Having the right marketing plan can make the difference between your franchise being a success or failure, says Sarah Carlile Founding Director of Coconut Creatives.

Prior to creating your marketing plan, it is important to clearly set out what it is that you want to achieve. This will give you a thread to work to and follow throughout and make sure that your team all know what it is you are trying to achieve and by when. Doing this will prevent you from wasting time and money on the things that may be less effective in your recruitment process. Read Part 1 to get advice on how to set your objectives.

The general rule of thumb is that you’ll obtain one to two franchisees per 250 leads. This conversion rate means you’ll need to have a robust marketing plan in place to ensure you attract the right individuals through the right channels.

Here are just a few of the marketing channels available:

  • Social media
  • Networking events
  • Word-of-mouth referrals
  • Your website
  • Franchise recruitment websites.

Identifying the right communications channels for your franchise

I’d recommend researching some of your existing franchisees to build 2-3 profiles of the ‘perfect franchisee’, allowing you to understand the ideal types of individuals, highlight key communication channels and understand key aspects that appealed to them.

Don’t worry if you don’t have any franchisees just yet, you can still create an accurate profile that predicts their behaviour during their purchase journey.

Consider the seasonal influence of your marketing channels – when the major franchise exhibitions are and how you’ll experience a peak in enquiry levels.

Integrating the decision-making process into your marketing plan

According to the Business Dictionary, the consumer-decision-making process is as follows:

  1. Identify needs
  2. Collect information
  3. Evaluate alternatives
  4. Make the purchase decision.

Once an individual has decided upon the franchise route, they’re likely to explore different types of franchises, levels of investment, profitability and so on.

When buying a franchise, the individual is committing to a lengthy contract with the franchisor, a large investment fee, additional start-up costs and adapting their whole lifestyle. We’ve found that it generally takes between three to six months for an individual to make the final decision.

The franchisor needs to lead individuals through each stage, providing them with resources to resolve any of their queries. Consider your current lead management process and how it aligns with the research you’ve gained from your existing franchisees. Plan what information you’ll provide at each stage and what aspects you could develop that will help to build trust between you and your prospects.

For more advice on this topic you can book on to our Setting a SMART Approach to Franchisee Recruitment workshop on 11th October 2016.