When discussing the advantages of investing in a franchise opportunity relative to opening an independent business, experts almost always cite the already recognizable brand and marketing strategy and support that it comes with. But franchisees can't just sit back and expect their franchisor to do all the work - to see success, franchisees must put forth additional efforts to engage a community.

"In the world of small business, however, it's not enough to open your doors, smile broadly, and wait for the customers to line up clamoring to buy," Rhonda Sanderson writes for the website AllBusiness.com. "As a small business owner, you'll be facing lots of competition … What it will come down to in the end is not only what you offer customers, but how you reach out to them via public relations."

There are a number of ways that business owners can boost their local repute, and one of the most effective methods is in-person public relations. If a consumer can attach a face and personality to a business, they are more likely to choose it over competitors and remain loyal because they have a personal relationship with the people behind the franchise, Sanderson notes.

Consumers are not the only community members that franchisees should take the effort to get know their fellow business owners. As Sanderson explains, businesses can help pass on the word about others, meaning excellent word-of-mouth marketing.

"Ask if you can put some coupons or flyers on their counter for customers to pick up. In turn, offer to give their employees 10 percent off or a free beverage when they eat at your location. That's what I call guerrilla marketing," she adds.

If franchisees have product- or service-related news to report, they may also want to consider issuing a press release to carefully selected members of the media. However, to get attention, a press release must clearly identify why journalists should care about what you are ultimately trying to sell.

Before franchisees undertake any separate marketing, however, they should get their efforts approved by their franchisor. As franchisors all have separate rules and regulations, it is always a good idea to check before making any significant changes.

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