My Franchise Doesn’t Give Me Enough Advertising Exposure
Here are the Show Notes from the Episode:
**keep in mind that show notes are raw and only highlight what is in the episode. Listen to the show for the full content**
Episode 16 – Help, I Need More Advertising
My Franchise Doesn’t Give Me Enough Advertising Exposure
Welcome back to the Local Small Business Coach Podcast, I am your coach Tammy Adams. Here is where we discuss your local small business and how to increase your profits, boost your sales, improve your processes and develop stronger teams.
It’s Friday. So you know what that means….It is time for your questions. Today, I thought we would dive into a subject we have touched on but haven’t dived in as much as we probably need to. When I’m talking to local businesss owners, it comes up quite a bit and that is advertising or as it is typically called today … Marketing.
Before I jump into the question I want to touch on this for a second. In general, these two words have a lot in common. While there are some differences, advertising and marketing are both all about getting folks to use your business.
Think of marketing as the items that you use to tell folks all about your businesses. It might be business cards, flyers, car wraps, signing, your social media accounts, stuff like that. Things were you give out information on who you are and what you or your business do.
Advertising, while it accomplishes the same mission, is more geared toward offering folks something to get them into your business or to call you for your services. For example it might be a buy one get one free, a discount or a sale price.
So marketing is about getting your name out and advertising is about getting them in.
As a local small business owner, both of these are two hats that you will need to wear on a regular basis. Large companies have entire departments that help with this. Since you obviously will not have this option, you are your head of marketing.
When I had my store, I swear every week someone was either coming to speak to me about how they had some fantastic marketing opportunity I just needed to use or I was fool not to check out. And if someone wasn’t coming in, then I was getting emails or phone calls.
When I transitioned over to real estate it only got worse. I swear I get some marketer or advertising firm reaching out daily to get my business.
Some days it feels like everyone and their mother has something that will take your business to the next level. The problem is, weeding through it all to find out what works for your local small business.
While it all sounds good, not everything works for everyone. Each business is unique and so are its potential customers and clients. A great example of this is social media. Social media is great for some businesses and horrible for others. For example, if you have a photography business, then social media is great to share your pictures. An Instagram account would do wonders for them.
However, not so much for a plumber or an electrician. Unless of course you love looking wires and pipes.
The problem with all these great marketing opportunities is they cost money. And testing and trying them can get pretty costly as you try and figure out what works and what doesn’t.
The hard lesson I learned was to NEVER sign up for anything that you can’t test for a few months before a long term commitment. Yes, you must give things a few months to take hold, but you also need to know when to cut bait. You should see something in that 3-6 month range.
The problem is, marketing folks are great at what they do. They are professional marketers so they are great at selling their products and convincing you that you need them. The problem is even the greatest opportunity still might not be best for you.
We will dive into this topic more in future episodes but since it is Friday, I want to go ahead and jump into our question from one of you. And of course to stick with our conversation, it is on advertising.
Today’s questions comes from Kristen. Kristen asks…
Hey Tammy, I own a business that is part of a franchise. As part of my franchise agreement, I pay 5% of my sales into the company advertising pool. The problem is, it seems all the money goes into the bigger cities and none of it is used at my local level. This is very frustrating as I put in thousands of dollars and get nothing in return. What can I do to get some of this money to be spent on my potential customers? I appreciate any insight you might have since you mentioned your store was a franchise as well. Kristen
Kristen, you are speaking to me! This was probably my biggest frustration as a franchisee. There is nothing worse than pouring money into something that you never see any benefit from.
Like you, I saw all the advertising hit the Phoenix market yet very little if, any trickle into my little town outside of the major city.
I will tell you, the first thing you want to do is stop spending energy being frustrated. The hard truth is, the odds are very strong that there is nothing you can do on a larger scale to get your franchise to funnel this money into your area. Here is why…
A franchise has a dual mission. On one hand, they need to provide the individual franchisees the tools they need to be successful, but they also have to ensure the national brand is well known and getting the exposure it needs.
I like to call this the Big hat thinking vs Small hat thinking. You as a franchisee are stuck in the middle. You need that national brand to be strong. After all, that is probably the number #1 reason you bought a franchise. You wanted that name brand.
