Rather than a scattergun approach, taking careful aim is the best way to secure new franchisees
One of the most common things we hear from franchisors at the bfa is the question of how to increase the number of enquiries from prospective franchisees. But, as every seasoned franchisor knows all too well, finding franchisees is much more than a numbers game. Attracting the right kind of franchisee means putting the right messages in front of the right people – not trying to reach everyone with the same ones. At best, the latter will give you an abundance of enquiries, some of whom will go on to invest in your franchise. At worst, you’ll be left with almost no interest and no real understanding of why.
Like the franchise sector itself, marketing, PR and advertising have changed immensely in recent years. Gone are the days when a blanket message was good enough. Instead, you need to speak directly to your target. You need to focus on their aspirations, ideals, personalities and perhaps even their reservations if it’s the first time they’ll be running their own business.
That begins with knowing who you’re looking for in the first place. Every good, established franchisor has a clear idea about who their ideal franchisee is and the background, skill set and personality they will require to succeed. Then you need to put yourself in their shoes. Unless you’re looking through the eyes of an audience that may not know much about franchising or your brand, then you probably won’t be appealing to them in the right way.
For example, if you’re looking for parents to be your franchisees, you need to understand what’s driving them towards self-employment and franchising in the first place and target your message accordingly. Are you clearly highlighting the work-life balance your franchise can help them achieve? Are you telling them how the business fits around a family, highlighting why parents are succeeding in the network? Are you putting those messages where they will see them in the first place? If not, then you’re probably not piquing their interest, if you’re reaching them at all.
It sounds simple and, at its base level, it is. But understanding an audience and how to reach them is a real skill and it’s one that any marketer or PR worth their salt appreciates deeply. It’s easy to write generic copy; it’s not so simple to create words that make a person sit up and take notice.
So even if you’re a new franchisor – perhaps especially so – find out what’s driving your audience, use your knowledge of what makes a successful franchisee for your network and marry the two to create your message. Appeal to the right prospects; don’t try to be all things to all people.