Franchising is a marketing and sales business, it takes a focused effort to build your franchise sales pipeline and establish your franchise network. These tips should help you get started when you first franchise your business:
1. Build your online presence online. Today’s market for everything is transitioning to online. Amazon and Netflix aren’t the only ones who are transitioning entirely to online business, the entire world has gone online. Find ways to add to your presence and make the investment. Add your franchise and your brand to as many listing sites as you can find, do it professionally and spend the time to get your brand in front of people who are already looking for a business.
2. Work Social Media. Everyone’s talking so much about social media that I’m sick of it. That is….sick that I didn’t invest in Facebook when everyone else did. Social media is here to stay and it is part of our lives, business, everything. You need someone on your team who is driving traffic, formulating your message and pushing your franchise brand through social media. It is easy to mess this up with corny, ill-prepared social media messages, it needs to be done right or you risk looking like an MLM.
3. Redo Your Marketing Materials. Trust me, people can tell you built your brochure on a word document with stock images. Just because you PDF’d the presentation doesn’t mean that it looks professional. Put the time and money into a presentation that is well thought out, professionally done and will actually warrant someone calling you back or responding to your email follow up. Everyone is visual today, you need a good graphic designer who can present the franchise the right way.
4. Be Content Savvy. The web is becoming more competitive for everything, particularly in the franchise space. You need to be a thought leader in your market. If you sell shoes, find something to write about shoes every week, make it engaging, interesting and spend the time coming up with thought provoking ideas that will build your followership. Haven’t you heard the saying, “write about it and they will come”?
5. Understand the Conversion. Marketing is a multi-step process, don’t be good at getting the person’s attention and bad and getting them to contact you. You are wasting your time on the prospecting part of marketing if people come to your site and don’t give you their contact information. Build tools that are compelling, offer something to the visitor and give them a reason to want to get to know you.
6. Redo your Franchise Logo. Someone said this to me the other day and it was like a brick hitting me in the chest. My pride was hurt, but after looking at it, the comment hit home. I bet the same is true for you, have a professional come up with something that means something and says something about your brand, not a 99Designs contest winner you didn’t put thought into.
7. Understand how Critical a Franchisee Is. Franchisees deserve to criticize the brand they are about to invest in, that’s their right when they are the one making the investment. Read through your website, find the spelling errors, know your presentation thoroughly enough to not lose a deal because you spelled “freind” wrong on your brochure.
8. Leverage your Connections. The largest single category of franchise sales takes place through referrals (38%). This may seem obvious for the large franchise brand that is driving referrals in by the hundreds because they have locations on every street corner, but you would be amazed how many times your vendors, friends, relatives, associates and others you know will be the early on franchise investors in new franchise systems as well. Talk to people and present to them, it’s worth the time even if you feel embarrassed trying to sell your buddy a franchise.
9. Go to Franchise Events. Franchise tradeshows and exhibitions can be expensive to take a booth out and exhibit your brand, but you can always go and attend these events. The cost typically is very reasonable, just time and effort. The people at these shows, events and networking opportunities can probably help you either find a franchisee or they might actually be the franchisee.
10. Work with Franchise Brokers. Particularly when you are early on in your franchise system’s growth, you need all the help you can get from those who are willing to work on a commission basis with you. Franchise Brokers spend their own money to generate leads for you. Yes, you should pay 50% plus commissions if you are a newer franchise, it makes all the sense in the world, win with royalties and franchise validation.