5 Franchise Development Lead Generation Tips

Off To The Races

So, you’ve made the decision to become a franchisor. You have filed for your Franchise Disclosure Documents (FDD), and you’re ready to start ramping up your franchise sales.

Or, perhaps you have already acquired quite a few franchisees, but you feel like you’re not getting franchise sales as quickly as you think you should and growing your franchise system as rapidly as you would like or expect.

Don’t worry. You’re not alone.

Growing a franchise system is not always easy. And, at the end of the day, you need leads (and a lot of them) to find good potential franchise candidates and close the best ones in order to expand your franchise system.

Obviously, we are an ad agency, and working to help franchisors acquire new franchisees is a big bulk of our book of business. So, there is probably some bias in these tips that we will be presenting. But, having managed over $5,000,000 in franchise development ads and driven over 150,000 leads, we have learned a thing or two about the importance of franchise development lead generation and what tends to produce success as opposed to failure.

Tip #1: Diversify Your Lead Sources

We view the franchising space the same way as we view our own business. If you can get a variety of lead sources all producing for you, you’re in a better boat than if you only have one lead source that is driving sales.

For instance, for our own business we drive sales through Referral Partners, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Bing Ads, Outbound LinkedIn, Outbound Email, and Trade Shows. These would be lead sources that we have “figured out”.

On the flip side, we still haven’t cracked the nut on Direct Mail, Telemarketing, Business Acquisition, SEO, and a variety of other lead sources.

Your business is most likely no difference. Perhaps you’ve been able to sell via Broker Networks such as TES or FranServe as well as a few franchise portals like FranchiseGator .com and Entrepreneur.com.

If that’s the case, then you may want to explore avenues such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Trade Shows, LinkedIn, and other mediums.

Tip #2: Know Your Cost Per Sale

Once you start generating franchise sales via multiple lead sources, it’s a good idea to really track your Cost Per Sale for each of those channels.

Back to our example, it costs us about $250 to acquire a client from Referral Partners, as we pay some of them a one-time commission. It costs us about $1,000 to acquire a new client via Google Ads and about $750 to acquire a client via Outbound LinkedIn.

However, just because one medium is more expensive than another doesn’t mean you should turn it off. Instead, come up with a number in your head that makes since as a Maximum Viable Cost Per Sale that you’re willing to pay.

Then, continue to keep on and drive down the Cost Per Sale of each medium and/or increase volume.

Tip #3: Scale Lead Sources

Not all lead sources can scale. But, some can.

For instance, you may always only be able to sell a few deals a year from a specific Broker Network, because you only have a few people within those networks who are familiar enough with your franchise to sell it to the right people.

But, you may find that a certain medium such as Facebook ads, which is a display network, has a massive audience. And, if you can deliver the right messages to the right people, you can scale the number of sales that you get from that medium quite a bit.

Tip #4: Tracking

Did you know that roughly half of all franchise sales are initially generated online. Where do you think Broker Networks and Franchise Portals get their leads from?

Most of their traffic and leads initially come from Google Searches and Facebook Ads. They are just better at driving that traffic and converting it into leads than you are. In fact, they are so good at it that they have built entire businesses around just doing that.

The great thing about some mediums such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, and Google Ads is that you can track exactly what keywords and audiences generated those leads.

Brokers and Portals aren’t going to give you that information. And, neither will Google if you’re only doing SEO.

But paid mediums such as Google Ads and Facebook Ads allow you to use something called URL parameters to send that valuable data across to your website and capture it so that you know exactly which keywords and audiences drove your highest quality (or lowest quality) leads.

From there, you can tweak your campaigns to drive you more of what you want and less of what you don’t.

Tip #5: Hire Experts

Not any good at driving clicks and leads online via the various major networks? No worries. That’s what we do.

We probably work with more franchisors doing franchise development lead generation than anyone. And, our pricing is actually really affordable.

Want to give us a try? Awesome! All of our Service Agreements are month-to-month, and if some point you decide to take things in-house and do it yourself, you own everything so you can certainly do so. We’re just here to help!

