Building franchisee sales though social media – The Million Dollar Franchise Question
The million dollar question is how to turn all your hard efforts in creating engaging content for your potential franchisee audience into SALES.
Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet but there is a well-trodden path by many franchise brands across all industries especially in the United States. They have taken the lead on establishing well thought-out and organised Franchise Sales Funnel strategies that move potential franchisees ever closer to buy with ultimately an excellent conversion and ROI.
The 5 Step Franchise Sales Funnel
The franchise sales funnel is defined as a visual representation of the steps required to sell your franchise opportunity. A successful funnel should show how many prospects you have in each stage of your sales cycle, and also detail your conversion rates for each stage. It is worth noting that if any part of this process is not in place then it will fail as the whole process must work smoothly together to get results.
Stage 1 – Strategic Alignment: Ensure that the strategic goals for the organisation are properly aligned to the sales and marketing functions in the business. Only by making sure the decision makers are educated and on-board with the plan can anyone be sure the process will be directed and supported to a successful conclusion. The strategy must include a detailed understanding of who your customer is and if the consumer is different to the potential franchisee (which is often the case) then they obviously require entirely separate campaigns targeted at the different groups.
Stage 2 –Content Creation: Create and collate regular up to date and relevant content pulled together by the management and creative team with the best being gleaned from existing franchisees and staff members (or anyone involved with the brand that will be of interest). It’s the start of what can be a prolonged process and if done correctly should be a soft, subtle sell that talks about issues around the product and service and not the business opportunity being sold by the franchisor. Topics will also include the lifestyle benefits and changes that can be achieved when associated with the franchise brand.
Deb Evans, president and CEO of Computer Explorers says "Social media is a complementary tool that helps us build brand awareness through dissemination of information."
Stage 3 – Posting and Sharing to Data Capture: Post content across all media channels especially the main franchisor website, franchisee websites and social networks to work seamlessly together to drive interest in your brand. The correct subject matter and keywords with the magic mix of interesting images, videos and relevant information will entice the desired target audience to leave their details in order for the franchisor to make the next move. Some of this will need to be helped along with
1. Promotional offers and ‘link-bait’ of free downloads or helpful eBooks on the correct topic and
2. Targeted advertising spend with the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Google and LinkedIn.
Stage 4 – A chain of follow up emails and links to your potential franchisees database with actions that increase their interest in your information. This will take the form of up to date blogs and video messages bringing them ever closer to taking the next step in your internal sales process. Each message encourages the reader to take the next step and the route they take will be different for everyone as their choices and the order in which they see articles or content related to the brand changes. This process can be enabled smoothly with an auto-management software programme such as LeadHandler.
Stage 5 - Review If you have followed each stage correctly you will receive notifications, questions, phone calls and emails from interested prospects as well as strong buying signals from your audience as they now have a wealth of information about you and are getting ready to commit to your franchise system once you have agreed they are the right fit for you. Make sure that your website and all on-line activity has the correct tracking pixels and conversion codes set up so you can see where your leads are coming from and the journey they have taken. Franchise Intelligence can help you with every step of this and we hear from more and more franchise systems as they recognise the opportunity social media marketing offers.
Connect with Richard Dancy
Franchise Intelligence Senior Consultant
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