Identifying Your Ideal Franchisee

Tools to improve lead quality in franchise marketing

Quality over quantity — it’s a frequent phrase used in franchise lead generation. And though it’s something of a cliche, it’s reiterated because it’s simply true. Any franchisor would rather have one excellent prospect than 10 so-so ones. The health of a franchise depends on the success of its franchisees, and without quality prospects, finding quality franchisees is only a pipe dream. As many seasoned franchise marketers know, however, gaining the attention of ideal prospects is easier said than done.

Developing a high-impact franchise lead funnel starts with developing an ideal franchise persona to target. All of a franchisor’s targeting activities should start with a detailed development of a prospect profile — the needs, goals, pain points and behaviors of the potential franchise buyer — before any sort of outbound messaging begins.

In order to shape the profile, it’s important for a franchisor to ask themselves some specific questions: Is prior experience necessary? What personality traits are right for the business? Is there a particular age range that would fit best? What motivates our ideal franchisee prospect? These questions, among others, work in conjunction to create a picture of “the ideal franchisee” and help franchise marketers develop campaigns that target them with strategic methods, at the right places and times.

Key in emotionally

When a franchisor can confidently answer these detailed questions, they can begin to understand a person’s drive for seeking their franchise opportunity. This is crucial, as anyone in the franchising world knows, because people seek opportunities for a wide spectrum of reasons. While it seems reasonable to believe that potential prospects sit down and weigh each opportunity with logical arguments, we know that a majority of people buy a franchise for emotional reasons.

Obviously, individuals invest in franchising because they want to own a business, that much is clear. But, the why behind that decision is a little harder to pinpoint. Perhaps they are unhappy with their current job; they want something to leave behind for their children; they want flexible hours for more free time with family. Whatever the reason, to attract the franchise prospect looking at their investment through an emotional lens, appeal to them with an emotional message.

Utilize franchisee success stories and testimonials to help prospects understand that those who came before them may have been motivated by the same drivers, and highlight those decisions as having proved fruitful in their lives. It’s human nature to be drawn to and influenced by someone who shares the same values, desires and goals in life, so providing prospects with a proverbial mirror grants them an in-the-flesh example of what their potential future can hold.

Utilize your assets

Current franchisees provide a third-party validator for a franchise system, and also serve as the perfect blueprint for what a quality lead looks like. By analyzing top-performing franchisees against those whose performance is marginal, a franchisor can develop a specific side-by-side comparison to yield quality insight in how to alter marketing efforts.

Absent of a successful franchisee blueprint — a reality faced by many emerging franchise systems — the digital world provides a great space to build the template for a model investor. With access to popular social media platforms and groups, professional cultural research studies, and self-produced surveys, even with a small sample size, digital research tools allow for a greater understanding of the wants, needs and aspirations of the ideal franchisee.

Weed Out the Bad

Just as important as developing an ideal franchisee persona, it’s helpful to create a negative persona. Sometimes it’s just as easy to identify who is not a good fit for a particular system, as it is to identify who is. These negative personas play a critical role in eliminating unqualified buyers.

Nothing is as detrimental to the health of a franchise system than a franchisee who doesn’t share the same values, motivations and devotion to the company. The same can be said for attracting unqualified leads. While not detrimental to a brand’s image and reputation, recruiting unqualified leads is a waste of valuable marketing dollars and can threaten to derail an otherwise effective strategy.

Take, for instance, a Facebook advertising campaign. Facebook delivers some of the highest lead numbers across digital marketing initiatives, but when not properly targeted, these leads are often unqualified and underdeveloped. By refining parameters on Facebook based on age, location, gender, job title, interests, behaviors and more, the lead funnel transforms a massive pool of people into a specifically targeted group ideal for the franchise marketing message.

When you’ve got a persona, you’ve got success

Throughout the life-cycle of a lead, strategic steps are taken to convert it into a franchise sale. A priority within those steps is connecting with people on a dynamic level. To do so, taking intentional strides to develop targeted personas is paramount. When we can understand what people are looking for, we can be prepared when they’re ready to take the plunge.

Matthew Jonas is the president of TopFire Media, an award winning, integrated public relations and digital marketing agency specializing in franchise marketing and consumer branding. Together with the leaders of iFranchise Group and Franchise Dynamics, Matthew established TopFire Media to provide a strategic and synchronized method for digital marketing in the franchise industry. As a digital marketing strategist with over a decade of in-depth experience in SEO and PPC, social media publishing, conversion-based marketing, inbound marketing, sales management, and online lead generation, Matthew has built a career dedicated to delivering an integrated marketing approach that achieves client success and long-term relationships.

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