Reaching Your Community as a Franchisee
By: S. David Drewelow

Buying a franchise comes with a huge number of benefits. A built-in customer base, established operational procedures, a high success rate, brand name recognition…it seems like you have it all right at the very start. And while it’s true that franchise owners do enjoy the benefits of a franchisor’s advertising and marketing efforts, that alone is not going to make you a success. Remember, you’re almost certainly not the only business of your type in your area. Plus, you still have to compete for rival franchisee’s customers.

As a franchisee, the difference between being moderately successful and millionaire-successful will often boil down to the little details. Something as small as a social media presence can make a big difference in how your community perceives your franchise. Brand name recognition alone isn’t going to build your audience on a local level, which is why you’ll need to do some legwork of your own if you want to win over the people on your block.

Some of the following tips are relatively simple ways you can reach your audience and earn the business of more people.

Add a personal touch on social media

While your franchisor has its own social media presence for the business as a whole, you, as the franchisee, can still make pages for your specific franchise. Many businesses will commonly make a Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter page for their specific location; this is their opportunity to engage with the community on a local level and increase visibility with potential customers.

In addition, it’s also an effective way of introducing special promotions and sales. Offering deals in-store only works if the customer has already walked in, but offering them on your social media pages will attract the attention of people who weren’t originally planning on buying something from you.

Participate in local events

These events are some of the easiest ways to attract publicity. Lots of people from your local area will be here, and something as simple as buying a booth and handing out freebies to people there can make a big difference in both awareness and perception of your franchise. Just make sure that you do more than stand around and look pretty; engaging your community on a personal level is what will really attract their attention. These events are your best shot at talking with people one-on-one, so make sure not to squander that chance.

Utilize the power of local press

Forget national newspapers – your local town or county newspaper is what your customers are more likely to read. Local journalists are always on the lookout for new stories, and something as simple as your grand opening could warrant front-page attention. If you want to drum up some publicity, don’t be afraid to promote yourself. Are you donating to a local charity? Are you offering meals to schoolchildren or the homeless? Are you promoting a community event? Reach out to these journalists, and you’ll be amazed at how many of them respond.

Create a E-mail list

This is one of the quickest ways to reach customers, and the easiest to maintain. Once you’ve attracted your initial customers, offer a mailing list that they can sign up for. This is your chance to target them with specific advertisements and promotions that appeal to their unique needs and wants as customers. Not only will you build up a positive rapport with them, but you’ll obtain even more sales from them than you would have otherwise. Just make sure to send out quality emails –  if you send them too much junk or fluff offers, and they’ll simply tune you out.

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