Top Franchise Advertising Ideas For 2021


Need More Franchisees?

Are you looking for new, economical ways to advertise your franchise? Look no further.

The purpose of this article is two fold. First, it is meant to serve as an idea spring board, presenting ideas that you either may not have previously thought of or have been hesitant to implement. Secondly, this article seeks to help you make more informed decisions so that you don’t spend valuable time and money resources on ideas that may not yield you the results that you are looking for at a reasonable price.

Let’s face it, franchise advertising is expensive. Broker networks charge $20K or so per sale. Franchise Trade Shows cost around $5-$10K, with no guarantee of a sale. And, if you don’t know what you’re doing with online advertising, you can spend $200-$1,000 per lead trying to advertise on Google when it should only cost you around $30-$50 if you know what you’re doing.

So, let’s get real about about what works, what doesn’t, and what you should look for so you don’t spend an arm and a leg on mediocre franchise advertise advertising efforts.

How Much Are You Paying For Franchise Advertising

How Much Are You Paying For Franchise Advertising

Franchise Advertising Overview

As you start down the path of evaluating various franchise advertising channels, there are two primary Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you will want to be aware of.

The first KPI is Cost Per Lead (CPL). As a matter of fact, regardless of whether you are vetting potential vendors for SEO, PPC, Trade Shows, Franchise Portals, PR, etc., it would make sense to take a moment and ask the potential vendor what their average CPL is all-time across all of their franchise brands.

For our company, Lead PPC, for instance, we average a CPL of around $32. This is typically what you might find with Franchise Portals (which usually range between about $18-$70 per lead, depending on the vendor. But, within the PPC space (advertising agencies that drive leads online via Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Bing/Yahoo Ads, LinkedIn Ads, etc.), this is extremely low with many vendors averaging between about $50-$1,000 per lead.

The second KPI to really take a look at is Cost Per Sale (CPS). The gold standard within the franchising industry is probably Franchise Broker Networks, which average around $22,000 per sale. So, any vendor that is higher than this is probably not worth it, since you might as well just pay a Broker Network such as FranServe, FranNet, TES, IFPG, etc. to sell for you.

For our company, our Cost Per Sale range is usually between about $2,000 up to around $12,000 per sale. So, in general, we are lower than what you might find with a Franchise Broker Network. But, keep in mind that YOU will be the one selling, for better or for worse. So, if you’re team struggles to follow up with leads and sell them on the opportunity, you should expect to see a higher CPS than franchisors who contact leads within a few minutes and have a good sales team.

Why Franchise Advertising Doesn't Work

Why Franchise Advertising Doesn’t Work

Our Specialty Is Franchise Advertising

We are an ad agency that specializes in franchise advertising. More specifically, we help franchisors identify potential franchisees for their franchise systems.

Franchise advertising is an extremely niche market. We have been advertising in the franchising space for a decade and been a part of helping the industry shift from offline events and trade shows to over half of all franchise sales being sold via the internet.

When it comes to franchise advertising, usually franchisors are limited by their budgets in regard to how much money they can afford to spend to acquire new franchisees. This being the case, it is extremely important that you put your initial franchise advertising dollars into mediums that generate not only leads but actual franchise sales for your business.

For this reason, we recommend that you focus your initial franchise advertising dollars on mediums such as Google and Facebook, which tend to be 1/2 to 1/4 of the cost of mediums such as Franchise Broker Networks. By concentrating your initial ad dollars in areas that have a high ROI, this will help generate additional revenue that can be used later to advertise in more expensive places such as the Radio, Trade Shows, and Franchise Broker Networks.

How Do We Generate Leads?

How do we do this? We generate leads online primarily through Google Ads and Facebook Ads. Some of our clients also advertise on the Bing/Yahoo and LinkedIn networks.

Google tends to have the highest quality leads. Facebook tends to have the cheapest leads and highest lead volume available. With Facebook, however, we recommend that you import your highest quality leads that you have ever generated into Facebook and use those as Lookalike Audiences, so that Facebook has a better idea for their machine learning algorithm as to who actually is a good candidate for your business.

