When to Race, When to Slow Down

In this edition of Franchise Times, iFranchise Group CEO Mark Siebert reflects on the renowned fable about the Tortoise and the Hare, and how franchise marketers should keep this story in mind when planning their marketing strategies:

Life in the fast lane…or the slow one?

In the first part of the article, Siebert’s focus is on strategies that resemble the actions of the hare. What types of franchise marketing provide quick, real time data? In a world of instant gratification, it is no surprise that the marketing industry has caught on to where to find the speediest and most efficient feedback to help monitor and adjust their campaigns. As impatient as we are to reap the rewards of a new social media or email campaign, is it enough to be fast?

Next, Siebert relates marketing strategies to those of the hare. What other marketing methods, in addition to SEO, take time to nurture, and are they worth the wait? Franchise consultants crafting marketing plans know to include both short-term and long-term strategies for a well-rounded approach. In franchise marketing, SEO, PPC, social media, publication marketing, direct marketing, content marketing and trade shows all have their place in the race. And for all franchise marketing initiatives, it is vital to measure results and adjust campaigns accordingly. For example, talk to trade show prospects about their backgrounds and compare to the Franchisor’s targeted prospect and messaging.

The moral of the story may be that each franchise marketing campaign needs to adopt a lesson from both the tortoise and the hare, depending on the target audience and the long-term marketing goals. This article gives guidance to the marketer who is undecided about how to run the race.

Going local, saying no puts rhyme and reason into franchising plan

In this edition of Franchise Times, iFranchise Group CEO Mark Siebert discusses the benefits of a local franchise expansion strategy.

Going local, saying no puts rhyme and reason into franchising plan

There is nothing more exciting for a franchisor than knowing prospects are clamoring to represent the brand. The question to ask is why? Is it because there is a reputation for unprecedented home office support and training? An impressive leadership team? Successful franchisees praising the brand? In this article Siebert explains how the retail concept of shopping local can apply to franchise expansion strategies as well.

Successful franchisors make the grade because they are accessible to their franchisees. From a close distance a franchisor can  nurture and help groom the future leaders and ambassadors of their brand – especially in the beginning of their franchise journey. Fear of losing a potential sale and misunderstanding their role in the franchise support function may lead franchisors to market more broadly than they should.

In this article, Siebert reminds us that franchise prospects are not finite. Find out what he means by referring to them as a “manufactured resource,” and learn how a compelling marketing message can actually help create franchise candidates. . Siebert offers real life, hands-on tools to help you create local franchise marketing campaigns to capture leads where you want them.

How should you target your SEO approach? What’s the best way to use social media? Are print advertising and direct contact marketing still worth your time and money? It’s all here to help the franchisor see the benefits of local marketing, before launching coast to coast. Follow Siebert as he helps keep franchisors focused on regional marketing strategies with tips on how to successfully market to prospective franchisees on a local level.

Who’s driving the bus in the new year?

In this recent article for Franchise Times, iFranchise Group CEO Mark Siebert explains why he believes 2019 will be the year of user-generated content.

Who’s Driving the Bus in the New Year?

Last year for the first time, digital advertising dollars soared past television ad spend by nearly $20 billion. For marketers, this isn’t unexpected. They know that social media has taken over as the key path to their target audiences, who are showing up digitally each day in record numbers – 80% of Americans are on Facebook, a third of the country on Instagram. Traditionally, marketing campaigns drive messaging to the masses, but in a new world of likes, tweets and ‘grams, marketers aren’t in the driver’s seat anymore. But franchise consultants will remind Franchisors they are still able to navigate the wheel.

This article explores the changing dynamic between messenger and message recipient in the world of franchise marketing, and why franchisors should lean in and “listen” to what is going on online. Unlike television or radio ads, social media creates a path for two-way communication, good and bad, and both with the possibility of achieving a positive, lead-generating outcome. The fact is, marketers can learn a lot from social media behavior and benefit from it in a way they never could through other media messaging.

What is user-generated content anyway? Why should franchise marketers embrace it rather than distance themselves?

Here Siebert offers concrete examples of why it is more important than ever for franchise marketers to use the power of social media to connect with its audience in real time, and in a way that breaks through the massive amount of noise created by everyone else in the space.

When It’s Time to Tweak Your Selling Playbook

In this edition of Franchise Times, iFranchise Group CEO Mark Siebert explores the similarities between a good franchise marketing strategy and a winning game plan on the football field. The key element may surprise you!

