The Elephant in the Room

Part 1 in Our Franchise Development Planning Series

We are kicking off a new blog series on planning your franchise development program for 2021. Before we get into strategy and tactic recommendations, we want to address something that we feel is a big concern – the proverbial elephant in the room. In this blog, we’re going to confront it head-on.   

Portals, Brokers and Reliance – OH MY!

Because many franchise brands use franchise brokers and franchise portals to sell franchises, internal franchisor efforts often slow down, and it’s not the fault of the brokers or portals. Over time, many brands stop using dedicated funds and resources to build their own marketing and strategies … and eventually, they lose them.  

There are pros and cons of using brokers for franchise sales, but this heavy reliance on brokers is leaving gaping holes in many franchise development internal marketing programs. Brokers and portals can have a seat at the table, but they should not dominate the dinner. 

Any time someone else is doing the heavy lifting for your brand’s sales strategy, that leaves your franchise vulnerable. Often, it means your own program isn’t where it needs to be. The reality is, whether they are assisting you or not, brokers and portals need to provide just an assist, not a reliance. With ad funds typically going to the consumer side, investing in franchise development often gets pushed to the back burner, which can be dangerous for brand growth.    

A heavy reliance on having brokers market your franchise is not a long-term solution. Remember, they’re often selling hundreds of other brands, too.  

We aren’t saying to avoid using brokers. We’re saying if and when you do use brokers, your franchise still needs to make building your own internal franchise marketing program a big priority.  

Build Up Your Fran Dev Program

And here’s a little secret: The more you build up your program with the tools and platforms we are going to share with you in our next blog, the more it will actually help you close the sale, no matter who is bringing the deal.  

When the franchise CEO or founder comes in and asks the franchise development staff to grow more or take things to the next level, many franchise development directors and franchise sales teams find themselves behind the eight ball. At no fault of their own, the brand’s heavy reliance on brokers and portals to fill the pipeline, combined with a lack of funding from the franchisor, means there’s a lot of catching up to do when the CEO asks for a quick growth spurt. It’s hard to suddenly be successful – especially in new markets – when the right strategies and tactics haven’t been in place for a while before the foot hits the pedal.  

Honest Conversations

Franchise development directors, franchise marketing directors, franchise founders and CEOs need to have more proactive conversations, starting now, about building a stronger internal franchise development marketing program and what it will take to do that. The foundation for your marketing program has to not only be right, but also it has to stay updated.  

Check out our next blog to find out more about how to plan your franchise development program for 2021.  

Brands are laser-focused on lead generation for franchise sales right now. And Facebook – which has always been an extremely affordable platform – suddenly isn’t quite as affordable.

Even more importantly, negativity seems to be rampant on Facebook right now – both from ads and from content posted by users related to the election, the pandemic, racial unrest and more. Some large global companies have pulled their dollars from Facebook altogether.

So, the questions swirl about Facebook and franchise development: Does it still work? Why is it more expensive right now? Should we continue to advertise through the election? Does Facebook bring in quality leads?

It depends on your brand, your goals and your budget.

The Competition

In general, Facebook does a great job of generating leads. But the lead flow on Facebook has slowed down significantly in recent months. That may be, in part, due to an increase in competition for users’ attention. There are more political ads with the presidential election looming; there is a lot of information and misinformation about the pandemic; and there is a lot of discussion about social unrest.

In short, there is a lot of noise clamoring for the attention of the Facebook users you are trying to reach.

The increase in political ads, especially, is driving up costs. The 2016 election saw an unprecedented amount of digital ad spend, totaling $1.4 billion. This year, the Trump and Biden campaigns have spent more than $118 million on Facebook alone through Sept. 15. Facebook is cracking down on copy in ads and who is being targeted. And ads running in swing states – including California, Florida and Texas, which also are the top states for franchising – may be even more expensive.

