If you’ve taken steps to prepare your business for franchising, once the core documentation and system is in place, one of your ongoing focuses will be to generate interest. There are lots of ways to advertise your opportunity – some free, whilst others cost money. Above all else, actually converting the enquiries and interest (referred to as leads), is too in itself, a very time consuming and expensive process, but in order to get to this stage, you need to advertise your franchise. Here are our Franchise Planet Tips for Advertising Your Franchise Effectively.
Decide Who You Want to Target
Whether you’re a new or established franchise, you need to know who you want to target. As part of your franchise recruitment process, you should be profiling suitable candidates. But you also need to focus your lead generation so that you’re not aimlessly wasting your recruitment budget.
If you’re a new franchise, you’ll likely want to target the areas closest to you. You should have in place, a system for territory mapping, because you’ll need an understanding of the territory sizes and allocations. Territory size is important for anyone looking to invest in a franchise and this needs to be prominent when marketing the opportunity.
When it comes to targeting, who is your ideal franchisee? If you’re running a sports club franchise, your target will probably be athletic individuals with a sporty interest and ideally some teaching interest as well. If you’re running an accountancy business, it would be best to target those with an accountancy related background. While some franchise businesses do claim that franchisees won’t need any past experience in the respective niche, in the early days, you will want to target people not only with experience, but people who actually see themselves owning a business and being their own boss. To avoid wasted interest, you should target people looking to own and run a business, many people have wasted budget only to find their leads were looking for a job!
So to summarise, make a list of the traits of the ideal franchisee. Focus your targeting on the areas available (or closest to you if you’re a new franchisor) and the demographic that matches the ideal profile.
Decide How You Want to Target Them
There are many methods of advertising a franchise. Once your business has a green light for franchising and the systems are in place for handling leads, you can start promoting the franchise business.
Decide how you’re going to advertise the franchise. You will want to create a dedicated page for franchises on your website. Either link to this page from the main menu or the footer menu, but make it clear that the page is about franchise opportunities.
If you’re not confident enough with creating a page, add a franchise profile to our directory and then link to this from your own website or a blog post.
The page should make it clear that the visitor will be their own boss. List the franchise package and benefits. Training and support should be made prominent, and it is a good idea to emphasise the benefits of franchising over starting up alone. A video by yourself would be good. Essentially – you want a nice attractive landing page with a call to action (an enquiry form or a link to schedule a call).
At this point, a franchise page on your website will generate some good quality leads. You likely won’t get many just like this, but it’s a start and something every franchise should have. Up until this point, most of your enquiries will be from your own clients looking to follow in your footsteps, or people finding your brand by chance. Quality yes, but not so much quantity. If you’re a new franchisor, conversions will likely be slower and lower than that of an established brand. Why? Because you’re new. A franchise is a big decision and those wanting to be their own boss are more likely to choose an established brand.
So for any franchise, it is a good idea to maximise the prominence of your opportunity. Here are some other good ways to advertise your franchise besides your own website.
Either as a pinned / sticky or boosted post, if you’ve been running your business long and have built up a following, make it clear to your followers that you’re offering franchise opportunities. Direct these to your landing page so they can find out more.
Social media can be really useful for franchise lead generation, because it lets you target by area, age etc. Boosting posts on Facebook for example, gives you really useful insights and lets you target those that are more likely to be interested in running a business.
Paid Search and PPC
Paid search is similar to boosting social media posts in that you can target people by area, age and interests. Creating a PPC campaign on Google or Bing involves setting up an ads account and creating either text or image ads that will appear either on the ads/sponsored sections of search engines, or other people’s websites.
Like social media, paid search and ads cost money. However one of the advantages of using PPC is you can target search terms so that you are seen by people interested in investing in a franchise but may not necessarily have heard of your brand. PPC is useful for raising awareness and it can be very good if your website doesn’t rank well in search engines.
Be aware that Google and Bing will set up your first campaign with “express” settings. Also known as a Smart Campaign, these will drive up your costs and can often be poorly targeted. It’s a good idea to use a small budget and take a look at the “expert” settings so that you have full control over aspects like negative keywords (words you don’t want to appear for) and exact match phrases, so you’re only spending on searches that are the most relevant.
You might be tempted to target your own brand name, this is fine but there are better terms out there to target. After all if someone is searching your brand, they’re looking for you in particular anyway. Why pay for interest you’re already getting? It can be useful to bid on your brand name if one of your competitors is in the ad spot for your name though. However it is easy to lose track of spending, so be sure to set a safe budget.
