Creating relevant content

    Creating digital content for a franchise can be tricky. On one hand, you want to stay consistent with your
    branding and ensure that you don’t deviate too much from the branding guidelines. On the other hand, you don’t
    want your content to just be a rehash of existing media from other franchises.

    Not only will duplicate content make it difficult for you to stand out, it will also hurt your SEO rankings. If
    you’re new to franchising, this can be a frustrating dilemma to deal with.

    Hopefully, the following guide will help you navigate all these issues. Yes, some of these tips may take a few
    months to bear fruit, but it will be well worth it in the long run.

Digital marketing strategies for franchises


  • 1. Take advantage of microsites

    Chances are, your franchise will have a corporate website that provides general information about the business
    as well as the products and services that they offer. Some corporate websites will also provide information
    about each franchise location. The site might even have a web page dedicated to each franchisee.

    However, if you truly want to stand out, you should consider building a microsite for your franchise. A
    microsite is essentially a mini website that is connected to the main corporate domain but operates off of its
    own unique URL.

    Having a microsite has several benefits. First, it allows you to provide local customers with information
    relating specifically to your franchise. This includes your business address, the exclusive products or services
    you offer, the special promotions that you’re running, photos of your location and so on. Providing useful
    information like this to high-intent users increases the likelihood of a conversion.

    Secondly, it allows your microsite to rank for location-based SEO keywords. For example, when customers search
    for ‘plumbers in Frankston’, your optimised microsite will show up in the search results as opposed to the
    corporate website.

    Microsites are also a bit more functional than a simple landing page. You can have a dynamic demo page, a blog
    or even an online form. They don’t, however, have e-commerce functionality. So, if your franchise sells and
    manages products online, you may have to set up your own website on its own domain.

  • 2. Consistent branding

    Though you want your business to stand out, it’s still important to adhere to the established branding. This
    means using on-brand colours, logos, slogans and sticking with the marketing materials provided by the
    franchisor. This also extends to your NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number). For instance, if the franchise name
    is stylised, you need to make sure it’s consistent across all your online assets.

    There are two reasons why brand consistency is important. First, if you adhere to the established branding, your
    business will be more recognisable. Recognisability then increases trust among customers.

    Secondly, consistent branding will let Google (and other search engines) know that your business is connected
    with the larger franchise operations and will place your franchise’s web page higher in the search results.

    Optimising your Google Business Profile will also help Google recognise your location as distinct from another
    franchise nearby. This is extremely important when users look for your business on Google Maps or on Google

  • 3. Location-based SEO

    Developing an effective local SEO plan is a mammoth of a task. It involves various different strategies both
    on-page and off. If even one of these strategies isn’t properly implemented, you might not get the results that
    you want.

    If you want your franchise to succeed, you will need to face this challenge head on. To help you, we’re going to
    discuss some of the most important aspects of location-based SEO.

    • Keyword selection

      When you’re selecting keywords, there are three things that you need to consider: location, relevance and

      Choosing a location-based keyword is self-explanatory enough. Essentially, you want to focus on search
      terms that include your franchise’s service areas. For example, you may want to focus on phrases such as
      ‘homebuilders in Toorak’ or ‘renovation specialists in Bentleigh’.

      It would also benefit you to do some local SEO research and see what specific keywords and phrases
      different suburbs are searching for. For instance, most people in Toorak might be looking for ‘apartment
      renovations’ rather than ‘semi-detached home renovations.’

      When it comes to relevance, you need to make sure that your keywords are closely aligned with the products
      and services that you offer. If you choose broad, low-intent search terms, you may get increased traffic,
      but you likely won’t get a lot of conversions out of them.

      Competition is also another important consideration. The broader the term, the harder it will be to rank
      for that keyword.

      With these factors in mind, you need to ensure that your keywords are focused and specific. So, instead of
      choosing vague search terms such as ‘homebuilders’ or ‘renovation specialists’, you may want to choose
      phrases such as ‘dual-occupancy builders’, ‘apartment renovations, ‘townhouse builders’ and so on.

    • Localised content

      Once you’ve determined your keywords, you need to develop content relating to those terms that is also
      localised to your target area.

      When creating content, make sure that your blogs, videos and any other relevant content are useful and
      informative. You also need to avoid using similar or duplicate content from fellow franchises as this can
      hurt your SEO rankings significantly.

