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4 New Trends Impacting Franchise Sales

November 2nd, 2011

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.

Comments(6)

  • 11/08/2011, 12:10 pm  Reply

    Thank you for cutting my travel budget. You do such a good job recapping the industry events; I’ll just stay home and wait for your summary. Great job, thank you!

  • 11/08/2011, 3:03 pm  Reply

    I did this transformation a few years back. We changed the way we position ourselves in the market. We are 100% on line. We use videos, articles, social media, mobile media and email marketing to generate leads. Beating the portals to the top for the best keywords is very hard. The portals are very good at SEO. The battle begins!

  • 11/11/2011, 9:18 am  Reply

    Thanks so much for this recap! I wasn’t able to make the event.. what a positive shift in lead generating.. more organic, emotionally rich leads will eventually provide us all with more passionate, motivated franchisees!

  • 11/16/2011, 10:23 am  Reply

    Joe,

    I couldn’t agree with you more, but in my mind. it doesn’t end there. Part of the emotional engagement that you speak of, comes from interaction, which a website alone, just does not provide and no matter how quickly a development person responds, half the time leads come during “off hours,” when there is no opportunity for direct engagement, until the next business day. (at best)

    That is why I strongly subscribe to everything that you’ve proffered, coupled with a well constructed, “interactive” virtual brochure. (not the 8 page stuff you have eluded to in other posts. That way, emotional engagement can be taken to new heights at any hour of the day or night that a potential candidate is shopping. It also enables the franchisor to more accurately score and rank a candidate’s interest, as those metrics are easily seen and measured on the brochure’s back end dashboards.

    No argument, it all starts with “functional” well optimized development websites, rich in “topical” and/or “meaningful” content. In my view, personal referrals and (far more expensive) broker leads aside, that is the next best source of high quality leads.

  • 11/22/2011, 4:42 pm  Reply

    Content that is RICH…ENGAGING….hmmm…may be onto something?
    Thanks for the update, greatly appreciated.

    • Joe Mathews
      11/23/2011, 8:41 am

      Hi Jerry, the paradigm is shifting from a “franchisor-controlled process where the franchise salesperson is the gatekeeper of information” to a “buyer-controlled front end of the process and the internet is the gatekeeper of information.” Requires different tactics. Thanks for reaching out.

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