Local Marketing Programs That Work
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Local Marketing Programs That Work

Local Marketing Programs That Work

Over the years, I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly related to franchisees’ local marketing efforts. Local marketing can have a huge impact on your business results when done right and does not conflict with national promotions designed by the franchisor with your marketing dollars. The best franchisees understand that less is more regarding their local efforts, and that a consistent approach is required to build customer loyalty. Choosing your programs carefully and then letting them gain traction over time is necessary to succeed at the local marketing level.

One of the biggest reasons franchisees look to do additional marketing in their communities is to drive sales on specific days of the week that have less traffic. This approach can be highly successful if you pick the right offer. Where I’ve seen franchisees be unsuccessful in these efforts is not because of the offer itself, but because of a lack of effort or knowledge of how to promote the offer within the community. Failing to reach outside your four walls to create awareness in the neighborhood means you’ll most likely discount customers already coming to your business. Not a good marketing strategy.

Reaching into your franchisee community to learn from their experience about what offers work to drive traffic is a great tactic. One of the many benefits of being in a franchised system is that you have a wealth of knowledge and experience at your fingertips, so don’t be afraid to use it and learn from their successes and failures. Whatever you do to drive new customers to your business, choose a compelling yet profitable offer, and then get out into the community to promote that offer.

Consider a social media strategy to supplement your boots-on-the-ground efforts hitting various businesses, schools, etc., to spread the word. And remember that these initiatives often take time to build a following, so consistency with your efforts is essential. Stopping and starting promotions without giving them time to drive new customers is one of the worst things you can do to build loyalty. Take your time, choose the right offer and daypart, then hunker down to do the work, and over time you’ll build a successful marketing campaign.

The next challenge will be to understand when it’s the right time to end the promotion. After all, if you continue to discount a product or service over a long period, you eventually decrease the perceived value of the product or service in the eyes of your customers. Leaning on the expertise of your franchisor’s marketing team to help you make this decision is one way to approach the timing of your offers. The other way is to track your sales and redemptions with great discipline. Tracking how well your local marketing efforts perform weekly is how you gain critical insight into which promotions are working and building over time and which promotions may not be gaining traction and should end.

Once your promotions have been gaining traction week over week, and you’ve succeeded in driving business to other dayparts or slower days, it’s time to think about discontinuing the offer and then evaluating, post-promotion, how those same dayparts or days of the week perform. Do you see a lift in sales and traffic post-promotion compared with pre-promotion? How are your overall weekly sales and customer counts post-promotion compared with pre-promotion?

If these metrics increase, you’re doing an excellent job within your community to grow your business. If not, it’s time to return to the drawing board. Tracking your metrics is critical. If you ignore the results of your efforts, how will you know if your actions are working? You may be discounting customers for the sake of discounting, which is never good for unit economics.

One final word on how to market your business consistently in the community: Whatever you choose to do from the program or promotion perspective, discuss your plan with your regional manager or your franchisor’s marketing department. You’ll want to ensure that any content you use on social media, or that any posters and flyers you may consider making to support your efforts, is in line with your brand’s marketing standards.

Most brands use specific fonts, colors, and images to promote the brand nationally. Using something that doesn’t meet the marketing style guidelines of your franchisor’s national marketing efforts delivers an inconsistent brand message to customers, the opposite of what strong brands try to do. So don’t miss this step when designing the assets for your local marketing initiatives, as franchisor approval is often required to ensure consistent trademarks and branding. Failing to secure approval will often find you in breach of your franchise agreement and will not help you to build a collaborative relationship with your franchisor.

Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from the author’s just-released book, The Principles of Franchisee Success.

Laura Darrell, author of The Principles of Franchisee Success: Apply Them and Take Control of Your Business Results, is a former franchise operations executive with more than two decades of experience working with Canada’s leading franchisors, Boston Pizza, White Spot, and A&W Restaurants, at both the franchisor and multi-unit franchisee levels. She brings technical insights in organizational leadership on how multi-disciplinary stakeholder collaboration between franchisees and franchisors unlocks enhanced business outcomes for both. Contact her at ldarrell@oldgrowthdevelopments.com.

 

Published: April 28th, 2023

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