If you’re hiking through the deep woods, would you want trail markers to get you to your final destination? Or would you prefer roughing it? Only the most experienced and knowledgeable outdoorsmen would choose the second option. For the majority of people, trail markers instill confidence that they’ll eventually reach their intended destination—even if there are a few detours.
The same rule applies to franchise leads. Sure, multi-unit and master franchisees will be more than willing to take their journey engaging with your franchise brand into their own hands. They know the woods. They’ve got their own compass and can read the stars to reach a decision about your franchise brand’s investment opportunity.
But what about everyone else? What sign posts, trail markers and pathways have you left for prospective franchisees? As a franchisor, you need to nurture leads through the discovery and research phases of engaging with your brand if you want to qualify them or convert them into a prospect ready to connect with your sales team.
Why You Should Nurture Leads
Your leads need trail markers if you have any hope of converting them. According to Franchise Performance Group, roughly 5 to 7 percent of visitors to your franchise sales website are genuine leads and potential franchisees. You’ve got an extremely limited number of people who are actively seeking an investment opportunity, and very few of them are immediately ready to devote the kind of capital necessary to own a franchise. According to marketing services provider Marketo, 98 percent of the leads that enter their database aren’t ready to connect with a sales rep.
So, why do so many franchise sales websites offer so little to leads? A franchise application isn’t going to motivate prospective franchisees to engage with your brand and take the next steps to learn about the opportunity, brand culture, industry and franchise experience. Nurturing leads with relevant, information-rich content that guides them to the next step is critical for franchise recruitment.
Plus, you have a financial incentive to nurture leads. Businesses that outperform their peers at lead nurturing are able to generate 50 percent more sales-ready leads at a 33 percent lower expense, Marketo explained.
Email Is a Powerful Tool
Once you get visitors to your franchise sales website, you want them to build a stronger relationship with your brand and research the opportunity. With a simple call to action—request information, for instance—you can capture names and email addresses, which you can use to create an email nurture campaign.
Why email? Email is an extremely cost-effective marketing tool that works in a number capacities:
- Building relationships: You’re not spamming your way into franchise leads hearts. You can’t bombard prospective buyers and expect them to warm up to your brand and consider your opportunity. Instead, you’re strategically delivering relevant, engaging content with intermittent messaging.
- Thought leadership: You can effectively demonstrate your industry knowledge through email nurture campaigns. By delivering an industry report that validates the franchise opportunity, you’re not only inspiring leads to consider your franchise brand, but you’re also showcasing your insight into the market. You instill confidence and trust.
- Branding: If you’re an emerging brand, leads may not immediately be familiar with you. With an email nurture campaign, you have the opportunity to demonstrate your franchise brand’s place in the market, what differentiates you from competitors and why your mission and culture are worthy of recognition.
For every dollar you spend on an email marketing campaign, the average return on investment is $44.25, according to Exact Target. And in franchise sales, that figure would unquestionably skyrocket when you succeed in converting a lead into a buyer.
Want to know a bit more about how we approach email nurture campaigns? Take a look at our case study featuring Sears Hometown & Outlet…