The problem is, your day to day survival is about getting them through your doors.
A few years into my business I came to a realization that I needed to stop counting on the franchise to supply the local advertising I needed in my community. Once I let this expectation go, it allowed me to focus my energy on my advertising / marketing needs. It put the power back in my hands.
While it never feels good to have that 5% going out to something you don’t get, I’d just think of it as a franchise fee off the top and let it go. It isn’t going to change. This money will continue to be used in the larger markets as it makes the most sense for the big hat of the franchise.
Ok, so once we let go of that corporate expectation, what do you do? Especially if you don’t have any additional wiggle room in your budget. I feel this pain. I was a low volume store and was stuck. I needed the advertising to drive sales but I needed the sales to drive the advertising.
I realized that I needed to carve out at least $200 a month that I could use locally. I tested various coupons in the local papers and finally I found my most successful one was our local coupon paper.
Now remember, it isn’t just about them using the coupon. What I was paying for was part getting them into the store and part them knowing my businesses was in town. It was all about getting my business in front of as many “eyes” as I could.
Another thing I did was put a truck wrap on my truck. While these aren’t cheap, it was probably the single best thing I did to help my business get local exposure. Nothing helps your recognition more than driving around with giant sized ice cream on it.
Could I afford these monthly advertising items? No, but could I afford not to do them? No.
Look at your business. Find areas you can squeeze out money to use for your advertising. Think of free ways you can get your business out there.
Supporting local events is another great way. If you volunteer, you can wear your company name. Maybe your team can participate in a walk / run or other community event and show your team spirit.
Does your franchise have mascot? Is there a uniform you can use for a week or so. Some of them let you borrow it for events.
Do you have a Facebook page for your company that you could have fun on? Local communities love Facebook so create something they would love to follow and see what you have going on.
Partner up with another local business and run a family night together. I had a pizza place next door and we would do family nights where you got a special on pizza and then came to me for desert. Folks could have pizza and an ice cream for $5 a person. You would be amazed at how it picks up steam and becomes a family tradition.
By the way, even if you are in one of these big cities and you get the advantage of the corporate dollars in your advertising, I really do challenge you to run with these same ideas. If you are one of 10 locations in that city, how can you stand out from the others? How can you get folks to go out of their way to come to your place vs the others?
How do you get them not to use the other competitors?
Listen, if any of you put all your eggs into your franchisee’s marketing and advertising you will be disappointed and frustrated.
You became a local small business owner for a reason. You wanted to be your own boss. You wanted to control your own destiny. So stop counting on some corporate office to take care of you.
But you must take control of your advertising and marketing.
Kristen, I know this is not what you want to hear. I wish I could tell you that you can fight for more dollars to be used locally but that would be falsly leading you to thinking it will change. I’d rather you spend that energy making small “wins” that make difference and grow from there. Start with $50 then grow as you can. Dollar for dollar this will be the most impactful money you will spend.
Get that budget going and brainstorm on things you can do locally. Have fun with it. The great thing about any community is, it has its own personality. How can you take advantage of that.
Every single franchisee needs to think just like any non-franchisee. You are responsible for your marketing and advertising. Like I mentioned, the sooner you can let go of that “false” marketing money you are paying the easier this will be. Being frustrated and mad isn’t going to change it. So just let it go and put your energy into things you can change.
If you have a local small business and you have some great local advertising or marketing ideas others should try, head on over to the website at LocalSmallBusinessCoach.com and leave your thoughts on the speakpipe button or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org . I would love to share your best practices here on the show.
Listen, we are all in this together so the more we can share our questions and our best practices we all win!
Time to wrap this up. So until next time, remember, if you like what we are taking about, then make sure to subscribe to the podcast so you never miss an episode, and if you love the podcast and what we are talking about, then please leave a 5 star review so other local small business owners know this is a podcast that they can’t miss.
And if you have a question you would like possibly answered on the show, don’t forget to visit the website at LocalSmallBusinessCoach.com to leave your question for me using the Speakpipe button or just shoot me an email. See you on our next episode…Bye for now…..
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Episode Show Notes: Episode 16 – Local Small Business Coach Podcast
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