by Caryn Smith © 2007

While franchises can be a more economical way of starting a business, the cash outlay is still great.  Even with an established brand behind you, marketing your new franchise business can be expensive.  Individual locations operate much like small businesses and this usually means budget restrictions.  Especially during the first year, you’ll need to keep a reign on marketing costs.  This means finding proven ways to build customer loyalty fast without wasting money.  The name of the game is keeping your name on the minds of customers so they think of you first each time they have a need.


Coupons are an excellent way to draw foot traffic to your location. By offering a discount at your specific store/branch, you attract customers you might not otherwise have had, encourage those who previously visited other locations to patronize yours and develop good will. 

Mailing coupons is certainly a viable option, but you can also start a coupon exchange with other businesses.  Your store will make available other non-competing business’ coupons and those same companies will make your coupons available.  Another idea?  Insert your coupons into local newspapers.  While display advertising is normally quite expensive, inserts are generally much more economical.

Coupons can be economically printed on colored paper with black ink or done in an elaborate fashion with glossy paper and four-color printing depending on your budget.  You can even include a small code in the bottom corner in order to track which coupons get the best results.

Lapel Pins

Affordable and attractive, lapel pins have staying power.  Customized lapel pins can be created with your corporate brand, your location, specific product replicas and more.  And promotions with lapel pins are highly versatile. 

Give them away during grand openings to add a little extra excitement to the day.  Create a loyalty program involving lapel pins.  Inform customers that, when they wear their lapel pin when visiting your location, they will receive 10% off (or some other benefit).  You could even issue lapel pins as "customer of the month" awards.  Customers who purchase X number of times or who buy X dollars worth of products each month receive a "preferred customer" lapel pin that entitles them to a particular perk. 

Available in completely customizable sizes, shapes and colors; lapel pins are highly affordable and desirable.

Community Events

Community event sponsorships are a great way to support your local community, make a memorable impression on those in attendance and possibly gain some press coverage, too.  Sponsorships are usually available at a variety of levels to accommodate most budgets. 

There are many other franchise marketing ideas that have proven to increase traffic. Talk with franchisees in non-competing industries to get additional techniques.  By exchanging marketing tips, you can quickly increase sales while keeping your promotions budget in check.

Caryn Smith is Manager of Signature Pins. When you need affordable, memorable employee rewards with a high perceived value, lapel pins are an excellent option.  Visit today for custom lapel pins in just 10 days, guaranteed!

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