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Lessons 2020 taught us about recruitment marketing in 2021

Written by Paul Clegg on Wednesday, 02 December 2020. Posted in Sales & Marketing

In 2020, we saw an increase in the demand for meaningful digital connection. Using this, we can play to our strengths as we enter into 2021, and define our recruitment marketing.

Lessons 2020 taught us about recruitment marketing in 2021

In 2020, we saw an increase in the demand for meaningful digital connection. Using this, we can play to our strengths as we enter into 2021, and define our recruitment marketing. 

When you reflect back on your 2020 marketing, are there any lessons you’ve learnt? We saw a number of franchisors hit “pause” on their recruitment campaigns, believing they’d be wasting money, if people weren’t looking for a franchise opportunity. But actually, what we saw at Coconut, was the perfect storm for recruitment marketing. People had their hand forced. They needed to look for a more stable and secure opportunity, and for many – this led them directly to franchising. 

So, as we look back at a tumultuous year, here are some collective insights you can – and should – carry with you, as you plan your recruitment marketing for 2021. 

1.Demonstrating strong leadership

In a year of confusion, the general public were quick to look for strong leaders. Clearly defined goals, definitive action and quick-thinking responses, helped brands build confidence with audiences. 

2020 soon identified the strongest brands – those who efficiently adapted to what was happening: Whether this was pivoting online, being seen to support essential services like the NHS, or playing an active role in the community. Many franchisors were quick to take the reins of confusion, relaying definitive action points within their networks. Leaving franchisees confident to go the extra mile in support of customers, as well as those in their networks. As a result, brands who highlighted their leadership to the pandemic, saw an uptake in franchisee recruitment – even during lockdown. 

When it comes to recognising the right time to pivot, and how, communication is essential. Brands which shouted about how they were leading the way, were seen as demonstrating strong leadership, and therefore, a brand worth investing in. Your prospects need to hear the real stories about what you’re doing, known as the human element of marketing. It helps them connect better to what you’re about. 

2. The ability to move quickly with your audience

As the world moved online, how quickly did you adapt to the new normal? People needed to foster connections – using the power of digital. For the many who found they were now working from home, furloughed, or out of work; single people who now found themselves without “real-life” human interaction; parents who now found themselves being teachers; the needs of your audience changed. 

We spent more time online, looking for meaningful virtual experiences. We wanted more from brands. So, those who ploughed on with regular marketing messaging, lost followers who felt disenfranchised from the brand. 

Did you know it takes an average 5-8 touches to connect with your audience. So, every time someone sees you online, through an advert, your social media, videos uploaded to stories, a blog or editorial, a comment from one of your franchisees, your responses to customer comments – it all has to count for something. 

You’re building trust between you and your prospect, for trust is the biggest “underlying foundation for human experience.” 

3. Clearly defining your audience

Those brands who knew exactly who they’re targeting, spoke directly to their audience. Brands which tried to be ‘all things to everyone’, found they were being approached by the wrong type of prospect, who wasn’t right for their franchise. 

2020 showed us people suddenly found themselves in a position to re-think their future, and we saw an increase in the number of online searches around ‘franchising’. Being able to clearly identify who you want in your network gives you a better chance at finding them from the outset. Speaking directly into their situation, using language they understand, and connecting meaningfully with them, helps you sift-out the tyre-kickers earlier. When you try to keep your marketing content open to all, this leaves you literally open to all. 

It also pays you to be more succinct in your marketing campaigns: 

  • Small businesses in 2019, earned an average of $3 for every $1.60 they spent on Google AdWords. 

So, don’t be afraid to use different campaigns for specific audience groups, because you will benefit, twice: With the right franchisee, and a return on marketing spend.

4. Proving your relevance

With each of us exposed to thousands of adverts in any given day, and the average person is bombarded with over 1,700 banner ads per month – but we only see half of what is thrown at us. How do you make sure yours stands out among the noise? By being relevant to your target. Blend in with everyone else, and you’ll quickly be forgotten amidst the noise. 

Brands which demonstrated their relevance by being more human, more transparent and reliably meeting expectation, found customers engaged with them after the lockdown. They’d made a connection! By being relevant to your prospect, you invite them to take a closer look at what you’re offering: how your franchise is relevant to help them meet immediate fears and needs, and build a more secure future. 

But you can’t just talk about this yourself!  

  • 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business4
  • More than 40% of digital consumers use social networks to research new brands or products4
  • Customer reviews influence 67.3% of purchasing decisions. Interestingly, people trust them as much as personal recommendations, which makes them extremely important for all businesses, especially those that work locally4

Encouraging your current franchisees to speak positively about your franchise, will help connect prospects to your brand. One franchisee for one of our clients told us, “I saw all this content about the brand and thought it was just marketing talk. But, having joined the network, I have experienced for myself the truth of every word I read and every review written.”

Create a meaningful experience for your prosects in 2021, and enjoy a prosperous year.  If I, or my team at Coconut can help as you plan, please do give me a call. 

About the Author

Paul Clegg

Paul Clegg

Having been involved in franchising for almost 15 years, Paul Clegg, Managing Director of Coconut Creatives, has become an authority on franchise marketing recruitment. His opinion is often sought out as a recognised and trusted advisor for understanding franchising challenges. In 2011 Paul attained the bfa’s Qualified Franchise Professional title, in recognition of his professional knowledge.

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