Additionally, the sheer volume of ads appearing in users’ newsfeeds may cause some users to take a break from Facebook or suffer ad fatigue, where they begin to ignore ads – including yours – because there are just so many

It’s hard to dispute Facebook’s power as an advertising platform. As the world’s largest social media platform, Facebook has 2.4 billion users, and ads reach a large and diverse audience. Even with the current higher prices, advertising on Facebook remains less expensive than most alternative platforms.

If you move your ad dollars to LinkedIn or Google, for example, the cost very likely will go up and the total number of leads may go down. However, LinkedIn or Google may deliver a more qualified lead. 

Most people in franchise development will tell you lead generation is a numbers game. You want quality leads so that you can find the best candidates, but you also need quantity to fill your pipeline.

Before you can decide whether you should take a break from Facebook advertising, even temporarily, delve into your CRM to understand how your Facebook leads move down the sales funnel. That’s the only way to know whether you can get enough of the high-quality leads you need from somewhere else and without busting your budget. 

Everybody seems to agree that you need to “do SEO” on your franchise development website. But what exactly does SEO mean, and how can it help your franchise development program?

In working with franchise development clients, we have found that more than 50% of all franchise development leads come from organic traffic. And if you are not advertising, 100% of your leads would be from organic traffic. The bottom line is that SEO only matters if you want leads. 

Now are you ready to learn about SEO? Here is a crash course in SEO for franchise development.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. SEO is simply making your website as effective as possible at gaining internet users who are searching for whatever you have to offer – in this case, a franchise opportunity. Optimization includes both back-end, technical adjustments that improve the user experience and content that makes your website relevant to users. So, why doesn’t everyone just optimize their sites and get it over with?

The reason that SEO is challenging is that Google – the main player in the search engine world – is continuously updating its algorithms and expectations, so what you need to do to optimize your website changes frequently. In essence, SEO specialists are trying to hit a constantly moving target.

How does SEO help franchise development?

When a prospective franchisee starts researching brands, he or she might type a question into Google’s search bar. Depending on what they’re looking for, they could ask something like, “What’s a great, low-cost franchise?” In less than a second, Google provides a page full of answers. That’s called the “search engine results page” (SERP).

The SERP has three main components:

  • Ads: At the top of the page, the user will find ads bought by franchisors like you who are trying to attract the best candidates. Those franchises bought keywords and search terms that they anticipate their ideal candidates will search for. The cost of those ads depends on how many advertisers bought the same words or phrases that you did. 
  • Knowledge panel: Next on the page, you’ll find what Google calls the “knowledge panel,” an information box. It’s designed to answer your question at a glance. For a question about “low-cost franchises,” the knowledge panel may quote a blog or article about top-ranked franchises that have low start-up costs.
  • Organic results: Below the knowledge panel, the user will see pages that Google has deemed so relevant to what the user is searching for, they are shown as top answer providers. Strong SEO will help your website appear in this section at no cost to you. That’s the point of SEO: It helps people who are searching for your offering – whether it’s a franchise opportunity, product or service – find you easily. If they are searching for franchises like yours, it is logical to assume that they really are interested in buying.

Can I do SEO myself?

You can, but remember that SEO is not a set-it-and-forget-it kind of thing. What Google expects of websites changes constantly, so one big part of SEO involves keeping up with technological and user experience improvements. For example, because of the proliferation of mobile devices, Google penalizes websites that are not mobile-friendly.

The other main aspect of SEO is content. Website content should be relevant, rich in keywords and terms, useful and readable.

Several years ago, when people were just starting to understand SEO, they tried to outsmart Google by littering their webpages with all of the keywords and terms that they thought their target audience would search for. The result was that the keywords were there, but they didn’t make any sense.

PSA: Google is smart! Today, websites that contain poorly written content are penalized.

How do I SEO my content?

Assuming your website is up-to-date and mobile-friendly, the best way to improve your SEO ranking is to focus on filling your website with smart, well-written content. Use your company’s best writer, or hire one who’s familiar with SEO, to fill pages about your brand, the franchise opportunity, the industry you’re in, startup costs and more with relevant keywords and terms.

