New Year's Resolutions: Promoting Your Franchise Within Your Local Community

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Looking for a New Year’s Resolution for your business? Focusing on your marketing and community outreach strategies could be the best way to get the new year off to a productive start. Here’s how to promote your franchise, and why January could be the best time to do it.

Sick of making the same New Year’s Resolutions? We’re all guilty of promising to hit the gym, give up a bad habit or get organised, only to lose interest by mid-January. Instead, why not try making a vow that will help you improve your business instead? Today, we’re going to be looking at how you can improve awareness of your business in your local community through a carefully considered marketing strategy. 

Why January is perfect for planning

Many businesses experience a quieter January after a frenzied festive period. That’s especially true this year due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions. While it’s an unenviable situation, there is a sliver of silver lining to be found in every quiet trading period. Rather than being rushed off your feet with client demands, you’ll have time to sit back and consider how you can make your business even better. 

Marketing is an area of your business that requires plenty of careful consideration, particularly if you’re operating on a limited or non-existent budget. If you want to get people’s attention without coughing up loads of cash, you’ll need to get creative. We’ve put together our top four tips for developing an excellent marketing strategy and grabbing the attention of your local community. 

1. Create a watertight marketing plan

Lack of time is one of the most common reasons for neglecting marketing. Making the most of the quieter new year period to plan out the year’s content will give you a massive head start. If you want to make a great marketing strategy plan, you should think about:

  • The content you want to produce - This could include blogs, emails, social media posts, local news outlet ads/opinion pieces and reports.

  • What you want it to say - Are you going to keep your content focused on your business, comment on the wider sector or talk about anything that’s topical? It’s also good to think about how you can use content to mark special occasions, particularly those that are relevant to your business.

  • How often you want to reach out - This should be regular, but make sure it’s also realistic; planning to put out content once per week when you know you don’t have time will cause your schedule to fall apart quickly. 

  • How you’re going to make it happen - If you don’t have the time to tackle marketing, you could delegate to a staff member or recruit the services of a freelance marketer to help. Don’t have the resources? Here are six ways to improve your digital marketing skills

2. Reward relationships

Right now, many consumers are making an active effort to shop small. A YouGov survey found that, despite financial worries, 64% of people are keen to support local businesses once restrictions are lifted. Women are even more likely to favour independent stores than men, with 70% stating they will make an effort to do so. 

If you want to convert these customers into long-term regulars, it’s important to reward them for their custom. You could introduce loyalty cards and give customers a small discount or free gift after a certain number of purchases. 

Alternatively, you could add a personal thanks - a branded business card, for example - to every purchase to remind your customers how much their business means to you. You’ll make people smile and leave them with a token that reminds them of your company. 

We’ve shared lots of handy tips on how to build customer loyalty, so check out our article for more inspiration. 

3. Help customers do good things

A survey by Futerra found that 88% of customers want brands to help them have a positive impact on the world. By making your good deed or ethical practices public, you could show customers that they’re helping great causes by supporting your business. Here are just a few ways you can show customers you’re making the right kind of impact:

  • Sponsor local fundraisers, charity events and grassroots sports teams

  • Organise charity collections - either monetary or for specific items, like tins for a local food bank or warm clothing for local homeless people

  • Introduce green operating methods (like reducing plastic use, offering digital receipts instead of paper ones) to help people spend money sustainably

  • Help to promote your local community as a whole, rather than just focusing on your business, through events like ‘shop small days’ 

  • If your business is lucky enough to be doing well, introduce schemes so vulnerable people can access your products/services for less

If you need inspiration on how to start giving back, check out our guide on how to set up a fundraising event.

4. Embrace the power of teamwork

In the early days of your business when you’re yet to establish a loyal customer base, it might feel counterintuitive to encourage people to visit other businesses. But by teaming up with other local businesses, you’ll be able to reach more eyes and ears than you could alone. 

Let’s say you run a local hair salon and you’re looking to attract more customers in. By joining with a local makeup artist, you could form a mutually beneficial alliance that allows you both to enjoy greater exposure and, hopefully, higher customer numbers.  

You could also become part of local business networks that let new customers discover your services. For example, food directory and discount service Wriggle operates in a number of areas across southern England, showcasing the best independent eateries to customers looking for something new. While your business won’t be marketed on its own, it’s a great way to increase your reach if you’re looking for an alternative to overt marketing. 

Making new connections

These are just some of the ways you can fulfill your resolution to prioritise local marketing. Remember to make time for marketing, even if you’re rushed off your feet - keeping awareness high in your local community is one of the best ways to ensure a steady, reliable stream of custom is always coming your way. 

We’ve written plenty of other insightful articles on topics like marketing, budgeting, recruitment and more, so take a look if you need more inspiration. And if you’re looking to start a franchise, check out our UK franchise directory, where you’ll find more than 300 exciting franchise opportunities.

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