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local marketing 2009-08-05

Ways to develop Local Marketing

One of the biggest benefits of owning a franchise is leveraging the franchise brand with its regional or national marketing. However, successful franchise owners find local marketing more influential as it makes all the difference. Here are some ways to m

By Abha Garyali Sub Editor

The most common challenge in a franchise organisation is  lack of marketing strategies by a franchisee. Many franchisees feel it as a necessity to stand behind the counter and serve the customers themselves when they would better serve the business by getting out and mingling with the customers, visiting other businesses, participating in community events, etc. Even big and popular companies can benefit from marketing at a local level.

Identify target audience: The franchisee has to focus on the audience and consumers. The franchisee has to understand whether the service or product he is providing will be more attractive for children, teenagers, working professionals, women or men etc. After identifying the target audience he should consider what marketing messages are apt  for them.

Be media friendly: Franchisee should evaluate all options, across all communication channels, not just those he finds more reasonable. Evaluate them 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 website rather than in newspapers. But remember not to invest all your money on a single medium. Multi-channel marketing performs better in the long run.

Newspapers are still suitable. Majority of people still follow the old habit of reading the newspapers everyday. Particularly in smaller areas, regional supplements  are the best option for local marketing. Distributing pamphlets can also help.

Internet savvy is the road to masses: 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. Being a franchisee one would surely love to have his outlet online. Isn’t it??

Make your own website: Local search will work more effectively if  the franchisee has his own website — and has a link on the first page of the search results. Franchisee can build links to his website from his own Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter pages, these sites can do wonders for the business.

Build a relationship with customers: The brand name can attract customers but making them loyal depends on the franchisee. Attracting a new customer costs about 5 times as much as keeping an existing one. To build a strong relationship with the customers the franchisee should strike a non-business conversation as it puts the customer at ease.

Direct mail, email, social media, blogs etc can all contribute.

Surveys, store walks and inputs from the staff also helps in promoting the business. Try to spend a few minutes in the store or at office of the competitors and see what their culture is. Slashing the prices does not really help. Help the customers if they are standing in long queues by attending them. It’s very common to see when customers wait for their turn at the counter they sometimes leave in a huff. This can hamper the reputation of the store.

As a franchisee remember making an outlet a success depends on your hard work and marketing skills. Don’t wait for tomorrow to make your business successful, start working on it from the day one!

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