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Essentials Before You Start Texting Growing Franchisor Revenue by Text Empowering Your Brand With Text Franchise Adoption of Text
Playbook

Franchise Text Messaging

Text messaging expands your franchise brand by breaking down communication barriers. That’s why we’re giving you this playbook, so you can make the most impact as a franchisor and have texting strategies ready to share with your franchise owners. 

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I tell new Maid Brigade franchise owners all the time that they need to get Text Request to grow their location. It’s a must for saving time and headaches.”
Todd Rich, Owner
Maid Brigade, Northern Nevada

3 Essentials Your Franchise Brand Needs to Text Successfully

1. Contact lists for franchise owners.

Franchisees can’t text if they don’t have someone managing inbound messages at their location. They also need a contact list with phone numbers to give to managers, so they can start sending texts.

There are two things you can do to help here. 

The first is nudging locations—either by email or strategy meeting—to decide who ends up in that messaging role, whether it's the entire staff or a designated person. The best option may vary from location to location, but the point is to let these franchisees know they need a staff member, or members, prepping contact lists.

The second is to then encourage franchisees to get their chosen staff to start compiling those contact lists. This can be done by:

  • Creating a section for customer phone numbers in online forms on individual franchise location websites

  • Suggesting that franchise locations request a phone number when customers sign up for appointments or make a purchase

  • Encouraging franchisees to pull from the contacts lists they already have in their CRMs or other systems

This ensures your franchisees are ready to go when you roll out your text messaging process.

2. A planned tech stack. 

Whether your franchisees have a designated tech stack, or the freedom to decide what they use, we most likely have an integration with one of the software on their list:

Don’t be shy about asking for help to set these integrations up. Any texts from a Text Request dashboard to our main corporate line are always free. We’re also happy to learn about the integrations we don’t yet have, but you wish we did

Our support team will work with your franchisees to figure out how our platform fits into their daily workflows, based on what benefits their individual locations the most. You can have a separate dashboard for every franchise location—which means while an integration is active, the other locations don’t have to use it. 

3. A plan for rolling text messaging out to your franchisees.

We'll map this out in detail soon. But first, let’s go back to your brand and how texting can help it grow once you have all these things in place.

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3 Steps to Grow Franchisor Revenue by Texting

We’ve covered what your franchise brand needs before you start texting, now let’s move on to what you can accomplish once you have text messaging set up. 

1. Increase franchise development leads.

Selling locations gets a whole lot easier when the leads are coming to you. That’s what will happen when you advertise potential franchisees can text you directly to learn more about joining your brand. These call-to-actions can exist everywhere, including:

  • Billboards 

  • Corporate social media accounts

  • Digital ads 

  • Corporate website

Your corporate website, especially, will attract more leads when you use SMS Chat. It’s a widget that directly invites potential franchisees to start a text conversation with you from your corporate website. 

This tool works around the clock to draw potential franchisees and can even start the application process for you when you set up autoresponders. Autoresponders automatically trigger custom replies to inbound messages. These replies can include links directing franchisees to fill out contact forms or requests for more information. 

This simultaneously automates the start of your application process, while drawing potential franchisees directly to it. That means less work as you expand your brand and create more revenue opportunities. 

2. Incorporate texting into franchise communications. 

Keeping everyone within your brand connected is an enormous task, but texting will help you make it smaller. Text your franchisees everything from ongoing training reminders, to updates within your brand. Our contact filter makes it easy to reach everyone at once. 

Franchisees can even choose to opt in for specific updates and insights based on keywords they text to your corporate number. For example, when franchisees text you NEWS, they could start receiving your headquarter’s weekly SMS newsletter.

SMS newsletters are a great way to organically increase franchisees engagement, when you send them one text a week with things like:

  • Upcoming brand events

  • Tactics 

  • New partnerships or tech

  • Brand highlights

  • Customer success stories 

That’s a lot of potential content to share over one message, so we recommend texting a link to a newsletter page you produce with a tool like HubSpot, Mailchimp, or Constant Contact

Whether you’re using a SMS newsletter, or just reaching out when it best suits your corporate office, you know franchisees will see the text messages you send. That’s the biggest part of keeping everyone connected and on the same page.

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3. Inbound Q&A from franchisees.

Franchisees have questions, especially when they’re trying to get their footing as a new owner. SMS tools like autoresponder can help you provide support 24/7, so even if it’s after hours, franchisees can be directed with an autoresponse to start a help request.

"Thanks for contacting [Franchise] corporate office: [link] Use that link to fill out a support request, and someone from our team will get back to you as soon as possible."

Create custom templates to answer the common questions your franchisees typically send you. Templates are the Text Request version of "saved" or "stock" messages. Include things like links to in-depth guides, or other external resources, in these templates. That way franchisees have everything they need for specific topics. 

The key thing here is that since the support you’re giving these franchisees is over text, both of you can continue working normally throughout the day—instead of being hindered by a phone call or stuck at a desktop digging through emails. Everyone gets more done.