For Example

Here’s an example of how this works. Suppose you are a juice franchise. Did you know that each and every day potential investors are going online and typing in keywords specific to your type of business, including terms like: juice franchise, acai franchise, best smoothie franchise, juice franchise opportunities near me, etc.?

Also, suppose you know that vegans and health food lovers are the people with the highest likelihood to buy a franchise. On Facebook, we can go after vegans with a high net worth who are interested in your particular type of franchise opportunity.

Advertising Budgets

Advertising on these types of terms with Google is extremely easy; even showing up in one of the top spots doesn’t cost much and can be done on a relatively cheap budget ($900 – $1,500 / mo). We usually recommend starting with an initial Google Ads budget of around $30 / day or $900 / mo.  On the Facebook / Instagram Ads side of things, a budget of $20 / day or $600 / mo. is a good place to start.

The primary reason that you want to start small is that your least efficient franchise advertising dollars are right at the beginning when you start.  So, it is important to start by honing in both your Cost Per Lead and your lead quality prior to expanding.  Once you are getting the types of franchise candidates that you are seeking, then it’s just a matter of either turning up your ad budget or sliding over ad budget from less effective keywords or audiences over to those that are converting best for you.

Recommended Minimum Advertising Budgets

Recommended Minimum Advertising Budgets

Provide Value To User

The key from there is to provide something of value back to the person who is evaluating your franchise opportunity. Having generated over 250,000 leads in the franchising space, we recommend giving away some type of a free guide in exchange for an email address.

For us, we have found that providing some type of a free franchise guide or handbook tends to work best. Usually people will enter their email address in exchange for a piece of valuable information. From there, a progressive funnel where you ask them more information in order to generate the actual lead or franchise application is a great way to go.

Gather Important Customer Info

Once this email address is entered, we recommend asking for more detailed information such as name, phone number, zip code, liquid assets available, etc.  You want to make sure to ask for enough information that your franchise development reps have something to work off of. But, you also don’t want to ask for so much information that it detracts from converting that basic information into a full lead.

Gather Even More Info

If you like you can even go a step or two further from there and ask people to fill out an entire franchise application (about 20% of people will actually do this). And, you can even ask more qualified candidates if they would like to book an appointment with you right there online, using calendaring tools like Calendly. For our business, we love booking appointments right there on the spot instead of just gathering lead information. This cuts down on your response time and gets an actual appointment on the books instead of just a lead.

Facebook Works As Well

Another great network to find prospective franchisees is Facebook. In fact, you can usually get leads on Facebook for between $10-$30. The key is to target people in your desired locations who have both money and an affinity toward your industry. One thing that we have found that is very helpful is using Lookalike Audiences of your current franchisees or top leads that you have generated all-time. Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence is powerful. So, make sure to leverage that in your lead generation process so that you are finding new franchisees that are similar to those that have already come onboard.

Scalable Lead Sources

The great thing about dialing in lead sources such as Google and Facebook is that you can expand them over time, and they tend to be cheaper than other sales sources, such as broker networks. But, to be honest, more than half of our clients use lead sources besides just us. If you can get the right franchise broker network working for you, then great! And, if you can figure out a franchise portal that works for you, then you should use that as well.

Cost Per Sale

We find that it costs between about $2,000 – $12,000 in ad spend to acquire a new franchisee. This is cheaper than broker networks, which usually cost about $20,000-$30,000 to get a new franchisee. At the end of the day, you want to diversify your lead sources and also try to generate as many sales as you can for the cheapest price.

Higher Quality Leads

The feedback that we get from our customers is that because our leads are exclusive to our clients, they are able to get in touch with a high percentage of them, as opposed to franchise portals, who resell their leads between 5-15 times on average. Let’s face it. Nothing burns out sales reps like calling bunk leads that weren’t really interested in the first place. By tracking the keywords and audiences that lead to each high quality lead, we try to continually increase the quality of the leads as they come through.

