When you’re a franchisor, your bread and butter comes from finding and onboarding new franchisees, and seeing them through to success. After all, every new location offers the promise of more sales and more awareness for your brand. But franchising is not easy, and finding someone who wants to be an entrepreneur and open the doors of a new location is not always a walk in the park. If you’re struggling to find the right people to oversee your next branch, the answer could lie in a new marketing approach.
Even if your franchise business is business-to-consumer (B2C), it’s wise to approach your franchisee recruiting process as a business-to-business (B2B) endeavor. If you think about it, you’re trying to sell your product (your franchise brand) to a future business owner, so the whole process falls neatly in the B2B category. As such, it’s important you use marketing initiatives that work in the B2B world.
Here are three of the most proven marketing tactics that B2B companies take, that you can borrow to attract and win over new franchisees.
Specifically in the franchise world, your two main objectives have to be educating your future franchisee and helping them fall in love with your brand. Content marketing is a highly effective way to do both. It’s been found that 91 percent of B2B companies use content marketing in some way, shape or form. When you consider that 95 percent of B2B buyers consider content as trustworthy when evaluating a company and its offerings, it makes sense that this is an area worth your investment.
If you’ve never started a content marketing program, it can feel overwhelming. But if you start with a blog, and aim to produce one piece of content per week, it’s entirely manageable. The key is to start by mapping out content topics that will either explain your business, highlight some of the best parts of being involved with it or answer questions that franchisees might have.
You could even plan some posts that feature Q&As with other franchisees, to give prospects a feel for what it’s really like on the other side. Keep your posts informative or entertaining in nature (not promotional), and include a call-to-action at the end of each one - whether it’s filling out a webform for more information, calling you to learn more, etc. It’s also helpful to incorporate search engine optimization (SEO) keywords into your content, to attract more traffic to your site. If you need help with this area, give us a call.
There’s a new movement in B2B marketing that centers on flipping the traditional sales funnel, and practicing something called Account-Based Marketing (ABM). The premise is that, instead of trying to gather a ton of unqualified leads at the top of a typical funnel, you instead focus your time and energy on a few, highly qualified folks. Part of what makes this strategy so successful in B2B businesses is that it allows you to tailor your marketing efforts with a few people, in a way that wouldn’t be possible if you were going after ten times as many leads.
Start by looking at any existing leads you have, and narrow down the list to only a handful of the ones who have actually taken a step that shows interest. Maybe they clicked on an email you sent out, requested more information or met you for coffee to learn more. Then, do your research. Find out all you can about this person online - their interests, background, career path, family life. This will help you figure out what they value, and what their motivations might be in considering becoming a franchisee. Then, in all your communication efforts with them, be sure to weave in personalized nuggets that help them know you understand them and their goals.
A lot of businesses have success using Facebook ads, which is why 93 percent of marketers use this tactic regularly. But when it comes to B2B marketing, LinkedIn wins the day. Consider this: 80 percent of B2B leads come from LinkedIn, as opposed to 13 percent on Twitter & seven percent on Facebook. That’s an astounding difference and speaks to the importance of using LinkedIn to reach your next franchisee.
The beautiful part about LinkedIn is that you can find individuals who call themselves entrepreneurs and either already are running a business - or are interested in running one. This is exactly what you’re looking for in a franchisee. You can search for people with these interests, people who have previously been franchisees, people with certain qualifying characteristics or career histories that would make them an ideal fit for your business. Then you connect with them, message them and move the conversation forward. LinkedIn is also the perfect place to share (and promote) the content you create, in order to reach even more of your target audience.
As you plan out your strategy for finding and acquiring the next franchisees that will help you take your business to the next level, don’t count out these powerful B2B approaches. Take time to understand each one, and borrow them for use in your franchisee search. Still have questions? We can help. Contact us to learn more about how we’ve helped other franchise businesses grow sales and expand.