Ways To Get Your Franchise Involved In The Community (And Why It’s Smart)

Ways To Get Your Franchise Involved In The Community

Getting involved in your community is the right thing to do. And getting your franchise business involved in the community is the right thing for your business. In this blog post, we explain how community engagement is smart marketing.

For franchisees, one of the biggest upsides of being part of a franchise brand is being a part of something bigger: national-level brand recognition and marketing campaigns mean that everybody’s familiar with your business and what you do. But when you get down to the individual franchise level, this can be a double-edged sword: local customers won’t view you as a local business. Instead, they may see you as a large, faceless corporation.

This is, of course, unfair: franchisees are local to their communities, living and working among their neighbors. Reminding people that when they shop a franchise they’re shopping locally is one of the most important ways a franchisee can get a leg up for their business.

That’s why community involvement is a key component for franchise marketing, and a way to accomplish the things that big-name brand recognition can’t.

In this blog post, we give you the 411 on community involvement for franchisees — and why it’s the smart play.

Contents

Read This: Mastering the Fundamentals of Franchise Marketing

Why Get Involved?

Most franchise businesses are well-known to the community, thanks to the marketing efforts of the franchisor to boost brand awareness everywhere. What getting involved in the community does is boost awareness of the franchisee, specifically. It can be difficult to feel a personal connection to a brand — but feeling a personal connection to Mike, the guy who runs the oil-change place (or restaurant, or dog groomer, or optometrist, etc.) on the corner is something else entirely

Other benefits of local involvement include:

  • Establishing Credibility: When your neighbors see you on the ground of your community contributing and making a difference, you become a solid person in the eyes of that community. People who know you can be relied upon to help out around town will quite rightly assume that you can also be relied upon to conduct your business the right way.

  • Build Word-of-Mouth: Getting involved builds inroads in your community — and roads work in both directions. Whether it’s boosting sales, attracting new clients, or hiring quality employees, building a name for yourself in the community is a great way to draw more people in through your doors.

  • Free Publicity: In traditional marketing, the only way to get into the local news is by buying ad space. But community actions, charitable giving, and local sponsorships can cross the threshold into “actual news” territory. While you can’t guarantee news coverage, it’s a real possibility — and when you pull it off, the reach extends a lot further than a print ad could hope for.

  • Doing the Right Thing: On top of everything else, community involvement has a tangible benefit for your community. This might go without saying, but this is something we shouldn’t lose sight of.

That all sounds great, of course — the next question is, isn’t this expensive? 

Isn’t This Expensive?

Charity is often about money — but not always. There are plenty of ways to give back to the community without putting a big dent in a franchisee’s marketing budget. Encouraging employees to volunteer for causes (or giving them time off to volunteer with a cause of their own choosing), offering up excess materials or space, or mentoring people who need help are all very low-cost ways to help out around town without breaking the bank.

Once you’ve established your franchise location in the community, of course, there are other ways to pitch in, and some of those can cost additional money — but the nice thing about charitable donations is that you get to decide how big of a donation to make. So, if community involvement is the smart move, how does one get started? 

Ways To Get Involved

Obviously, depending on the type of vertical your franchise operates in, some options for community involvement will be more sensible than others. But some of them are good options for any franchise. Some things to try include:

Sponsor A Local Sports Team: Lots of youth sports have needs: things like equipment, uniforms, or snacks for practices and games. In some areas, sponsoring a local sports team even means getting your franchise logo somewhere on the uniform. If the youth leagues don’t allow for that kind of sponsorship, local schools may be interested in some extra help. And you don’t need to limit yourself to kids, either: intramural adult leagues for sports like softball, basketball, and pickleball may also appreciate the help. And if nobody needs equipment, picking up the tab for a celebratory end-of-season dinner could generate the goodwill you’re looking for.

Donate To A Local Charity: animal shelters, soup kitchens, charity auctions and more are always on the lookout for donations of money, food, or swag they can use. If you’re giving money, you can make the donation on one of those large cardboard checks, and get a photo handing it over to share in the local papers and on social media.

Participate In A Canned Food Drive: A lower-cost option when you’re getting started in a community is making your locations a drop-off point for annual canned food drives, particularly around the holidays. If you’ve got customers coming in and out all day, setting up a box and offering them a discount for donating to the cause is a great way to feed the hungry while demonstrating your core values.

Host Community Events: Depending on your business and the type of space you operate in, you might be able to offer up your conference rooms, parking lots, or other spaces as a potential venue for community events like Scout meetings, charity car washes, and more. This one will vary pretty wildly depending on what kind of facilities you have at your disposal, but the point is thinking outside the box. If you’ve got an option that works, you might attract a large group of people to your front door.

Support Local Schools: You don’t have to limit yourself to sports teams. Teachers are always in need of school supplies, tissues, art supplies, and more. We’ve all heard the stories of underpaid teachers forced to buy these things out-of-pocket. If you’ve got a little more money to play with, setting up a small scholarship fund for a local student will also get your name out there while making someone’s life a little easier.

There’s more, of course — there’s no end of ways to pitch in and help out around your community. Depending on the sorts of goods or services your franchise business offers, you may be a natural fit for one of these, or for something else that’s not on the list. Use your imagination, and try to think of ways you can help.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there’s a whole spectrum of ways to get involved in the community while getting your name out there. You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money — donating your time or space can often make a big difference for people. It’s up to you.

When it comes to franchise marketing, Balihoo is the solution that takes your operation to the next level. Balihoo is the leader in multi-location marketing: we cover paid search, paid social, CTV campaigns, and more. With Balihoo’s suite of tools, you can launch thousands of ads at the touch of a button, saving franchisees time that they can spend working in their communities. Reach out today to get started.

 
 

Written by
Sean Kelly, Senior Content Writer

Sean Kelly is a Senior Content Specialist, St. Louis-based engagement expert with 20 years of experience in content writing, and 8 years in adtech.

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