Should Franchisors Invest in PR for Franchise Development Lead Generation?
Public relations can be a powerful way to spread awareness of your brand and the franchise opportunities available. From trade publications to high-level national business outlets, franchisors can get their message in front of an audience with strategic public relations outreach.
First, you must have a truly unique franchise concept that will attract interest. An investment in public relations will be a waste of time and money if you don’t have a compelling story to tell. No one will want to read about a franchise concept that mimics its competition, but people will want to read about a franchise concept disrupting the industry. This is especially important for an emerging franchisor bringing their concept to market.
What PR can do for Your Brand
It’s important to understand that PR shouldn’t be your lone source to generate leads. However, the right PR strategy will pique the interest of entrepreneurs in search of franchise opportunities by:
- Creating buzz about your brand – Public relations is an effective way to let consumers know about your brand, which can influence them to spend their money with you rather than your competitors. The demand for your brand’s goods or services PR helps generate has the potential to influence potential franchisees, too. The more awareness about demand, the more likely you are to draw in entrepreneurs interested in investing in your franchise concept.
- Showing your support – Potential franchisees want to know how you’re going to help them succeed as they sell your brand to consumers. PR that answers questions about the support you provide to your franchise system, including training, grand opening, site search, ongoing and more, can sway an entrepreneur to pursue your brand.
- Developing trust for your brand – Established and well-known national and local media outlets tend to be respected for their impartiality when telling stories. When this type of outlet runs a story on your brand, it lends credibility. Consumers and potential franchisees see what you’re providing as a legitimate product or service and business opportunity.
- Positioning you as an expert in your field – PR agencies can write bylines for you and other thought leaders within your franchise brand, allowing you to demonstrate your knowledge of your industry and your concept, along with your product or service.
How PR Works
Public relations agencies do this by first getting to know you, your brand and objectives. They will then work with you to craft a strategy to get you earned media placements. Earned media placements are stories about your brand that appear in print, broadcast or online news outlets.
Your PR team will play an instrumental role in securing those stories. Public relations firms will pitch your story to contacts at news sources they’ve developed relationships with or they will know who to go to at:
- national and local newspapers, TV morning shows, magazines and radio shows
- industry trade publications
- franchise trade publications
- social media influencers
The Role of Influencers
Consumers are exercising their right to share their opinion of a brand by leaving customer reviews on a plethora of social media sites, including Facebook, Yelp, Angie’s List and more. These reviews have the potential of influencing other consumers, which can either boost or reduce demand for your brand, product or service. If a brand receives enough negative reviews, they can affect franchise development as they may turn away potential franchisees.
In addition to the regular consumer, there are also influencers who make a career out of promoting brands they feel are deserving. Many of these influencers provide free publicity if they are fans of your brand, but many also ask for a free product or seek payment for a social media post review.
Because social media plays an ever increasing role in daily life, your PR partner should know how to react to negative reviews and how to approach influencers.
It Doesn’t End There
When your story runs in print, broadcast or online news outlets, hundreds to millions of consumers and entrepreneurs may be exposed to your brand. Ideally, these stories will help drive franchise lead generation as entrepreneurs will visit your website to learn more about the opportunity. At your website, you can continue persuading potential franchisees with blog content, infographics, videos, eBooks, case studies and other content.
Winmark Franchise Partners, with 30 years of franchise experience and more than 800 franchise owners representing more than 1,200 locations for five brands, can provide more insight into how investing in PR can aid your franchise development lead generation efforts. For more information, contact us here or at (844) 452-4600.