In today’s oversaturated ad space, potential franchisees are inundated with – and often overwhelmed by – pitches both online and in the real world. Yet, these prospective business owners continue to research new investment opportunities franchises with the same interest they did before everything went digital.
Savvy opportunity seekers – the ideal type of franchisee – understand the importance of rich, reliable, expert content, and they actively seek it out. They will bypass the onslaught of basic franchise sales techniques and white noise that has become the norm for more simplistic franchise promotions.
That’s why digital and other advertising strategies are so important to capture their attention. Content marketing, for instance, is one of the strongest, most underrated, and least expensive franchise lead generation strategies your business can employ. There are multiple kinds of content marketing that are appropriate for this audience. They include: strategically-placed “expert” articles in industry and consumer publications, blogs, infographics, video content, lists, downloadable “exclusive” content or e-books, product reviews, podcasts, even memes.
This type of content has been proven to appeal to prospective franchisees far more effectively than traditional sales and advertising techniques. However, content marketing for lead generation must be undertaken in a strategic and thoughtful manner. You can’t just write a blog and create some hyperlinks for SEO purposes. That might work – if it was 2010.
While there is no universally proven single technique on how to develop a content marketing strategy, there are some general best practices that all experts can agree on. Your content must meet the following criteria:
- Content must appeal to your user. Content that will not appeal to your potential consumers – and in turn, to potential franchisees – is useless and a waste of your resources. Before putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, you should perform a comprehensive profile of your target users. You’ll market research that takes into account: age, demographics, lifestyle, motivators, and needs/wants.
If you’re a restaurant that caters to family-centric franchise owners, for example, your franchise audience might be interested in how to generate revenue throwing a great kids party. If you’re a gym that caters to millennials, you might consider sharing “the ultimate workout playlist” on Spotify, and then discuss how offering standardized music selections can help boost client retention rates. Business-savvy potential franchisees will note how well you appeal to your target demographics, both consumer and franchise, and view that as a testament to your industry and market knowledge.
- Content must add value to the user’s experience. Advertising a self-promotional blog is worse than having no blog at all. Your blog must teach your audience something that they didn’t already know. For instance, a local gym franchise would find it valuable to learn how they can generate additional revenue by offering small group classes that give clients an opportunity to socialize and network. Or, a lawn care franchise would find it helpful to know exactly how much water should be used to water a lawn in the summer. Then they can inform their customers how their eye for detail helps to conserve water, provides exactly what grass and plants need to thrive, and saves them money. Again, franchisees will correlate your business and the content with your level of subject matter expertise.
- Content must be authentic and authoritative. Content marketing for lead generation has to be consistent and credible. If you are an indoor trampoline park, you can produce great content on things that you know the most about: exercises on trampolines, how to play trampoline dodgeball, what kind of workout clothes are best for trampoline fitness, and more. However, you are not necessarily an expert on food and beverage or financial planning. If you’re a retail boutique franchise, you are probably an expert on “top trends that customers are wearing this summer,” but you’re not an expert on yoga or politics. Stick to what you know best, and your audience will trust your opinion.
- Content must be free from errors. Whether you’re a gym, restaurant, retail store, or family fun franchise, potential franchisees will notice grammar and spelling errors in your work. Worse, they will immediately assume that if you neglect your content, you likely will neglect your business, your customers, and your franchise owners. All content should go through at minimum one proofreading and/or editing session before publishing.
Creating content that meets these standards may seem overwhelming. It’s why many experts suggest employing a firm that has access to market research as well as a team of writers, designers, editors, and creators that can offer effective and creative content creation services. Sometimes it’s best to let experts do what they do best, so that they can showcase you at your best.
To learn more about how TopFire Media can use content marketing to boost your franchise lead generation strategies, click here.