…and the local, regional and national support to back you up and put you center stage for your target audience
One of the biggest expenses for a bright-eyed entrepreneur is attached to the task of letting the world know that you’re officially in business and ready, willing and able to help them with their needs. Your business will fall into profit-draining obscurity without effective advertising.
No matter what your industry, if you are opening your business independently, it can feel like you are an unknown opening act trying to connect with a full amphitheater of potential clients who are really just waiting for the headliner, the “Rolling Stones” (if you will) of whatever products and services they want and need, not YOU. They don’t know you and it will be quite expensive to try to convince them that they need to get to know you. In today’s climate, where established brands have powerful marketing budgets to cover a wide range of channels, even if you are in a prime location, people unfamiliar with what you have to offer will be hard-pressed to find you – and an even more honest statement is that they may not want to put in the effort to give you a try.
However, if you align yourself with a nationally or even an internationally known brand through franchising, well, it’s like going from a largely ignored opening act to leaning in on Mick Jagger’s shoulder and sharing the mic with him. People will hear you and recognize your value with greater immediacy if you find and grab the right franchise for sale. You gain the full force of a multi-million dollar regional and national marketing and advertising extravaganza that is inherent to franchise ownership.
If you have the guts and the fortitude to harness the star power of a respected franchisor, you may just have a shot at your own brand of business stardom – and all the benefits that come with it
Franchising puts you on the main stage, front and center, with your target audience. The trick is deciphering which franchisors have the most powerful stage presence in the business world and doing so requires introspection and research on your part because, to return to the performance analogy, not everyone has the stuff it takes share the stage with a guy like Mick Jagger. Similarly, not everyone is cut out for successful franchise ownership and the dedication it takes to maximize the enormous benefit a prestigious franchisor has to offer. In other words, if you get yourself onto the big stage with a big name, eminent franchisor, you still have to strut your stuff and collect your own following in order to build a truly robust business.
Dan Reeves, owner of Minuteman Press in Burnside, MN, learned from experience that all franchisors are not going to back you and invest themselves in providing you with the tools you need to build a healthy business, much less have the star power needed to put you on the main stage in the industry. He discovered Minuteman Press International during his second run as a franchise owner and he has never been happier with his decision. Dan and his son Mike have that special business stage presence which allowed them to take the widely respected Minuteman Press brand and use it to gather a loyal audience that continues to funnel into their regular customer base.
Dan shares some thoughts on the value of local advertising efforts for his business to business services industry clientele and knows that regardless of industry, a business owner has to generate his or her own buzz. Dan advises, “Be involved in your local community. I believe it is the single most important way to brand yourself. Get involved in your Chamber of Commerce, or Rotary, or some other civic organization as a means to become more recognizable in your business community. SEO/SEM is equally important to spread your name (and the brand in general) out to a much broader audience. I have received some large orders through the internet simply because I am at the top of the first page when they search by key words.”
If you try to build a name for yourself from scratch, be prepared to spend more money as an unknown in order to have a shot at gaining even some local fame. As part of a franchise family, you may provide a monthly contribution to a national advertising fund, but you will be spared an independent owner’s burden where every dime needed to market and advertise your business comes directly from your own bottom line.
Here are four ways that advertising your franchise as a main stage attraction can work well for you where it counts, as shared by business to business industry experts:
1. Get top billing with Direct Mail: Rich Hornberger, Minuteman Press Regional Vice President, knows that snatching and keeping attention from a diverse range of markets can be done with the help of direct mail. Rich shares, “Direct mail marketing is an excellent way to advertise your franchise or business to diverse markets. Using Every Door Direct Mail from the US Post Office is a cost effective way to reach a specific locale, sending a mailer to every recipient on a selected postal route. Sending Direct Mail Marketing pieces to recipients of a specific demographic, can allow your franchises message to reach a more regional or even national audience.”