You might also consider starting a blog to share good news about your franchise, success stories and other information that would be of interest to a prospective franchisee. Posting blogs regularly – whether once per month or once per week – helps keep content fresh and can add pages of keyword-rich content.

In our next blog, we will talk about how to write content that answers your franchise prospects’ questions.

A website serves as the front door to your business. But a great front door is useless if you don’t have the right rooms inside.

Franchise development websites must provide information that your prospective franchise owners want and need, and that goes well beyond the usual “about us” and “contact us” pages. You want to help prospects research your brand so that they can make an informed decision. The more information prospects can obtain on your website, the longer they will stay – and the more they will learn about your brand and whether it’s right for them. That means you need to tell them about the industry you work in; answer their big questions – including how much they can earn and what the startup costs are; and let them hear from current happy, successful franchisees so they can picture themselves in that role.

Here are five pages that we recommend be included on every franchise development website:

Industry Page

Potential franchisees are researching your brand, the industry and franchising in general. Include a page about your industry and any information that differentiates you from others in your industry. We all know how frustrating it is to work a lead only to have them choose a competitor. By addressing how you stand out among the competition up-front, you are positioning your brand as the clear winner.

Also, by providing general information about the industry, with links and proper citations to the data you share, you are saving the user research time, and they will appreciate that.

FAQ Page

An FAQ page may seem obvious, but it needs to be written intentionally to be as functional and useful as possible. Phrase every FAQ as a question that a candidate might ask or type into a search engine, such as: “How long does it take to open a [brand] franchise?” Increasingly, users are searching by entering complete questions into a search engine, using words in the way their brains naturally put them together. They may even ask the question out loud, using a voice-to-text function, so phrasing your FAQs this way will be a benefit to your search engine optimization (SEO).

Answer the questions succinctly, using no more than three sentences. FAQs should be specific, as an overly broad question may require a lengthy answer. Consider turning some key FAQs into their own research pages if there is enough content to support that. For instance…

How Much Can I Make?

This is probably the No. 1 question that candidates have. By answering this question on a webpage, in text, you allow a search engine to provide the answer on the search engine result page; that’s called a zero-click search because they get the answer immediately, without having to click through and read an entire page.

Whether you decide to chart average income by quartiles based on your franchise disclosure document (FDD), or you elect to give an average gross sales number, it’s important for SEO rankings to make sure you answer the question in text on the webpage and not solely in a supporting graphic or image. Images are indexed differently and will not be shown on a search engine result page.

How Much Does It Cost?

This question may very well contend with “How much can I make?” for the top candidate question. Candidates want to know how much of their life savings they will need to invest in your franchise.

Most candidates will expect to find the franchise fee and startup costs here. However, you also should be sure to include details about in-house financing or costs covered by you to make the opportunity more appealing. 

Testimonials

Franchisee testimonials may not have a ton of SEO value, but they do provide a peek into life as a franchisee with your brand. This is relevant to potential franchisees because they will be able to relate to other owners and begin to imagine themselves as one of your franchisees. When candidates can visualize themselves as part of your franchise, closing the sale becomes much easier. 

Including these pages and others that address candidates’ questions on your fran dev website is like putting out the welcome mat for prospects. It is to your advantage to prop the door open and let them look around to see if they are the right fit for your franchise.

A good elevator pitch should last no longer than a short elevator ride of 20 to 30 seconds, hence the name. It should be interesting, memorable and succinct. So, let’s start with your most important marketing element: your franchise development website. Unlike an elevator ride, however, with a great website you have only about 10 seconds to grab a prospect’s attention.

