As a franchisee or franchisor, one of your most valuable skills should be the ability to generate high quality franchise leads. After all, this is simple math: you can’t sell your services nor more franchises if you don’t make any money.
Finding potential franchisees within today’s rapidly changing customer base can be difficult, especially because not everyone has the money to invest in a franchise, even your target market.
Therefore, lead generation can be more difficult than usual for franchisors and the “sellers” compared to other niches and businesses. It isn’t impossible nor a 99% hard task, but it does require more time and organization.
With this in mind, we know you are trying to come up with ideas before you get started (which is the right move), or maybe changing and adapting the ones you’ve been using so far. Regardless of your situation, we’re confident the strategies below will be more than just useful.
What Is A Lead Generation Strategy?
Although lead generation is a term that is often used in the world of small-business marketing and just for everyone who needs to find clients, it is often misinterpreted by over 80% of people using it.
Instead of just being “away” to generate customers or clients, it is the entire process of doing it.
Basically, a lead generation strategy is any tactic used to attract customers to your company with the hope that they will interact with your company somehow. If you mention “strategy,” it clearly englobes one, but a lead generation process is what you get from the whole planning.
But following the concept of strategy, your lead-generation strategy could be to advertise on social media platforms like Instagram and ask users to submit their email to find out more about your company.
You’re getting sales-qualified leads from everyone who submits an email through this online lead generation strategy. These leads will give you the opportunity to reach out to these people to encourage them to work for your company. This is the ultimate goal of lead generation strategies.
This is how emails and social media work, but the concept of getting contact info from prospects is the whole idea behind lead generation. Therefore, look forward to the strategies we have for share below:
Set Up Your Own Incentive-Based Referral Program
Word of mouth advertising is as important as ever since people are trying to get products and services based on what people they trust recommend.
But keep in mind that technology has also changed the way people spread the word about businesses. Customer referral programs are now more effective than ever in successful lead generation strategies since they’re easy to track and quantify.
To generate leads for your company, you may decide to set up an incentive-based referral program. If you sell online products or services, or franchises, in this case, you can create customized referral codes for each client and prospect.
A new client receives a discount on the acquisition of their franchise, and your loyal client will receive a benefit. It can be a reduction in their fees or other numbers.
This concept is often used in products and regular services, but your franchising niche can see the benefit behind it.
Consider Direct Mail in A New Way
Even though it might seem outdated, you can still generate leads by implementing new direct mailing campaigns.
Instead of sending an unwelcome coupon “to the current resident,” you can:
- Send out flyers that are compelling and include valuable offers.
- Use data-driven referral codes.
- Hit smaller, more tuned-in audiences.
Direct mail can be more effective if you are selective about what you send, especially considering the nature of your niche and business.
You can also offer discounts, coupons, or other incentives to encourage new leads to take the next steps. Direct mail might be considered your first step to getting people to visit your website and to call you.
It doesn’t have to be a new client and franchisee right away.
Get Your Channels in Check
It is crucial to understand the importance of your own channels and how you can leverage them to attract franchisees.
Your own media, such as your website, blog articles, email marketing campaigns, and social media posts, can all be great sources of traffic (we will dive into them a bit more later).
They also provide earned media shares, likes, and comments. The 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer lists search engines and traditional media as the most trusted sources for information. While traditional media is possible through great franchise PR, SEO is almost always the core of a great website.
It’s important to remember when focusing on owned media channels that people visit websites, open the email, and check social media accounts for information other than sales and basic business information.
Customers are often interested in learning about the franchise and seeking feedback from others, not in buying or becoming franchisees right away.
These prospects are looking to make the best possible investment and have a great time being part of franchising. Engaging with your audience through great content will build trust and encourage people to become part of your franchise family.
This is also the first step to lead generation: acquiring new visitors. Once you have attracted potential franchisees to your channels, you can convert them into leads, candidates, and then eventually into new franchising family members.
Create Your Website. An Effective One
Many believe building a website is simple when they first sign up for software or a platform that allows them to create one. However, the design is one thing, another is making sure it works well, and the other is making sure both design and optimization are aligned.
Therefore, we’re not just talking about a general website when we speak of building one.
