What Your Franchise Category Tells You About Digital Marketing
At LGRC we’ve previously taken a look at Why people are interested in opening franchises, Who is most interested in opening a franchise, and How to get in front of those people. From all of the info we’ve gathered at FranchiseHelp we feel we have a pretty good idea of what our target audience of potential franchisees looks like.
Given everything we know, there’s still no magic solution for What you can reliably tell these people to grab their attention and start them on the path toward opening their first franchise. To aid our never ending quest for the perfect lead generating strategy, we took it upon ourselves to answer the age old question: What Do Potential Franchisees Want?
Well, we think we actually have a pretty good idea of what they want, and we figured it out by identifying an assumption that most franchise marketers make in their digital marketing campaigns.
Bob is your best friend.
The assumption is that all potential franchisees in the big wide world in the Internet conjure the same mental image when they hear “franchise” or “franchising.” Obviously there a lot of people on the Internet, and a lot of different interpretations of any word, so how do you cover all of your bases? A good person to first appeal to is your average consumer, meet “Bob.”
Nice to meet you, Bob.
What does Bob think when he hears “franchise?” The actual structure of whatever business (whether it’s franchise or not) pops into Bob’s head isn’t important, just his perception of the word “franchise.” His perception is important because it will tell you where and how to get in front of the most people when they become interested in opening a franchise.
What About Bob? What does Bob want?
To answer this, FranchiseHelp hosts a series of landing pages with a strong SEO presence for search phrases similar to "open a XYZ franchise.” The entrances to these pages are organic, meaning they’re unsolicited and one of the best insights we have into the search behaviors of the general public. I filtered our franchise pages down to core categories, divided the number of entrances by our number of related franchise pages and created a “popularity score,” which has some surprising info:
Well, I guess not that surprising: PEOPLE LOVE FOOD. Bob loves food. When people first play around with the idea of opening a franchise they look up the first thing that comes to their mind, which our data tells us is FOOD. Or maybe it’s the other way around: people are eating a particularly delicious meal and decided they want a piece of the pie (no pun intended). Both make sense, I’m getting a little hungry just thinking about some of my favorite food franchises.
On the flip side of the coin, I remember moving to a new town and thinking, “Huh, they have one of those here?” only to find out it’s a nationwide franchise. Some franchises can slide under the radar, and that can be used to their advantage.
What does this mean for your franchise?
It’s clear that food carries a fair amount of clout in Bob’s mind space, and it leads to a divide among advertising strategies for franchises: FOOD and NOT FOOD.
Before I go into too much detail, if you need a refresher, brush up on different methods for acquiring traffic.
Bob knows about you or a franchise similar to yours. He knows your business is profitable and he’s probably eaten there before. You have his attention, you need to make sure you’re the one keeping his interest, so we have a few tips:
SEO - You need good SEO. If Bob is searching for your franchise, or for a franchise in your food category, being at the top of Bob’s search is essential.
Emails – You already have a steady flow of people interested in your franchise, your customers. Try to acquire some of their emails in your restaurant. Once you start building a list you can do two things: send emails to them (free advertising!) and use them to create a target audience and promote franchise creation.
Attention grabbing – If you’re associated with multiple franchises you can take the attention for you food franchises and direct their interest towards others. All you need is a foot in the door (your food franchise).
Display – Your food is your advertising. Let the advertising that drives customers to your business do double duty as franchising advertisements. Even something as little as an asterisk suggesting people look into franchising opportunities can go a long way!
Bob wants one or more of what opening a franchise has to offer: flexibility, fundamental change, increased income, etc. His desire exists, you just need to grab his attention and focus it on your franchise.
Content Marketing – People looking for information on how to open a specific food franchise will eventually start looking for details on how to create franchises. This is a good opportunity for you to get their traffic to your site – host info on your site for opening franchises in general. This is a good way to immediately gain their trust and interest.
SEO – Because there isn’t a ton of organic traffic for non-food franchises, this won’t be as important. Becoming the #1 link for 100 monthly searches isn’t going to be a good use of your marketing resources.
Display Network – Get in front of the people searching for food franchises, but don’t focus your ad copy specifically on your franchise. Bob want to necessarily run a food franchise, that’s just what he’s thinking of → Focus on the benefits of opening a franchise rather than the type of franchise being opened.
Social – Same reasons as the display network, but a different venue for advertising. Get your ad targeted at the right people and play up the benefits of franchising independent of the franchise’s industry.
As with any advertising, effectively targeted marketing is both cheaper and generates more leads than blasting your message to the heavens. As I mentioned at the start, there is no silver bullet, and Bob can be incredibly difficult to pin down.
How well do you know Bob? We’d like to hear from you, let us know
P.S: In case you didn't notice, this is Eric, not Eli (no relation).