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How to Help Prospective Franchisees Find Your Brand

It is crucial that franchisors ensure their brand is visible to the right audiences.

There are more franchise brands in the marketplace than ever before. In order to stand out from the crowd and get the attention of prospective franchisees, franchisors need to implement a robust strategy in which every channel is utilized, whether that be digital marketing, franchise portals, brokers or development websites. When all of those tools are aligned with the right brand story, qualified candidates will have the best chance of discovering the brand.

Before diving into the types of tools that franchisors should utilize to help prospects find their brand, they need to understand what they are selling. 

“Understanding the value system of the type of franchisee candidates you are targeting will help you align your storytelling so that qualified prospects will be able to find your brand,” said Brenda Febbo, Chief Marketing Officer at Lightbridge Academy*. “For example, if your candidates are most likely trying to find a better work/life balance, it is important that the sales team puts that story at the forefront so that those prospects can find the brand. It is all about attaching the brand story to the problem that the brand is solving for the consumer.”

In today’s world, a strong franchise development website can be one of the most powerful tools for brands. In order to drive traffic to a brand’s development site, digital ads on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Google can have the greatest impact on lead generation for a brand’s franchise opportunity. Currently, Facebook is the most cost-effective, while LinkedIn boasts the advantage of having many users who are considering career transitions. In contrast, Google is expensive and may not produce the greatest conversion rate. Still, this is always changing. Understanding SEO and Google Analytics is a must when creating a development budget in order to understand which tools people are using to find the brand and how to leverage those channels.

“When it comes to bringing new franchisees to the brand, utilizing a CRM platform or drip campaign is not enough anymore,” said Sean Fitzgerald, president of TruBlue Total House Care. “Now, franchisors need to be less reliant on driving traditional leads and should be more focused on creating visibility in the marketplace. Brands need to prioritize marketing and their digital footprint to get their brand out there.”

If a prospect stumbles upon the brand’s development website or finds it through a Google search, it is important that the website conveys specific information. Primarily, it should be able to convert leads and guide due diligence. When someone lands on the site, they should be able to learn about the franchise opportunity, the core values of the brand, the representative franchisees and the industry. In order to maximize the value of the dollars spent on the development site, brands will want to make sure that the site supports the traffic they are driving into it.

“In the digital age, it is sometimes just about breaking through the clutter,” said Amy Przywara, Sylvan Learning* CMO. “Still, it is essential that brands stay true to who they are. It is about trying to balance the cost-per-lead, strategic development sales process and the emotional content marketing. For example, Sylvan has access to hundreds of great teachers across the country, and we were able to leverage their voices during this crisis to appeal to those who may be looking to help their communities. Although making sure those Google Analytics and SEO tactics are right is key, it is important that brands don’t lose themselves while trying to chase down leads.”

Jon Sica, Batteries Plus VP of Franchise Development also agrees that the biggest piece of the puzzle is the brand’s core value proposition and visibility. “We saw that most improvement in lead flow and traffic from two things: display ads to get our name out there, and efforts in PR to position ourselves strategically in the market,” said Sica. “People are more savvy than ever — they can research the brand on the internet before making any phone calls. Being authentic and having a clear position on what you offer as a brand is the first step to driving leads.”

One way to do that is to boost engagement authentically and generate organic leads. For example, many brands have been hosting large Zoom conferences during the COVID-19 crisis and have been coming up with unique ways to help their communities

“During this crazy time, Lightbridge Academy has been hosting free, live learning sessions on our Facebook page three times a day,” said Febbo. “While we didn’t start this as a marketing ploy or anything like that, there have been many unexpected outcomes, and we have significantly increased our follower count. This kind of authentic engagement and validation of core values can certainly have a positive impact on lead generation. Reinforcing the brand story and showing examples of success can ensure that the brand finds its way to the right candidates.”

Another popular tool is franchise portals, which often have a strong SEO value but might result in weak leads. The truth is, if the core values are there and the opportunity and investment range align with the storytelling and problem-solving value proposition, the right candidates will always find the brand. 

Lastly, franchisors need to understand that the role of a good broker is to introduce qualified leads to the brand. While franchise brokers are still a great way to bring new eyes to the brand, the other tools that the franchisor has in place will result in higher visibility and therefore a stronger sales process. Once the introduction is made, it’s the franchisor’s job to sell and take the candidate through a well-developed discovery, sales and closing process. 

As the world emerges from the COVID-19 crisis, there will likely be a large number of qualified candidates looking for new career opportunities. With an effective visibility strategy and development tools in place, franchisors can ensure that these prospective franchisees not only find their brand, but connect with the franchise opportunity on a personal level.

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.