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Posted on Feb 10, 2011

National Brand to Local Business: 3 Rules for New Franchise Marketing

Becoming a new franchisee is a very exciting experience, but can also be overwhelming and--let’s face it--a little scary!  If you’ve recently opened or are about to open a franchise location, here are some marketing tips to help you make a grand entrance with your brand.

Play to Your Franchise's Strengths
One of the many reasons for investing in a franchise is the straightforward adaptability of proven business practices, so take advantage of the brand power!  Is your franchise known for being convenient, cost effective, or providing a great quality product?  Think about the characteristics that made you choose your franchise in the first place, and consider how new customers can connect these traits with your location.  Whether you use tactics like direct mail or E-mail, or online advertising like social media or pay-per-click advertisements, be sure to use similar adjectives and keywords in all of your marketing mediums, including phrases that are used by your corporate office.  This will create brand reinforcement, as well as forging a positive connection between all your marketing tactics.

Keep it Local
These days, it’s all about convenience.  Consumers are more likely to shop at stores and eat in restaurants that are closer to home--so people in your immediate geographic vicinity will be your first customers (and will probably continue to be your best ones).  When planning your first marketing campaign, direct is absolutely the way to go.  Target audiences that live closest to your location.  A full service direct marketing provider will be able to help you target audiences by zip codes or by radius of your location.  You’ll also want to consider how you might start a customer appreciation program to demonstrate right away how much you value clientele.  Once you’re in with the locals, word of mouth will spread, and it will be easier to earn some patronage from other nearby communities!
Be Easy to Find
Make sure your location can be found through online searches immediately by taking advantage of free listings to boost visibility. Most sites ask for the same information, including basics like your address, phone number, website URL.  Many will also give you an opportunity to provide more information, like an “About Us” area.  Take some time to craft this information in a word processing document, so all you have to do is copy and paste the info to keep consistent profiles.  Don't forget about creating social media profiles specific to your location, as well as profiles with consumer ratings like Yelp.  Don’t forget to consult with a corporate representative, then check out the pages of fellow franchisees and ask what has worked well for them.  Bonus Tip: Claiming your listings and profiles early will generate even more buzz about your upcoming opening!  Include a “Coming Soon!” message and details about your estimated opening date to start communicating with your customers as soon as possible!

If you’re a seasoned franchisee, we’d love to hear what you’ve learned about marketing a new location!  What has worked best for your business?

About the Author:

MaKenzie Birchell

MaKenzie Birchell is a blogger, community manager, and the Client Marketing Representative for Bluewater, a leading provider of software and services for national brands with local direct marketing needs.  MaKenzie has extensive experience in the creation, implementation, and execution of direct marketing campaigns at a franchise level.  For more marketing tips and tricks, check out MaKenzie’s work on the Bluewater Blog.

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