Babz and I are delighted with how Romp n’ Roll’s brand and curriculum has developed over the past ten years.
We also love expanding Romp n’ Roll’s successful concept, and strategic marketing is a critical step in our process.
As Director of Marketing, Trish Gibbs, explains. “Our marketing initiatives strengthen the brand—both locally and on the corporate level.”
And yet, to be a successful in any franchise, you must take an active role in creatively marketing your own businesses.
For instance, at Romp n’ Roll, we provide our franchisees with marketing guidance and a foundation for success. But as Trish points out, it’s those who build upon that guidance and support “that reap the most rewards.”
Here are a few suggestions to creatively market your franchise and recruit customers:
People trust the advice and recommendations of friends and family more than anything else. In fact, a recent Harris poll found that more than 80% of American consumers seek peer recommendations.
If existing customers love what you’re doing, they’ll sing your praises to their peers. They become organic brand ambassadors. Why not reward them with a referral program as they help you market your franchise?
For instance, at Romp n’ Roll, when a parent brings in a new member, some franchisees offer that parent a small discount on membership.
If your franchise is not membership-based, reward brand ambassadors with swag, gift certificates, or some other incentive.
Leverage the Power of Social Media
Social media is an excellent tool to market your franchise while building and promoting your brand.
Interacting with existing and potential customers on social media engages not only them—but their social networks as well.
Yet, to really put it to work for your business, you have to stay active and relevant.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Promote your social media sites everywhere you can: at your facility, in print, on your website, etc.
- Encourage customers to like, follow, comment, post pictures, and even write reviews.
- Run contests that encourage customers to post content (i.e., pictures, tips, etc.)
- Create and integrate themes into your posts (holidays, social causes, seasonal, etc.)
- Come up with a few branded hashtags to use. Also, encourage customers to use them to tag any posts they make about your business.
- Become a trusted source and depository of information in your industry. For instance, at Romp n’ Roll, franchisees offer helpful tips, solicit opinions, and post information that interests parents of young children.
Make a commitment to being active and responsive to people on social media. You will market your franchise and build your business while developing a community-minded reputation.
Partner with Local Businesses
There are many ways and mutually-beneficial reasons to partner with businesses in your community.
Local businesses are the backbone of any community. They are also where your existing and future customers shop, dine, work, play, and socialize.
Research your community. What are the businesses where your target market spends money? Relaxes? Spends time with their families? These are the businesses to form alliances with.
- Affiliate Programs: Approach a few popular establishments where your demographic frequents. Try to interest them in an affiliate program where they are compensated for new customers they send your way. Tip: At Romp n’ Roll, key business partners are typically children’s clothing stores, pediatrician offices, daycare centers, etc.
- Corporate Discounts: Offer a special group rate for employees of local businesses that enroll at your facility. Or, for non-subscriber based businesses, offer group discounts. Present your offer to local businesses yourself and also encourage existing or potential customers to recruit colleagues themselves.
- Local Events: Local events are a great way to market your franchise. Along with getting involved in already-established community events, try starting your own. Or, hold a charitable or seasonal event. Solicit local businesses to participate and reap the rewards of cross promotion and community awareness.
Thinking Outside the Box
These are just a few suggestions to get your creative juices flowing.
With a little creativity and some hard work, you will turn your dreams into realities!
Check out how Romp n’ Roll North Raleigh makes it easy for customers to post great customer reviews on their Facebook page.
Michael Barnett is the Co-Founder and CEO of Romp n’ Roll. In addition to leading the Romp n’ Roll management team, Michael is an active member of the International Franchise Association, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and serves on the Board of Directors for Connor’s Heroes and Juniata College Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. He and his wife, Babz, were featured on the first season of ABC-TV’s “Shark Tank“.