Franchise Lead Generation: How to Get Quality Franchise Leads
Welcome to a deep dive into the world of franchise lead generation. The goal of this article is to unveil how franchise leads are generated, corresponding franchise marketing tools, and best practices.
References to other franchise marketing resources that may be of interest to you are linked throughout the article.
Table of Contents
1. Getting Started
2. Franchise Lead Generation Goals
3. The Franchise Story
3.1 Franchise Story: Common Mistakes
3.2 How do you tell your franchise story?
4. What else do you need to attract franchise leads to your franchise?
4.1 Franchisee Testimonials
4.2 Thank You Video
4.3 Franchise Website and Franchise Landing Page
4.4 Franchise Emails
4.5 Franchise Social Media Accounts
4.6 Franchise Audience and Franchise Buyer Persona
5. Franchise Lead Generation Funnel
Mark Cuban once said about leads that unless you have a reliable, scalable way to bring leads and turn them into clients, you don’t really have a business — you have a hobby.
Well, franchising would be an expensive hobby if not taken seriously…
OK. Let’s get to franchise leads, shall we?
Franchise Lead Generation Goals
The goal of this article is to cover the following:
WHAT – what do you need to generate franchise leads?
HOW – how should you start generating franchise leads?
It all starts with your product.
For you as a franchisor, your product is the franchise: a well oiled business machine created for the purpose of bringing people to become business owners and franchisees, leading them to financial freedom. Your franchise is your baby and deep inside you know that its business model works, because it worked for you.
But will your franchise work for other people? Will it generate profits? Will they become raving fans of the franchise brand you created?
If you are interested in learning more about the psychology of decision making when it comes to franchise purchases, we have a franchise philosophy article about the franchise “black box” here.
Why are all of these questions important for franchise lead generation? They are important because to generate franchise leads, you first need to generate interest about your franchise. To generate interest it is important to tell the story – the story about your franchise.
The Franchise Story
All of us have stories to tell, and people like stories. What people like more is a good story. A story that speaks to them, a story that they can see themselves in and can relate to your experiences. A powerful story and brand message is all you need to introduce your franchise business to the world.
By telling this story you create what called brand awareness. You make your potential franchise leads know that your franchise exists. That’s it – it’s simple.
Is the product more important than the franchise story?
The answer is – it depends who you ask.
For franchise operations people, the product is more important because they have to deal with product related issues on a daily basis.
For franchise marketers, the story is more important because a powerful story can generate a lot of interest and product issues can be dealt with later.
As we are concerned with franchise marketing, the franchise story is key.
Yes, the product is important, but you can spend a lot of time developing the product and no-one will ever learn about it if you do not tell your story.
From my experience working with franchise companies and talking to franchisors and franchise business executives daily, we mutually agree that the story part is widely missed and here is why:
The majority of franchisors are successful business people, most of them own several businesses, but not many of them are marketers. They are successful business creators and business operators.
Franchise Story: Common Mistakes
Imagine if I ask you to walk into a bar or coffee shop, look around, find an attractive person and ask her/him to marry you. Sounds crazy, right? Well, this is what a lot of franchise marketing stories look like, especially for emerging franchises, companies people have no idea about.
Here’s an example: We are the fastest growing pizza franchise on the market! Learn more about how to own ABC pizza franchise and become your own boss.
Sounds familiar? Not picking on pizza franchises, just replace ABC pizza with any other ABC franchise.
You might say that a lot of brands, for example mobile phone providers, run bold ads specific to the offer they have. Well, before running offer ads those companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars on engraving their company names into our brains – TV, radio, billboards, events, the list goes on and on about marketing tactics they use.
In other words, all of us have been on several “dates” with these brands before they started chasing us asking to marry.
BMW – The Ultimate Driving Machine. Verizon – Can You Hear Me Now?
You get the point.
The Good News!
You might think that to create franchise brand awareness, you need to spend a lot of money.
Although you will have to spend money to create awareness about your franchise, there are media platforms that can do it quickly, effectively, and in line with your marketing budgets.
The ball is in your court as a franchisor to make the decision about when and how you are going to tell the powerful story about your franchise.
Keep in mind that the goal of a franchise story is not to generate franchise leads, but to build the base from which you will be generating franchise leads consistently.
How do you tell your franchise story?
Now that we’ve gotten the strategic part out of the way, let’s get to franchise marketing tactics.
The best way to deliver the franchise story is through a video.
The first step is ask for help. Find professionals who do storytelling and video production for a living and hire them.
Let me ask you couple of questions. Did you write your own franchise disclosure document? Did you register your own franchise around the country? Probably not, right?
Why not? Although you can do it yourself, there are professionals who do that kind of work for a living and, more importantly, if you make a mistake in legal work the cost of fixing mistakes can be high down the road.
If you make mistakes marketing your franchise the costs will be much higher. Costs of lost opportunities, for example.
So, before you pull out your mobile phone to record a franchise marketing video in your office, think of the costs of lost franchise sales opportunities.
