Blog, Franchise Development

Opening a New Franchise Location? Generate Local Awareness Fast

When a franchisee begins presales or signs a new location, they’re faced with a tough question: How do they quickly and efficiently raise enough local awareness that they’ll be flooded with business starting Day 1 of Grand Opening? The most successful marketing campaigns start well before a business actually opens.

Here are a few ways a strategic agency partner can help your franchise maximize this crucial stage of franchise business growth.

1. Announce your presence—and leverage your brand identity

A direct mail campaign can be considered when initially announcing that you’ll be joining the neighborhood, but for many markets, a digital campaign will provide the most trackable and budget-conscious results. Through paid social media and geo-fence ads, we can target select ages with specific interests in a local radius or even a precise location or event at a certain time. By using “coming soon” messaging that targets only those people who are likely to be interested in your business, your announcement will be heard loud and clear when and where it matters most—and you can start to build a loyal following.

As a franchisee who has bought into a national or possibly global brand, you fortunately won’t be starting from scratch. By using the brand guidelines, assets, and tools, available to you, you can reach local leads who already know, trust, and are excited about the brand. A franchise-focused agency partner will use those assets in a way that maximizes digital ad spend efficiency and success.

2. Engage your local community—and maximize visibility through digital

Now that you’ve started to make your digital footprint and your audience knows your business is on its way, it’s time to show them all you have to offer the community. Whether it’s a 5K for charity, campus activity, or sports game, actively getting involved by sponsoring and supporting local events can send a message that you’re joining the community—not taking advantage of it. And of course, these events will all serve as opportunities to interact with potential prospects and start building relationships with people who could end of being long-term members or customers.

You can also host your own events in the community before you have a brick-and-mortar location—such as a party to kick off membership presales, or an event where the community can sample products and services coming soon.

Be sure to take lots of pictures, videos, and boomerangs with prospects at all of these events so you can share them on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube. Encourage leads to follow you on social media so they can see (and share) the pictures they’re in. Taking the buzz from a physical event onto social media extends visibility and promotes viral exposure among your leads’ own networks of family and friends.

Ask your agency for best practices and to help you integrate that valuable content into your organic social media publishing schedule.

3. Create a sense of urgency

Do you know who your customers will be on Day 1? Pre-open lead capture and sign-ups can seem difficult when Grand Opening is more than a couple months out, but the right messaging and offer can help you lock in business well before Opening Day. Your agency partner will combine efficient ad targeting with “last chance,” “before we open only,” and countdown messaging about your pre-sales promotion, using click-worth calls to action to drive prospects to a lead-capture landing page focused on collecting the contact information of your future customers.

4. Don’t just generate leads—stay connected with them 

Once you’ve created an initial sense of urgency and excitement, your agency partner can help you keep your leads engaged in the months leading up to Grand Opening.

Email marketing has proven to be a cost-efficient, fast, and effective way to communicate with leads to stay top of mind, educate them about the brand, and to keep them in the loop about your opening dates and any events along the way. Because leads have already expressed interest and opted in to receive email updates, they are highly likely to open and engage with your email marketing campaign.

Social media is also an effective platform to connect with the audience you’ve built through digital advertising and local marketing efforts. In addition to consistently publishing informative and promotional branded content, your agency can help you leverage content that sparks engagement and conversation. Every comment on your social posts should be liked and/or responded to. In the long run, your engagement will catch the eye of prospects as well as their social networks, showing your franchise favorably as one that listens and cares.

Maximize your pre-open marketing

Pre-open marketing is an opportunity for business growth that deserves attention and expertise. To learn how your brand can optimize its hyperlocal marketing during the pre-open phase and all stages of growth, schedule a call with iluma Agency today.

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