For franchisees operating in the home and leisure sector there are some unique challenges around getting your brand, message and offers in front of potential customers. Large letterbox drops and TV campaigns are effective at getting a message to people at home or when they might be thinking about leisure activities, however they can be costly and hard to do consistently.
Regularly and consistently undertaking some simple marketing tactics is more likely to get you consistent results. Some top simple solutions are:
Know your market
As part of buying a franchise – your franchisor will know the market niche that they are targeting. However as any franchisee knows, every location is different. A franchise group that we work with has locations in inner city areas and in the suburbs. Each have very different customer bases. Some of their stores are in food courts and some of them are more like restaurants.
Knowing your market and your customer base well means you can leverage any promotions and offers that are specific to
their target market.
A travel agency group may have a higher proportion of wealthy retiree’s in their area compared to others that potentially have
a higher number of families or business owners.
The best way to really get to know your market is to get out there and talk to them. Ask them what their lifestyle is like, how
they like to research products and services and what frustrations they have. This will give you really important insights into what they need and how to reach them in a way that is useful and relevant to them.
Have a toolbox
It’s not enough anymore just to reach out with an offer to connect to a potential customer. These days it’s all about giving
people something useful to help create a connection that may then build to a relationship and subsequently a sale.
If you don’t have a database – you need to get one. Make sure your staff are trained or you have systems that all clients or customers are entered in it. Similarly plan and systemise the distribution of useful content that keeps them connected and engaged with your brand or business.
Facebook is also an incredibly useful way to stay connected in a more passive way with prospects and customers.
Once you’ve established the platform for more regular communication with prospects and customers you need to then create things that add value to them.
• A dog wash service – might create a short video of the pampering a pooch receives when they attend your salon (think before
and after). Post the video on YouTube, link to it from Facebook or embed it in an email newsletter.
• The same dog wash service might send friendly reminders to clients that their pet might be due for their next makeover via
text, email or a simple phone call.
• A homewares store might take photos of new stock as it arrives in store and post it to Facebook to tempt local fans into coming into the store and taking a look.
• A pest control business might create and send seasonal emails of pests to look out for when the seasons change and tips for how to control pests as well as offers for pest control visits.
There’s so many different ways you can now cost effectively reach out to prospects and customers. Planning your communications, using systems provided by your franchisor or setting up our your system to communicate regularly will build customer loyalty and keep you top of mind, crucial for word of mouth.
Remember birds of a feather hang together…
The best way to find more of your best type of customer is through the ones that you already have. Make sure whenever you are providing a service to a customer you know is a loyal fan that you make the most of that opportunity for referrals.
• A lawn mowing or gardening service could drop an offer with a personal note into the letterbox of neighbours providing them with introductory offer – including a testimonial from their neighbour. Who better to make a recommendation?
• A beauty salon or spa could offer a free pedicure or eyebrow tint for any referral from current clients.
• A party hire business, or DJ could ask the host for a shout out at a party (in return for a bonus hour of music or complimentary napkins) – with business cards available and a special offer as a fellow partier.
A bit of time brainstorming some ideas and a small investment in pulling together some materials to generate referrals will bring you quality leads and customers.
Spend some time thinking about your ideal customer and all the products and services they need or buy that complement yours.
• Someone looking for a special type of mattress or pillow may also regularly visit chiropractor, physio or allergy specialist.
Providing some materials, for them to hand out to clients or perhaps even a guide to choosing bedding to improve their health will help you become the brand of choice for some who needs specialist bedding.
• Similarly a local kids entertainment venue might partner with a fast food retailer to run a co-promotion or trial placing flyers
in each others stores.
Whoever you decide to partner with, the key is to make sure that you are adding reciprocal value, and to get together after
the promotion to discuss results and any ways that you may be able to improve future promotions.
Either make a time to get out and about in your local area or just make a mental note to stay on the lookout for anything happening that might represent an opportunity for new business.
• A ‘For Sale’ sign in the street where a cleaner has a client is a ripe opportunity to drop a ‘moving out’ cleaning offer in the
letterbox (again with a testimonial note from a neighbour).
Keep your eyes and ears open for any changes that might lead to potential customers.
Building your business with loyal customers is mostly not about expensive and flashy promotions, but about providing a great
service and setting up simple systems that are consistently building your brand and base of referrals locally.
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