Local advertising can give you good value for your money
You are only weeks away from opening your new franchise business, or you have just taken over in the last few months, you re read your agreement and you remember you have committed a % of your money to LOCAL AREA MARKETING!
Having thought briefly about it, you feel that it is a great deal of money you have committed to your Franchisor to spend (maybe 2 or 3% of your turnover), and you have little idea how to get a good BANG FOR YOUR BUCK.
This scenario confronts many small businesses whether they are a franchise or an independent business who has allocated a budget to LAM.
LOCAL AREA MARKETING can be a very effective tool in promoting the business, or a bottomless pit into which you tip money for little or no return. If your Franchisor has some LAM promotions to use, artwork done, flyers designed, a process to follow already established, then use it. If not, then think in terms of matching the right type of promotion to the area you are working in. The motto should be “Use a rifle approach, not a shot gun”.
It is always easy to give away money, but how do you know if you are receiving value for money? Donations to the local football club may make you feel good and help your son be selected in the A team. As far as value is concerned, it is much better to make an incentive or rebate contribution scheme for all participants, members, friends etc as a way of contributing back to the Club.
In a past life as a Director of a Local Area Marketing company, we looked at 4 steps:
- Assess and reload
Are you ready for starting Local Area Marketing? It is of little value if you bring in all these new customers only to offer a poor sales experience which may be them seeing old signage, out of stock, poor service, and generally an experience that makes them wonder why they took advantage of your promotion. Before you start, ensure the fundamentals of the business are ready. In working with one of the major fast food companies on this, we established a checklist that each store had to pass to be allowed to start LAM.
Understanding your area is extremely important if you wish to undertake Local Area Marketing successfully. It is pointless promoting a special for Seniors in a new housing growth area, same as it is of low value promoting a special for children in the old demographic areas. You can learn about your area by looking at the ABS website www.abs.gov.au or through companies that have census data and other databases to provide what we call Residential Summaries
If you want to market to business, there are similar databases that can show how many businesses, by business type, and approximate number of employees there is in a particular postcode.
If you want actual businesses to target, there are companies that can provide you with a Business Hit List, showing business names, address and phone numbers. This may be handy if you wish to co market with a particular type of business, EG Mortgage brokers may want to know all the real estate agents, lawyers, accountants and financial planners in their territory.
Once you know about your area, you should be using a promotion you feel is compatible with the area.
Simple examples could be:
- Older demographic area – some form of discount to a Seniors Card
- Young family area – some promotion where you give away a toy with a purchase.
- B2B business – either a co branding opportunity, or a discount offer to your shop offered in a partnering business and vice a versa.
- Sports clubs – a rebate opportunity back to the club by way of voucher
- A tyre company use to offer Ladies nights to show ladies some basics about their car.
- A brake company use to offer a Can – a – Part. Once you made 24 purchases you won a slab of beer.
Implement correctly. Many a LAM promotion has floundered before it really begins. Schedule the build up and ensure all the pieces are in place – YOU ARE PAYING FOR IT!. Ensure the artwork is correct, ensure the delivery schedule if a mail drop is timed correctly. Make sure you have sufficient stock of the product you are promoting. We could name 100 areas that can derail your promotion, all we are saying is sit down beforehand and write out a schedule of all the items that need to be done, a date and a person who is responsible.
The day of reckoning will arrive when your promotion starts, and it is little value if at that time you now find you cannot read the flyer, the advertisement in the local paper didn’t include your address or phone number, or your extra promotional signs don’t arrive for another week!
Assess and reload.
At the end of the promotion, some assessment must be done to see if it has been effective and whether you or others in the franchise should do it again. If you are putting out letterbox drops, have a return vouchure that you can count and measure. Maybe ask customers over the period why they came to you and record the number that come from the Local Area Promotion. There are hundreds of ways to assess the success of failure of your LAM campaign. Our point is that if it works, spread the word amongst the franchise and you and others can either do it again or improve further upon the idea. If it has not worked, then look for another promotion to try. Don’t give up and become a negative Franchisee who blames the Franchisor for your lack of success.
Many franchises have a Local Area Marketing section within their website, and the web sites we established previously invited the franchisees to rate the promotions, and make comments in a chat room within their intranet so other franchisees could learn and benefit from their experiences.
Local Area marketing can be a very good way to increase business. Simple promotions are probably the most effective, however they MUST be targeted to the customer you are trying to attract.
Peter Buckingham is the Managing Director of Spectrum Analysis Australia Pty Ltd, the leading Geodemographic and Retail Sales Modelling Company in Australia. Spectrum assists many large retailers and Franchisors in better understanding the retail market from a site and area selection view.