Wondering How to get franchise leads for your business? Getting leads can be challenging at any time, but in times of economic turbulence, it can be even more difficult. The key is to have a strategy for creating brand awareness so that potential franchisees realize the benefits of opening one of your franchises right now, and then continually iterating on your franchise marketing strategy.
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Here are 5 tips you should take to answer how to get more franchise leads
1. Create a Franchise-Specific Marketing Strategy
You have a marketing strategy to attract customers, but you need a separate franchise marketing strategy, because potential franchisees have different needs and care about different information than customers of your business do.
Consider the best avenues to connect with people interested in starting a business or buying a franchise. This may require a little trial and error if you don’t yet know which marketing channels are the best to reach potential franchisees. Ask yourself:
- Which social media sites do potential franchisees turn to for information on starting a business?
- What types of information are they seeking at each stage of the buyer’s journey (more on that shortly)?
- Who, in fact, is your ideal franchisee?
- What’s your marketing budget to get franchise leads?
- What is your goal for the number of franchises to award? (This will help determine your budget.)
2. Have a Separate Franchise Site
We’ve discussed before the importance of having a separate website dedicated to franchising rather than lumping it together with the rest of your primary site. The reason for this: franchisees want more than just one page of content telling them why they should invest in your franchise.
Having a dedicated franchise site means you can dive into the history of your company, what you’re looking for in terms of investments, and the process for someone becoming a franchisee. You can also house all your franchisee-targeted content on the blog.
Some points you should hit on your franchise site include:
- About Us (history of the brand, including how you started franchising it)
- Why Your Brand (the competitive advantage of investing in your franchise – use stats and data)
- The Opportunity (the benefits of your industry and of your brand over other options in your industry)
- Investment and Requirements (outline startup costs, franchise fees, other expenses)
- Locations (what areas of the country are available)
- Support (specifics on how you will help franchisees succeed)
- Steps to Ownership (what should a potential franchisee expect during the process?)
- Blog (focus on content geared towards franchisees at every stage)
3. Develop Content for Each Stage of the Buyer’s Journey
A person who wants to start a business but doesn’t yet know whether that will be from scratch or with a franchise needs vastly different information than someone who already knows, for example, that she wants to invest in a childcare franchise. It’s important to tailor content for each stage of that buyer’s journey.
On your franchise site, you might have downloadable content that visitors can get once they’ve entered their email address that gives them 10 reasons to choose a franchise over starting a business. Once they’re in that email funnel, you can shift the content, first talking about your industry niche, then moving on to options in that space, and finally, providing reasons why your franchise is the best choice.
Here are the three stages of the buyer’s journey and topics you can address for each:
- Awareness: The individual knows she wants to start a business or buy a franchise.
- Weigh pros and cons of each.
- Outline what buying a franchise looks like.
- Consideration: The individual is aware of franchise options (industries or brands) and is starting to think about which is a good fit.
- Provide details on the state of your industry. Opportunities, revenue, growth.
- Compare your franchise to other models.
- Decision: The individual has narrowed it down to a few franchises. Here’s where you need to close the sale.
- Benefits to your franchise.
- Case studies with existing franchisees.
4. Measure Your Efforts
Whatever effort you put into marketing the franchise side of your business will be worthless if you aren’t tracking results. That means rolling up your sleeves and looking at your website analytics. Your email open and clickthrough rates. Your ad campaigns results.
Note what’s driving leads and invest more into those marketing channels. If, after several months, a tactic isn’t doing what you want it to, pull back or stop those efforts completely. Some questions to consider:
- What are the top referrers for franchise leads?
- Where can we invest more to attract additional leads?
- Are there avenues we haven’t explored?
5. Keep Tweaking Your Approach
Marketing isn’t a “set it and forget it” thing. What worked last month may be an abysmal failure this month. You need to continually track results, make slight adjustments, and keep working to ensure that your franchise is being seen by potential franchisees.
This can be a full-time job, and might be one you don’t have the manpower on staff for. That’s where hiring a franchise marketing firm can be a big help: while you focus on creating the best possible franchising experience for new franchisees, that marketing firm can do the heavy lifting in terms of finding and qualifying ideal candidates for future franchises. Ask yourself:
- Do we have the internal bandwidth to take on marketing the franchise?
- What would partnering with a marketing firm look like? What would they handle?
- How do we measure success in marketing? Do we look for a fixed number of new franchisees each quarter or year?
In conclusion, generating franchise leads is an ongoing process, but it’s one that will snowball and start attracting leads more easily once you’ve laid the foundation for your marketing efforts. The good news is: happy franchisees can refer others to you, and you’ll be able to grow your franchise family organically as you continue to conduct paid marketing efforts, as well.