If you run a local franchise, you need to stand out from your competitors in order for customers to notice you. But buying expensive TV ad time won’t necessarily reach everyone now that more people use streaming services, and online banner ads are less effective than they once were. In light of this, try taking a personal approach by getting involved in the community. There are inexpensive solutions that both alert people to your business and help you give back—win-win! Here are three ideas to get you started:

Sponsor a Local Sports Team

Kids love sports, and parents love businesses that support sports teams. Sponsoring a local team is usually inexpensive and many youth organizations are also nonprofit groups, so you may receive a tax break for your donation. Sponsoring also garners exposure for your business by getting your name on scoreboards, team uniforms, and local newspapers. More importantly, it builds goodwill, marking your company as one who makes positive contributions to society, evoking patron loyalty.

Yes, it's an opportunity for marketing, but it's also an opportunity to provide wonderful memories for local youth.

Sponsor a Charity Event

A charity event is another way for your company to establish rapport with the local community. Figure out what needs exist in your community and focus your resources there. Your building supply company could donate tools to a lower-income housing initiative. Your restaurant could host a dinner during which 10% of profits go to a food bank. Or your bookstore could host a book drive for the library. Encourage your employees to volunteer, which will help cut down on costs and foster a sense of community spirit among your staff.

The key to success is choosing charities that make sense as allies with your brand, both locally and nationally. This is an excellent opportunity to meet people who may be interested in your services or other like-minded local business owners who you can work with in mutually beneficial collaborations.

Get Involved in Local Festivities

Many communities have at least one annual parade or festival. Inquire about having a float in the parade or a booth at the festival. Being seen in the community creates chances to interact with customers and build loyalty.

Even if you're part of a national franchise, you need to engage customers on a local level to be sure your business survives. Make your neighbors your allies and customers with genuine, committed community involvement. The long-term awareness and customer loyalty will be worth it.

Image credit: fred_dl / Shutterstock

Katie Shaheen is Connectivity’s Central Region Sales Manager.