A Game of Adjustments – When It’s Time to Tweak Your Selling Playbook

Once a marketing plan for lead generation is in play, the focus is typically on the numbers.  What’s working? Why or why not? And what do we need to do differently?

In this article, Siebert acknowledges the importance of data analysis, however reminds us that although an inward focus is essential, some business owners forget to watch the films of the opposing team. There is a reason NFL football players spend part of their practice week studying their upcoming competitor. Adjustments need to be made.

Observing the playbook of competitors in your industry is critical to any marketing strategy. Siebert lines up a list of tech tools designed to help do just that, giving you a jump on your own franchise marketing adjustments as you wade through analytics and next steps of your plan.

Further, Siebert offers solutions to prevent burning out your target audience.  With some basic Marketing 101, he guides you through essential initial steps, by way of reach vs. frequency, A/B testing and the Rule of Seven, to assist you in assessing your next marketing moves.

Franchise marketing is a process of constant adjustments, but with an eye focused keenly on the opposing team, franchise businesses can score again and again.

How to focus on strategy, one piece at a time

In this Franchise Times article, iFranchise Group CEO Mark Siebert explains how franchise success comes from doing a lot of little things, the right way. By comparing the strategic planning for your business to a Halloween night of trick or treating, Siebert brings you full circle from the minute you turn your porch light on to the last piece of candy in your bag.

Tricks to get the treat…

There is no single trick to franchising sales success.  The magic happens when step after strategic step moves the franchise marketing and sales plan forward.

The first component Siebert talks about is the franchise website, and how it serves as the “porch light” to your business.  A high-quality franchise website welcomes prospects to your door to inquire about your business. It serves as the vehicle to generate leads, collect information, and pique interest about your brand.  There is no more important introduction. If the porch light isn’t on (i.e., if Google doesn’t rank you), no one is coming to the door. In this article, Siebert breaks down exactly how your website should be performing for you.

Siebert also explores a second component – filling that trick or treat bag with qualified leads. When it comes to the leads generated, the key is to take quality over quantity. A highly qualified candidate stands a better chance of evolving into a successful franchisee, who turns into a champion for your brand.  Learn why the right validation from existing franchisees in your system plays a crucial part of the recruiting process. Likewise, a negative validation by a poorly performing franchisee is like receiving broccoli on Halloween night.

This article teaches you how to focus on strategy, one piece of candy at a time.

What Makes A Franchise Unique May Be What Leads To Franchise Success

As iFranchise Group CEO Mark Siebert explains in this recent article for BeTheBoss.com, the uniqueness of a franchise system can set it apart from the competition.

Don’t Be Afraid To Be Yourself

Based on close to three decades of franchise consulting experience and having met thousands of prospective franchisors, Siebert compares the lure of a unique franchise system to that of some of today’s previously unknown musical success stories. Like these new stories of stardom, successful franchisors need not fear what makes them different from the pack, but rather, need to connect with those who relate to them and who embrace what makes them different.

In this article, Siebert encourages those looking to franchise their business to see their differences as advantages to be emphasized. For example, the newness of a concept can claim its place as an innovator and trend-setter in the industry. iFranchise Group consultants often advise “me-too” is not an expansion strategy. Newer franchise systems do not need to apologize for being new to franchising. A franchisor’s recent entry onto the franchising scene makes them attractive because more territories are available and new franchisees can play an important role in setting the trajectory of the concept.

All companies looking to grow through franchising need to pay attention to concepting, strategic planning, messaging, marketing and franchise sales. But success isn’t limited to the big players.

By identifying its own unique value proposition and speaking to the right audience, a unique franchise can also have a star on franchising’s walk of fame.

Franchise Training & Support

As iFranchise Group CEO Mark Siebert explains in this recent Franchise Times article, Franchisors can use their state-of-the-art training programs to set themselves apart in a crowded franchise marketplace.

In a Competitive Franchise Marketplace, Franchisors Can Set Themselves Apart with Franchisee Training Programs

Franchisors can assume that any franchise sales candidates will be comparing numerous concepts, and all those concepts will boast about the support provided. When we consult with franchisors, we encourage them to develop a support system so they can say with confidence that no one else has a system like this.

It starts with an operations manual . A Franchise Operations Manual incorporates information essential to the initial and ongoing operations of a franchise and serves several very important functions in a franchise system. During the sales process it demonstrates your expertise and the depth of your systems. Operations Manuals created by professional consultants include modern graphics, vibrant illustrations and step-by-step directions in an easy to follow and visually appealing format.

