franchising aspects May, 07 2010

Franchisees take on promotional strategy

Debutant franchisees undoubtedly depend on the franchisors for marketing their own outlets. In order to gain competitive success, a franchisee needs to promote his outlets at the local level also. Find out more

By Abha Garyali
Sub Editor
Franchisees take on promotional strategy

Taking up a franchise is a profitable way of venturing into the business arena. A franchisee besides getting the freedom to own and run his store also gets to avail the support system rendered by the franchisor. Very often, the debutant franchisees depend only on the marketing strategy employed by the franchisor at his level. This marketing policy carried out by the franchisor is done for the whole company and not for any particular outlet. Thus, marketing the outlet at a local level is often been ignored by the franchisee. In this fierce competition, a franchisee merely standing behind the counter and serving the customers is not going to fetch handsome returns. Irrespective of the marketing assistance provided by the franchisor, franchisee must start promoting his outlet at the local level also. Like visiting other successful businesses, participating in an event, or organising a promotional affair in order to gain competitive edge. Even big and popular companies can benefit from marketing at a local level.

Marketing strategies at local level

In order to attain successful franchise business, a franchisee must follow certain basic marketing strategies to promote their outlet at the local level. These are:

Targeting consumers: One of the marketing strategies of the franchisee is to identity his target consumers. Firstly, it is a must to understand whether the service or product you are providing will be appealing to the children, teenagers, working professionals, women, or men etc. After you have identified them, consider what marketing messages will resonate and attract them to your outlet.

Media-still the right choice: Franchisee needs to evaluate all the communication channels. Evaluation should be done in terms of their effectiveness for the target market. If the target consumers are youngsters it would be better to advertise on television or on web site rather than in newspapers. But remember not to put all your money on a single medium. Multi-channel marketing performs better in the long run.

Do not ever consider newspaper as an ineffective medium of communication. Most of the customers follow the old habits of reading the newspapers daily. Particularly, in smaller towns and cities, newspapers are the best option for local marketing. Distributing pamphlets can also help.

Going web savvy: Franchisees may think that being online or digital does not come under local marketing. In fact, local online advertising is expected to grow in the coming years. Local digital media includes things like Google Maps, Yahoo Local, and online yellow pages. Local search is a powerful tool, increasingly replacing printed Yellow Pages.  Local search is when a potential customer uses a search engine to find particular kind of business, adding the name of a city or town. You as a franchisee would surely love to have your outlet online.

Make your own website: Local search will work more effectively if you have your own website — and get it on the first page of search results. You can build links to your website from your own Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter pages, these sites can do wonders for the business.

Offering discounts and free gifts: Franchisees at the local level can initiate discounts, coupons and free gifts to their patrons to make their store popular. This can only be done with the franchisor’s permission. So always refer to him in case you want to employ such strategies.

Building relationship with customers: The brand name can no doubt attract new customers, but making them loyal depends on the franchisee. Attracting a new customer costs about five times as much as keeping an existing one. Building healthy relationship with the customers outside the store will definitely create strong bonding with the consumers. Direct mail, email, social media, blogs etc can also contribute.

Surveys, store walks, and input from staff also help the business to grow successfully. Try to spend a few minutes in store or office of the competitors and see what their culture is. Slashing the prices does not really help. Help your customers if they are standing in long queues by attending them in person.

All debutant franchisees need to go through this article to get maximum insight on marketing techniques. Relying only on the parent company to promote your franchise store is not the only way to popularise your outlet. So start marketing your own outlet at the local level to gain profitable margins.

Related: Why do you need a franchise consultant

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