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Franchising is one of the most profitable growth sectors in the North American economy. However, it can also be one of the most chaotic from a franchisor perspective. As a franchisor, you not only have to focus on running a profitable business and providing top-notch customer service, but also attract potential franchisees as part of your franchise leads strategies

No matter what industry your franchise is in, effective, targeted ad campaigns are crucial in advertising for franchise leads. Creating an advertising campaign that effectively targets potential franchisees in a cost-efficient manner can oftentimes be the difference between a successful brand and an unsuccessful one.

While some franchises still use printed materials, billboards, print ads, and television ads as part of their national franchise sales campaigns, in recent years, the focus has steadily shifted towards digital advertising. Not only is digital advertising generally more cost-effective, but it also allows for more specific audience targeting than traditional advertising while providing trackable analytics. Digital advertising generally involves crafting a local link building/SEO plan and creating geo-targeted PPC ads in order to establish your competitive presence online.

However, while most people tend to think about digital advertising exclusively as search engine advertising options (such as Google Ads), there are a number of other approaches that can be used for advertising for franchise leads. Each has its strengths and weaknesses and there’s no one option that will be right for every brand.

1. Get franchise leads with Google Ads (PPC)

PPC stands for pay-per-click, a model of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. Basically, PPC is a way of buying visits to your site, rather than attempting to “earn” those visits organically. Google Ads is the most popular PPC advertising platform as Google largely dominates the search engine market. When a user enters a search term into Google, Google’s algorithm searches through its “pool” of advertisers and chooses the most relevant results to appear at the top of its search results page. The main strength is that you are essentially only paying for the users that act on your ad.

Another major benefit of PPC advertising is that publishers are incentivized to convert and get results from your ads as they get paid per click. The downside is that you’re not the only one “bidding” on keywords. Major national franchises are likely targeting the same users as you and are also bidding on search terms. This is where you will need to use your analytics report to determine what keywords are converting at a higher rate and adjust your spend as necessary.

2. More Franchise Leads with Google Display Ads

While the PPC ads often yield the best results, in terms of lead quality because the individual is “actively” searching for a franchise opportunity, the lead volume can be disappointing.

Of course, this depends on how narrowly focused your search terms are. Display ads can be a source of Google ad leads that is not dependent on the search volume.

You can “retarget” people who have been to your website and present ads to them as they visit other sites that show ads provided by Google. You can also setup detailed campaigns that target people based on their income, age, location, and other factors.

This brings a level of targeting not available to search ads. You can also create “custom intent” audiences that target people based on their past search history and websites they’ve visited. If you have a well-known competitor you can target people that may have been to their website. The options available can be quite daunting and typically require the help of an agency for franchise leads generation who has intimate knowledge of the Google ad platform.

3. Franchise Leads and Social Media Advertising

Social media advertising (sometimes referred to as social media targeting) is similar to Google Ads in that advertisements are shown to users within a targeted audience on social media platforms. Much like Google Ads, digital advertising on social media allows you to strategically target potential leads using multiple factors (keyword, behavioral, demographic, geographic, and more).

The primary benefit of using social media advertising is the ability to target people based on their interests. If you have a food concept and want to target people with restaurant experience/ownership it is easier to achieve in social media ads. Pricing for social media advertising varies based on several factors, including the platform, intended audience, type of ad, and the budget that you set for your ads.

A recent study found that the average cost per click (CPC) of Facebook ads as of 2016 was roughly .28 cents and the cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM) was $7.19. However, the main challenge with social media advertising is crafting a message that will resonate with users of that. Generally speaking, the major social media networks can be broken down into several key categories: Social networking (Facebook), professional networking (LinkedIn), microblogging (Twitter), photo sharing (Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest), and video sharing (YouTube, Facebook Live, Vimeo). Getting a feel for where your target customers are most concentrated and what types of ads they most actively engage with may take some trial and error.

4. Industry Publications for leads generation

In many cases, you may be looking for experienced franchisees who are looking to add to their portfolio. In other cases, you may be looking for professionals who have experience in your industry. Many industry publications offer online advertising on their website as do most industry outlets. For example, if you own a gym, you might wish to purchase ad space on a fitness industry insider website.

5. Portal Advertising

The main benefit is that portal visitors are likely to be in the market for investing in a franchise. By meeting your target audience where their demand and interest is at its highest, you are more likely to pique their interest than with other outlets where visitors may be in the early exploratory stage of their franchise journey. The downside is that the competition on portals is intense and you will have to compete with a number of other brands for attention. Portal leads that work well for one brand may not work for another. This often requires a great deal of trial and error to identify the portal that’s right for your brand.

6. Internal (free!) Ads on Your Website

Odds are that a potential franchisee is more likely to be interested in your business if he or she has had a positive experience with it as a consumer or vendor. Be sure to prominently featured franchising opportunities on your consumer-facing website. You’ve already drawn them there, now an inquiry is just a click away!

Speaking of websites, an advertisement is only as good as the franchise that it represents. After the ad click, it is important that a visitor is directed to a quality site that is well-designed and ripe with fresh, informative, and current content. The inquiry form should be simple, streamlined, and easy to use. This is not the time to ask detailed questions–the goal is to simply get a conversation started.

You should also regularly check to ensure that your website is optimized for mobile use and that your directory listings are optimized so that potential leads can easily find you.

It is also important to note that digital advertising is not a stand-alone technique. Rather, it should be used in a conjunction with a variety of public relations, in-person, grassroots, and organic marketing efforts. These will be discussed in other blogs, but in the meantime, please feel free to email us with any questions about effectively advertising for franchise leads.