Kate Elizabeth — 9 April 2019
With dozens of channels available for local area marketing, it can be overwhelming to know what to invest your time and money in. Common LAM channels include:
The tip though, is to know your audience - to match where your audience is to the channels available. Spray and pray - placing lots of ads in lots of channels and crossing your fingers that it reaches the right people - is never the key to success for local area marketing. Hoping your audience will see your advertising and marketing isn’t a strategy, it’s a waste of money.
Be smart as well, dealing with your local sales rep. A radio package may seem like it is a great idea, but if it is ROS (run of station), the chances are 50-60% of your ads will be placed in the evening, when most of your audience have switched to TV and streaming services. You are better off paying more for BMAD (Breakfast, Morning, Afternoon and Drive) packages if that is right for your audience. Do research, ask questions and seek to know more than your competition about your customer. Develop a deep understand of your local audience and how and when they like to consume content and marketing. Understand their buying cycles and time to purchase so you can position content at the right moments. Without this understanding of your audience, the rest of these tips are worth bupkiss.
Just like you shouldn’t spray and pray, you shouldn’t do something once, decide it doesn’t work and then never go back there again. Marketing requires repetition to be powerful and have recall and lead to action. If you saw Nike’s slogan Just Do It. only once and then never again, would it resonate? Would you remember it? If you didn’t see the Godfrey’s vacuum cleaner/bowling ball device about 60 times in the last 5 years, would you have Godfrey’s on your list next time you went to buy a vacuum cleaner? It’s tempting to think that because you didn’t get an immediate sales bump from one radio ad or one Undoubtedly, the national marketing campaigns will be contributing to the repetition within your market, but don’t underestimate the power of repetition for your local marketing. Advertise daily, weekly, monthly in the right channels - build awareness of the brand, the product and your value proposition so that when someone is in market, whether it is for pizza or a pool, you are on the list.
It can be so tempting to take a quick win and push out a marketing piece without the full branding and visual identity, or to think that ‘just this once won’t matter’. The reality is that it matters on two fronts. Firstly, the brand is the very thing in which you have invested by buying into a franchise. If you didn’t think it mattered, you would have started your own pool business or pizza store rather than joining a network of established stores. Secondly, the brand is the most recognisable element for your customers - when they are in the buying cycle, you want them to have perfect recall of your brand and proposition, rather than be unsure who you are or what you offer. Be disciplined when producing everything from your radio ads to your press ads to your flyers, social media tiles and ads and your events. And with a platform like Outfit you can do this without a graphic designer ;).
Some franchise agreements stipulate a % of sales that needs to be invested in local area marketing to support the national marketing spend. Other franchise networks might make recommendations rather than mandate a level of spend. For most franchises, LAM can’t be delivered for $500 a month. To reach your audience, repeatedly, it takes a commitment to spend money on marketing. This commitment is about consistency, presence in the market at the right time and converting audience awareness to audience action. Develop a plan for your local area marketing budget based off your sales forecast, understand which channels you will activate and commit the money.
One of the many great benefits of being part of a franchise network is that while you are running your own business, there are other franchisees within your network you can share ideas with and borrow ideas that work. You might have put together flyer letterbox drops that generate fantastic traffic when you run them for your sales, but your social media isn’t getting much traction. Don’t despair. Ask around the network to see who has their ducks in a row for local area marketing - either collectively or for individual channels - and pick their brain. Share your successes and frustrations to take LAM-learning shortcuts with your fellow franchisees. Your network may also have company stores and they are used to test new ideas before rolling them out to the network. Chat to your National Franchise Manager, Business Development Manager and company store managers to see what ideas are working for those stores as well. Most of all though, with local area marketing (and indeed all marketing), it isn’t a silver bullet. Done well, it drives awareness and sales and your local audience will thank you for meeting their local needs.