Navigating Changes on Facebook & Instagram

Another important topic for 2021 that is worth mentioning is that Facebook and Instagram are going through a lot of changes.  At the core of these changes are issues related to Ad Account Disapprovals & Conversion Tracking.  As of the writing of this article, Facebook is shutting down more ad accounts than ever, especially those that they deem conflict with their new “Hiring” standards.  Long story short, Facebook has been hammered legally for discrimination and not providing an even playing field for people looking for jobs.

Sadly, Facebook views Franchise Advertising in a similar light to Hiring.  So, over half of all franchisors’ ad accounts have been disapproved.  While this is no fun to go through, it’s a situation that the franchising industry and many other industries are going through, as Facebook deals with their own legal struggles.  Although we are not immune to this, because we manage so many dollars worth of ads with Facebook, we are able to work directly with Facebook to get ad accounts re-approved and make sure that targeting is in compliance with their new hiring standards.  If this does happen to you, we can help you get your ad account back online and use custom audiences in order to improve targeting beyond what the Hiring bucket within Facebook allows you to do.

Along these lines, Facebook is also in a big lawsuit with Apple.  So, in order to stay compliant and not have your ads shut off, you must update the pixel / conversion tracking on your website.  Again, these are situations that we can help with.  And, we try to stay on top of the latest industry trends so that your lead flow can remain as uninterrupted as possible.

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If you are interested in using our services, please let us know. We would love to help you!

Video Transcription

Hey, what’s up, guys? This is Grant James with Lead PPC. I’m going to walk through some of the top franchise advertising ideas for 2020, and the way that I’m going to do this is I’m basically going to go through an article that’s on my site so that you can get an idea of what I feel like are some of the best ways to advertise your franchise in 2020.

A little bit of background on me and our company. We’re an ad agency. We specialize in lead generation via pay per click, so we’ve managed around $8 million in ads for franchisors seeking to find new franchisees online via Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram, LinkedIn, Bing Ads, any of the major ad networks, we help people generate leads online. And in general they tend to be quite a bit higher quality than what you might find at a franchise portal. We’re rated about three to four times higher quality than what you see from a franchise portal, but still leads are generated off of the internet. So let’s go ahead and dive into this little article here.

So obviously if you’re here, it’s because you’re looking for ideas on how to generate new franchisees online. In general, a broker costs around $20,000 to drive a franchisee through a broker network, and that’s just kind of with all the fees that they charge and the commissions that they get for driving that new franchise sale. Trade shows, it’s hard to tell exactly what your ROI is going to be there, but even just to show up at a trade show, a lot of times it’s $5,000 to $10,000, and that’s not your cost per sale. That’s just to have a booth right there.

And a lot of times we see people, as far as cost per lead online goes, a lot of times cost per lead is anywhere between $20 up to $1,000. We literally have people coming to us saying that it’s costing them $1,000 to drive leads through Google or what have you. Really, in our opinion, your cost per sale should be somewhere between about $2,000 up to about $12,000, so you want to be at least half of what it costs to drive a sale through a broker network, and one thing that is nice about doing things online is that you control your own pipeline, so it’s irregardless of what happens with this, that, or the other broker network. You kind of control your own destiny there.

So in the article we state that if your cost per lead currently for your online advertising is over about $50, then we’d love to talk with you, because usually there’s problems that are driving up your cost per lead, especially if you’re over a $100 cost per lead. As long as you’re not in some specialized market or something like that, in general, you want to have your cost per lead quite a bit lower than that.

And then as far as key performance indicators go, cost per lead is definitely a big one. Also, tracking the quality of your leads is really important. One thing that we find is that certain keywords or certain audiences online are doing really, really well for you, but your ad budget is all being spent in something else. That’s not where all of your high quality opportunities, your best leads, and your sales are coming from. So that’s something to keep track of. For us, the way we do it, if it’s online, is we pass across the URL string every keyword that comes through along with their ad position and those types of things. Or if it’s Facebook, Instagram, what audience they came from. That way we can shift budget around, so even without expanding your budget, a lot of times you’re able to drive higher and higher quality leads that way.

