Lead generation in franchising

Article about lead generation in franchising and how to attract applications from potential franchisees
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Franchise Leads

Selling a franchise, like any other sale, deals with conversion. We receive applications from potential franchisees, process them and, with a certain conversion, translate them into signing franchise agreements and opening partner facilities. It is necessary to constantly work to increase this conversion, but it is also important how many applications (leads) we receive monthly.

In this article we will talk about lead generation in franchising. Let’s figure out where and by what means to get incoming franchise leads.
Lead storage
Typically, a lead in a franchise is a completed form on the website, an application to purchase a franchise. Contact information is the main goal of lead generation. All activities are aimed at bringing a potential partner to the site and forcing them to enter their data in this application form. This application is processed by the franchise sales manager, who negotiates and moves the deal forward through the sales funnel. Whether you collect requests in an Excel spreadsheet or have a CRM system, not a single incoming request should be lost. For each lead, the transaction status should also be clear: contacted, declined, email sent, paused, and so on. These are standard sales rules, we won’t go deeper into them. But if you don't capture and manage leads, the following points won't make sense.

Lead generation channels
To accurately determine the channels that will work specifically for your franchise, it is worth deciding on the target audience of your franchise: what level of income, what interests, what books, magazines, websites your audience reads, who they trust.

Based on the portrait of your target audience, you will be able to adjust the list of channels for your franchise, and perhaps you will find your own unique channels through which leads will come cheaper and more efficiently.

I will outline the main lead generation channels that most likely any franchise deals with, and I will give comments on each, based on my experience.
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Contextual advertising
Quite expensive, but fast and effective channel for attracting traffic to your franchise landing page. You attract targeted applications from potential partners who are currently looking for a franchise and enter a specific search query for this. The main disadvantage is that at the same time as you, the potential franchisee will click on a dozen more advertisements and will choose you from many similar offers.

Social media
Channel with delayed results. Applications will most likely come from the promoted page of your brand or from the page of the franchise founder if he is a well-known media personality who is of interest.
Industry events and exhibitions
Participation in industry exhibitions is quite expensive, but this is an excellent opportunity to communicate live with a very large number of potential franchise buyers over a few days. At the exhibition, sales managers gather contacts that can provide them with work and bonuses for the whole year.
Along with industry exhibitions, it makes sense to participate in franchise exhibitions. Franchises participate in them by placing their stands and inviting guests who are interested in purchasing a franchise. The main disadvantage of the audience at franchising exhibitions is that your franchise will be chosen from hundreds of others. It is very difficult to attract franchisees at such an exhibition who will be truly loyal to your brand. The main thing for a visitor to such an exhibition is quick profit with minimal investment, and sometimes he doesn’t care whether he opens a manicure salon or sushi and wok. The stars at such events are franchises with small investments and quick payback: kebabs, sushi, wok, etc.
Articles and publications
In fact, you need to be published in all publications that are of interest to your franchisee, to be in all publications that your potential partner trusts. The channel is very effective because it does not work head-on. You talk about your brand, your technologies, your achievements, your results, your employees. You are selling your company, but doing it clumsily. A very effective channel that requires labor and regularity. In addition, reputable publications will not immediately want to publish materials about unknown companies and entrepreneurs.
Direct mail (mailing lists)
A great way to communicate with a potential buyer of your franchise. There's no need to send spam, but a regular newsletter about your company's accomplishments, innovations, and breakthroughs would be worth sending to an audience of potential franchisees.

Franchise catalog

Not the most effective and rather expensive channel for attracting leads. Your franchise needs to somehow stand out from the 500 offerings. A very large percentage of applications will come from curious colleagues in the shop. In some franchise directories you may have “bad neighbors”, you may be placed next to companies worse than you, less than you, lower than you in product quality. Visually, you may be close and this may cast a shadow on your image. Typically, the directory charges a subscription fee for placement and the number and frequency of requests for your franchise is usually not guaranteed by anyone.

Public performance
speaking at events is a great opportunity to talk about your franchise. Similar to articles, you are not engaged in direct sales, but talk about the strengths of your company and your franchise. And it is these differences and advantages that ultimately motivate us to become your partner. After listening to you, potential franchisees will want to learn more about you, go to the website and leave an application. The weak point of this channel is that there is no direct link from the speech to the landing page, except in cases where your speech is watched in a recording on YouTube.

Interesting and useful targeted content
By posting posts, articles, videos, infographics, brochures, memos, webinars, you attract potential buyers of your franchise.
Affiliate sites
If you know your audience and understand what methods of receiving information they prefer, what information platforms they choose, you should use this data to disseminate information about your product and your franchise program. Place your materials on partner sites if they are not your competitor.

Share cases
Opening new locations, expanding your franchise’s team of partners is an excellent reason to tell the public about it. Tell us about new partners and new discoveries. The example of others confirms the efficiency of the model and can become an incentive to buy a franchise.