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Franchise marketing: create a buzz by harnessing the human element

Franchise marketing: create a buzz by harnessing the human element

Franchisee case studies are a valuable part of a franchisor’s marketing mix

When marketing your franchise opportunity, you want to make it as appealing to the right sort of people as possible - the ‘right sort of people’ being those who fit your franchisee profile.

After all, there’s no point trying to cast a giant marketing net over the whole of the UK and everybody in it, when in reality you’re only trying to attract 50 people in specific areas of the country. So what tools do you have at your disposal that can really hit the mark?

Twin benefits

One of the most valuable marketing tools available to an up and running franchise is the franchisee case study. Why is it so valuable? It can offer a prospect two things a franchisor normally can’t.

Firstly, all your franchisees have been stood exactly where the people researching your franchise are stood right now. You built a business and franchised it, whereas your franchisees wanted to work for themselves, but not by themselves, so researched franchising to find the most suitable opportunity for them. This is the relatable element that’s so crucial in a case study.

Prospects will be trying to weigh up the pros and cons of leaving a job to run a replica of the business you created. So don’t underestimate the level of trust you’re asking for from a prospect to join your network. This is where the second most valuable element of a franchisee case study comes in: the third party endorsement.

Powerful message

When it comes to a prospect making their decision, there’s nothing more powerful than the endorsement of existing franchisees who are now reaping the benefits of being their own boss.

The aim of a case study shouldn’t be simply to have a franchisee parrot all your existing marketing messages about what makes your brand so great and how well they’re doing. It’s the human element of that person’s journey to becoming a franchisee that will resonate with a prospect who is going through the same experience.

Measuring success

As the franchisor, you need to make sure you know which of your franchisees are happy and successful, rather than simply identifying the ones who stick to the rules and pay their royalties. A prospect will be trying to understand the big picture of life as a franchisee and whether or not your franchise does what it says on the tin.

You can measure a franchisee’s success in three ways:

  • Money. Are financial returns meeting their expectations?
  • Happiness. Does the franchisee enjoy what they do? For example, if there’s a ‘we help people’ element to the product or service, do they feel they’re achieving that?
  • Value in their ongoing relationship with you, the franchisor. Every month franchisees pay a management service fee. Do they feel the services and support they get are worth it?

The actual questions should carry a much greater degree of subtlety, after all, it’s an interview, not an interrogation. But a good case study will tease all these elements to the fore and reward the reader with the reassurance they’re looking for.

Equally, if your franchisees are reporting positively in all three areas, it should give you some wonderful reassurance that your franchise delivers for its franchisees.

The author

Andy McCarroll is head of marketing at franchise consultancy Platinum Wave

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