The idea is that the site should be easy-to-find and navigate with CTAs (calls for action) and contact information on every page also, that the content and information are easy to read and won’t feel overwhelming.
SEO should be a key focus of your website, especially when it is a key factor for franchises trying to build their online presence for more qualified leads. This makes it even more crucial to ensure that your website performs well in search engines.
Optimized websites that are designed for the keywords your target audience searches for can help you get found by franchisees who may not have heard of your brand before. This can provide an organic advertising boost you don’t need to pay for.
Your website allows you to build your reputation as an expert by publishing articles that increase your SEO and continue to drive leads without your input. Optimized sites have many benefits. You should use them to help you find the best franchisees for your company.
It can be used to tell your story and highlight the advantages of becoming a franchisee. You can also share informative blogs and articles that will help you build a stronger connection with potential buyers.
It should be easy to contact you through your site. You should have all the information necessary to establish a connection with potential buyers. As a minimum, you should have a name, email, and telephone number.
However, it is worth asking additional questions such as:
- Why are you interested in our company?
- What are your reasons for considering purchasing a franchise?
- What are your previous experiences?
A lead can give you valuable insight if it is provided. You will be able to contact them more effectively on your first call or by email.
Additionally, you can add their responses into a database that allows you to assess buyer motivations and desires. This information will help you target your ads, blogs, and emails more effectively, which may result in even more leads for your company.
Nurture Your Leads
It’s important to generate leads for franchise development. However, it is equally important to nurture those leads. Many just focus on generating one after another but never take the time to consider how each lead must be nurtured for it to stay or convert into a client.
Potential franchise buyers spend a lot of time researching before they contact you. It is the initial information that they gather about you via social media and your website that can decide whether they contact you or not.
Franchise buyers spend much more time researching than general leads and nearly five times as long reading through materials and visiting the website. To attract high-quality leads, it is important to have a strong online presence and make sure that, again, you’re nurturing them with content that is worth their time.
Time is of the essence when working with these leads. Reach out to potential buyers as soon as they provide contact information. A delay in getting back to them can cause them to feel disinterested and could lead them to switch brands.
To keep your potential buyers engaged, you should aim to get in touch as soon as possible. Consider sending an automated, semi-personalized email to them as soon you receive their contact information. This will assure them that you will be in touch soon, as well as a whitepaper or article on the benefits of opening franchises.
Where Are Leads Coming From?
This is a great question to ask periodically since it can help you manage your budget by understanding where your leads are coming in.
It is common to hear that business owners and even marketers spend over half of their budgets but don’t even know where; this is because they don’t have control over the channels and determine where the leads are coming from.
If you are able to achieve this control, this can be a good way to manage your overall budget. By reviewing your marketing channels and understanding which ones are most effective, you will know where and how much to increase or decrease your spending.
It is also important to evaluate the quality of the leads that you are receiving through different channels. As a franchisor, the main purpose of lead generation is to reach potential franchisees.
You’ll waste your time and money trying to find leads that don’t work. If a channel generates a lot of leads, but only a few are qualified, it might make sense to transfer your budget to channels that provide more qualified leads, even if the general traffic isn’t exactly more.
Email Marketing Works
While some may claim that email marketing has died, the truth is that it is still the most effective method for lead acquisition and retention since everyone continues to check their emails to receive information there.
Email marketing, particularly with automated tools available in abundance, can enable increased personalization and easier-to-understand campaigns.
It can also provide better customer experiences. These factors can all be combined to create brand loyalty. This is an important factor in whether someone wants to buy a franchise.
It doesn’t have to be too hard to set this lead generation strategy; it just takes time to collect your email list, which your website will be doing for you already.
When you finally have it, start your own newsletters.
Remember: email marketing can be used to grow your small business similarly to content marketing and social media lead generation strategies.
To make the most out of your newsletter lead generation strategies, you need to give people compelling reasons to sign up. There are many great benefits to signing up for newsletters, such as the promise of special sales, knowledge, or experiences.
It’s vital to keep those newsletters going. The rewards of targeting a captive audience could lead to highly valuable leads.
Utilize Social Media Properly
If used properly, both B2B social media such as LinkedIn and B2C social media like Facebook and Twitter can offer quality leads for your company.
