Local store marketing campaigns are the way for franchisees to drive traffic to their locations, says Stephen Polanski
One of the greatest challenges that franchisees face is driving traffic to their locations. Franchising provides a recognizable brand name, but it’s not a guarantee of local success. Since system-wide revenue begins at the local level, its essential for franchisees to convince customers to visit their local store or restaurant.
Local store marketing campaigns are one of the best ways to drive revenue at the local level. However, franchisees are often busy running the day-to-day operations of their business and may have little knowledge of marketing best practices. Franchisors and master franchisees likewise rarely have time to create specific marketing campaigns for each franchise location, despite the importance consumers place on receiving location-specific marketing messages.
It may seem like an impossible situation, but there is a solution. By empowering franchisees with the technology and knowledge they need to execute efficient, localized, on-brand marketing campaigns, franchisors can help to drive system-wide revenue from the bottom up.
Here are four best practices for local store marketing that franchisors can leverage to help their franchisees drive foot traffic and revenue.
1. Identify your audience
The first fundamental of marketing is knowing who you are trying to reach. Are you trying to reach soccer moms who are strapped for time, or image-conscious young professionals? Describing customers in these terms moves beyond demographic characteristics, which provide just a surface-level view of your customers, to psychographics, which provide insights into lifestyles and purchasing habits to help you clearly identify your best potential customers. Develop a customer profile for your brand and deploy it to a local store marketing system for your franchisees to ensure consistent messaging and targeting.
Once the profile is developed, you need to know where consumers who fit that profile are located within each franchise territory. Traditional marketing strategies involve blanketing an area with direct mail offers, but this isn’t an efficient use of advertising dollars as you end up sending offers to households who aren’t likely to become a customer.
In the past, only large brands had access to customer analytics and “big data,” but today there are lower cost alternatives that can help you and your franchisees to define your customer profile and identify where consumers who match that profile are located. Technology can also help you to define each location’s drive-time trade area, which is the region where the majority of customers will come from. Customers think in minutes rather than miles, so focusing advertising spending in each location’s drive-time trade area is likely to yield the best return on investment.
2. Encourage multichannel marketing
Today’s consumers are inundated with marketing offers. To reach distracted consumers, your franchisees need to leverage more than just a single touchpoint. Encourage your franchisees to combine offline marketing techniques with online marketing techniques to build awareness. Channel options include the following:
Google Search – The customer journey for many consumers now starts with a search engine, making search engine marketing (SEM) an essential part of a multichannel marketing strategy.
Website Ads – Rather than purchasing ads on specific sites and hoping that potential customers will see them, franchisees can leverage technology to place ads on the sites that your potential customers actually visit to improve click-through rates.
Facebook Ads – Facebook offers some of the most cost-effective social media advertising available today. Franchisees can place ads directly through the platform and select their targeting criteria, or leverage technology that draws from your brand’s pre-defined customer profile.
Email Marketing – Email marketing is popular for existing customer relationships, but is an untapped resource for prospecting. To maintain compliance with anti-spam regulations, be sure you and your franchisees are working with a reputable vendor.
Direct Mail – Contrary to popular belief, direct mail isn’t dead. With volumes declining, direct mail marketing can be a way to cut through the online marketing clutter and capture a potential customer’s interest.
3. Prioritize local event marketing
Events are a great way to market your brand and have been a go-to local store marketing technique for many years. However, local store marketing at events goes beyond sponsorship or catering; franchisees can design marketing campaigns designed to appeal to likely event attendees. For example, if there’s a 5K race happening next month, the franchisee could offer a discount to customers who bring in their bib after the race.
Provide your franchisees with insights on events coming up in each location’s area so they can identify which ones make sense for your brand. For example, if you cater to families, then a community festival or school sponsored event may make sense. Once your franchisees have identified the events that make sense, they can use that opportunity to market to potential attendees.
4. Reach customers near competitors
Potential customers located near a competitor’s location have a higher likelihood of visiting the competition, due to impression frequency and convenience. When using targeted marketing technology, franchisees can design campaigns with special offers specifically for this group of potential customers. Encourage franchisees to offer this group of customers a higher value promotional code than usual to convince them to try your brand’s location.
The bottom line
Local store marketing is one of the most effective methods for driving traffic to your franchisees’ locations. Thanks to advances in technology, today’s franchise organizations have more options to support franchisee marketing efforts than ever before. By empowering franchisees with tools and information on marketing best practices, franchise systems can drive revenue and real results.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stephen Polanski is Senior Vice President at Buxton, an industry-leading customer analytics provider that powers the local store marketing application LSMx. Together, Buxton and LSMx help franchise organizations to identify their best potential customers and market to them in minutes through five different marketing channels. Visit www.buxtonco.com/technology/lsmx to learn more.