For the record, I am not in the business of story telling or video production. You will not hear me endorsing any companies so I can financially benefit from it, but it is my responsibility to tell you about the importance and urgency of creating a strong franchise story.
So, the bottom line, find a company that can help you with creating a powerful franchise story and get it on video.
For more information, here is a short article about how to interview a video production company, including average costs for franchise video services.
What else do you need to attract franchise leads to your franchise?
Now that you have the franchise story in the works, you need prepare other key types of franchise marketing materials.
- Franchisee testimonials – these are success stories from your current franchisees.
- Thank You video – this video will be used on your franchise website when you get franchise leads. More on this later.
- Franchise website or franchise landing page – this is the place where you will be directing you franchise leads in order to educate them about your franchise and collect their information so you can follow-up with them. There is an article about franchise website and franchise landing building here if you need to learn more about the topic.
- Franchise emails – franchise emails are a powerful franchise lead nurturing tool that help educate franchise leads about the details of your franchise and drive them through the franchise sales funnel. We have built a very detailed article about franchise emails and how to use them effectively.
- Audience – this is a pool of potential franchise leads, not potential franchisees. This is a very important distinction! This is a cold audience, people who never heard about your franchise; they have no idea that your franchise exists, but they have the potential to become your franchise leads based on criteria you identified when building your franchise buyer persona. Where do we find these people, how do you build the franchise marketing persona? We have a detailed article describing how to build the franchise marketing persona step by step.
Franchise Lead Generation Funnel
Now that we have outlined the main pieces required in franchise lead generation, let’s see how they all work together to achieve results you need and get quality franchise leads.
I made it visual by creating a simple franchise lead generation funnel.
Ok, let’s look at each step in detail.
When you run your first advertisement through social media, remember that you are running it to a cold audience. Your main goal at this stage is to get attention, see who is interested in your franchise, measure their level of interest, and put a “digital tag” on people expressed interest.
I know, it sounds a bit weird, but please stay with me on this one. I will give you an example to make it easier to understand what we are trying to accomplish.
Imagine that you have a huge digital billboard (like you can find on Times Square in New York City) on the side of very busy pedestrian street, and you present your franchise story video on that billboard. The billboard allows you to measure how much time each pedestrian spent watching your video. Some will walk by without looking at the video, some will glance at the video for 3 seconds and keep walking, some will stop and watch 20%of the video, and some watch the whole video.
Now, let me ask you a question. If you are there, on that street, observing the process, who would you talk to more about your franchise?
Obviously, you would spend time with people who watched the entire video. Why? Because they were interested in your brand and what you had to offer. At that particular moment you don’t know who they are or if they are financially qualified to buy your franchise; you don’t have much information about them, all you know is that they spent time and something caught their attention.
Ok, now let’s get real. Imagine if there was no giant billboard and you were not on the side of the street. Can you still accomplish the same goal, identifying specific people who watched your entire franchise story video?
The answer is YES!
Neither TV, radio, or any other advertising media will allow to accomplish what we just discussed. BUT social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn will let you re-connect with people who spent time with your franchise digitally.
This is called RETARGETING.
Retargeting allows you to re-connect with your audience and keep sending them franchise marketing materials like franchise brochures, reports, video testimonials.
We cover the technicalities of running social media campaigns in several articles you can find here, but for now, this is the main point we are trying to drive home. As long as you understand the retargeting aspect of digital marketing, you know how to structure your franchise marketing campaigns.
Let’s go back to our digital billboard. How about instead of showing your franchise video to complete strangers, we show it to people of different professions, or people with a certain income, certain demographics, etc. It is still a cold audience as they’ve never heard about your franchise before, but they have a higher probability of stopping to watch your franchise story video. Thus, they have a higher probability of becoming a franchise lead and maybe even a future franchisee.
By now, you probably understand why having a franchise buyer persona is very important.
Again, with TV and radio, you can guess that certain demographic groups will watch or listen to certain programs so you can run your franchise video advertisement during that show. With social media you do not need to make such predictions, as you can pick your intended audience based on the criteria you have specified in your franchise buyer persona. We cover the details of building this audience and creating a franchise buyer persona in several articles, which you can find here.
So, at this point in the franchise lead generation funnel, we have prospects who have watched and expressed interest in your franchise story and franchisee testimonial videos. Now, we need to collect their personal information so that we can follow up with an e-mail or phone call. The best place to convert potential prospects into franchise leads is on your franchise landing page or franchise website. To drive them to your website, we must present an enticing call to action in a social media advertisement. This call to action generally involves them clicking on a button that links directly to valuable content on your website.
In past articles, we discussed different types of valuable franchise marketing content. One of the most commonly used pieces of marketing content is a franchise report that covers industry trends, discussing your franchise’s position and differentiation from its competition.
Your franchise website visitors trade their personal information for access to such a report; at this moment, they become franchise leads.
The franchise marketing should never stop at this point, because once you receive a franchise lead you should follow-up with them through various marketing channels. Not only should you make a sales phone call, but you also need to engage in a series of franchise nurturing activities such as e-mail and SMS drip marketing campaigns. We cover franchise lead nurturing in detail here.