Why a Fitness Franchise Should Take Marketing Into Their Own Hands

October 16, 2017

Show Notes

Today we talk about: 

  • Corporate should do SOME of your marketing
  • Websites and landing pages
  • Dollars aren't always allocated effectively


Aaron: [00:00:15] Hello,and welcome to another episode of the Marketing Natives. Today's topic is why afitness franchise should take marketing into their own hands. A few thingswe're going to cover are why you should let the franchisor handle some of themarketing but not all of it, websites and landing pages and how that'sapplicable for your local business, and how to allocate your money effectivelywhile joining directly with your franchisor.


Christian: [00:00:40] Yep,and as a fitness franchise, you probably bought into a larger brand name.Something like Orangetheory or what are some other ones?


Aaron: [00:00:51] Well,McDonald's is a franchise.


Christian: [00:00:52] No,but we're talking about fitness franchises.


Aaron: [00:00:56] Wow.There's like F45. There's HEW's which is Hard Exercise Works. There's My HouseFitness which we have locally here too.


Christian: [00:01:06] Yeah.So you buy into these larger brand names in exchange for really great brandrecognition. Usually a higher ROI than doing it on your own, but you have tobasically adhere to stringent branding standards and marketing efforts fromcorporate or your franchisors. And I was reading here a little bit, and it saysmore than half of franchises feel dissatisfied with the marketing support theyreceive from corporate.


Aaron: [00:01:34] AndI can see that from- I think this is one of the reasons we did the episode. Ican see that because a lot of times they're in a different location. Forexample, you know, some company may start in Florida and then sell franchisesone, all over the world but at least all of the country, and people in Florida,they think differently than people in California or even people in New York. Sothere's a disconnection between the franchisor when they're selling the productversus the person, the franchisee, when they purchase it.


Christian: [00:02:02] Right.So it's good for corporate to do some of that marketing but not all of it.


Aaron: [00:02:07] Right.Like I mean, you're a graphic designer over here, Christian, but so like thebrand guidelines. Corporate does a pretty good job of keeping the brandguidelines of when they should use a logo, what colors they should use. That'sa great way to use the marketing, but let's- I guess we can dive deeper intowhy they should not use them for all of the marketing.


Christian: [00:02:29] Ifeel like we've seen some of these news stories where some kind of local eventhappens. It doesn't have to be something like what happened in Las Vegas, butmaybe some kind of tragedy that happened in your hometown. Your whole town isbasically talking about it on social media, and here's corporate who's locatedin a completely different state putting out advertisements about something thatcould be something related to that tragedy. But they don't even know thatbecause the news hasn't gotten to them yet. You as a business owner, I mean,you have firsthand experience, and you're looking at your timeline. You know,you're looking at all these local people talking about this, and here you areposting and blasting about specials or different things when you should not bedoing that.


Aaron: [00:03:16] Right.And I think it also loses- and we don't look at this as like an opportunity,but you know, if there is a tragedy or if there is something that happenslocally. It could even be a good thing like, you know, your local team wins anational championship, and everybody's posts are about, like, for football, Iguess. Well, it's football season now, but they win the national championship.And like Christian said, you're over there posting about this new offer thatyou have instead of a picture of you guys like congratulating the football teamlike everyone else. It's just about the selling. So there's just a bigdisconnect with that.


Christian: [00:03:48] Yeah.And we're not saying that this happens 100 percent of the time. There might besome fitness companies out there who may have local offices, you know, in yourstate. I feel like that's more rare, but a lot of times this happens, and notjust with fitness franchises but with others.


Aaron: [00:04:07] Iwas going to say with franchises in general, but I would say that that happensless frequently. After working with quite a few franchise, that's- pretty muchthe only gyms that we've worked with in the past has been from franchise, andthere has been a huge disconnect with what's been posting and what isn't beenposting. One thing that I would suggest I guess if you can't get around this ifthey do a lot of your marketing is- an idea I just had is I know of somebodywho's not in a franchise. They have, like, corporate push posts to their, like,Facebook page, and you have to approve them locally. So that's one way to getaround it. Not all the time is that effective, but if you just to proveeverything, it requires you more time to review and it may be a littlecumbersome, but it at least allows you to choose what goes out there and whatdoesn't go out.


Christian: [00:04:56] Yeah.And yeah, you can sort of pick and choose and then still do your own marketingon the side. Another big thing about marketing is websites and landing pages,and we see this a lot where corporate creates a cookie cutter website andthat's it. You know, what you get is what you get. If you want to add newfeatures to your website or visually you want to change a little bit just tostand out from the crowd and from other franchises, you really can't do that.


Aaron: [00:05:29] Right.You can't add- like say you have an employee of the month or you have a trainerof the month rather, you can't add them onto the website that easily. We'regoing to go a little bit deeper into why it's important to have your ownlanding page and website. Just kind of on a local level, it just feels likethere's a disconnect with- Say, for example, another gym that has their ownwebsite, they can do whatever they'd like. They can talk about local events.The corporate one is going to be really slow to make those changes, and younever get that data. There could be thousands of people going to yourindividual like landing page, I guess you would say, on the franchise website,but you would never know that because corporate is not going to share that datawith you. Or at least the franchises we know of are not sharing that data.


Christian: [00:06:17] Nowcan they ask for that data and they get it? Or is there a process to even getthat?


