One of the most important elements of any business is advertising and marketing. Today more businesses fail because they were poorly marketed than for any other reason. In this article we will discuss the ins and outs of marketing an ice cream franchise. While we will try to focus on ice cream businesses that are franchised, many of these tips can be beneficial to anyone who owns an ice cream shop or parlor.
The most important element of marketing your ice cream franchise or shop is its location. Far more people will come in to your ice cream shop because they see it passing by than will come in from advertising efforts. This needs to be your main focus. Advertising in the ice cream business can often be used to build awareness for specialty items like cakes and party catering.
I asked Paul, our resident ice cream franchise expert, about his experience advertising his Carvel ice cream locations. Here’s what he had to say…
“We tried a variety of different things to promote our ice cream business. Of all the things that we did on a store-level, coupons and mailers were the most successful. We also really liked using these methods because we could track the return on our advertising investment,” replied Paul.
What worked the best?
He went on to say, “However, there was one thing that was very effective and we fought hard to get as much as we could from corporate. TV ads would make our phone ring off the hook for ice cream cakes and other novelties. Unfortunately since there were only two franchises in our market we didn’t get much TV advertising in our region.”
Paul went on to advise, “Before you sign up with a particular ice cream franchise make sure and ask what type of advertising support your corporate franchisor provides. We didn’t get a lot of national advertising dollars from corporate allocated to our market because we didn’t generate a tremendous amount of revenue in our region with just two stores. ”
“Most franchises have what is called an advertising royalty that all the franchisees pay into. This is a fund that allows franchisees to take advantage of more expensive advertising mechanisms by pooling their resources,” Paul continued. “This would cover the costs of our national TV coverage. It took a few years before we started to get regular TV advertising spent on our market. But when we did, the phone would start ringing and business would really pick up.”
“So was that the only way to get television advertising?” I asked.
Paul replied, “We tried making some of our own TV commercials to promote our ice cream shops — but it was a lot like reinventing the wheel and was very costly. After that try we decided to leave that to corporate and refocused on our direct marketing efforts to boost business.”
Paul continued, “You join a franchise so you don’t have to make your own commercials. A good ice cream franchise should offer you the benefits of national advertising and the advantage of the franchisor’s collective advertising exposure.”
Since Paul retired from the ice cream business, he’s gone on to a successful career on the corporate side working for another successful franchise business. At his current corporation he tells franchisees all the time to, “Take advantage of the system in place and the resources
Follow the system and take advantage of the knowledge, support and advertising provided.”
If you want to read more about marketing your ice cream shop, a great guide for you to read is called “Double Your Dipping” and you can read more about it by clicking on the link below.