Most small business owners are experts in their field but running a successful venture means wearing many hats, and ‘marketing expert' is one of them.
One of the pluses of investing in a successful franchise is the broad advertising and marketing campaigns organised by the franchisor. However while these campaigns may have significant reach, it is still critical for small businesses to market across their local region. In fact this is an area where small businesses can have an edge over their bigger competitors.
Local area marketing demonstrates your expertise
It's no secret that in today's internet-driven world, consumers are often extremely well-informed. Add in the availability of online services through e-commerce, and small business owners can start to feel the playing field is skewed in favour of big business.
But small business owners hold a trump card – the ability to provide a highly personalised, expert service. In effect, through local area marketing, small businesses can be the lynchpin that helps customers turn broad-brush data into personal decisions.
If you're not convinced, think about the sheer volume of property websites available. Yet we still rely on the personal skill of a local real estate agent to buy or sell our homes. That's because when it comes to big decisions, local advice is more relevant to our needs than something we may have read online.
Become the go-to expert
The challenge for time-poor small business owners is to position themselves as the go-to person for trusted, expert advice, and this is where local area marketing is so effective.
As a franchisee, your franchisor should be able to provide marketing ideas and suggestions, however here are five ideas to help you maximise the return on your local marketing investment – even if your budget is tight.
1. Develop network partnerships
Teaming up with other small businesses in your area is a simple way to build referrals. You can double your exposure to a new group of customers for almost zero cost.
2. Consider a customer referral program
Rewarding customers who send new business your way can be extremely effective. Remember, word of mouth recommendations are one of the most powerful forms of marketing, and a referral program can actively encourage your customers to spread the word about your business.
3. Support your local community – and let them know about it
Plenty of businesses offer support to community groups but they often fail to take advantage of this marketing opportunity by not telling their customers about it. This can mean missing out on the groundswell of consumer sentiment to support local communities.
If you sponsor a local sporting team, interest group or community event, capitalise on your investment and actively demonstrate how you are an active participant in your customers' community. It's all about deepening the emotional connection you have with customers – and that's at the heart of every successful business.
4. Apply for local business awards
Even if you don't pick up an award, local business competitions are often widely promoted by the organiser – typically the local chamber of commerce. Simply being an award nominee can mean getting your business name in the local paper for the cost of an entry fee. Award presentation functions also provide a good opportunity to network with likeminded business owners – and potential customers – in your area.
5. Reach out to local media
Local mediacan offer affordable marketing beyond paid print or radio advertising. Consider offering to write a regular column in your suburban newspaper for instance. Just be sure you have something to say that is newsworthy and relevant to your market, while showcasing your skill as a local expert.
A Mortgage Choice franchise comes with the backing of marketing expertise and advertising support – a key advantage for our franchisees. Discover more about the opportunities offered by a Mortgage Choice franchise or call us on 1300 650 330 for further details.