Obviously, when it comes to investing money in owning a franchise, we want your prospects to stay on your site as long as possible, because there’s a lot they need to learn about your brand before they are going to invest in it. In fact, we have seen that many people who are interested in becoming franchisees will come to your website more than 15 times before they actually give you their information, or convert. But, if you don’t get them excited in those precious first 10 seconds, you won’t win the sale. So now, if we’ve got your attention on how important your website is, keep reading.

If we haven’t convinced you yet of your franchise website’s importance, let us give you one more thing to consider. If we were talking over coffee and you told us what most franchise leaders tell us — “We know our franchise development website needs work, but …” — we would tell you exactly what we tell our clients: There are no “buts.” Your franchise development website must be strong, and it must stay strong and stay updated. It is the biggest, most important gateway to the sale. It MUST tell your story and also explain why someone should invest a lot of money — sometimes their life savings — into your brand.

To repeat: You have 10 seconds.

Think of your franchise website as a resume for your franchise. It needs to stand out and grab the attention of the “hiring manager,” aka your prospect, so that they want to talk with you right away. Persuade them that you are exactly who they are looking for. Make them eager to provide their contact information to get the conversation started.

The user experience should be prospect-friendly, where they can find information that allows them to understand your industry, what the opportunity is, what your story is, investment information and much more. And here’s a little secret that no one talks about when designing your franchise development website: You need to use data to build it. Because there is more to a website than a fun design with catchy copy. It needs to be designed to convert.

Here are three tips to make sure your website is truly the elevator pitch to your franchise:

  • Know your persona and pique their interest in the first 10 seconds. You want them to be interested and stay on your page as long as possible in hopes that they will continue to dig and poke around and come back multiple times. Keep in mind that this is not always numbers – potential franchisees need to be able to picture themselves in your franchise. They need to fall in love with the brand. The numbers can come later, unless your only focus is investors or multi-unit owners. In that case, put the numbers up front.
  • Don’t ask for too much information on the form. The simpler, the better: first name, last name, email and phone. Some franchise development sites basically have users fill out an application before they even talk to them. This is good only if you’re trying to not sell many franchises or if you have had so many inquiries you are trying to weed people out before the business development reps talk to them. If this is not the case, simplify your form. Also, put it on almost every page. Don’t make users search for the form or wonder what they should do next. Make it easy: a form on every page and simple inputs.
  • If your website is not mobile-friendly, you HAVE to update this. Potential franchisees are going to think your brand is outdated, you don’t offer the marketing support they need and/or you don’t have the money to update your website, which suggests this is not a well-run brand. This is concerning. Run your website through this free tool from Google: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly. If the tool says your website is not mobile-friendly, get with your web developers IMMEDIATELY. What are you waiting for?

Remember, there are no excuses when it comes to investing in your franchise development website. It’s your first hello and may be your last goodbye.

There are specific words we are hearing right now in the franchise world. Those words are, “We want to double down on our franchise development efforts — and focus on getting more prospects.”

Doubling down sounds great in theory, but how do you double down with long-term strategies?

There are five things you need to discuss with your team to double down for longer-term franchise development strategies:

  • Your franchise development website must be great – not  just good. The site needs to have quick loading times and be mobile friendly. Your story has to be told well. You have to provide a great user experience on desktop, tablet and mobile. The site must be organized and well-written. Your Q&A has to be on point. And so much more.

Your website is the No. 1 thing you have to get right. More than 50% of franchise sales are directly from the website. It’s also critical to track all leads to your website, both organic leads and paid traffic leads. This will help you know how people are coming to and interacting with your site.