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The typical franchise development close rate is about 0.5%, but our average close rate through text is 3%. That’s six times higher!”
David Sparks, Chief Development Officer
Brand Journalists

6 Ways to Empower Your Franchise Brand With Texting

Now that we’ve covered how you, the franchisor, can use text messaging—let's look at how franchisees can text at their independent locations to boost revenue and empower your brand. 

1. Lead generation through SMS Chat.

New franchisees are looking for ways to drum up business, and fast. They need to stand out to website visitors and get them to stay on the page. Your franchise can help them accomplish this, when each individual location has an SMS Chat on their website. 

SMS Chat gives your franchisees’ customers the power to text them directly from their individual locations’ websites. This does three things:

  • Advertises a call-to-action—“Text us!”—that is proven time and time again to work

  • Establishes a touchpoint that consumers know they can use again to reach your franchisees 

  • Triggers an immediate response that simultaneously lets the customer know their message has been seen, and directs them to take a next step

Your franchisees can set up autoresponses to automatically reply to their customers with a message like:

“Thanks for reaching [Franchise] at [location], we’ve got your message and a rep will respond soon. Visit [link] to schedule an appointment.”

This captures the visitor, turns them into a hot lead, and keeps them from moving on to a competitor. Plugging the widget's code into your website is easy, and we have a guide to walk you through every step.

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2. Scheduling and confirming appointments.

It’s not enough to get the “yes” and wait for customers to show up. Texts give your franchisees a way to be proactive about getting appointment confirmations, especially when they text links customers can use to reschedule if something pops ups. This prevents lost business, when customers have the option to click a link and select a different time slot.

A solid workflow for SMS appointment scheduling could be:

  1. A customer texts a franchise location to book their appointment

  2. The designated staff at that franchise location texts back a link to a scheduling calendar

  3. The customer chooses a date and time that works for them

  4. The day of the appointment, the customer receives a text to confirm they’re still coming, along with a link to reschedule if needed

Don’t stop at reminders, though—your franchisees can also use texts to schedule a customer’s next appointment. Your franchisees will be able to perpetually keep the appointment cycle going, especially when they schedule these messages in advance.

It’s as simple as going in and setting up scheduled messages to send out a few days later after the customer’s appointment.

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3. SMS promotions and deals.

Making the most impact with your franchise’s marketing fund means getting franchisees to advertise on a channel consumers will see. You already know that’s text messaging—what you may not know is all the cool tools that will make these messages stick with consumers on a large scale and yet still feel personal. 

What are the key things a text message should include to be a successful promotion as possible?

  • Personalization—a name or clear indicator you know we you’re targeting

  • Excitement—an example of what the customer get or the value they’ll receive

  • Urgency—a time frame or deadline to push the customer to take action

  • Action Step—a link or direction to something else

Below are some tools your franchisees can use to make sure those aspects appear in your messages.

Merge Messaging: Sends group messages with custom fields, like customer name, last name, etc.

Keywords: Give consumers the power to opt-in to messages based on their preferences—for example, texting “INVENTORY” would give customers updates on a location’s latest shipments

Groups: Gives your franchisees a way to categorize contacts into groups based on the SMS promotions and ads they’d like to see 

Custom fields: Saves general facts about your franchisees’ contacts, like their birthdays or favorite sports team, to help them better remember their contacts on a more individual basis

Any responses to group messages become one-on-one conversations, so customers always feel like your franchisees are catering to their individual needs. Alongside the tools above, this can be a game changer for your franchise, especially when it gives your brand a positive reputation for knowing its customers. 

4. Increase online reviews.

Your franchisees can’t rank in local searches if they don’t have online reviews, which is why regularly reaching out to customers needs to become part of their service process. When you give owners the power to text, you’re also giving them one of the best tools to double their amount of reviews.

The ask doesn’t need to be anything complicated. All your franchisees have to do is attach their individual location’s review link and include a short message like, “Use this link to tell us how we did!”

Short and sweet is all it takes. The customers then have a link that takes them to where they need to go to leave the review, and your franchisees can get back to focusing on their other tasks. Individual locations can even create pre-made templates with their specific review links that they can schedule in advance after a service, so asking for reviews becomes as automatic and streamlined as possible. 

The workflow could be:

  1. Your franchisee works with a customer

  2. They give customer the chance to enjoy the product or service

  3. The franchisees then asks the customer for review via a text that includes the review link

All of this makes asking for reviews a painless process for your franchisees to incorporate into their daily tasks. The results they’ll see when the reviews start pouring in will speak for themselves. 

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5. Bolster customer service. 

How fast your franchisees can respond to customers and their needs reflects your entire brand’s reputation. That’s why franchisees need to:

  • Make sure their support text line is easy for customers to find

  • Create templates for their most commonly asked questions

  • Set up autoresponses that direct customers to start filling out a help form, or explain their problem

We have a whole host of tools to help your franchisees be available anywhere at any time, and not miss a beat.

