Managing multiple channels for franchise recruitment success
Franchise recruitment is in transition. So why is that?
As a result of buyer behaviour changes in the UK, the franchise community is in transition when it comes to managing the franchisee recruitment process. When buyers change how they research, the old models of recruitment become disrupted. This disruption causes confusion and mixed results. Measurement becomes difficult and return on investment hard to calculate. So what has changed and what needs to be done?
Buyers are, more than ever before, using multiple channels of information to investigate franchise opportunities. The journey of discovery still starts with Google, Bing and Yahoo searches. The first port of call is still franchise recruitment portals such as our own SelectYourFranchise.com. It is here that research and first significant brand awareness is found by would-be franchisees.
However, all portals are dominated by franchisor-controlled copy and images and buyers know it. All franchisor copy suggests success. Buyers know that this will not always be the case. They want to get under the skin of the franchise before applying. So what are they starting to do?
All portals offer contact forms. After research that is the next action for contact with the franchisor. The portals are seller-led and the buyer must follow - or must they?
Social media has made us all into publishers. Franchisees, clients and employees are all publishers. As such, they are developing personal brands that form part of the many elements of the franchise brand. Historically buyers could only connect with the people behind the brand when given access by the franchisor. That is not longer the case. Because of this buyers have a growing awareness that they can move out of the franchisor control funnel when it comes to recruitment. So what are they doing in ever greater numbers?
Step one - Search for franchises in a search engine Step two - Visit a portal and read about franchises Step three - Get to the contact form Step four - (a) Fill in the form and wait to be contacted; (b) Open another browser and do independent research around the internet
Step four, as outlined in the step process above, is where the disruption happens.
This is why we still get some leads as we always did. However as the number of option (b) people grows the number of leads being generated directly from advertising will soften and the cost per lead will increase. This is the first step of disruption that is happening now! Advertising is still key to awareness but becoming direct to measure by way of direct lead generation. Number of visitors and ways to manage their next steps in the self-led discovery process is becoming the new value matrix for portals if franchisors will allow it.
Multi channel management
Because buyers are jumping from portals to the franchisor's website, then to directors' LinkedIn accounts, to franchisee mini sites and social media pages BEFORE enquiring, every franchisor needs to manage its brand voice effectively across multiple channels. Ratings, comments, responses, brand voice continuity, engagement, thought leadership must all be in place to support franchise buyer lead generation. So how will leads come through in the future?
Leads will start to come though in increasingly fragmented ways including but not limited to:
- Phone calls
- Form submissions
- LinkedIn connections
- Twitter followings
- Facebook page likes
- Direct messaging through the buyers social channel of choice
Today the buyers can manage their own discovery journey before meeting the franchisor face to face. They can identify franchisor claims via portals and can investigate claims against client comments and ratings. They can reject the opportunity without the franchisor even knowing they are being researched or they can make contact being very well informed about the opportunity in the way they choose.
Today franchisors need to be more media-aware than ever before. They need to know about multiple channels and be able to lead the management process with confidence.
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Franchise Intelligence Managing Director
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