Video Transcription

Today, I’m going to go over an article that I wrote a bit ago called Five Franchise Development Lead Generation Tips, which can be found on our website. I’m just going to talk through some of that. A lot of the people that we have reach out to us are people that just recently finished their FDDs, which means franchise disclosure documents. A lot of times, right when people are kind of wrapping that up, they’re heavily thinking about, “How am I going to get leads?” Because they probably spent anywhere from $30,000 to maybe $100,000 or more getting all those documents lined up, getting their operations manual, and now it’s time to hit the pavement, hit the streets, and get some more people signed up using your franchise, becoming franchisees.

A little bit of background on us. We’ve managed, I think it’s close to $6 million in ads for franchisors seeking to find new franchisees, and so we have a lot of experience in the space. I used to be a chief marketing officer for a franchisor, and so worked on that side. Now, my agency, we work with about 70 different franchise brands. One of the first tips that I talk about here has to do with diversifying your lead sources.

It’s very uncommon that we find a successful franchise that just works off of one medium. That’s kind of unlike a pest control company or something, where they can get everything off of Google alone or knocking doors alone. With franchise development lead generation, you want to try lots of different mediums and find what works best for you. You know, take $500 a month and go test franchise portals. Go sign up for whatever you think would be the best franchise broker company. Yeah, it’s going to cost you $12,000, probably, a year plus a big chunk of your franchise fee. But if you can find the right advocates there, then that can work really well.

There’s another article that I wrote. It’s over … Let’s see … on the side here, called Top 24 Franchise Lead Generation Sites. This would be a good one to check out, because it talks about some of the top portals like Franchise Gator, Franchise Direct, America’s Best Franchises, entrepreneur.com, BizBuySell. These are all good ones I know about. Please do your due diligence on them. As far as franchise broker networks, I didn’t list a bunch of them, but that’s going to be things maybe like TES, FranServe, places like that. Try diversifying your lead sources.

It’s also good to know what your cost-per-sale is. One of the things I talk about here is just … Like for our own company, we have different groups that will refer business to us. It’s cheap. It’s anywhere from free to maybe $250 or something to get a referral, so those are great. But we also advertise on Google. That costs us about $1,000 to get a sale. You’re paying in clicks for that. Then, doing our outbound LinkedIn stuff, it’s $750. But just knowing what is what and … You know, the next thing I talk about is what is scalable. That’s really important, because some things are really expensive as you scale them up. Other things are just very scalable. All you do is just put more money into it. The cost-per-sale stays kind of the same.

More and more, I think half of all of the sales that come for franchises these days, according to … What was that? Franchise Leadership and Development Conference, they were talking about this in October. They said half the deals are coming off the internet, so tracking becomes really important. When a Google lead comes in, one thing that you can do if you’re doing paid advertising is you can actually pass information across the top of your URL string in variables. So you can say, you know, key word was this, match type was this, ad position was this, ad body was this.

Those types of different things, something called a Gclid value, a Google click ID, you can pass all that information in there. If you track the Gclid, you can send that information back into Google Ads, which not a lot of franchises do but it’s kind of a cool thing to see, down to the click level, what made that happen. But at least tracking what key word did somebody come from, so you can shift your budget more to those things, unlike a franchise portal where they’re just going to try more and more leads. Usually, the lead quality gets worse as you start scaling up.

With pay-per-click, you can get more specific. That’s the kind of stuff that we do, is what key word did something come from? If it’s Facebook, what audience did it come from? Then, really, focusing those efforts on what produced someone who made it to a discovery day, meet the founders, or turned into a sale. Those are the types of pivots that you want to make.

Then, the last thing I kind of talk about here is hiring an expert. Whatever you do, whether it’s search engine optimization, working with a broker network, hiring a consultant, a coach, whatever it is that you do, have someone who really knows what they’re talking about, that they can at least give you some feedback. You know, “This is a recommended budget,” or, “Try doing this,” or, “Try these types of things.” Then, that’s really helpful. Anyway, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us. We have a live chat on our website. Again, it’s leadppc.com. My name is Grant. Love to hear from you. Thanks.

Entrepreneur with a focus on Lead Generation, Google Adwords, Bing Ads, and Conversion.