The franchise lead generation market is an ever-changing business that requires constant management to manage appropriately and stay ahead of the most recent alterations to industry best practices.
Because the industry has become overwhelmingly driven by technology, it also makes for a constantly moving target and changing paradigm when it comes to franchise recruitment strategies.
Some of the key drivers behind a solid campaign start with the core offering and how you as the franchisor are presenting your value proposition to potential franchise buyers. It’s important to remember that now more than ever before, people have access to information and expect instant access to that information. Mobile devices have only increased that expectation in that people want information immediately and expect real content from the ads or messaging they are exposed to.
So what does that mean for a franchise brand working to get exposure? Make sure that your value proposition is strong, relevant and unique in the market space. If you are saying the same “fluff” and “buzz words” that every other franchise presents online, you aren’t going to drive a great response. Making sure that your presentation offers something brilliant to the potential buyer, such as a bold attention grabber or stunning visual — enough to elicit a click, call or email — is the first step.
Franchise public relations has become critical for franchisors in their recruiting efforts. What was at one time was maybe a luxury for brands that could afford it is now a centerpiece of franchise advertising campaigns. PR has not only proven to be effective in generating volumes of franchise leads when positioned correctly and placed in the right venues, but also offers the franchise brand credibility in the reader’s eyes. In our experience, franchisors routinely close 5-10 percent of franchise leads generated through solid public relations strategies. Good PR doesn’t just happen, it requires a dedicated, professional effort that targets industry contacts and drives results through focused effort to get good content placed in the right spots.
Franchise SEO and franchise paid search traffic have become increasingly effective and important in a franchise lead generation campaign. SEO is long term and requires patience, ongoing investment and a professional touch to not only help franchise buyers find your site organically, but to also convert that traffic into leads with the appropriate forms, messaging and “give-to-get” strategies. Paid search in franchising has become very competitive and the cost per lead on primary search engines has increased significantly, making it almost ineffective for more budget-conscious franchisors. Opportunities for younger franchisors are more prevalent in platforms such as the less trafficked search engines including Bing, YouTube or Facebook. By leveraging some of these channels, some franchisors have been able to achieve fantastic lead conversion costs and really impressive lead flow.
Mobile technology has already changed the advertising game and many more evolutions are on their way. Today, as a franchisor, you must have a mobile-adapted website which presents consistently across multiple devices, is attractive and adaptable to a mobile device. This is for the obvious reason that if your lead forms won’t load on an iPhone, you can’t get the lead. In addition, the search engines now rank sites based on their mobile adaptability and how they perform with mobile devices. If you don’t embrace the fact that mobile is where everything is headed, you are missing the opportunity to reach more franchise leads.
Franchise tradeshows have dwindled in effectiveness with the increase in technology and web-based ad mediums, but the right shows continue to perform well. Choose your market carefully and do your due diligence on the show before making the investment – some markets just don’t perform very well. Franchise tradeshows require a significant effort and the best performing brands at franchise shows have a dedicated, aggressive sales effort with multiple people in the booth, professional collateral materials and a strong booth presentation. I have seen clients go to a show and invest in the space but skimp on the staffing and manpower needed to work the booth and it was a waste of time, money and energy. The lesson learned was to avoid wasting your ad budget if you can’t devote the resources to the show.
Altogether, the outlook is strong for franchise marketing – there are more strategies, systems, technology platforms and venues to market your franchise brand today than ever before. Leverage the tools available to you and your franchise brand will have the best opportunity to reach more qualified franchise buyers.
Chris Conner is the President of Franchise Marketing Systems. Mr. Conner has spent the last decade in the franchise industry working with several hundred different franchise systems in management, franchise sales and franchise development work. His experience ranges across all fields of franchise expertise with a focus in franchise marketing and franchise sales but includes work in franchise strategic planning, franchise research and franchise operations consulting.
Christopher has worked with multiple International franchise and licensed organizations throughout the United States, Middle East, India and Europe.
He has an MBA in Finance and Marketing from DePaul University in Chicago and a Bachelors Degree from Miami of Ohio.