  • Your story must be clear and compelling. Why would someone want to invest in your brand? And why now? And what is the actual opportunity? How are you communicating your story?
  • Develop a comprehensive plan – not just a short-term digital budget. I can’t tell you how many brands run Facebook ads and other paid ads, and then abandon a market because “it didn’t work.” It will work if you plan correctly, stay the course and have an integrated plan. The integrated plan should include your story, your opportunity, your website, your digital program, public relations, franchise shows, virtual webinars, your nurturing program including email drip campaigns, how often you remarket to those who visit your website, knowing your analytics and numbers (leads and traffic) and much more.
  • Use data to get executive buy-in and support. If the leaders of your company aren’t convinced that you need a strong plan and budget for internal efforts toward franchise development, you’ve got to be able to show them data that support having a stronger, more comprehensive program and in-house marketing plan.
  • Do you have the bandwidth in-house to focus attention on franchise development? Usually in a franchise, there are two scenarios: Scenario 1 is the marketing team on the consumer side doesn’t have enough time to help those on the fran dev side, because their No. 1 job is on the consumer side. (By the way, as you know, consumer marketing and franchise development marketing are completely different). Scenario 2 is that the people in franchise development are really great at sales and talking the Item 19 talk, but they don’t know much about marketing and they are stuck trying to figure out how to grow the program. This is a dangerous place to be. If you are going to grow your program, either you need to devote the internal bandwidth required or you need to get outside help.

Doubling down in the short term is a great strategy in the short-term – but to be truly successful, you need long-term strategies and support in place.

There is a specific phrase we are hearing right now in the franchise industry, and that is, “We want to double down” on our franchise development efforts. Brands really want to focus on getting more prospects.

Many franchise brands are in a rebuilding phase, helping franchisees more than ever as they navigate unchartered waters. They’ve been through a storm of a lifetime, and their top priority has been helping to steer operational issues and COVID-19-related issues for their franchisees. That’s priority No. 1.

Priority No. 2 is franchise development. A lot of people think that business ownership and controlling your own destiny are uppermost in people’s minds. Franchise leadership teams know they have to simultaneously get their franchises open for operations and healthy again while continuing to grow their brands. And they need to do both well.

What can your brand do to help share your franchise opportunity with those who are serious about business ownership? You can double down in the short term.

Here are five things you can do to create a short-term, double-down franchise development plan:

  • Use the leads list you already have and contact every single person on that list. Have a conversation with them – by phone and by email.
  • Schedule more webinars with the leads you already have, inviting them to hear about the opportunity and meet your team. These are people who’ve already shown interest in your brand, so show interest in them by telling them how your brand is doing and what the opportunity is.
  • Define the areas you really want to grow and spend your marketing dollars there. If your brand has been severely hit, and you’re worried about touting growth when certain franchisees are barely surviving, focus on the bottom of the sales funnel and concentrate more on search and remarketing.

    If you brand is doing better and you are comfortable discussing growth, start with a search and remarketing strategy and consider adding in Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google Display Network. Remember, if your brand recognition is lower or non-existent in an area you want to grow, you’ll need to spend more effort and money ensuring that leads understand not only the story of your brand but also that it’s a franchise opportunity they can invest in.
  • Get your leadership to discuss and agree on your goals and the areas you want to grow in. Don’t let them ignore franchise development. What you do today will affect your sales 24 months from now.
  • Build a comprehensive plan. Don’t just talk about planning to advertise on Facebook or LinkedIn. Create a comprehensive plan to reach the goals you’ve established.

Doubling down in the short term is just that — it’s a short-term strategy. In our next post, we will discuss doubling down for longer term strategies.

We are in very difficult and unusual times with the pandemic and the franchise industry, but we cannot let up on franchise development efforts.

Many of the brands we work with were shut down completely for months and are beginning to reopen; other brands we work with are essential businesses and actually continued to perform extremely well. Regardless of your situation, franchise development has to stay top of mind for your leadership team. Your tactics, strategies and budgets may be different by brand, but it must be a priority. What you do today will greatly affect your franchise development program 24 months from now.

Here are three questions to help franchise leadership teams have honest and open conversations about their franchise development programs. These may sound like simple questions, but, in our experience, one or two of these is likely to spur some serious discussions among your team.

