You did it! You’re a franchise business owner. And while one of the reasons you decided to franchise was to own a business with a proven system and brand recognition, including national advertising campaigns, you still have to think about marketing in your local community.
Isn’t That What the Brand Fund Is For?
Franchises didn’t become the big companies they are without brand consistency. This ensures that no matter which location a customer chooses to visit, nationally or internationally, they’ll be met with the same brand experience every time. One of the ways franchisors are able to do this is by dedicating a portion of their profits to national advertising. That’s why part of recurring fees you have to pay as a franchisee go toward a brand fund.
Although this may differ between franchises, many franchisors offer their franchisees comprehensive marketing plans, including television and radio commercials, direct mail efforts, public relations initiatives and more.
Yes, national campaigns funnel customers into all franchises within the system, but there’s no guarantee these efforts will bring people into your franchise business.
Okay, How Do I Market My Franchise Business in My Local Community?
Like we said, you’re covered on a national or wide-range level, so it’s your job to reach the people in your surrounding area.
In order to reach your local customer base in a big way, you might have to think small. We’re talking about putting yourself out there by attending community events, networking and more. Think about it; your local neighborhood is (or will soon be) your pool of customers.
Get to know your local audience
When it comes to marketing, knowing your target market is key. But, your franchisor’s tactics to reach your specific store’s surrounding neighborhood may not work. That’s why it’s crucial to get to know your community.
Introduce yourself, pass out flyers, offer specials or give out samples to nearby businesses, schools, apartment complexes and more. It’s the perfect way to show people in your local area that your business is close by and you’re excited to serve them.
Partner with other businesses
You need to get the word out about your business, and there’s no better way to do it than with other business owners. Join your local Chamber of Commerce or Small Business Association and attend networking events.
These are all a great resource to meet other business owners who may become or refer you to future customers. If you form partnerships with other businesses, you can borrow from each other’s audience and get better visibility in your area.
Sponsor local organizations and charities
People love seeing business owners give back to their communities. Sponsoring a high school’s sports team or donating a portion of a day’s profits toward a charity is a great way to build brand awareness and show you care about the community.
It doesn’t hurt to send out a press release about your good deeds or the impressive amount you were able to raise to local media outlets. Speaking of which…
Create buzz with local media
Whenever something notable happens for your franchise business, send out a press release or media alert to local television and radio stations, online publications, newspapers and more. And we mean about more than just your grand opening. Examples include winning awards, charity events, promotions created just for locals and more.
You know how we mentioned the importance of consistent branding at the beginning of this blog? Remember, when you’re marketing out in your local community, it’s important to abide by your franchisor’s brand standards. Sometimes, franchisors require their approval before you can move forward with any custom-made marketing materials. Some franchisors even require franchisees to dedicate a portion of profits to local marketing efforts.