Experts share ways you can make your mark and endear yourself to the people who do not yet know they need your products and services.
If you just celebrated the grand opening of your franchise, you may still be riding a deserved high from shedding the shackles of your white-collar corporate job with threats of corporate downsizing and layoffs attached. Your future is anew with possibilities that, more than ever, are sweetened with the reality of your own command. Yet, there is an important element of business growth to address and that is the need to get to know your customers. If you made sure to be the talk of the town at your grand opening, you are off to a hopeful start. Just don’t get too cozy micromanaging details in your location because your potential clients are not in your franchise…yet. They are out there gathering together at festivals, charity events and other forums specific to the flavor of your town. Some of them are small business owners themselves and they may just need your help. You need to go get ’em and bring them in.
If you are vying for attention through digital marketing only, you face the perils of crowded online advertising and you could be buried quickly. Snagging the right attention for your franchise means enticing people to come your way with their challenges in a way that isn’t annoying, smothering, typical or appearing to be all about the money. It isn’t easy to be a small business owner gaining attention without support, but realizing that every minute you spend marketing and making connections with your audience should be highly focused in your backyard. Your local community is the key to getting the right kind of attention from the right folks.
Start by going beyond what you sell and into the role of steadfast community contributor
Dee Bisel, owner of Minuteman Press in Lawrence, Kansas, made her mark as a dedicated and positive force within her local community through getting out of her shop and getting her hands dirty within community groups, effecting meaningful growth for her relationships with potential clients quite naturally. Minuteman Press International is the modern printing industry while maintaining a tradition of caring about the communities every franchise serves. No matter what industry your franchise represents, without the human element at work, without joining in the process of building and enriching the lives around your business, you will stagnate. As Dee says, “The way that we’ve grown our business over 23 years is through being active in the community. I walked down and joined The Chamber of Commerce when I became a business owner as I am a huge believer in community involvement and I would say it’s the one thing I do to market my business and keep my customers. You become friends with the decision makers of other companies in this way and you do it not by being phony, but by digging in and really being committed and showing them you are here to stay.”
Dee sees the difference between business club members who are there for themselves only and those who are there for the community and she assures us that the way to get to know your community is to be an active part of it, adding, “It is not a matter of just paying your dues; it is about working just as hard for Rotary, Junior Achievement, Chamber of Commerce and your referral group. By doing so, you are making it clear that you are not just there to get their business, but you are there to work on the philanthropy attached to the organizations. They want you in shorts on a hot day selling BBQ or with a shovel in your hands on Arbor Day, not just paying dues and pitching your business. I met key people who helped me grow my business through digging holes for those trees and selling that BBQ. I hear people say they joined the chamber and didn’t get business. Did you volunteer? Did you hold an office? Those are the things that matter, not just sending a check. Be concerned about what they are raising money for – not raising money for yourself because they can see through that. Those of us have been around for a long time can see a new person and tell if their intentions are purely self-motivated. If I’m having a glass of wine talking about the hearts of gold ball at the hospital and someone comes up and tries to sell me insurance, it’s clear he doesn’t get it. So they either get it really quickly or we never see them again.”
Showing the community that you are more than what you sell
As a franchise owner, you are going to bring knowledge about business that will be unique, perhaps as a result of the training you received at corporate, your natural business intelligence or, as you gain experience, solving clients’ challenges with your products and services and personal touch. This puts you in a position to share knowledge with other entrepreneurs and come off as an expert in your industry. Consider starting your own blogs with regularly updated advice and perspectives that will keep people coming back for more. Perhaps you have something to share about being a working parent or how working in partnership with your spouse to run your franchise was a decision that changed your lives for the better. Also, those business clubs come into play once again by serving as a platform for you to be a guest speaker on one of your favorite topics, one that will reflect positively on your business and give you a great reputation. Getting to know the people in your community and promoting your business in these ways will get you the attention that you deserve.
Minuteman Press franchise complaints are not to be anticipated by franchise owners who tend to the task of becoming an intrinsic part of the communities they serve. In fact, high praise has been a consistent response from communities worldwide once this modern version of the printing industry establishes roots. Mike Berg owns a successful Minuteman Press franchise in Ashland, Virginia and from his great experience, he offers this advice, “Follow the corporate marketing process including on-line and social media opportunities. To use my franchisor as an example, Minuteman Press International has been extremely successful for many years. They know what works and what doesn’t.”
Here are 7 ways to get to know your customers, from Mike Berg:
1. Consider joining a networking group. Groups like BNI, the local Chamber of Commerce, and Better Business Bureau, etc., can be very helpful.
2. Realize you need to spend money to make money. Do not be afraid to use the same techniques and programs you recommend to clients. Send out flyers, every door direct mail or bulk mailings.
3. Sponsor local school or charitable events with discounted printing. Make sure you are recognized as a sponsor on event t-shirts, banners etc.
4. Purchase a mailing list from a reputable dealer such as Info USA. You filter the data in many ways to discover potential customers in your area.
5. Always have some nice giveaway items for your direct marking calls. Promotional products such as pads, pens, and custom branded apparel(T-shirts, hats, etc.) are a great way to introduce yourself and increase brand awareness.
6. Include a new customer discount coupon.
7. Maintain and freshen your website. Also, stay active on social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn.
“Every one of these suggestions should be evaluated and prioritized. The point is there are so many ways to learn who your customers are, and the only way you will fail is through inaction. The choice is yours,” adds Mike.
“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” – Michael Jordan
Let’s face it. You are motivated to get to know the people your franchise will serve so that you can build your business and make money. The delightful surprise may be that the process of engaging with the folks in your community fulfills not only the needs of your bottom line, but through picking up shovels and planting trees, collecting money from that local BBQ for charity or stepping up to the podium to speak as a business expert, you will fulfill the needs of the shared human spirit in your community, too.
To learn more about joining the #1 rated Minuteman Press franchise family, call us at 1-800-645-3006 or simply fill out the contact form on this page.