  • What is a realistic growth goal for your brand or brands? Because of the pandemic, there are currently a lot of unknowns, but many brands are going to be doubling down in the next 24 months to really grow their brands. Even with all that’s going on, you and your team need to decide on your growth goals for the next 12 to 24 months. You’ve got to agree on those numbers. You may have to adjust and change them later, but knowing those goals will help you build a comprehensive plan.
  • What specific markets do you want to grow in? Decide on where you really want to grow and build your program based on those top areas. Don’t dilute your efforts by trying to do too much everywhere. Focus on your top areas of growth opportunity. According to the FranConnect 2020 Franchise Sales Index, with 597 franchise brands in their sample, the leads by top states were in Florida, California, Texas, Ohio, New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Colorado. So competition is bigger in those markets. Keep that in mind when you’re planning your budget.
  • How strong is your brand recognition in the areas you want to grow? If you’re trying to go into new territories, and your brand recognition is low or non-existent in those areas, more than ever you’ll need to tell the story of your brand and the opportunity. If your brand recognition is strong, it will be much easier for you to create your own funnel system so leads come to you quicker.

Franchise development has to stay top of mind for your leadership team. Your tactics and strategies may be different by brand, but it must be a priority from the top down.

If there’s one thing we hear often from franchise development and leadership teams, it’s: “We want franchise development leads, and we want them now.”

When we get a call from a franchise, the conversation often begins with their explanation of the problem. “We’ve tried Facebook ads. We’ve tried LinkedIn ads. We’ve tried search, brokers and portals. We’re doing PR. And we aren’t getting the results we want.”  

While we understand that you want leads – and you want them now – you run the risk of making your franchise development program just about lead generation tactics. Often, that’s a signal that you haven’t really thought through your entire program.

If you really want to grow your program and get leads, you’ll need to create your own funnel and have a comprehensive program. Your franchise development funnel strategy will need to include plans for both the short term and long term.

Years ago, we worked with a brand that wanted us to handle only one piece of their franchise development: lead generation. It was a large brand that was well-known in most parts of the country, but not as well known in two states that they wanted to target. This franchise had one agency handling their public relations, another agency handling Google search and pay-per-click and an internal team building their creative assets. They wanted us to create the digital lead-generation tactics for these specific markets where they wanted to grow.

We shared with them that it was very hard to handle only one piece of their marketing program and that we believed it was going to take a comprehensive approach to make it work. Finally, however, we agreed to help them.

Guess what? Our lead-generation campaign did not produce the results they expected, and they realized we were right. They needed a much more complete program that worked cohesively. When all of the pieces of the puzzle are handled by different agencies and people who aren’t working together, the pieces typically don’t fit together the way they should.

You can’t just throw money at a market through lead-generation ads without having a much bigger plan in place – especially in a new market. Newer markets take time and nurturing. Many times, not only are prospects unfamiliar with your brand, but also they are unaware that the brand is a franchise opportunity. So the challenge is big: It takes time to raise brand awareness and ensure the franchise opportunity is presented, especially in new markets. You can’t simply flip on your Facebook or LinkedIn ads and watch the franchise sales roll in.

A great franchise development program is a comprehensive, strategic program that includes identifying, reaching, nurturing and converting prospects by using platforms and strategies that work together. Running ads in certain geographic areas and setting up an email drip campaign is not enough.

Likewise, focusing only on getting leads and getting them now is dangerous. You need a fully integrated program to bring in the leads you want now and in the future. And you need to ensure that all of the pieces of your franchise development program are working together – your story, your business opportunity, your ads, your creative, your PR, your digital, your website, your follow-up, your email drip campaign and your phone calls. Everything.

Don’t fall for the quick-fix trap of wanting leads and wanting them now. Instead, work on creating a more robust and comprehensive program. So when the CEO asks you to target two new states, you’re ready. Because you’ve done the work to get there.

Selling franchises is a lot harder than getting a consumer to come to one of your locations. The buying cycle is a lot longer. The price tag is a lot bigger. And in an environment where everyone is getting kudos for making the cash register ring, it’s tempting to focus on the immediate sale versus the BIG sale. There’s a danger of treating franchise development like the red-headed stepchild.