One way to make the most of LinkedIn is to invite contacts to your email list. This allows you to market in two different areas in two different ways to them.
LinkedIn allows you to share informational articles, whitepapers, and business details while simultaneously offering a personalized, informative customer experience via email. This builds your relationship on both fronts.
You can also advertise to similar audiences on social media. Lookalike audiences are based on a source, such as a current audience or followers of your business account. Your ad will then be displayed to the people in that group.
If you have created a custom audience for potential franchisees, you can use these parameters to reach people you don’t know and to advertise to them in a targeted way.
While organically using social media can be a great way to generate leads, especially local companies, there are other ways you can use these platforms to your advantage.
You might consider investing in paid social marketing. This is a great option as it’s usually cheaper than organic posts, which can only reach a few followers. Social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook allow you to target specific audiences through paid ads.
You can also retarget people who have interacted previously with your business.
Many platforms offer one-click email submission. This allows users to submit their information with a click and gives businesses an easy way to collect information on potential leads.
If you want to be creative, you may decide to build relationships with influencers who can bring attention to your company and act as a third-party voice.
Consider Using Discounts & Deals
You’ve likely offered sales and promotions to encourage new customers to buy, especially with franchises considering they don’t tend to be cheap. However, if no one knows anything about your business or the amazing deals you offer, it won’t help you.
You might also consider working with discount sites like Groupon to be creative in your discount strategy. This could help you to generate leads.
You might also consider partnering up with complementary businesses that are more familiar in the area of deals. These sites are focused on reaching new customers and will help you find the right people to promote your franchise.
Although there may not be the highest margins, deals sites are a great way for generating leads.
Third-Party Services for Lead Generation
It is important to monitor the effectiveness of any third-party that generates franchise leads for your company if you decide to use them.
Before you hire a third-party company to generate leads for your franchise, make sure they are thoroughly vetted.
You should verify their qualifications and get a list from their past clients. If possible, you can reach out to them to learn about their experiences.
You need to ensure that they are fully aware of your needs and what you expect from a franchisee. A third-party company with the right skills can help you increase your franchise sales.
However, something to consider is the fact that most of those companies get paid per lead, which means they earn a commission for each they generate, which can be pretty bad because they end up being more focused on quantity than quality leads.
Understand Buyers’ Motivation
It can be extremely helpful to understand the motivations of potential buyers when deciding how much marketing budget you should spend and where your focus should be.
Interviewing past buyers (those who did not make a purchase) and current franchisees will help you determine their buying motivations. Did they want to own a business with brand recognition and a high level of customer service? How do they build equity for the future?
Maybe, before they chose a franchise, they thought about creating an independent brand? This information will help you refine your marketing strategy and give you ideas for writing on your franchise opportunity website.
Interviewing potential buyers who did not seal the deal will help you to assess the challenges your brand might face when recruiting new franchise owners.
Did the onboarding process seem too complex? Other questions and wonders apply.
Create Downloadable Content to Attract Leads
Do you consider yourself an expert in your field? Like explaining how franchising works or even advising those thinking about joining?
Your knowledge is valuable, so make sure to capitalize on it. You can offer white papers, eBooks, or other similar assets for free to generate leads.
White papers and eBooks are beneficial assets that allow leads to access specialized information or knowledge on-demand in return for their contact information. At the same time, they serve as an informational, added sales pitch that adds value to your offer.
If your asset is high quality, it might be shared with peers. This will increase your company’s brand as well as your reputation. In fact, creating downloadable assets is one of the most effective lead generation strategies.
Add Live Chat to Your Website
A live chat function might be one of your top online lead generation tools since potential customers or clients want to get in touch with your ASAP.
Many don’t like the entire process of sending an email or having to make a call. Yes, people can be lazy and won’t answer right away.
A recent survey found that over 40% of respondents considered a website’s live chat function to be the most important feature of an eCommerce site or pages like yours where a big “product” is being offered. This means prospects will have many questions they want answers for right away.
A live chat function was also a major selling point for most respondents, while the lower percentage said they are more likely to return to a website with a live chat function.
Live chat is a great way to generate leads for your business, so don’t miss it, considering there are many free tools to integrate one today.
Customers can ask questions anytime they like, and you can then reach out to them directly to answer their questions and close sales.