    • Organise your webpages

      If you run multiple franchises or if you have a broad service area, it would benefit you to create
      separate web pages for each suburb or city. With each page, you need to ensure that the URLs and the
      metadata are optimised for location-based SEO. This means putting location-specific keywords in the URL,
      the meta title, the blog title, the content itself and the meta description.

      Take some time to structure these URLs and titles in a manner that is consistent and easy to read. This
      will improve user experience and make it more convenient for your visitors to navigate your website.

      On the backend, structured data (or schema
      ) can also help you improve your local SEO ranking.

  • 4. Google reviews

    As much as possible, you should encourage your customers to leave online reviews. Google reviews, in
    particular, are important for your franchise as it influences brand reputation and SEO rankings.

    Positive reviews will let customers know that your franchise is reputable and trustworthy. On the other hand,
    if you get constructive criticism, you have an opportunity to humanise your business. Responding respectfully to
    negative reviews and taking the appropriate action will let your customers know that there is a caring
    franchisee behind the storefront. This prevents your franchise from being seen as just another faceless branch
    that doesn’t care about the local community.

    Additionally, online reviews allow you to gain feedback about your franchise specifically as opposed to the
    entire brand as a whole. Franchise-specific Google reviews also distinguish your business from other franchises
    that may not be as customer-friendly.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that the keywords that customers use in their Google reviews are also taken
    into account when it comes to search relevance. This is a great way to promote specific products or services
    that you offer. For example, if you’re running a cake shop, you might get reviews with the terms ‘birthday
    cakes’ and ‘cheesecakes’. Such reviews can help you rank higher in search results involving these specific

  • 5. Backlinks

    One of the most important aspects of off-page SEO is link building. Essentially, link building is when you get
    high domain
    (DA) websites to link back to your own site. These are known as backlinks and they are important
    for both local franchisees and independent businesses.

    The more quality backlinks your website has, the more trustworthy and authoritative your website will appear to
    search engines. The more trustworthy your website is, the higher it will rank in the search results.

    In terms of local SEO, it’s also beneficial to gain backlinks from websites with geographical relevance. This
    means local government websites, community organisations, online newspapers, and so on. Doing this will boost
    your localised SEO rankings significantly, increasing relevant traffic to your website as well as to your
    franchise store.

    • Creating informative content

      One of the best ways to earn quality backlinks is to create useful content that people would want to link
      to in the first place. This means creating helpful blog posts, guides, e-books, research articles, videos
      and infographics.

      In the beginning, you will have to contact high DA websites directly and ask them if they’re able to link
      to your content. They will be more likely to accept if your content is relevant to theirs and if it’s
      going to enhance the material that’s already on their website.

      If you’re able to gain enough of a reputation among local publications and consistently publish high
      quality content, they may start linking to your content without you having to ask.

    • Unlinked brand mentions

      As your franchise grows, more web pages will make references to your brand. They might do this by
      mentioning your company name, discussing your services or referring to your products. Unfortunately, some
      of these mentions will not be linked back to your franchise site.

      If you find any unlinked brand mentions, you should reach out to the publisher and ask them to convert
      those mentions into backlinks. In all likelihood, they will already be familiar with your business.
      Because of this, there shouldn’t be any issues convincing them to link back to your website.

      To find unlinked mentions, you can use online programs like Ahrefs’ Content Explorer. Programs like these help you find high
      DA websites and thousands upon thousands of link prospects.

    • Broken link building

      Broken link building is a strategy where you replace ‘broken’ links on high DA websites with your own.
      Broken links typically lead to broken URLs, a non-existent website or just an inaccessible page.

      Just like with unlinked brand mentions, you can reach out to the website and offer new, quality links for
      the broken URLs on their page.

      You can check for broken links on high DA websites using Semrush’s
      auditing program
      or Ahrefs’ Broken Link Checker.

      All of these strategies should significantly improve the SEO rankings of your webpages. Once again, for
      franchises, it’s absolutely vital that you focus on gaining links that have local relevance. Doing so will
      help you reach the customers that are in close proximity to your location.


On paper, it seems that franchisees have a lot of advantages over independent businesses. However, as you’ve
hopefully learned from this article, running a franchise has its own unique set of challenges. And creating an
effective digital marketing strategy for your franchise represents only one of these obstacles.

If you want to develop a tailored digital marketing strategy for your franchise, contact the team at eMarket Experts