Services4Franchising's Rick Robinson shares his insight into how franchise brands can best market their opportunities.
Got a killer franchise concept? Unless people know about it, it won’t matter how profitable or scalable your business model is.
Just ask Rick Robinson of Services4Franchising. Robinson is an expert at matching up potential franchisees with the brand that suits them best. He was nice enough to chat with 1851 about how franchise brands can best market their opportunities.
Understand the importance of your marketing
According to Robinson, brands must first understand how vital their marketing is.
“Things have changed so much in the 31 years I’ve been in franchising,” he said. “When I started, all you had to do was put an ad in the local paper and get all the leads you wanted. Now you must be marketing in a variety of ways all the time.”
Realize how today’s franchisees behave
The digital revolution has changed how franchisees explore different opportunities.
“In the old days, you got a phone call right away and had a live candidate on the phone immediately,” Robinson said. “Now it’s very easy for people to shop around for a long time and never engage with a franchisor.”
Remember your competition
Hooking a single fish becomes ever more difficult as more poles enter the water, and other franchise brands are far from your only competition.
“Today you have franchise consultants out there buying leads from franchise Web ports,” Robinson said. “The same leads are getting sold to multiple people; there are lots of guys trying to get ahold of one fish.”
Focus on variety
Robinson pointed out that today’s media landscape calls for a strong mix of different marketing techniques.
“I think it’s important to have a marketing mix - there are so many different outlets and resources potential candidates can use,” he said.
Make your website shine
While it’s important to keep your marketing efforts varied, you can never go wrong with a strong franchise development website.
“A good company site with great landing pages is huge,” Robinson said. “People are very savvy shoppers online right now; you need to get their attention and impress them immediately.”
Use people, not promises
The testimonial of one happy franchisee is worth far more than a thousand words from a company president.
“Testimonials from franchisees give you credibility; the candidate feels like it’s someone they can trust, not just a company,” Robinson said.
Profile your ideal candidates
Targeting your messaging toward a specific demographic can be a huge help, according to Robinson.
“In general, you need to make sure the message is attracting the right people,” he said. “You need a profile of the types of candidates you’d like to talk with. This well help you avoid your message getting lost in the maze of info that’s out there.”
Know where your ideal candidates are
One you have a franchisee profile in mind, it’s important to make sure you’re putting your marketing in front of where they’re looking.
“Where am I going to find my candidates? What articles are they reading? What sites are they visiting?” Robinson said. “There are so many outlets to advertise now you want to make sure you’re posting your stuff in the right places.”
Don’t put passion over skill
Every brand wants to find franchisees that believe in their company, but marketing should appeal to talented businesspeople, not just those who are passionate about a product or service.
“You should be trying to find those people who are not necessarily in love with you, but who are good at business, building teams, networking and attracting and retaining customers,” Robinson said.
Learn to say no
After spending so much time, energy and money on attracting franchisees, it can be difficult to say no. However, it’s always better to pass on a candidate if they don’t fit your brand.
“Many times the initial people you attract are the people who like to do that kind of work, but that’s not who you want,” Robinson said. “You want an owner-operator, not the person doing the work.”