Get Your Marketing Moving!

Michelle Gamble, Founder, Marketing Angels

If you are operating a mobile franchise you have the challenge of building brand awareness locally without a street presence to help you do the job.

As part of a good franchise group, you should have strong support from your franchisor when it comes to building brand awareness on a national level and developing national promotions that can be implemented at a local level.

That being said, it’s still up to you to drive sales and build awareness locally. No sole trader has a wad of cash to throw at expensive advertising campaigns, so you need to be clever with your marketing tactics to make sure you are getting plenty of bang for your buck.

Here’s some key tips for small/sole trader operators:

1. Develop a plan

We’re not talking about a 50 page strategic document, it can be as simple as a couple of pages. Getting down your objectives will really help with shaping your activity and also give you something to measure success by.

When you are doing your plan you should access any details from your franchisor on national promotions they are planning to run so you can add these into your marketing calendar for the year.

If sitting down and writing a plan is something you really struggle with – have your franchisor marketing team or business development team give you a hand. They have the benefit of knowing what has worked and not worked with other franchisees and can share this knowledge with you and help guide you in the right direction.

2. Make the most of national promotions

Get behind any national promotions as much as possible. Order any promotional material well in advance and work out what else you can do locally to get the word out.

3. Make the most of your current customers

The chance of selling a service to a new customer is 1 in 16 compared with 1 in 2.2 for current customers. It’s also true that when a loyal customer refers others, it costs you nothing. It’s easier and generally costs less to get current customers to buy 10 per cent more than it is to increase your customer base by 10 per cent.

So if you don’t have a database – get one! Often your franchisor will have a database system, if not it’s very easy these days to access cheap database/customer relationship management systems. Make sure that all your customer’s details (including email addresses) are in the system and up to date.

Facebook is another great way to communicate regular promotions and offers with current clients. Before you dive in to facebook though, make sure you understand your franchisor’s policy around social media. Twitter is also worth experimenting with. Many mobile businesses, such as mobile food trucks, have had huge success with Twitter – using it to broadcast special deals and locations to their followers.

4. Be where people are looking online

Did you know 97 per cent of individuals search online for local businesses. So, you need to be found where they are looking. Make the most of your local google places listing and any other local search directories.

You can now not only provide coupons on your google places listing but also add video, and photos. Customers can provide reviews on your listing, so let them know you are there and encourage them to provide any positive feedback.

This will all help you appear more prominently in the search engines – exactly where those local searches are being made.

5. Don’t be afraid of the telephone

Yep! Despite the rise of online – having an actual conversation with someone is still a very worthwhile marketing tool. This is even more true if you sell to other businesses.

Make contacting potential customers habit forming. Set yourself a goal of xx number of new business calls a day or week and have a system in place to maximise success. That includes a script for the call, an introductory email template and a reminder system for follow up calls. The more calls you do the more confidence you will build and the more results you’ll see.

6. Use your networks and make networking a priority

Tap into your current network of family and friends. Let them know what you are doing so they can support you by spreading the word. Include them in promotional campaigns and update them via social networking tools such as facebook, etc. Make sure you are also part of organised networking groups as well and take an active role in the groups you are part of. The more people who know you and know what you do, the better.

7. Co-marketing

Identify key businesses with the same target market as you (who you don’t compete with) to find a way you can run some co-marketing promotions. A personal trainer might buddy up with a local medical centre to run health and fitness checks at a local shopping centre.

A local dog wash business might offer an incentive to a local vet in return for putting some brochures in their clinic. Or perhaps you could run a joint promotion on keeping your pets in top shape.

8. Community involvement

People love to deal with people they know and like. So getting involved in any community events and promotions ties you closer to your community. It could be a simple as piggybacking off a well known fundraiser such as Movember, Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, etc. These events make it easy for you to host your own event with the view to raising money for a larger cause.

Donate your time and/or service to other community fundraising activities. People like to do business with people who do good. Simple.

You don’t have to throw a lot of money at marketing to do it well and have it achieve results for your business. But you do have to invest…in planning, learning and reading about different marketing tactics and ideas. You also have to invest your time.

A consistent, strategic marketing effort will always drive results regardless of whether your marketing budget is large or small.

Michelle Gamble is the Founder and Chief Angel at Marketing Angels. Michelle has over 16 years’ experience in the marketing services, technology and telecommunications industries.

Marketing Angels is a national marketing consultancy providing education, advice and outsourced marketing management for small to medium business. Services include market research, marketing plans, marketing management and franchise marketing support programmes.

Contact Marketing Angels at:

Phone: 1300 858 311