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katherine leblanc

Insider tips on Painting with a Twist marketing

March 5, 2020

CMO Katherine LeBlanc shares tactics and strategies franchisees use to boost guest traffic

Our local marketing message focuses on the experience rather than the painting.

When you open your own franchised studio, you need to be on top of your game with your local marketing. Luckily, you don’t have to go it alone. Painting with a Twist has excellent strategies in place to help you employ impactful local marketing. Here, Chief Marketing Officer Katherine LeBlanc shares her insider tips on the most effective Painting with a Twist marketing tactics.

Who’s your target demographic?

Our guests are  women who enjoy socializing and drinking adult beverages. They typically go out about once a week with their friends and they typically drink at least once a week, either at home or with friends. However, we do have some great events that cater towards men and kids as well. Really who we appeal to is people who enjoy socializing. But our core consumer is a woman, 25-37, who enjoys going out.

How do you get her into the studio?

We do a couple of things. We talk about Painting with a Twist as a social event, we talk about it as a girls’ night out. We always emphasize the socialization — wine, friends, painting — because it really is about engaging with them at that social level.

We talk to her through the channels that she uses, so a lot of our advertising dollars go into Facebook. Facebook’s demographics really align with who we’re targeting. And, of course, our franchise owners do local studio marketing to get out and be the face of the brand in their market.

What are some of the strategies a franchise owner can use to do some local grassroots marketing?

With any small business, doing the local grassroots marketing is key to their success and that’s no different with Painting with a Twist. Here’s a specific example: One of our very first franchise owners opened in St. Petersburg, Florida. She would drive around town and bring free event passes to all of the hair salons in town. She was thinking about how you connect with women who are going to be talking and interacting with each other, and how you kick-start that word-of-mouth. Hair salons were a great idea, because when you visit a hair salon you are engaging with the hairstylist and if I give the hairstylist a great experience, she’s going to want to talk about it to all the guests that she has. If you think about it, in the course of a week she can talk to anywhere between 25 and 50 people about my brand.

And then it trickles down, and that’s the magic of word-of-mouth advertising. Now everybody wants to try out the hot new place to have a girls night out.

Does the kind of marketing you do change after you’ve been in business for two years? How are you doing your local marketing at that point?

You know, I think what people need to remember about local marketing is that it is not the immediate gratification advertising, right? With advertising in general, you’ll see some immediate gratification but you’ll see benefits over the long term because that’s how you build momentum, that’s how you build awareness in your community.

So, for grand opening you may do a lot more marketing to really get your name out there, depending on what kind of market you’re in. But as you progress, we always encourage our franchise owners to really sustain that grassroots marketing or local studio marketing with touches to your neighbors, hyper-local around you neighborhood and to those key destinations.

Think hair salons, dentist offices, yoga studios. Places women are going to frequent. Local studio marketing is never finished, and it should always be part of your monthly planning when you’re planning out your marketing calendar.

With a restaurant it’s kind of a no-brainer to hand out samples. Does Painting with a Twist ever do live demos or anything like that?

Being part of the community events is always important, and there are a couple of ways you can facilitate that. You can do live demo painting, you can bring little mini-canvases for people to start painting in your own booth. It’s important for our franchise owners to remember any time they’re going out into the community that it’s all about that girls-night-out experience, so bringing that to the event or the offsite in any way is really important.

One thing that franchise owners can explore in addition to giving out free-event cards and bringing the experience to a community event would be to host influencer nights. For example, if you’re new to the market or maybe you’re celebrating your anniversary, invite the PTA or the teachers to come in and paint for free. It’s a really powerful way to communicate your product at no risk to the guest.

Whenever they’re looking for that added awareness, we do encourage our franchise owners to be strategic with what they’re giving away, and doing it with a group that can be impactful and not just for the sake of giving stuff away.

What is one of the most commonly asked marketing questions from franchise candidates?

One question might be, “Okay, what kind of marketing support can I expect from headquarters?” Our current philosophy on marketing support is to drive as many dollars into local advertising as possible. We’ve developed programs through our National Ad Fund, which everybody contributes to, so that those local studio marketing dollars are going toward advertising at the local level.

We’ve developed an email marketing platform that’s covered in the ad fund; we’ve developed a digital media partnership where we have a media firm on hand to assist you in placing your Facebook media at a very competitive rate, thanks to the National Ad Fund. In addition, we will cover things like the national search engine marketing optimization.

Do franchise owners manage their own localized websites? Or just their own Facebook pages?

They manage their own local Facebook pages; the website is maintained at the headquarters through our proprietary software system. We have several training videos available for franchisees to educate themselves about maintaining social media accounts. We also release materials on a regular basis that franchise owners can use to populate their own pages as well as inspire them in their own content creation.

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