A little touch, such as a “Chat Now!” button placed on a website, can go a long way in establishing relationships with leads and customers and improving customer service, which will boost your lead generation efforts.
The Local Lead Generation Process for Your Franchise
All right! So, everything is about building properties and generating leads. But how does the process actually take place? Are there other steps I need to know?
The steps I mention below are what students from our local lead generation program follow to generate leads for businesses like yourself. So I’ll help you see what we do. And how if you join our program, you can simply generate leads for your own business (unless you want to start a side hustle and build a laptop lifestyle business).
Essentially, our lead generation can be divided into four steps:
The first is prospecting. You need to take the time to do market research on a niche (industry) and determine how many phone-driven businesses are there.
Keep in mind that this is local research as you need to know how many companies need leads. For example, you may search for “plumbing services Youngstown OH.”
You will find dozens or even hundreds of businesses trying to get themselves in front of the customers by ranking on Map Listings, organic results, and even Ad.
The second step, building. When you find a niche (plumbing, tree services, a software company, real estate…), you will need to start building your digital properties. You don’t need to be an expert in HTML or coding. It can be easy with the right tools.
The third step is now taking time to rank your lead gen website. With the site done, you need to work on SEO strategies and start dominating those Google search results. If you’re new to SEO, it stands for Search Engine Optimization.
To keep it simple, it consists of the entire process of growing a company’s visibility on search engines like Google and generating organic traffic. And remember this, local lead generation is part of the strategies.
Moving on to step four, once you rank the site, you will start getting your ROI and profits. You only need to rent it out to a local business interested in the leads the site generates. You can offer a couple of free leads to their move on with the actual pay per lead.
To review steps 1-4 above, I described it to a normal student who is building a lead gen business to help local service providers generate more calls. But replace the student with you as the business owner. And replace sending the leads to a business to simply siphoning the leads to your personal business.
By the way, fun fact, about 20% of our students in our local lead gen program are actually business owners who went through the program. And they use the skillsets we teach to generate leads for their own business.
An Example of Lead Generation: Home Advisor
You must be thinking, “if lead generation sounds so good so far, how come I haven’t seen any company?” That’s the thing; there are many out there. You just don’t know they are dedicated to it.
HomeAdvisor is one of the best examples you can find on the Internet as it is a top lead generation company that has spent millions building its brand but also earned even more zeros for this same reason.
They started small as everyone else but invested in building their brand awareness to make people who are looking for home services go to their website and find what they need. They are over 75% of people’s first choice when they need those services.
If you don’t get HomeAdvisor that much or need a refresh, users need to submit their information to request a service and get a professional or expert who can provide it.
HomeAdvisor’s job is to share your information, which makes you a lead, with local companies so they can contact you and offer the service you’re requesting. For sharing this lead information, HomeAdvisor gets paid by the companies. This happens for every single lead they send to multiple businesses.
Business owners who don’t have marketing skills or don’t even know how to have any online presence will always rely on those pages to list their services. They will save time and effort, but companies like HomeAdvisor can make them spend lots of money as leads aren’t exclusive (one lead is sent to multiple companies after all).
Using Facebook Ads aka Paid Ad Platforms: Do They Generate Leads?
They DO generate leads. If not, no one would use them.
However, you need to remember two facts:
- Paid ads or platforms can be expensive.
- They don’t generate “natural” leads.
Whenever someone sees or clicks in one of those ads, over 80% of them did it by accident or are trying to close/report it.
Why? Because they aren’t looking for those services. At least not at the moment.
What those ads do instead is interrupt their time on the platforms. Users aren’t there to find companies or businesses unless they are searching for a specific company’s user, and for that, there’s a search bar. This is why it is hard to convert them to actual customers who will show interest in the companies’ services. Also, you’re limited by a budget.
When using lead generation, everything is organic. You aren’t forcing others to pay attention to your business but rather being there when they need you. This is why Google’s organic traffic will always beat paid ads, and the reason companies continue investing in it, which is a lot cheaper as well.
What Is Local SEO?
Don’t worry… I didn’t get it at first either. Following the short explanation, local SEO focuses on scaling businesses’ visibility on search engines. However, this is only for those who serve their communities face-to-face.