Direct mail brings you a wider audience of all ages, despite assumptions that younger potential clients are not responding. Quite the contrary, according to the numbers from DMA: From 2012 to 2013, there was a big jump in response to direct mail pieces by 18-21 year olds (an increase from 4.1% in 2012 to 12.4% in 2013)
2. Use the “star power” of a famous logo: Jared Ostendorf, owner of International Minute Press in Fayetteville, NC, fully utilizes the enormous power of recognition granted to him from his franchisor’s beloved and classic “Minuteman” figure as a graphic representation of the brand. Embedded in the hearts and minds of B2B clients for more than 40 years, the familiar green and orange colors, presented in a variety of forms, represent a guarantee that all who seek products and services from their local Minuteman Press can expect the best quality in a most timely manner. As a well-established but keenly conscious corporation in the modern era, Minuteman Press International has designed and implemented a variety of marketing tools and strategies from which its owners can select and use their advantage.
Franchisees are the ones who benefit from the non-stop creative ingenuity of a corporation such as Minuteman Press International because they are continuously fed with options to help them grow their businesses. Jared explains how he chooses to implement the many graphic brand representations afforded to him in a fashion that serves his particular advertising goals, “We advertise on a local level only. We really brand around the “Minuteman” figure. In fact, we created a local personality for him that people can remember and consistently use “Call the Minuteman at International Minute Press” in most of our marketing materials. As a franchise, a lot of owners use the new “MP ‘swoosh'” logo a lot, but I feel the Minuteman figure is easier for our customers to remember. Every piece of marketing material we create has the Minuteman in various poses.” Jared essentially emphasized the personality of the Minuteman figure in a way that resonates with people, encouraging new and repeat business.
3. Where everybody knows your name… Pat Kittle, owner of Minuteman Press North Conway, NH, chooses to brandish his Minuteman Press colors all over town, in ways that endear him to his community. “We advertise locally only, both in the local paper and on our localradio station. We also take advantage of every request for”sponsorships” by local non-profits by placing ads in their programs.”
4. As your local fame grows, expand beyond one location: Keith Miller, multi-unit Minuteman Press franchise owner with four locations around Baltimore, MD, touches on the regional advertising power afforded to franchisees. This is of particular value if you were to generate enough momentum in your entrepreneurial venture that you find yourself wanting to open another location (or more) within your regional area. In Keith’s words, “Having multiple storefronts allows you to grow and expand your client base at an accelerated pace, service more customers and command a greater market share.”
“There are many ways to advertise your franchise. I’ve helped owners all over the US and Canada with all types of advertising,” adds Rich Panowitz, Minuteman Press International Area Manager in Houston, TX. A statement such as this from a representative of the number-one rated digital print, design and marketing franchise is not one that every franchise corporation can make. The reality of franchise scams is real, but when you align yourself with a stand-out star among the crowd of common franchise trends, you infuse your new business venture with instant recognition and a sense of trust among your potential clients. How you build upon that trust is where your business savvy comes into play, but an unknown entrepreneur does not have a lot of money to spend on advertising and no guarantee that lucrative brand recognition will ever come to pass.
Rich continues with more on how he and his colleagues regularly assist hundreds of Minuteman Press franchise owners all over the globe with their marketing and advertising efforts and shares a bit on how you, too, can gain some advertising ground stating, “From going out locally and meeting your neighboring businesses and talking about your services, to attending networking groups, to sending out mailings, you can garner the right kind of attention. On a local level there is always www.google.com/business. This is a free site that Google offers to showcase your business. I’ve helped many of the franchisees that I’ve worked with set this up. Then there are the others like Yahoo and Bing that offer the same type of listings. I think one of the best approaches to advertising is the SEO/SEM and SEO/SEM plus programs with Minuteman Press. This has shown fantastic results for our owners. Heck, I was in a store last week and the owner said jokingly that he was going to cut back on his SEM plus program because there was so much work coming in! With the proper follow up, the investment, I believe it gives a tremendous ROI.
Mr. Panowitz summarizes with a reminder that concerns about precious brand recognition need not hamper you if you put yourself out there on the big stage under the right name, with pride. He notes, “Just being a part of a leading worldwide franchise such as Minuteman Press and gaining the enormous name recognition that comes with it is a most unique and valuable asset, particularly when it comes to advertising your business.”
Minuteman Press International is a business service franchise that is rated #1 in category by Entrepreneur for 13 years in a row and 24 times overall, including 2016. We are the modern version of the printing industry, providing high quality products and services for businesses that go way beyond just ink on paper. Today our stores provide a full suite of branding and marketing solutions and produce promotional products, custom apparel, direct mail advertising, large format printing (banners and signs), and much more.