Aaron: [00:06:22] Sothere's only one franchise, and it wasn't a fitness franchise that we've workedwith that gave that data. I will say that it took four weeks for us to create apixel, which is a tracking code or a cookie that Facebook puts out to put ontothis individual page. It wasn't an individual landing page, but it was part oftheir website that they put that code on there. It took back and forth of uscreating the code, them approving it, double-checking it, triple-checking it,talking to the franchisor, talking to us, and that took four weeks to happen.In that time period, for example, this was a seasonality thing, or say, forexample, you're franchise or a fitness company that's about to run like apresale or a launch, four weeks is now gone, and you can't collect any of thatdata. Even if you were to contact them beforehand, that still is going to bethe process. I'm not going to say it's always going to take four weeks, but itdoes- there's a lot of checks and balances that have to happen so you can'tmove as quickly when you have to go through that many people.


Christian: [00:07:25] Right.And just to put into perspective, how long does it take to install a pixel?


Aaron: [00:07:30] Ifyou know what you're doing, I can do it probably in about five minutes.


Christian: [00:07:34] Wow.Four weeks. Five minutes. That's insane. And then also the other thing islanding pages. Landing pages is a huge part of a marketing strategy nowadayswhere you want your ads to take people to landing pages, and from landing pagesyou have a higher conversion rate for people to sign up or get a coupon or anyof that stuff. And landing page is another hurdle because again you have to gothrough corporate, and they have to approve basically everything.


Aaron: [00:08:04] Thedesign, the verbiage, the way that, you know, if you have something creativemade like a video, or even a different image has to be approved by a corporatefor that landing page. We're not saying that it doesn't have to be approvedotherwise, but if you're able to create that on your own instead of havingcorporate create it, which I'm guessing a landing page would take a much longertime period than, you know, if you did it on your own or hired a local agencyor, you know, if you had somebody in-house that could do it, but just the speedof getting that done. Like for example, you know, you could have a $99 specialor you could have a one week free special. You have to have two differentlanding pages for that, and to create those, I mean, you're always just behindthe eight ball and timing is so important for deals like this.


Christian: [00:08:57] Yep.


Aaron: [00:08:57] Allright. So the last thing we have here is that dollars to be allocatedeffectively. So it may be an option for your franchise to always sponsor thispop up event with, you know, a tent and whatever else, and you go to this localpark. But your clientele isn't there. For example, you know, you get a bunch ofparents who are there, but they're not in your demographic or maybe they can'tafford service or they just already have another gym. Doesn't matter. But thenyou find out that there's a golf tournament. It's local, and you don't haveenough money to spend on that golf tournament because corporate's kind of pushyou to do these events at a park. I'm pulling these from actually specificexamples, but I'm just saying that- just giving an example that's like you onthe local level, you have boots on the ground. You basically know or you have abetter idea of where your target market is going to be instead of this is whatthe mold looks like for corporate somewhere else.


Christian: [00:09:57] Right.I think when I was working at Pizza Hut, we would see that sort of clash in,you know, the things that corporate would do nationally and how it would affectus locally. Because local Pizza Huts could, you know, run their own advertisingand their own coupons and stuff. And sometimes, you know, corporate would putout something like the $10 deal for the pizza deal, and then we had some dealthat was sort of similar but maybe a dollar more. And it completely didn't makesense because, you know, they're running those ads nationally on TV. People seethat. So there was always a clash between, you know, what corporate was doingand what we were trying to do locally.


Aaron: [00:10:39] Right,and you were trying to fit more into the mold of- I mean, you were trying tomake money too, but just fit in the mold of like seeing if something elseworks. Now corporate did something nationally, put it out there, and you don'teven know what you were going to put out there is going to work for youraudience now because you have no testing. So it just also can cost a lot ofmoney because it's not like corporate says hey, we're going to do this for you.It's usually this is what you need to do, and we're going to get and push youto do the money or like push the money to go to that side. I would also saythat most the owners of a franchise, and you know, if you're a franchise owneryou could tell us, marketing is not their expertise. They have an expertise insomething else. So you know, they're going to listen to corporate. I see us alot where they listen to corporate for about six months, and then they're likewow, this is not working at all. So then they kind of jump ship, and they'velost six months. So hopefully we're getting to you guys before you have startedthe franchise.


Christian: [00:11:35] Yeah.Now so you're saying like a lot of fitness franchisees, they have the option toeither choose corporate marketing or their own?


Aaron: [00:11:44] Right.So I know, for example, there's a My House Fitness locally here that they couldchoose to do corporate. Corporate really pushes them to use their owncompanies, and they usually find somebody local here to do it. But it's usuallya deal that they've worked out so it's not really in the best interest ofeither parties. So this local company that the franchisor hires, their goal isto work with all of the example- like all the My House Fitnesses in the area.So they're not really focused on one of them to make sure that this particularone gets better or not. So they really push them to work with those, but ifthey push hard enough, they can actually go and work with a company that theychoose. Which I would say is the best option because you're going to be workingwith this person, talking with these companies, and you want to make sure youhave a good relationship with them. Not just that they create good content, butthat you have a good relationship with them and can talk to them if you don'thave somebody in-house.


Christian: [00:12:44] Yep.


Aaron: [00:12:44] Allright. So that's all we have for you guys for franchises. We may jump intoother franchise episodes in the future, but truly appreciate you guys listeningand checking this episode out. If you have a friend who's about to start afranchise, specifically for fitness, that'd be great, but this, I think, issome good marketing advice for anybody who's about to open a franchise ingeneral. And if you guys do us a huge favor, click that subscribe button, andthen the most important is don't harbor this information. Make sure you sharethis with a friend. Go ahead and click those three buttons in the right handcorner of your app, and then share this with a friend. You can post it onFacebook or Instagram, or you can even do it on Twitter. But just share this episode,and we will talk to you guys next week.


Christian: [00:13:34] Seeyou.

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