Recently, I had the opportunity to discuss this very topic on Franchise Business Radio with host Pam Currie and Don Powers, founder of the fast-growing franchise Fitness Machine Technicians. Since I know time is even more precious these days, I pulled out some of the key takeaways from our conversation.

· Connect with your local media. Kicking off with their grand opening, franchisees need to establish strong relationships with their local media outlets, from newspapers and blogs, to tv stations and neighborhood websites. Coverage in the outlets where your target prospects live and work will help you become top-of-mind when they seek your products or services and, in turn, will start to build your customer base. For franchisors just starting out, announcing in your local business community can catapult your brand on a national level.

· If you’d like to learn more, let’s talk. Feel free to connect here or email me directly the instance of Fitness Machine Technicians, a feature article in the business section of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the city where the company is based, was picked up by newspaper websites nationally, leading to calls from interested owners across the country.

· Mix and match your integrated marketing strategy. Not every marketing tactic will work for every business, at every time of year, in every location. Take the time to try out different avenues – from direct mail and event sponsorship to digital advertising and media relations. Measure your results and make changes as needed.

· Work backwards when planning your online strategy. Consider what your potential customers might be Googling. In the case of Fitness Machine Technicians, we know prospects are typing in “fix my treadmill” or “apartment complex looking for reliable exercise repair service.” From there, the company developed its digital approach to target those in need of its services through organic and paid search.

· Look for a franchise with a strong network of support in place to drive success. There are many franchise opportunities available to interested owners and many factors to consider when making a selection. Of course the industry, current market demand, geography, and business model are all important aspects, but as you open your doors (and have endless tasks on your to-do list), you’ll want strong marketing resources at your disposal. Fitness Machine Technicians sets up its franchisees for success by providing an established marketing team including public relations, digital marketing, and other experts familiar with what works best for the brand.

With the right approach – one that is multi-faceted and flexible – your marketing and PR plan can be a game-changer for your new or expanding business.