Franchise directory advertising is a good way to promote your franchise, because directories often rank very well for organic search terms. When people look for a franchise, they’ll usually use generic industry related search terms to find a franchise, when not searching for a specific brand. Search “Computer Franchises”, “Dog Walking Franchises” etc, and the search engine results pages will be full of directories and franchise associations.
Franchise advertising using a franchise portal can be expensive (Franchise Planet is free!) so you’ll want to trial various portals and see which ones work for you. Some franchises will have good results with certain portals and not with others, and this might be the opposite way around for other brands. Franchise directories are much hit and miss, but they are a fantastic way to boost your brand’s exposure in the franchising world.
If you’re a new franchise then you’re probably actively working with a franchise consultant. If you’re not, it would be useful to work with one, especially in the early stages. Not only will they help you prepare materials such as a franchise prospectus, they will usually work with franchise directories to maximise your presence. A good franchise consultant will take the time to understand your brand. They will also work the leads for you.
While stands can be expensive, franchise exhibitions exist to get brands in front of people looking to get into franchising. Very few people will waste their time attending a franchise exhibition if they weren’t actually interested. But attendees will be faced with sometimes hundreds of franchises or business opportunities (some may even be your competitors) and it can be overwhelming. So don’t be surprised if you don’t get a single solid lead. Take the opportunity to answer questions and explain more about the franchise, give them a brochure, and who knows – they may make an enquiry days or even a few weeks after the event.
Memberships like the British Franchise Association are a good way of being acknowledged as a trusted franchisor. This accreditation can help improve your conversions and leads. BFA membership might not necessarily be cheap, but the accreditation process is rigorous and displaying the badge shows prospects that you’re a trusted franchise. It should be noted that there are a handful of smaller franchise associations out there as well. Targeting smaller franchisors, each has their own benefits, but the British Franchise Association has established itself as the strongest and most recognised of them all.
Advertise Your Franchise Effectively
Going back to that landing page, similar information should be used everywhere else. You’ll want to deliver the same message. Make sure you emphasise the training, support and the benefits of the franchise, plus detail what is included and how much the franchise investment is.
One of the reasons franchisors report leads not qualifying is because they don’t have the investment required or the working capital required. It can help to make it clear that many banks and third parties are able to offer franchise finance and help. Many banks are favouring franchises, and many companies are also able to help with funding. Take a look at the British Franchise Association website and find out what banks and lenders are members.
When you’re advertising a franchise online, the information should be very simple, straightforward and easy to take in. Make the investment level clear, but emphasise that banks can usually help with funding. Explain what’s included in the investment – a bulletpoint list usually works well. List things like the equipment and the support offered.
Don’t give too much information away before they sign an NDA.
Tips For Following Up Leads Effectively
Whilst the numbers will vary depending on the franchise and of course the person following up, conversion rates from leads to franchisees can be anywhere from 1 in 10 to 1 in 100. The latter is a more likely figure for new franchises, but 1 in 10 should be a good target for established brands.
If an established franchise is getting a 1 in 100 conversion rate or less, the follow up (and quality of leads) should be looked into with importance. After all, if 100 people enquire about your franchise and not 1 of them progresses, there is something wrong. Something is putting them off. Take the time to speak to them and find out what their hesitations are and why they’re not willing to progress.
As you take on more franchisees, the conversion rate should get better.
When you receive an enquiry, follow up with an email thanking them for their enquiry. If you have a prospectus, attach it and then follow up with a phone call a few hours or a day or two later. Ask them if they’ve received it and if they have any queries. Take this opportunity to tell them a bit more about the business. Maybe even invite them to an informal discovery day.
Many franchisors will use automated means of following their franchise enquiries up, but this automated approach in itself can sometimes put people off. Decide whether you can spare the time or not to handle leads manually. Getting on the phone and speaking to people is better than an automated follow up, but it is important to really work the leads. Don’t just expect them to act on an automated email, get on the phone and check they’ve received the email. Ask if they want to meet with you and attend a discovery day and meet with other franchisees too.
There are many resources out there not only to help you advertise your franchise. Also are resources that can help you better build and establish your brand, for example franchise associations. There are teams out there that will work with you to promote your brand effectively, position it in a way that best aligns it with the franchisee profile you’re looking for. Many franchise consultants will work with you on documentation, lead generation and franchise discovery days. The franchising community is really thriving – what makes franchising better than a business startup is that everyone helps each other and the support available is unlimited. Take the first steps to promoting your franchise today with free franchise advertising from Franchise Planet.