Now that you have assembled your management team, set your goals, established access to capital, worked out all the kinks in your concept and done everything else to prepare for franchising, it’s time to think about how you will attract franchisee prospects.
Here’s an idea of what to expect from the most popular franchise development strategies used by emerging franchisors.
When your company has a story to tell – the launch of your franchising campaign, the opening of a franchise location, the impressive number of franchises opened or franchisees you signed in a quarter or year – you will want to utilize public relations. The good publicity will go a long way toward generating franchisee leads. While not the largest generator of leads, public relations is instrumental in generating quality leads and converting them to franchisees.
A public relations firm is the best vehicle for getting the news out and telling the story of your success through the eyes of a franchisee. There is simply no better salesperson than the successful story of one of your franchisees as told on the web or in a magazine that a prospect may read. Candidates validate a concept in a number of ways, and positive stories on individuals’ success within your system cannot be overlooked. A PR firm will have established contacts in the news industry, access to distribution channels and know exactly where to share the news nationally and locally.
Publicity for franchisees also helps solidify the relationship between them and the franchisor. When the public relations firm you’ve hired gets a story on the franchise location in the local paper or on the TV news, that franchisee is happy. He or she has the franchisor to thank.
Content marketing is the creation and distribution of information that is valuable and relevant to your target audience. The goal is for your content to engage potential franchisees and keep them interested until they are ready to invest. Content marketing comes in many forms, including blog posts, social media posts, videos, whitepapers, infographics and more. But one of the most important and valuable forms of content marketing is a blog, which should be on your franchise website.
Blogging for franchise development not only allows you to share what your brand is about, but it can also establish you as the franchisor or your brand as an expert in the industry. The blog also drives inbound traffic to your website and helps convert website visitors into leads.
Consider these blog statistics:
A key to keeping prospects engaged is consistently producing blog copy. High-quality blog posts with keywords will also increase search engine optimization (SEO), which will make your website more prominent on search engines.
Because competition for franchisees among brands is fierce, emerging brands need to consider every avenue available to them – including online advertising. Advertising toward franchisees is particularly hot on search engines like Google and social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. Facebook, in particular, has become an increasingly valuable lead generation source with targeted ads and promoted posts, which can tie into your blog.
Advertising to consumers is also effective. It gets your brand’s name out there and creates brand recognition in the target markets where you have a franchisee. If it generates business from consumers, entrepreneurs seeking franchise opportunities will take notice and consider buying into your brand.
Your sales team may include you, a group of hired sales professionals or an outsourced sales group. Any one those options involves a person or people offering a personal touch, which franchisee candidates often need to become fully invested in the process. Prospects also like having someone they can speak with to get answers quickly.
Many new franchisors start out selling franchises themselves. It’s cost effective and provides prospects direct contact with the person at the top. However, when you start generating a lot of leads, you may want to consider hiring an internal sales team or an outsourced team.
A sales professional working for you will already be equipped with sales experience and will likely be more productive than you were. By hiring a salesperson or people, you will also be freed up to focus on your role as franchisor.
Franchise sales outsourcing (FSO) groups typically assume all responsibilities regarding sales, including marketing, trade show attendance, document management, discovery days and more.
How to Choose
You may find that one or more franchise development strategies are necessary. With 30 years of franchising experience and more than 800 franchise owners representing 1,200 locations for five brands, Winmark Franchise Partners can help your emerging franchise brand determine which is appropriate. We can help your business expand into a successful franchise by providing the guidance you need. As a franchise incubator, we have the knowledge and capital to get your brand on the right track.
If you are interested in franchise growth, contact us here or call us directly at (844) 452-4600.