Clear indicators for resolved vs. unresolved messages: Your franchisees will always be able to know when I message is being handled

Sound notifications: Sends an alert every 30 seconds a new message isn’t resolved

Email notifications: Sends an email whenever a new message comes on

Chrome extension: Allows franchisees to respond to messages as they browse Chrome and Edge

Mobile app: Allows franchisees to respond to messages on their phone when they’re away from a desktop

Sound notifications and email notifications are two easy things to instruct your franchisees to start with. They’re both available in the Settings section of their Text Request menu, and toggling them on only takes a few clicks. 

The Chrome extension and mobile app will require a bit more effort to install and really dig into all the features they offer—they essentially do everything that your actual Text Request menu does—but we have in-depth guides and training sessions to help walk your franchisees through them. 

The final thing we recommend is creating templates for common questions to keep customer service consistent across all your locations, or let your owners choose how they want to respond. 

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6. Speed up the hiring process.

New owners need a reliable method for hiring, if you’re going to expand your brand successfully. Texting can be used for every part of the hiring process, including: 

  • Job application confirmations

  • Answering common interview process questions

  • Scheduling interviews and follow-up interviews with candidates

  • Sharing next steps and onboarding directions

Templates will once again be useful for streamlining this. And lucky for you, we have pre-made text templates for each part of the hiring process.

Back-and-forths slow your owners down and keep them from focusing on other tasks—but texting can help them cut through the noise and get new hires in faster. 

Now that we’ve given you these text messaging strategies, let's move on to how you can share them with your franchisees and start rolling them out. 

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5 Steps for Franchisee Rollout and Adoption of Text Messaging

Knowing how your franchisees can use texting is one thing, getting them to actually do it is a whole other. We’re here to help you every step of the way, plus share what we’ve seen work for other franchise systems that use Text Request. 

Getting all your locations on the same page with text messaging will help with brand consistency and breaking down internal communication barriers. 

1. Test out texting with your top dogs. 

Try out text messaging with your locations that are already killing it. They have a natural feel for what works best for your franchise’s specific needs, and they can serve as your proof of concept for how text messaging works.

These all-star owners were already looking for ways to expand the brand on their own—so the natural leaders in them will want to work with you to create an operations manual. 

2. Showcase texting at brand conferences. 

There’s no better time to share a new strategy than when all your owners are gathered in one place. Have educational sessions on SMS tools that are useful for franchise marketing, including:

  • Keywords to display on banners and social media ads 

  • Text Merge for personalizing messaging to customers

  • Link tracking to sort which customers are engaging with links

  • Autoresponses to automate immediate responses to customers

  • And everything else we’ve talked about in this guide

Displaying keywords during these conferences will not only demonstrate their marketing power, it’ll also opt in your franchisees to learn more text messaging strategies. The keyword could be as simple as the word “TEXT,” and the opt in message could be:

“Thanks for opting in for more info on how [Franchise] can start texting. We’ll send you a new strategy every Tuesday.”

Or you could advertise the keyword “NEWS” instead, and opt in franchisees for that general SMS newsletter we talked about earlier. 

Either way, you’re getting these franchisees to engage with texting and see how it works up close. 

franchise-keyword-text-message-example

3. Host text messaging centered webinars.

Part of your strategy rollout will be ongoing education to embed text messaging into your franchisees’ processes. Not everyone can get together for a conference, but they can attend webinars. Webinars give franchisees the option to tune-in to the text messaging strategies you want to share at their leisure.  

We’ve helped hundreds of franchises rollout text strategies, and our team is happy to participate in these webinars to share what’s worked for others. We can even do a live training segment on particular tools your franchisees are interested in, plus link them to digital resources that offer a next step to start text messaging. 

Zoom is an ideal option for hosting these webinars, plus it lets you record your sessions, so franchisees who couldn’t attend can view them later.

Give these recordings a place to live, like Youtube or Wistia, so franchises can easily visit them and learn text messaging strategies on their own time. Double down and share these recordings as links in a text message to those franchisees. 

4. Text reminders for all hands meetings. 

Demonstrate how helpful texting messaging can be during your internal meetings. These are opportunities to showcase texting strategies the same way you would at a conference or webinar, but on a much smaller and intimate scale. 

You can even show the power of texting in action, when you send text reminders for these internal meetings. Include anything and everything they need to be prepped for the meeting, including:

  • Links to the digital meeting, or a reminder where the physical meeting spot is

  • Agenda items you’ll cover

  • Links to resources to catch them up on any topics they’re not familiar with

  • Links to recent reports from your franchise development team

Your internal communication strategies are just as important as your external. This is one way texting can help you bolster them. 

5. Regularly share text messaging guides and resources. 

We’ve got you more than covered on this one. Our Customer Success team is one text away if you’d like a walkthrough of the free resources we have to share with your franchisees, including:

Any texts from a Text Request dashboard to our main corporate line, 423-218-0111, are always free. We’ll even work with you to create custom text messaging strategy resources with your branding.

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