Let’s see. Kind of talk about lead quality, lead volume here. So let’s talk for a second about ad budgets, because that is really important. In this kind of little infographic thing right here, I get into … These are our recommended ad spends for online. So if you’re on Google Ads, you really want to have at least $30 a day in order for those auctions to work right. That’s about $900 a month. Cost per click varies quite a bit. It can be anywhere from like 50 cents up to $10 a click, but it really has to do with your conversion rates and the quality of those leads that come through. So you want to make sure that you have at least $30 a day to kind of play with. And that’s a good testing budget to try to figure things out. With Facebook and Instagram, you can spend a little bit less than that. We find you need to have about $20 a day in order for things to work on Facebook/Instagram. The clicks are a little bit cheaper, but a lot of it is really the landing pages. Those are very, very important.

So as far as some ideas on things that you can improve, I like this right here of providing some type of value back to the user. So a lot of people will say, “Hey, enter your information if you’re interested,” but what did you really give back to them? So providing some type of a free guide or a free handbook or something like that can be fantastic. That way there’s an exchange of information for their information, so it didn’t cost them anything, but it cost you your time to put together that page, cost them their time to sit there on that page, but you’re really trading information, your expertise, for their personal contact information.

Then I kind of get into gathering important information, so initially when we give away a free guide or something like that about a franchise, we’ll just do it in exchange for email, and that’s not a full lead. On the next page we ask the immediately, there’s nothing really else on the page but just says, “In order to finish downloading your free guide,” or something, “please enter your first name, last name, phone number, zip code, net worth.” That’s kind of a lead right there.

If it’s Google, a lot of times these days we don’t ask even for net worth, because the leads are such high quality. On Facebook, we always ask for what their net worth is because it helps us to make sure that we’re driving high quality leads, because Facebook can kind of be a little more erratic than Google is, but with Google, if someone types in, “quick serve restaurant franchise,” they’re looking for a quick serve restaurant franchise. Or maybe they type in “Kumon franchise,” and you’re a certain other competitor of Kumon, but your ad shows up there. Then they’re going to have high interest. They probably have more money and they’re doing their final due diligence.

Another thing I say here is, gather even more information. So right there, once you’ve gathered their initial information, about 20% of the people, they’ll actually fill out an entire franchise application right after that. So after they’ve given you their initial information, you can ask them any questions you want to, and a lot of times your best leads will kind of like pop right to the top right there. Don’t forget that Facebook and Instagram work very well also. For us, we see the cost per sale is pretty similar. Usually Facebook is cheaper from a cost per lead perspective, but since Google tends to be a little higher quality, a lot of times those even out.

For us, we see about as many deals coming from Facebook as we see from Google. For me personally, I tend to like Google and trust Google a little bit more, but having said that, some people never search for your type of a franchise, so if it’s like not searchable or the volume’s super low, maybe there’s not that many people searching for “barbecue cleaning franchise,” but if they saw a video on it, they’d be interested. You can generate that interest right there.

Try to stick to things that are scalable lead sources for you and this can be anything. This can be a franchise portal. This could be a broker network. This could be what we do with online lead generation, but focus on those costs. Know what your cost per sale is. Know what your cost per lead is, and try to drive more and more of that, and also I would say go wide. Most of our clients end up doing something along with us, and we’re part of their marketing mix, but all these things kind of play together. The stronger your franchise is, the better that’s going to help you. The more different places your content shows up, the better.

And then I guess lastly here, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us. Love to talk with you, if you’re a franchisor. Even if we’re not the best fit for you or it’s not the best timing, we could share some ideas on some things. You can ask me any questions about things like landing pages, keywords, audiences, what types of ads work we’ve done. We do a lot of it. We work with about 90 franchisors right now, so we see a lot of it day to day. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out, and thanks again for watching. Bye.