Franchise Lead Generation

Franchise Lead Generation Solutions

Millions of people research franchise opportunities each year. Very few of them become buyers. Of the 1 million to 2 million people a year who become a franchise candidate, only 13,000 to 20,000 will become franchise buyers. To grow an iconic brand, your franchise lead generation efforts need to be focused on serving these 13,000-20,000 buyers.

FPG digital lead generation services use the following platforms to market your franchise and bring these buyers to the door.

  • Google advertising
  • Bing advertising
  • Facebook advertising
  • LinkedIn Inmail
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Content creation and distribution
  • Lead nurture emails and texts
  • Programmatic advertising
  • Streaming TV advertising (Hulu / Youtube)
  • E-blasts

FPG will analyze your brand, buyer archetype, goals and budget to determine what platforms from this listing should be used and how.

Although these platforms are powerful when managed by experts, they can quickly drain your budget with very little ROI when not met with a solid and specific franchise development content strategy. Forget what you know about consumer marketing, those rules rarely apply here.

Here are the key lead generation content strategy elements you need in order to win the attention — and the investment — of franchise buyers:

You need a storytelling franchise information website

This is the first place where you should invest time and money. A strong franchise opportunity website will strengthen your recruitment pipeline by bringing in high quality leads. Only referral leads and broker leads (which are very expensive) tend to have higher lead-to-close ratios.

In order to serve franchise buyers, it’s critical to identify and communicate the aspects of your business that make it valuable for customers and for franchisees.

As people are researching brands, they have some common questions that fall into two categories:

Qualification filters

  • How much does it cost to start?
  • What territories are available?

Brand story

  • What makes this business model unique?
  • What makes demand sustainable?
  • What is the growth potential of the industry and brand?
  • What is the culture of the company and its leadership team?
  • Can I picture myself meeting my goals as a franchisee?
  • What is the ROI?

Your website should, at a minimum, provide comprehensive answers to all of these questions.

The first set of questions helps researchers qualify themselves. If they don’t have enough money, or if you don’t have their preferred territory, then there’s no reason for them to become a lead. It’s a waste of their time and yours.

The second set of questions is designed to help franchise candidates make their first decision: Am I willing to surrender some of my privacy and my time to reach out and learn more about this brand?  

Time is a precious resource, and franchisors have to earn it.

Your franchise information site should be the cornerstone of your lead generation efforts. The site should provide a robust mix of research, strategy, and storytelling in order to engage the imagination of potential franchisees. It’s not enough to tell your story. You want to provide enough information for candidates to begin to craft their own story in their mind’s eye.

If the information you provide is vague or unrelatable, most candidates will either move on to research other opportunities or Google your brand story, relying on sources that may offer a skewed perspective on your brand. Your franchise information site should be the cornerstone of your lead generation efforts because it gives you the best opportunity to control your brand story.

You need an inbound/outbound marketing strategy to drive traffic

One of the biggest keys to successful franchise lead generation is driving as much traffic as you can to your franchise information site.

For most brands, your franchise information site will be the source of your best leads. That’s because people who have explored the site have had a chance to educate themselves about the brand. They have satisfied their initial curiosity and they want to know more.

Broadly speaking, there are two ways to drive traffic to your site:

  1. Inbound marketing. These are tactics like SEO and PPC, which ensure that your brand is easy to find when people are looking for information about you. Your site should be optimized for terms that people use when searching for information about your business. For instance, phrases like “financial performance representation” are important for your FDD and legal documents, but nobody is searching for “ACME financial performance representation.” They’re searching for “ACME how much can I make?” and similar phrases that use plain English.
  2. Outbound marketing. These are tactics like email, social media, video/display advertising, and sponsored content ads that target specific high-value audiences — your existing customers, people who have previously visited your site (retargeting), demographic and geographic targets, etc. The targeting options are extensive and vary by tactic. Outbound marketing allows you to build awareness of your franchise opportunity among key groups of potential buyers.

    Outbound marketing offers a huge advantage for franchisors who have limited territorial availability: You can target your advertising to the areas where you have room to grow.

“What about franchise portals?” you may ask

Franchise Update reports that franchise portals contribute about 25%-33% of the total deal flow for the franchise industry in any given year.

Portals can often generate huge numbers of leads, and they make a lot of sense for some brands. Yet, when FPG analyzes marketing spends by channel, we find that most franchisors experience low lead-to-close ratios that drive up their cost-per-deal for traditional portal leads. (Some portals perform far better than others, which is something we keep tabs on.) In most cases, franchisors’ money is better spent generating fewer higher quality leads by driving traffic to the franchise information site. Remember, you goal is not generating hundreds and hundreds of leads — it’s generating sales.

You need content for existing candidates

Franchise lead generation is only half of the picture. To truly optimize your franchise marketing efforts, you need a franchise content marketing plan for people who have already become leads.

Once a candidate inquires about a franchise, it takes an average of 234 days before they sign a franchise agreement (FranConnect analysis, 2018). The recruitment process takes a long time because franchise buyers have high informational needs that must be met before they are willing to sign a deal.

As candidates move through your recruitment process, they continue to research your brand. It’s important to provide content that answers their questions and validates their decision to move forward.

A typical franchise marketing plan consists of:

  • Testimonial videos from franchisees
  • Case studies that highlight how existing franchisees have overcome challenges and achieved their goals
  • Q&As with franchisees who share similar backgrounds to the people you are hoping to attract to your brand
  • Public relations efforts to garner news coverage, so when people do a Google search, they see news items about your brand’s growth, momentum, initiatives, and franchisees.
  • Multi-channel content distribution strategies (your website’s blog section, email lists, social media channels, internal newsletters, etc.) to broaden the reach of your message.

Your content marketing plan should also be flexible. As your recruiters work with candidates, they’ll spot common issues driving potential franchisees’ decisions, and your content should address those motivations and concerns. Your recruiter, working with your franchise marketing team, may also spot opportunities based on the backgrounds of candidates advancing through your pipeline. As new buyer personas emerge, marketing strategies and tactics should adjust.

You need to resurrect the dead

Dead leads, that is. If you’re using a CRM, (and if you’re not, we recommend FranConnect) you likely have thousands of old leads that have been killed because they were either unresponsive or decided they were not ready to buy your franchise.

Unless they have opted out of receiving email, you should be reaching out to this group on a regular basis to update them on the opportunity. Just because they weren’t ready to invest in your franchise 6 months or 2 years ago doesn’t mean they’re not ready to invest today. FPG regularly uses content marketing to resurrect old leads, and most brands have a few each year who become franchisees.

FPG’s digital agency team is experienced in all these tactics — and more. To learn how we can help you with your franchise lead generation and franchise sales efforts, fill out the form on this page.