Franchise development often gets the short end of the budget stick because the consumer side of the franchise is supported by ad fund dollars. You may think, “It’s good enough. We’ll make up the numbers later.” Or, “Everyone else is getting fewer leads, too.” Or maybe your leads are great, but you aren’t getting the actual sales and success from those leads that you desire.

Another common situation is the CEO announces that you need more franchise development sales, and you’re off to the races trying to develop a quick digital lead generation plan with the budget you’ve been given to meet those metrics. Whatever your case may be, there’s a better way to make your franchise development marketing program better.

A franchise development program is just that: a comprehensive program. It’s not just Facebook ads or LinkedIn ads or relying on brokers and portals or public relations. It’s a complete program developed by you, as the franchisor, with multiple platforms and strategies that you control and monitor.

Here are six areas for you to concentrate on for the long game:

  1. Product satisfaction and execution build brands more than marketing dollars do. The most important thing is to build a brand people love. When you do that, it’s much easier to sell the franchise concept to others. If you’re trying to sell franchises in an area where brand recognition is low, remind your team that those markets will need more nurturing and marketing than in markets where people already love and trust the brand.
  1. Your franchise has to offer a solid business opportunity. Why would someone want to be a franchisee with your brand? And why now? What is the actual opportunity? And more than anything else, it will help your franchise development program to understand why someone did not want to be a part of your brand. If they said no — or chose a different path partly through your sales process — why? Talk about that to develop strategies to overcome those challenges.
  1. Your website is the single most important piece of your franchise development program. If the website isn’t right, you will not get the conversions and interest you desire. Your website is your first hello, your elevator pitch, your chance in a just a few seconds to convince prospects that they want to or need to learn more about your franchise opportunity. Most people who visit your website who are serious come back 15 times or more before they convert, so your website must be better than good – it must be great. In the case of one franchise we work with, we started with a short-term ad strategy, but hundreds clicked through to the website but didn’t convert. The development director had to convince the leadership team that the website they had wasn’t good enough to perform. It needed a complete overhaul, so now we’ve taken on that challenge. My point: It all matters. You can have the greatest campaign and brand in the world, but if your website is slow and doesn’t tell your story, your conversions will suffer.
  1. It takes more than a few ads and a PR firm to begin to create your own internal funnel system. You need a long-game marketing and sales strategy that consists of more than a couple of sales people and a leftover budget for franchise development. You need a comprehensive program, a specific plan and budget earmarked for franchise development to really move the needle.
  1. Know your numbers. The best way to convince your leadership team to invest in franchise development is to know and share the numbers. There’s a tendency to fixate on the number of leads, but equally important is the quality of leads and whether those leads turn into a sale. Or maybe you’re getting a lot of leads, but most of them are “junk leads” that waste your development team’s time. You need to understand the leads and traffic you’re getting and where they are coming from, and that data is available to you. You should be looking at Google Analytics or have your agency provide a platform where you can see all of the numbers in one place. This will help your marketing team tweak and optimize your campaigns better.
  1. Sales and marketing must work together. Don’t complain about leads if your sales and marketing teams aren’t working together. A couple of weeks ago, a Facebook ad popped up for a franchise opportunity in our area and we clicked on it. Admittedly, we were doing research to see what this franchise’s process was, so we filled out the form. Boom! A conversion! Over the next two weeks, we received four emails in a drip campaign but did not get a call. Not one. No personal hello. No personal call asking anything. So here’s a franchise spending money on digital ads, with a great email drip campaign, but no one from the franchise actually called to talk to me.

Investing in the long game for franchise development takes work and time, and sometimes it can feel mundane and boring. But when you invest and create standards and strategies with the long game in mind, those techniques and strategies will compound. The longer and more strategic you play, the bigger the reward. 

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