We believe in utilizing many different marketing channels to reach our candidates, and more importantly, in targeting those in the right markets and for the right category or model. Our brand relies on a strong public relations and digital marketing strategy to target and find the ideal candidates. With the help of a significant national TV buy, Fastsigns is lucky to have a strong brand presence that enables us to stay top of mind.
However, this is only a piece of how we communicate the franchise opportunity to candidates, so we must employ a variety of marketing strategies to attract the right candidates. We have found public relations is key in conveying our franchise development messages and is the overarching medium we use tell our brand story, share new market opportunities, announce new deals, and drive leads to our website for more information.
We use our website to keep the conversation going and to allow candidates to explore our various models, including new centers, conversions, co-branding, and international. This is followed up with a focused retargeting campaign for those who do not complete a form and leave the site. We use various franchisee testimonials as the primary messaging in our retargeting efforts. In addition, we provide strong franchise validation by making our existing franchisees available to new candidates. And, with a strong focus on the more than 400 open markets and targeted areas of development in the U.S. and Canada, we penetrate these markets with a pay-per-click campaign to geo-target candidates in those areas to let them know what opportunities are open and to encourage them to learn more.
Whether we seek qualified candidates through a portal, pay-per-click, public relations, brokers, or trade shows, the ultimate goal is to have one of our field-based development directors meet with candidates and follow our defined process to educate them on our model. Even if we find that the timing may not be right for a particular candidate, we focus on ongoing communication with all candidates and continue to follow-up through drip campaigns using our CRM system. This ensures that we don’t lose touch with someone who may have interest and be qualified, but who isn’t quite ready to make a decision. We also use social media as an ongoing communications tool and rely on LinkedIn and Twitter to deliver franchise development messages and keep Fastsigns in front of candidates who may be considering our brand.
When choosing the media vehicles for communicating with your target audience, it’s important to have a clear definition of that audience. If you are targeting Millennials who tend to be heavy digital users, then digital tactics such as Facebook and retargeting ads may be the best way to reach them. If your ideal prospect is an older “Corporate America” executive looking for a career change, then national business media may be the best way to connect with those potential franchisees.
Also keep in mind whether or not you’re targeting a single- or multi-unit owner, as they usually have drastically different behaviors. The biggest multi-unit operators likely aren’t going to read your generic e-blast—but they may pay attention if you invest in attending a key trade show like the Multi-Unit Franchising Conference and make a concerted effort to connect with them personally.
While there are many options to reach your ideal candidates, understanding their thoughts and motivations will allow you to get in front of them in the most effective ways and provide relevant content that hooks them in to learning more about your business opportunity. The key is to have a layered plan to reach potential prospects in their everyday lives, from radio and print to paid search, digital advertising, or trade shows.
Remember, the key to any marketing campaign is consistency and repetition. The more you are in front of your audience, the more they will be compelled to learn more. Though you may be sick of your ads because of the repetition, it does not mean your audience is. They’re just getting to know you. People generally need to see your messaging multiple times before moving forward with a decision, especially one as big as signing a franchise agreement. Radio ads are the perfect example: it takes someone hearing it over and over for it to stick with them and get them to engage.
Finally, it’s incredibly important to make sure everything can be tracked. That way you can determine the ROI and continue to reinvest in the marketing tactics that deliver the strongest results for your brand. Don’t waste time putting valuable marketing dollars behind tactics that don’t work just because you think you should be doing it—like social media. If it doesn’t work, focus on your more successful avenues.
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