In addition to the Franchise Operations Manual, Franchisors can set themselves apart with formalized training programs which could include online learning management systems with videos, apps, mapping tools and franchisee-facing intranets. Some franchisors create dedicated classrooms or mock storefronts. Franchisors need to always keep in mind how they will be able to demonstrate the value of these tools during the franchise sales process.

Committing the proper resources to developing best-in-class training and support not only helps in the franchise sales process, but it helps to improve the odds of franchisee success.

The Magic of Franchise Branding

As iFranchise Group CEO Mark Siebert explains in this recent Franchise Times article, franchisors can take some tips from the crafty magician by presenting the brand’s strengths while downplaying perceived weaknesses.

The Magic of Franchise Branding

The words a franchisor uses in its branding are the basis of the magic. While all messaging needs to be honest – and comply with franchise law -the carefully crafted message will tell your brand’s story in a captivating way. You’ll focus on the critical details of the franchise opportunity, tell your company’s history, reflect your values and mission. All of which should lead the prospective franchisee to want to learn more and be a part of your story.

This article goes on to reflect what iFranchise Group’s franchise consultants advise in terms of language nuances and preferences for phrases like:

*The investing in a franchise instead of simply buying a franchise

*Referring to sales personnel as Franchise Development Officers instead of Salesmen

*The awarding of a franchise instead of being sold a franchise

Like the magician, Franchisors need to be aware of the non-verbal cues they convey. Visual cues like the cutting-edge graphic design of your website and printed or electronic brochures help to set the stage. And like the great magicians, be sure to paint your franchisee into your brand’s picture, so they will want to be a part of the story you tell for the future. ​

The Emotional Twists and Turns of Franchise Marketing

As iFranchise Group CEO Mark Siebert explains in this recent Franchise Times article, from a franchise marketer’s perspective, it is important to remember that the franchise buying process starts with pain.

The Emotional Twists and Turns of Franchise Marketing

Franchise marketers must do a good job of reading and understanding a franchise prospect’s emotions and how those emotions play into the franchise buying decision. The franchisor must create a unique value proposition for prospective franchisees that solves some emotional need.

The franchise marketing and sales teams need to find and resolve that pain for the right prospect.

To do this, marketing and sales need to work hand in hand to provide the franchise buyer with a vision of what their future could be like if they would be willing to make a few changes.

So what we really have is a two-part process: creating unique value proposition and the communication of that differentiated message in a way that eases the prospect’s pain.

And while your first reaction here might be to punt this individualized messaging over to the sales team, the savvy marketer will embrace the individuality of emotional needs rather than running from them. But in order to do that, once you define what makes you unique as a company, you must make sure that you have a sound understanding of your target prospect.

Financial gain is a key motivator for many franchise prospects, but not necessarily the only motivator. When it comes to emotional marketing, one needs to understand why money is a motivator for your particular prospect. Some studies have shown that money falls behind other motivations in a franchise purchase, such as “general independence” and “being their own boss” and coming in only slightly higher than “doing something they love.”

Goals for Gold in Franchise Marketing

In his recent article for Franchise Times iFranchise Group CEO Mark Siebert predicts content and mobile will continue to bring home wins for franchise marketing.

Goals for Gold in Franchise Marketing

The world was shocked last year when Italy, the world’s most decorated soccer team, failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. If history is any indicator, we can expect some unpredictable results in the upcoming winter Olympics as well. For Franchisors spending carefully budgeted marketing funds to attract the best franchise candidates, surprises are not fun and games.

iFranchise Group predicts a marketing strategy focused on carefully-crafted content and marketing campaigns to attract mobile-dependent millennials will continue to dominate in 2018.

While franchisors want predictable marketing results, sales and marketing must look forward as well. We encourage our franchise development clients to take a cautious approach but to maintain an openness to new and cutting-edge marketing options, while carefully measuring results and adjusting accordingly. Some franchisors, for example. are experimenting with the use of virtual reality as a way to reach new audiences, some even in a trade show format. The Franchise Consulting Company, for example, has recently launched the Great American Franchise Expo, a VR tradeshow allowing prospective franchisees to walk the virtual trade show floor through the use of a headset.

For the year ahead, franchise marketers are also testing interactive content such as online quizzes, infographics, and listicles. Franchise consultants will continue to to stress the importance of social signals and their relationship to search engine optimization. As Mark notes in the article, one or more of these trends may emerge as marketing champions in 2018.