4 New Trends Impacting Franchise Sales

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My Big “Takeaways” from FranCamp – a franchise social media specialty event

Last week I presented at FranCamp, a franchise social media camp and the brainchild of Thomas Scott of Brand Journalists and Deb Evans, President of Computer Explorers. The event was geared to those in franchising like me who are really hungry to learn more about where this “Blogging, Twitter, and Facebook thingy” is going. Here are my 4 key takeaways:

1.  Social media content is an effective tool to improve franchise sales results.  This strategy requires a three-prong approach, working together simultaneously.  The first prong, such as optimized blog posts and PR, is designed to drive traffic to the franchisor’s franchise opportunity website.  The second prong is a content rich website, and social media content such as testimonials and franchise development blogs.  The third prong is a steady stream of content (such as  email newsletters, social posts and drip campaigns) designed to educate and engage leads who are already in process to keep them engaged and moving forward.  Franchisors who fail to plan a content strategy into their recruiting campaign will get passed by those who do it successfully.

2. The “less is more” or “more is more” content philosophy for designing franchise opportunity websites has been determined. More is more!  Content rich and emotionally engaging franchise opportunity websites with a heavy emphasis on blogging are going to become the norm in 2012.  Thinly constructed franchise opportunity websites or tabs connected to the franchisor’s consumer site will start to disappear; they don’t do an adequate job of telling the franchisor’s story.  The message is not relevant to the consumer.

3. Lead count is out.  Emotionally engaged, qualified, buyer-ready franchise candidates are in.  Franchisors are starting to see how meaningless the conversation about generating more leads is.  Franchisors will use websites and other online content to allow leads to qualify themselves and give them more information to help them determine upfront whether or not the candidate sees a match.  Franchisors will see fewer leads, but more emotionally engaged leads with a higher close %, perhaps in the 5-10% range, like franchise broker leads. Remember – it only takes one lead to sell one franchise. Focus on quality engagement and you’ll see fewere leads, but better results.

4.  Franchise portals are out.  Organic SEO is in.  Franchise portals shot themselves in the foot and killed the golden goose.  In an effort to boost revenues by shooting many franchisors the same leads, portals have killed off the engagement level of many of the leads they generate.  Because Google has changed their algorithms to find more relevant and recent content, static franchise opportunity portals will start losing web traffic and franchisors with the right type of franchise website will be able to drive their own traffic to their franchise opportunity website.  Franchisors will shift budgets away from portals and towards website design, PR, social media, and content development.  Franchise portals will slowly die out in favor of franchise companies spending resources on internally generated leads

Social media is now part of the integrated approach to lead generation and it affects every part of the recruiting process.  If it doesn’t work for you, I believe it’s not because social media and content doesn’t work, it’s because your strategy and approach isn’t working.

If you missed FranCamp, they plan on holding more similar events.