How to make local area marketing work for you

Businesses, big and small, need to go the extra mile to stand out from the crowd. Unless you’ve got a one of a kind product, an unbelievable and groundbreaking initiative or a money can’t buy experience, let’s face it, you’re probably dealing in a very competitive market!

For franchisees, even though you have backing and support from a large and recognised company, getting your target market through your own door to buy your product or offering can be challenging. But it doesn’t need to be hard if you’re willing to put in the time and effort!

One way businesses can create awareness about their brand or service in a cost effective, relevant and timely way is by engaging in local area and local store marketing. Remember, it needs to be the right fit for your brand and target audience to be effective! Don’t let your messages fall on deaf ears.

Know your market

Would you consider marketing antique furniture to the iGeneration? Chances are, probably not because they’re not the antique target market! When considering any campaign or promotional activity, you need to know who you need to communicate with. That is, establishing who you are trying to reach and what makes them tick. Ask questions. What about your brand is appealing to them? How do they seek information? And most importantly, learn what gets them excited!

Knowledge is power and your grasp of this information will enable you to target and communicate in the most effective way. And at the end of the day, targeting your specific market well, is what will bring you the best return on investment.

Get out of your comfort zone, and into theirs!

While you might feel more comfortable doing an “old fashioned” letterbox drop, your audience may not want a bar of it. And that’s ok, move on!

Don’t waste precious time, energy and resources on initiatives that don’t speak to your demographics. You need to dive head first into the space your target market “plays in”. For example, if your biggest audiences are Gen Z and Gen Y, then you must be where they are – jump into the online space! Explore social media platforms, digital advertising and interactive websites, and see how your brand can utilise these avenues to really engage with your customers. Conversely, if your market is Baby Boomers, then perhaps the letterbox drop is the correct medium to use to communicate.

It is all about the incentive

Don’t be afraid to incentivise the people you are communicating with.

Exclusive offers, buy one get one free vouchers, customer reward programs and relevant brand alignments are all great ways to get people to your brand. And if done successfully, they will love your brand and become a loyal, ongoing customers.

If your market is Gen X or Gen Y, then the online space allows for exploring new-gen marketing techniques like Facebook exclusive offers, and geo-targeting local communities.. Establish an Instagram competition to encourage consumers to post pictures of themselves for a chance to win a prize. As an example, for our Cold Rock brand, this might be asking customers to tag a photo of themselves eating their favourite ice cream and Mix In… It’s a fun way to encourage people to visit your store whilst creating hype around their experience. Double-win!

As another example, if your market is Baby Boomers, then perhaps a “shout the grandkids a donut” physical coupon in a newspaper is a better incentive.

Be involved

One of the best things about running a business is being able to be part of the greater community. In small business, they are the people who keep you in the game!

Your role as a business operator in the community should extend outside your bricks and mortar store! Whether this be getting involved with local events or supporting a local charity – it all counts. Not only is it important to support the community that supports you, but it’s also another opportunity to get your brand in front of your target audience in a different environment.

Consider sponsoring a local sporting team, offer your product or service up for a charity auction, or hold a stall at the local markets. If you can, take a portable version of your store to a local footy match, or arrange a pop up mini shop at the next big local event. And if you can’t then still be there handing out pamphlets or information about your business.

Everything you do outside of your normal trade will enhance brand recognition and ultimately drive your sales. The more you do to get your brand out there, the more people will recognise and engage. As far as I see it, it’s better to be talked about than not thought of at all!

Don’t forget the budget

Finally, all marketing costs money. We’ve all head the old saying “you have to spend money to make money”, and marketing is by no means any different.

But it does not have to “break the bank”? Creative ideas don’t necessarily cost sheep stations. Don’t be fooled into thinking that whacking together a flyer with your logo is thoughtful marketing. If it looks amateurish, people won’t take you or your business seriously. And if you are using the incorrect media, it’s a complete waste of money.

Set a clear budget to be spent. Whether it is advertising a local community event, or a Facebook advertising campaign, having a clear budget is essential to ensuring your goals are realistic and achievable.

Stan Gordon is the Managing Director of Franchised Food Company, the umbrella organisation encompassing the brands Cold Rock Ice Creamery, Trampoline Gelato, Mr Whippy, Pretzel World, Nutshack and Europa Coffee drive thru.

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