When planned, executed and evaluated correctly, Local Area Marketing is a tool that can help your business generate more leads, improve your store awareness and keep your franchise top of mind during a customer’s decision-making process.
Once you have set your local area marketing objectives and finalised your budget, you need to decide two things:
1. What is your message?
2. How will you share your message?
Your message should always leverage your unique story and your franchise brand, in addition to promoting your goods or services.
When it comes to how you share your message, The Marketing Lab has identified a number of activities that we refer to as the pillars of Local Area Marketing. These pillars are the foundation marketing channels that a franchise can use to promote their business to their local audience.
What are the pillars of Local Area Marketing?
Local Area Marketing requires strategic planning, controlled execution and careful analysis to be most effective. Choosing the right “pillars” depends on your message, your target market and the marketing infrastructure of your territory.
So, what are these pillars and how do you choose the ones that will help your store the most?
Direct mail lets you connect with thousands of potential clients in a single campaign. We recommend using engaging collateral and messaging that gives you cut through in the letterbox and encourages the recipient to keep your offering for longer. Using a strong call to action message is vital. Direct mail has strong appeal in Local Area Marketing as it can be targeted easily to a suburb, address or even an individual, giving you flexibility in your message. If you want to thank a current customer for their business, or tell the whole town about your latest offer, direct mail might be the answer.
Outdoor (Billboards and OOH)
Outdoor advertising is a great way to target a market that is on the move, offering high frequency and a wide reach to residents and visitors in your area. Whether it’s emphasising your location, spreading awareness or promoting an offer, this medium is effective at sharing simple, short and sharp messages. Outdoor has shown to enhance recognition and recall when used in addition to other channels and as many media companies offer a digital format, installation and production costs are reduced.
In-centre advertising allows your store to tap into the concentrated foot traffic of a retail environment. Whether your advertising emphasises the convenience and close proximity of your store or setting up a causal leasing space to start a conversation, this can be a great space to get attention and prompt immediate action.
If you’re located inside a shopping centre, there may be a number of complimentary options for marketing opportunities the centre provides at no cost. These should be used where appropriate and even though they are free to access, you should still make sure that the message is strategic, high quality and on brand in order to achieve the best result.
Some local papers have a loyal and supportive readership and could be the perfect vehicle to run editorial style adverts. Local newspapers can create a tie between the community and your store, and with many papers offering long-term booking discounts, you can development a consistency within the publication. Tapping into your local knowledge of the area and the papers you know and love can help you identify if press is likely to be effective and drive an ROI.
Radio and similar digital on-demand listening services are present in most people’s day-to-day activities and targets commuters and people at work or home. With ads often played multiple times in a day and across weeks or months, radio can help your audience feel familiar with your store and learn your store’s message. It is a wide-reaching medium which makes it ideal for franchisees with larger territories or perhaps you can work with your neighbouring franchisees to share the cost.
Cinema and TV
Cinema and TV provide access to an audience of consumers that are relaxed and comfortable. These short messages can provide a lot of information through effective visuals and are typically repeated granting a wide exposure to the message. TV and Cinema can have immense reach, but production costs can be high, so understanding your message and intent is vital.
Digital is arguably the most targetable form of marketing outside of personal selling. In many cases digital marketing provides the ability to target particular demographics, modify your campaign as it runs and test and measure actual leads and conversion. There are many options with digital marketing, but you need to be careful not to fall into the trap of a “set and forget” process. With great responsiveness comes great time-consumption. Setting up systems to allow easy feedback and responsiveness is the key to manage leads and push them through your sales funnel. And if you aren’t using Google My Business to drive your digital LAM, you need to start today!
Community Engagement (Networks and Sponsorship)
The strength in Local Area Marketing is the ability to position your business as an integral and committed part of your local community. Getting involved in sponsorship or undertaking networking encourages brand recognition that is not directly tied to selling your products and services while still providing an opportunity for you to connect with potential customers. Sponsorships work best when you leverage your own marketing channels to spread the word about how you are supporting your neighbourhood. Where possible find a way to leverage your sponsorship or networking engagement to extend your presence past just that activity.
Letting your clients know that you’re there, even when there isn’t a direct sales opportunity, can help build a personal relationship and long-term trust. Retention can be done en-masse (but targeted!) to your client base through activities like EDM’s or via a loyalty program or can be a more personal interaction, like hand written birthday cards or customer anniversary gifts.
We often use these as a starting point for our clients to build out tactical campaigns with specific messages. When pulling together your Local Area Marketing plan, it is important to consider which pillars are the best channel to share your message with your local area. Remember, a single pillar can’t hold up a whole building, so keeping a holistic mindset will help you build the foundation of successful ongoing franchise marketing.
With so many Local Area Marketing options available, we know it can be hard to know which foundation pillars are right for your business objectives. If you prefer more support, The Marketing Lab has the ability to prepare a customised market research report that identifies all the marketing opportunities in your area, allowing you to make an informed decision.
For more info, please contact us on 07 3088 3021.