Generating Franchise Leads with Digital Marketing

Building sign says "Interested in a franchise opportunity?"

When you’re developing a franchise brand, your survival depends on your ability to generate leads. Your brand can’t grow without qualified franchisees — even if you’ve created a strong franchise offering. To succeed, you need an equally strong system for generating franchise leads.

Digital marketing for franchise owners will play a central role in this system. To attract, nurture, and convert the right franchise leads, you’ll need a comprehensive and multi-channel strategy, one that covers multiple digital touchpoints.

Let’s take a closer look at how to make this happen.

Why Digital for Franchise Lead Generation?

At this point, almost every major franchisor depends on digital marketing for leads. This change is reflective of a broader, global trend toward digital marketing. But in the world of franchising, the shift toward digital marketing is especially noteworthy.

Here are five of the biggest reasons why this is the case:

  • Digital marketing gives you access to the widest possible pool of franchise leads, across the widest possible geographic area.
  • Programmatic, dynamic, and retargeted digital ads provide a cost-effective way to target your most qualified leads.
  • Franchisees conduct extensive self-directed research before purchasing a franchise. The majority of this research is conducted online.
  • Digital analytics offer powerful, proven methods for tracking, measuring, and fine-tuning online lead generation campaigns.
  • A multi-touchpoint digital marketing strategy will anticipate questions, concerns, and needs, creating a near-frictionless sales funnel.

Digital Marketing Strategies for Franchise Leads

A franchise location is a major purchasing decision. Given the weight of this decision, the purchase journey for franchise leads is an exceptionally long process.

As a franchisor, you need to stay with your leads at every step of this process. To do so, you’ll need to cover a wide range of digital touchpoints. What’s more, you’ll need a comprehensive overall strategy for lead generation. This strategy will need to connect from touchpoint to touchpoint, creating a coordinated journey for your leads.

Franchise owners need digital marketing

Here’s a look at how a range of digital marketing channels can help franchise owners generate leads:

  • Website Design. Before purchasing a franchise business, most entrepreneurs go through an extensive, self-directed research process. This process typically involves several hours spent reviewing franchisor websites. In light of this, your website could be the most important weapon in your lead generation arsenal. The perfect website will be attractive, fast, and intuitive, and it will have resources for every stage (or nearly every stage) of your sales funnel.
  • SEO. When creating your brand’s website, you’ll want to invest in search engine optimized content. SEO is a particularly cost-effective strategy for franchise lead generation. Search volumes for industry-specific franchise keywords are relatively low, so there’s less competition for these keywords. At the same time, those search volumes include a significant share of qualified buyers.
  • PPC Advertising. As with SEO, paid advertising is another great way to target high-quality leads. Through keyword research, you can identify which search terms are most closely associated with the different stages of the sales funnel. You can then tailor your ads to mirror the purchase journey of your prospects, keeping friction to an absolute minimum.
  • Programmatic. Programmatic advertising can help you target leads with extraordinary precision. Programmatic ads target users based on their search behavior, browsing history, location, and other factors. This way, you can micro-target your highest-quality prospects. Even better, you can reconnect with leads at later stages of your funnel, providing content tailored to their needs and preferences.
  • Social Media. In the world of franchising, social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are the most powerful lead generation tools available. No other social networks compare in terms of quantity or quality of leads. Take the time to polish your personal and corporate profiles, target high-quality prospects with ads, connect with interested prospects via direct message, and qualify leads with paid ads that drive prospects to your website.

Each of these channels can be powerful tools for franchise lead generation. But that’s only true if they support and reinforce one another. To generate, cultivate, and convert high-quality leads, you’ll need to create a seamless journey: from point A to B to C.

To learn more about how Qiigo can help franchise owners achieve Franchise Development goals through digital marketing, fill out the form below to  connect with one of our digital experts.

How Social Media Cut This Franchisor’s Cost-Per-Lead in Half

Acquiring leads for franchise development can be a costly and difficult process. Experts say that the average cost of a new franchise lead is $120 — more than almost any other industry. But with the right digital strategy, that figure can be cut in half.

In 2017, a prominent Franchise 500 brand came to Qiigo with a problem. This brand was spending near the industry average per lead, with a significant digital focus on Pay-Per-Click advertising. But a concerningly low percentage of these leads were converting. The result was low ROI and stunted growth.

After surveying this brand’s situation, the team at Qiigo came up with an innovative game plan. We dramatically reduced their PPC ad spend, redirecting these funds to alternative digital channels. Much of this money went towards Social Media marketing, with a particular focus on Facebook Advertising.

By the end of the campaign, these changes had cut the brand’s average Cost-Per-Lead in half.

Our strategy also allowed the brand to reach their target market more easily, consistently, and accurately. As a result, the average quality of their leads increased at the same time as their average cost per lead fell.

Below, let’s take a closer look at how this happened.

Paid Search Underperforming Franchise Brand

During our initial discussions with the brand, we learned that they occupied a unique niche in the world of franchising. The brand’s core service offering was a youth soccer program, and they were seeking franchisees who had existing interest or experience with soccer.

That helped explain the underwhelming performance of their paid search campaigns. People just weren’t searching for the kinds of targeted search terms that would provide the brand with high-quality leads.

