As technology becomes more and more integral for an effective sales process, franchises can reach a wider audience than ever before. There are also more franchise lead generation strategies to choose from than ever before. It’s great to have a range of options – especially for emerging franchisors who might not have as large a budget as a more mature franchise system – but it can also be overwhelming. Many franchises don’t know how to choose the best option for their business, and without guidance they end up trying every tactic available.
However, just like you wouldn’t order and eat everything on a restaurant menu, you don’t need to try every franchise lead generation strategy, especially all at once. We recommend starting out with four solid, cost-effective lead generation tactics, then focus on the one that works best for you, and build a strategy around it. With that in mind, consider the following:
- Narrow your ad audience. Casting a wide net is acceptable when you’re a business owner trying to sell a product or service to a wide audience, but not when you’re trying to grow a franchise. Paid ads to a general audience might pay off if you’re trying to promote your restaurant’s pizza special, or you want to get people to try your new fitness boot camp, but when targeting potential franchisees, you need to be as specific as possible.
- Engage with your ad audience. Facebook and LinkedIn have a large number of special interest groups focused on franchising, franchise opportunities, and small business development. People generally go into these groups looking for answers and information. This is a great opportunity to educate potential franchisees about the ins and outs of franchising as well as establish yourself as a subject matter and industry expert. Just be sure to not spam the groups with self-promotional posts. Get to know the members, and engage in meaningful dialogue. Plus, this lead generation method is free.
- Remember referrals. Referrals are one of the cheapest franchise lead generation strategies because they encourage others to champion your franchise system for you. One of the best ways to get others to promote your franchise system is to build value so that others see the benefits and opportunities inherent to your business, and they are emotionally and financially motivated to tell others about it. For instance, offer a monetary bonus for any referral that closes on a franchise agreement – but make sure that you properly disclose this in your franchise documents. Get your franchise lawyer involved before formalizing a paid referral offer.
- Create content that converts. You can write all of the content that you want, but unless it informs, engages, and provides a clear call to action, it will not resonate with potential franchisees. Quality content provides just enough information to communicate something new, and leave the reader wanting to know more about your franchise system.
There’s a bit of an art to consistently generating top quality leads, but there’s also strategy and science. If you’re just starting out, remember, there’s no need to try every franchise marketing technique in your first month of operations. Start slowly, and build a quality lead database. Forbes reinforced the importance of keeping your digital marketing efforts, including franchise lead generation strategies, in line with your goals by pointing out that rather than wasting your franchise marketing dollars on tools that do not help you achieve your goals around lead generation, sales, attracting subscribers, etc., be clear on what you need to track and measure.
TopFire Media can develop a consistent, high-quality lead generation strategy customized for your franchise. To learn more about how intelligently implemented franchise marketing can build your business and your franchise network, click here.