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Defining Your Target Personas & Target Markets

Learn how franchisors can find and reach an audience that will help their brand grow.

When growing a brand through franchising, the first step is establishing the brand’s Why You/Why Now. Why is this the brand to join, and why is now the time to get on board? These are the questions every brand will have to answer through franchise development marketing. 

Many franchisors build the right franchise development marketing tools — whether it’s social media content, pay-per-click ad campaigns or PR — but they might not be targeting the right people in the right areas. As part of defining the Why You/Why Now, franchisors need to create ideal candidate profiles and establish which markets are primed for growth. 

How to Define Target Personas

Different from traditional audiences, a target persona takes data and insights gathered from those who have already shown interest in a brand, segment or even competitors and uses that information to outline the most likely leads.

Establishing a target persona profile will help brands establish a more personal, value-aligned relationship with their prospects. Profiles should include:

  • Financial requirements.
  • Desired experience.
  • Business and strategy portfolio.
  • Core competencies required.
  • Any other attributes deemed essential for the brand.

Brands can start to define these characteristics by interviewing their existing network of stakeholders. This will provide insight into who is likely to thrive within the franchise, as well as what draws someone to the brand in the first place. Ask questions about where their research started, where it led them and where they may have veered off course from a brand they were originally excited about. 

Once franchisors know how their stakeholders are arriving at the brand, they can be much more precise with their marketing. By accurately defining a target persona, franchisors will save valuable franchise development marketing funds that might have been wasted on unlikely candidates

How to Define Target Markets

The next step in franchise growth is deciding where to focus expansion efforts. Similar to target personas, target markets should first be defined by examining previously successful examples called validating markets. If validating markets don’t exist, franchisors should select markets best suited for their brand or business model and develop them as future validating markets. 

Brands should determine how the demographics of their target market (population, income, education, etc.) match up to their targeted personas. And franchisors must do thorough research on potential competition in the targeted markets.

On the consumer side, franchisors also need to ensure there are enough qualified households to buy the product in a particular market. 

Other factors that can determine a good market for franchise growth include:

  • The labor force in that area.
  • The current economic outlook.
  • Vendors or distributors in the target market.

Additionally, if a franchise is just starting to grow, it’s wise to focus expansion efforts around the brand’s headquarters to ensure each owner has access to the necessary support.

How to Start Marketing to the Right People

When it comes to franchise development, the pathway of least resistance is marketing to the right people in the right markets with magical content/storytelling that hits an emotional chord with the candidate and pushes them to form fill. Clearly, though, it isn’t always that easy. So, here are some steps to set-up your franchise marketing strategy:

  • Identify your personas: This can be done with gut (35-54, high networth) or can be accomplished by pooling your franchisees and finding similarities in their stories. You can also hyper target personas (colleges, professions) – so that when marketing your content, the message resonates with a very specific audience.
  • Picking your growth markets: Most successful franchisors try to grow in concentric circles, as there is is value in brand recognition one town over. Others rely on data (Google Analytics is a fantastic tool), where they see what areas of the world people are coming to their development site in, and increase spend in those markets.
  • Then, fill up your content funnel: Introduction to franchising, introduction to your segment, introduction to your brand, due diligence, counter content and wins should all be a part of your content marketing flow.
  • Then, spend $$$ using the above data and assets. 

By understanding who they are targeting and why, franchisors will be better prepared to reach the right prospects and grow in the best markets for their brand. 


  • Interview your existing network of franchisees, asking about their backgrounds, goals, personal interests, how they researched the brand and what ultimately convinced them to join.
  • Gather data and common traits regarding existing successful franchisees.
  • Establish a persona profile that incorporates the most common traits.
  • Look at existing “validating” markets to learn which geographic and demographic traits support the brand. 
  • Create marketing content that appeals directly to your target personas.

Use targeted marketing to put your content directly in front of the audiences you want to reach in the markets you want to grow.

Discover more about how to win at franchise development marketing by downloading our free white paper here.