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Marketing focus: The importance of local marketing for franchisees and how to do it right

There are lots of benefits that come with being part of a franchise. One major benefit is being part of an organisation that already has an established brand and a good level of brand awareness. Sure, this can help bring customers to the door or enquires to the website, but franchisees can’t rely solely on this. Local area marketing is not to be forgotten about.

Local area marketing involves franchisors putting the marketing power in the hands of their franchisee who must then recognise and action marketing opportunities within local communities. While some franchisors may not see the benefits of this, local area marketing allows franchisors to focus on larger scale branding, which can be massively supported by local marketing.

Investing in local marketing is important for any business including promotions and sponsorships, whilst ensuring the brand remains consistent every step of the way. Brand consistency is key for every franchise, as it is ultimately what builds an identity, creates awareness and forms customer trust.

Local marketing doesn’t have to be difficult. With the help of an existing brand and a series of tried and tested marketing options, franchisees don’t have to over spend time or resources on methods that have already been proven ineffective. Moreover, a growing number of online and offline marketing tools and methods also make local marketing convenient and efficient.

With more marketing features implemented onto social media platforms than ever before, such as targeted advertising and analytics, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn (to name a few) are undoubtably powerful tools when it comes down to growing local business. While most franchises will likely already have a primary national or global account for each social media channel, franchisees could potentially each make their own accounts to make the most out of the local market. This is of course only advised if the franchisor allows it.

Local social media accounts move away from the ‘one size fits all’ attitude and can be the perfect way for local franchisees to connect and build a deeper connection with their community than primary national or global accounts. Local marketing through social media isn’t just about tagging a few location-specific keywords, but rather taking a targeted approach with the audience and doing so in a more personal style.

Networking plays another key role in local marketing and franchise development, whether it be networking with other local businesses or potential customers in the local community. Networking with other local businesses, who may also be part of a franchise, can provide franchisees with some valuable advice and extra support that is always welcomed. Additionally, it is another opportunity to directly interact with the local community who may be potential customers.

There is an endless amount of fun and exciting local networking opportunities for franchisees, from community fundraisers to in-store events. Our client and growing franchise brand German Doner Kebab threw an excellent launch night/party for their Glasgow branch that opened in March 2019. Sending out exclusive invites to a local audience and working with local news outlets, this was a smart way to start building a clientele and establish their presence in the city as leaders in the kebab market.

Finally, if franchisees really believe there is something unique about their territory that will make local marketing work, they must talk to their franchisor. Franchisees are likely paying into a marketing fund, so they must use their local knowledge to their advantage and approach the franchisor with ideas for local campaigns. If they have an internal marketing and design team they may be able to create what is required.

But to ensure franchisees are doing local area marketing right, there are a few things to note. Firstly, franchising is about being supported in your own business, so don’t rely on the franchisor to come up with all the marketing ideas but do involve them in activities. Secondly and most importantly, branding or logos should never be altered in any way without the express permission of the franchisor. Although franchisees want to localise the brand, this does not mean changing it to suit themselves. Brand guidelines should always be followed, and franchisors should always be informed of any activity going on.

It doesn’t matter how big the brand already is – brands of all sizes can benefit from local marketing. Take a look at McDonalds, for example, who have given some stores local Facebook pages as part of a test to better understand local tastes.

Trends are showing that consumers prefer to support local businesses, but equally, they like the confidence and trust of dealing with a national business. The trick for franchisees is to show the local market that they can have the best of both worlds.


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