Franchisors will often spread their advertising spend across a number of places to initially test which may work better than others. When it appears some sites don’t deliver enough enquiries, or the quality appears poor, the decision is often taken to stop spending money in those areas.
The problem with stopping what appear to be the less effective campaigns, is that it can directly impact lead flow coming from other areas.
The importance of having a dedicated franchise website
Since the Pandemic, I’ve noticed a new phenomenon start happening. The number of franchise enquiries generated directly from good franchise websites has increased significantly, and, whilst franchisors believe it’s just a result of the websites being found through organic search, they need to realise there’s much more to it.
One reason that franchise websites are directly producing enquiries appears to be because, as people had more time over multiple lockdowns during the pandemic, they started to pay more attention to their email inboxes. They cleaned them up. They unsubscribed from irrelevant marketing material. They more fully realised the connection between filling out a form on the internet, and then receiving emails as a result of that enquiry for many months, or even years.
A change in form filling
This has led to people thinking more closely about whether they should just fill out a form when it’s presented to them, or whether they should carry out more research before requesting information by filling out a form.
All around the UK, people are using Google and other search engines to find information about: ‘How to start my own business’; ‘Franchise Opportunities UK’; ‘Best franchises to invest in’; etc.
Some of these searches will bring up websites promoting franchise opportunities. People will spend time on these sites and may come across a franchise opportunity that appeals to them, but instead of filling out the form for more info, they will actively open a new Tab or Window in their browser, and search directly for what they can find out about that particular franchise.
If there is a dedicated franchise website built on a domain like www.brandxxxxfranchise.co.uk, then these sites should come up near the top of these organic searches and people will go directly to the website. They will then browse the site, and, if still interested, fill out the contact form. If they are not given enough information on the franchise website, they will often look elsewhere to get more details.
The consequence of this is that the franchisor gets a new franchise enquiry directly from their own franchise website, but does not make the connection that this enquiry was actually driven from some paid advertising they were doing on a dedicated franchise advertising site. Often, stopping this paid advertising will dramatically decrease the enquiries coming from the franchise website.
Ask more questions
One of the ways to understand this connection better is by paying attention to the Google Analytics from your existing franchise opportunity website to understand where traffic is coming from, and then asking these questions of the advertising sites you are spending money on:
- “Please let me know how many unique visits to my franchise profile page I received last month?”
- “Please let me know how many unique visitors to your entire franchise website you received in the last month to any page on your site?”
You may not get the answer to the second question, but be concerned if you don’t get an answer to the first question!
Once you know how many unique visits your profile page received in a calendar month, you can compare that with the number of franchise enquiries you received from the form on that profile page.
If you compare this against all advertising sites, you will start to see which perform better at converting visitors into franchise enquiries for you. Again, be careful to make hasty decisions on the worst performing site because it may be that they are actually helping create more franchise enquiries from your own franchise website, and to stop advertising on that site may slow the enquiries you receive directly.
If you monitor this over a number of months you will start to gain greater insight into the conversion rate from a visitor to your profile to a franchise enquiry. You will also be able to focus on whether you should tweak the franchise profile you have. Should you make it shorter? Longer? Make it easier to read? Put more images? Less images? Talk less about the brand and more about the benefits the opportunity brings the person reading the copy? Should you remove information not relevant at this early stage (like detailed info about training)?
Remember, franchise recruitment is a totally separate business model to everything else, and is a business that all new franchisors are not used to running, and many existing franchisors have not been running as effectively as they could be.
My advice would be to talk to experienced franchise consultants who understand marketing at a high level, but are also well versed in the franchise recruitment process.