What does this mean?
Experts and professionals like painters, plumbers, and dentists (but not only them) offer their services to their local customers. Why? Because they can’t deliver them unless they are located in the same area of their customers.
To make sure those businesses get more leads, you need to rank them locally by claiming the business listing on Google to place them on Map Listings. Local SEO also involves online reviews, citation management, and how you manage your entire online presence in the local area.
If you are going to bet on lead gen, you need to adapt yourself to today’s world: The Internet.
Keep in mind that although traditional channels and methods like billboards, warm calls, and pamphlets still work, they aren’t part of your tools. Whenever someone needs a service, they go to Google and search for it.
“Dentist in Miami” or “plumbing services in Orlando,” etc. And you can keep coming up with services or professionals people need and look for. Thus, you need to make sure you’re using Google to get the companies in front of their clients.
Users will always click on the first search results (those near the top), and many of them will be either Ad links (people paid to place their websites there), Map Listing, and then you get websites. Almost all of them are your goal and where you should always aim to place yourself.
Can My Franchise Utilize a Local Lead Generation Strategy?
If you want customers, you better know you need it. Following the previous explanation, lead gen is all about placing businesses in front of their customers, choosing them over their competitors.
Put it simply – it’s all about closing deals and having clients for those companies to make money. The main difference with the usual methods companies use for this is how lead generation approaches different channels to get them in the right place of the market to get customers.
Those channels are all focused on the Internet as most people are searching for products but also services across the net. The issue is that the Internet is way too broad, and businesses don’t know how to place themselves. They usually try, but they get one common result: losing money and time.
How Powerful Are Organic Franchise Leads from Google?
For companies looking for customers, it’s everything. For you? Pretty much the same. When you build a business with digital properties, you get to make thousands of dollars a month.
This isn’t a “get started today and get rich tomorrow” thing, but it is HIGHLY scalable, and ROI + positive results are guaranteed. Learning a fairly decent and very needed set of skills to create your digital properties and start ranking them on Google is required.
I have invested in several online businesses over the years, and if there’s something uncertain, whether you will get your ROI or not, even more than the actual profit.
However, this business moved my earnings from five figures a year to a month in ONLY passive income while sitting comfortably at home.
On my laptop. Anywhere. Anytime.
You can look at one of the first sites I built back in 2016, and it continues making me over $1.000+ every month. The best part is that I don’t need to touch it or the rest I’ve built over the years, just like this digital property.
What Makes Lead Generation SO Alluring?
Here it goes: you can work from home.
The main issue with regular business opportunities is how much you need to invest in staff, equipment, or rent to have a place to sell your products or offer your services.
We all know the hassles of traditional businesses that involve regular expenses, which are extremely high. Can you afford it? I don’t think so, and even if you can, is it worth it? Now, it isn’t only about the money. You also need to put in a lot of work, and it isn’t only during the first couple of months or years. Usually, it is as long as you continue running it.
You can save yourself those headaches and bone-breaking tasks and expenses with lead gen since it is more about generating leads with digital channels—mainly websites.
Websites can be VERY cheap to build, and with many tools online, you get to do it in a couple of hours instead of days. Any virtual or digital business is scalable and won’t need constant maintenance.
So, let’s summarize this:
- You save money in regular expenses with traditional and most online businesses as what you need is yourself and digital properties (websites).
- You can bet on passive income.
- There’s no need to hire more people to get started.
- You can generate leads in multiple industries, which allows you to work on any niche you want.
How Can I Get Started in the Local Lead Generation Program?
Anyone can start and learn. That’s the beauty of this business model. I knew nothing about SEO, Map Listing, and everything I’ve mentioned so far. It is all about learning the skills, gaining experience, and deciding to take the step.
Remember that this business model will never get old as business owners are always looking for leads. They need to do business and scale their companies. Why not do the same while helping others and still making money?
You can start with this local lead generation course highly recommended for anyone wanting to grow in the business. It is a close training that will take you through each step and make sure you are able to get your ROI, profits and take control of your life.
You will be added to an incredible lead generation family ready to help you 24/7 when asking questions on the group. Anyone is welcome who’s willing to put in the work. Click here to watch the lead gen webinar.