A blog from the Franchise Performance Group examines 10 trends in franchise lead generation for 2015. What follows are edited highlights. For the complete version, which explains each trend in further detail, click here.
Smart franchisors have seen these "game-changing" new trends in how franchise buyers research opportunity, how search engines affect website traffic and results, leading a reinvention of how they recruit franchisees. Here are our Top 10 trends for franchise lead generation in 2015 and beyond:
2015 spells the end of VPs of Marketing controlling the franchise development advertising budget. Marketing to franchise candidates is totally different than marketing to just about anyone else. For decades, franchise salespeople have been held captive by the marketing department, forced to use pretty but otherwise ineffective marketing materials.
Your recruiting website matters more than anything else in your arsenal. Every year, the role of your franchise recruitment website increases in importance. Regardless of where potential franchise buyers begin their discovery and research, in the end they will find their way to your website - and that's where the real decision to speak to the franchisor's recruiter is often made. Content earns the conversation. How much is enough? Have at least 30 to 50 pages of well-written, easy-to-read, and engaging content.
Not all metrics are created equal. Which franchise recruitment metrics really matter in franchise lead generation? There has been a shift here, too. Traditionally, franchise development teams have focused on the following metrics to gauge the effectiveness of their franchise lead generation: leads per month, cost per lead, number of website leads per month, average time on your recruitment website, and bounce rate for your website. Here's why focusing on these metrics can create a breakdown.
Mobile visitors are having an impact. Here's a trend from 2014 that is growing significantly in 2015 and beyond: you will have more mobile visitors on your franchise website than ever before. When was the last time you researched a franchise brand solely from your smartphone? If it has been a while, it's time to do it again. If you have never done it, it is time to start understanding the experience.
Paid search becomes mandatory. How much of your budget for franchise recruitment is devoted to Google paid search? Google continues to make improvements in the way its search engine works, and paid search is playing a more important role in visibility than it has in past years. We see increased use and cost of paid search to generate franchise leads.
Retargeting is the new email marketing. Ever notice ads online or on Facebook for products you recently searched for? Marketing that relates to what a customer is interested in is always more effective. Retargeting is the practice of displaying ads on popular websites to people who have already visited your website but have not filled out a form.
Social media strategy evolves. Franchise recruiters have just about given up on using social media to generate leads for franchise buyers - just when social media has evolved enough to really aid in the discovery process.
Dealing with phone leads is worth the headache. When was the last time you sold a franchise to a lead that originated from a phone call? If you don't get many calls, you might not remember the last time you sold one this way. We saw a significant change, though, in leads from the franchise websites we manage in 2014: an increase in phone leads.
Email marketing and "mid-funnel" content for lead nurturing. We've always been a fan of detailed and lengthy drip email campaigns. We see these taking on a bigger role in 2015 as many companies stop using online brochures and switch to delivering content by email so leads are "nurtured" throughout the process.
Portals play a changing role in the discovery process. While we don't think anyone should rely solely on franchise portals for the bulk of lead generation, we do think portals are more important now than ever before.
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