Building your network with the right franchisees is integral to growing your business and strengthening your brand. But how do you find these prospects and generate enough interest in your opportunity to encourage a sales inquiry? Developing a strong franchise recruitment website, along with printed materials, online marketing, and lead-nurturing tools will play a big role in your success. Let’s uncover the stages and tools that go into a successful franchise recruitment marketing campaign.

1. Strategize: Set clear and measurable goals

No matter what projects we undertake, we strongly believe in a “strategy first” approach. It’s very important to define your goals and target market before developing a franchise marketing plan. Parameters should be set and differences should be identified from the start, as different franchises will have different needs. For example, a home design franchise looking to add 100 franchisees across the country will have very different strategic and budgetary requirements from an emerging food service franchise who needs two new franchisees with food related backgrounds in a specific region. Setting clear goals gives you a way to measure your campaign’s effectiveness and evaluate whether you achieve the desired results.

2. Build: Create strong web and print marketing materials for franchise recruitment

Once your goals are in place, you can start developing your online and print marketing materials. On-brand, professional, and compelling marketing materials are the building blocks that you’ll be using to share your opportunity with future prospects. Google estimates that 70 percent of the decision to buy is now made prior to speaking to a salesperson, so it’s critical that your marketing materials do a good job of making your prospects want to take the next step.

Each piece of content, whether digital or print, needs to be consistent and based on your brand’s story. This is the messaging that will differentiate you from the rest of the franchise opportunities out there. The more you share what makes your brand unique, and dig deep into the business’s history, vision, and values, the more your ideal clients will want to be a part of it.

Your franchise recruitment website and landing pages are the hub of your lead generation system. All of your marketing channels, whether print, online, PR, or tradeshows, should direct potential prospects back to your website. The website serves three main purposes – to build excitement in the opportunity, to tell your brand story, and to encourage the right candidates to fill out an inquiry form. Ultimately, the goal of your website is conversion. If your website doesn’t do a good job of getting qualified visitors to fill out your application form, or at least provide their email for future nurturing, all of your other efforts will be in vain.

Visitors arrive on your site looking for information about your franchise’s history, team, operations, and marketing support, so these components need to be easy to find. Case studies and video interviews with successful franchisees, as well as information on qualifications and investment, help attract more qualified leads. And make sure your call to action – the inquiry form – is clearly visible. According to broad industry statistics, it often takes completed inquiry forms from at least 100-150 different franchise leads to actually close a sale. Ensuring your website is optimized for conversion is therefore critical.

3. Attract: Find your prospects or help them find you

Once you’ve developed a stellar franchise recruitment website and other marketing materials, it’s time to start attracting prospects to your offer. Online advertising is a powerful way to tap into the billions of people using the internet every day, but to do this effectively, you need to have a clear understanding of your ideal target audience. Social media sites, such as Facebook, not only offer access to a large user base, they also have powerful targeting criteria and other tools that let you reach very specific audiences. This allows you to really hone in on your ideal prospect and advertise only to people most likely to be interested in joining your franchise system.

If your ideal franchisee has a very specific professional background, LinkedIn can be a great platform to use as it has the best data on people’s job titles, company information, professional groups and more. For example, a tutoring franchise might want to advertise to teachers who could be looking for a bit of a career change. LinkedIn would be the best place to find those teachers and pitch them with messaging that is really relevant to them.

Another powerful option is Google AdWords. Google ads typically reach prospects that are further along in the buyer’s journey. People searching for terms like “business for sale Colorado” or “best fitness franchise opportunity” are actively looking for a specific solution or opportunity, making them great leads for the right franchise. That being said, Google’s pay-per-click fees can be pricey, and getting started can be complicated and intimidating. Without an effective plan in place, it’s easy to watch your ad spend vanish without any results. Working with an expert who not only understands AdWords, but also your business objectives, can help ensure Google is a powerful tool for generating new leads.

4. Nurture: Keep in touch and build trust

Not all prospects are ready to pounce when they check out your website or learn about your franchise opportunity. Buying a franchise is a serious and often costly decision, so many prospects will need time to think before they are ready to commit. Nurturing these warm leads and keeping them engaged over time is an important part of the sales cycle. Luckily, there are great tools available to help with this.

Email follow-up– otherwise known as drip marketing – is a common nurturing technique. When a prospect goes to your site and downloads your information kit, you request their email address. With a properly established drip marketing campaign, you can start sending a series of automated emails that gradually move the prospect along the buying process. These emails should not come across as a hard sell – they should provide useful and interesting information about the company. If you have multiple audiences, you should tailor the content of the emails to be most relevant to each audience. Charities you support, franchisee success stories, and company news will all help build trust and excitement about your brand.

Another effective way to nurture leads is through webinars. Webinars are an easy way for interested leads to do further research in a group setting without having to talk directly to a salesperson. For the franchisor, webinars are an engaging way to connect with prospects, share valuable information, and gather email addresses and phone numbers for a follow-up later on.

5. Close: Start the franchise sales process

The ultimate goal of any franchise recruitment marketing campaign is to send the strongest leads to your sales team. Marketing and technology can do a great job of attracting and nurturing leads, but at the end of the day, nothing replaces real conversations between prospects and your franchise sales team. If your campaign was effective, these conversations will be with interested buyers who have already conducted their own research, making your sales team’s job that much easier.

Need help developing with a marketing program to attract quality franchisees? Get in touch for a free consultation.