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.