The common consensus at the bfa conference at the end of June was that 2017 has been a tough year for franchise recruitment. The enviable success stories of networks that have swelled in numbers are still there of course but many franchisors reported diminishing returns from the usual channels and a need for fresh thinking.
But while it can be tempting to leap straight into a game of ‘where shall we advertise next?’, reinvigorating your recruitment needs to be much smarter than that. Even if you’ve had poor results, you may be marketing in all the right places – just with the wrong messages. Your franchise might be the perfect solution to someone’s needs but if your brand image isn’t conveying that, it’s just another missed opportunity.”
The fertile lead-generation period of autumn is the perfect time to change that. It’s a period that covers the career dissatisfaction of returning holidaymakers and back-to-work parents, as well as seeing the start of people thinking ‘let’s do something different in 2018’. This means it’s also where messaging and strategies can be set for next year.
Properly refreshing your marketing comes in three stages: reviewing who you’re trying to reach, how you’re trying to reach them and what you’re trying to say. If you use an agency, they should lead on creativity, strategy and planning; if you have in-house people, then get them involved in the process – and listen to what they’re saying. Including your team ensures you have a range of viewpoints and engages them, resulting in passion and consistency of message when you come out the other side.
The first place to start is with the who. Defining or redefining who you’re looking for dictates your headline messaging and the channels you’re going to use. Profiling your ideal franchisees should be a fun and inclusive process, the more minds the better.”
Rather than focusing simply on an individual who is your dream franchisee, it’s important to delve into the traits of several people. Examine the personalities of your franchisees, not just their previous careers. What makes them tick? Digging a little deeper will reveal shared personality traits, even where wildly different career or demographic backgrounds indicated no commonality. This is the gold you’re looking for to build a more robust and better understanding of your dream prospects. In fact it can be much more effective than if you just take your star performer and try to find their clone.
Once you’ve created the personas of your target audiences, you can consider what they might listen to, read or watch and you understand the messages they need to hear to pique interest in starting or buying a business. Put yourself in their shoes. Look through their eyes. What are their needs? Why should they invest in your franchise? From there, you can create messages that will appeal directly to them, not everyone else.