To find these leads, the brand needed to target their audience in a much more specific and accurate manner. This would require micro-targeting leads who met the following criteria:

  • Financially qualified to invest in a franchise
  • Interested in owning their own business
  • Located in or near an available territory
  • Existing experience/interest in soccer

Paid search made it difficult to target prospects across all of four these areas. Even if you’re passionate about business ownership and youth sports, you’re probably not Googling terms like “tee ball franchise business,” “kids swimming program franchise,” or “after school basketball franchise opportunity.”

Based on these concerns, Qiigo developed a custom strategy to boost the client’s digital franchise development efforts. Here’s what we came up with…

Social Media Used to Micro-Target Leads

To start, we recommended that the brand reduce its Paid Search budget by roughly 60%. The remaining Paid Search funds would focus on a smaller, more targeted set of keywords and parameters. This would increase the overall quality of leads, improving on-the-dollar returns on paid search.

Using the funds saved from Paid Search, we recommended a mix of alternative strategies to more accurately target high-quality leads. Of these strategies, we focused most heavily on Social Media, with a particular emphasis on Facebook.

In franchise development, Social Media campaigns tend to focus on LinkedIn. But in this case, Facebook’s rich combination of audience data and targeting tools were a perfect fit for the client’s needs.

Through Facebook, we were able to create a series of Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences to target high-quality leads. These audiences targeted standard criteria for franchise development marketing, such as location, age, education, and income markers. We also retargeted users who had previously engaged with the brand or had visited the brand’s website.

At the same time, we used Facebook’s audience data to targeted users with existing experience and/or interest in soccer. Our audiences included users who “liked” content related to soccer, who had played the sport in school, who had worked in the field of soccer, or who listed themselves as a self-proclaimed “soccer mom.”

Throughout the campaign, we partnered with the client to identify which specific audience markers resulted in the highest rates of leads, as well as which types of content produced the strongest engagement metrics. This allowed us to refine our targeting strategies and our creative output.

We performed similar adjustments to Paid Search over the course of the campaign. This allowed us to further improve lead generation rates across both channels.

The Results: Lower Costs, Better Leads, Stronger ROI

In less than a year, the client experienced a significant boost in digital franchise development. In fact, 22% of closed sales in 2017 were the direct result of Qiigo’s digital marketing efforts.

Over the course of the campaign, we reduced the client’s average cost per lead from roughly $120 down to a remarkable $58 per lead. And despite paying less for each lead, the overall quality of the clients’ prospect pool had actually increased, resulting in stronger ROI.

Connect with us today to learn more about how we can help you generate more leads for your Franchise Development efforts.

Nailing Your Franchise Development Marketing Strategy

We’ve all heard the saying, “You can catch more bees with honey than vinegar,” right? How does that apply to franchise marketing?


To put it simply, we must strategically place those jars in the right locations to attract the exact types of bees we want – ones seriously interested in the honey, your franchise opportunity.




The Search for Potential Franchisees

Finding a potential franchisee takes skill, determination, and well-planned, yet agile, marketing strategy. Keeping this in mind you need a defined budget, prospect profile to better target your market (know your audience), lead strategy (how are you going to keep them interested in the honey jar), and the all-important factor of timing.


Timing and budget are factors with finite parameters, franchisors know them. It’s the audience and development giving franchisors a run for their money so to speak. Let’s start with audience.



Without going into detail, you know what you want your ideal franchisee looks like, right? If not, now is the time to do your research, explore who is interested in selling your products or services, and put together a profile of your top franchisee prospects.


While your profile may not be perfect, and can certainly evolve, if it’s not clearly defined, your marketing strategy will stumble. You can use Google Analytics to help you refine your audience.  Using Analytics, you’ll be able to see where users are coming from and to explore how they are using your site. The new Audiences function allows you to examine the demographics and interests of visitors to your site.


After your audience is defined, so you can focus your ads to sites those users frequent, thereby getting your ads for the franchise opportunity in front of the right eyes. Using this type of analytics can help you to put your ad budget dollars to work in the right place. And with so many options these days, it’s a good idea to do a little research to find the one best suited for your budget and needs.


Marketing Development Strategy

You need an army to do all the things you need to do, but if you do one thing to improve your marketing development strategy, use SEO and paid AdWords campaigns (PPC) in tandem for the best results.


It is imperative to have an ongoing SEO plan to ensure your franchise opportunities remain fresh and in front of the eyes of entrepreneurs. Without this important piece of the puzzle you could be trying to sell your Cactus Nursery franchise to people in Siberia.   


Liane Caruso, Qiigo’s Director of Professional Services and in-house Franchise Development strategist says,


At Qiigo, we recognize that our franchise development campaigns are most successful with a fully integrated campaign that involves long-term and short-term campaign goals. While SEO efforts may not immediately offer up candidates or associate a number of conversions to dollars spent, the long-term gain is being found in organic search.

‘Franchise opportunity’ is a highly competitive and expensive marketplace, and those who can be easily found will win in the end. 



In the end, it’s all about resources and budget. Whether you have the budget to outsource this part of your franchise marketing development strategy, or if you do the work in-house, putting in the ground work will help drive more prospective franchisees to your site.


When it comes to the success of both the franchisor and franchisee it’s about the marketing and location. Where are you going to start?