Franchise network and marketing

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Published on Franchise 360

by Sarah Carlile

Using your existing network of franchisees for recruitment marketing is one of the best and most effective ways for you to build your franchise network, explains Sarah Carlile, Founding Director of Coconut Creatives.

Gaining referrals from existing franchisees has proven to be one of the most successful ways to generate new leads and recruit new and successful franchisees. Referral candidates are more likely to be seriously interested in buying a franchise because they have seen the benefits first-hand. Referrals are likely to be customers or friends and family of an existing franchisee.

In order to increase your chances of gaining referrals from existing franchisees, you need to ensure that existing franchisees are satisfied with the support, training and services that you are providing. Referrals are higher quality leads because most people feel much more comfortable investing in something that has been recommended to them by someone they know and trust. Referrals are classed as warm leads because there is already a high degree of interest, comfort and credibility established between you.

A referral programme
Implementing a referral programme to reward your franchisees who recommend your franchise is a very worthwhile activity. However, it is also essential that you spend time explaining the system to your network to ensure that you all gain the maximum benefit from it. Let your network know how beneficial a referral system can be to not only individual franchisees but the network as a whole. Expansion provides the whole network with greater brand recognition and greater market share for individual franchisees. When individuals within the franchise network are successful, everyone benefits.

The best-performing franchisees are likely to bring in the highest quality leads. Referral leads will have similar values, skills and experience as the franchisee that referred them. Often, the basis for a referral is not an incentive provided by you but pride and joy in sharing the success of a new business with friends and family.

Understanding your top performing franchisees’ characteristics
It’s really worthwhile to look at your best performing franchisees and identify whether they have any characteristics or interests in common in order to narrow down your target market for franchise recruitment marketing. This will allow you to tailor your messages and use relevant media to target similar people and generate new prospects. When asking existing franchisees for referrals, I recommend letting them know the type of people you are looking for. For example, if you find that one of your top franchisees previously had a managerial position within a service industry and was part of a sports team, ask your franchisees to talk to colleagues within their business networks who share those characteristics.

Build trust
The activities I have outlined above are all methods of building trust during the recruitment process but you can also use them to update your marketing collateral, both online and print. Once you know who your target audience is, you’ll find it much easier to market to them.

Using your existing franchise network as brand advocates will not only help you to recruit more franchisees but will also strengthen your position as a reliable franchisor and, in turn, support your franchise recruitment targets.

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