By Raffael Fernandes, account manager,

At a recent breakfast seminar we asked franchisors to share their experiences of franchisee recruitment marketing. We wanted to know where and how people were marketing and whether it was effective, and provide franchisors with tools and information to get more and better sales leads.

We asked franchisors what sources they found to generate the best quantity of sales leads: franchise-targeted traditional media, industry targeted traditional media, daily and local newspapers, online or word of mouth. We then asked which of these sources generated the best quality of leads, relative to spend.

Franchise-targeted traditional media includes magazines that have a target audience of people in the franchising industry. Industry targeted traditional media are those targeted at a specific industry – for example, a hairdressing franchise advertising in a hairstyling magazine, in order to directly and exclusively target hairdressers. Online marketing includes social media such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs, online directories, and their own company websites. Finally, word of mouth marketing includes verbal referrals from influencers.

We also looked at research showing the degree of trust that the public place in particular types of advertising, including online banner advertisements, word of mouth, newspapers, billboard advertising and many more. This was presented as a percentage – so, 60% trust means that 60% of those surveyed trust ‘completely’ or ‘somewhat’ a certain form of marketing.

When asked to share which type of advertising generated the most, and secondly which type generated the best sales leads, most franchisors agreed that online channels generated by far the most leads and the best quality leads. However, collectively they agreed that the other advertising channels were crucial for driving online investigation. Therefore building brand awareness offline through print and other media was believed to drive people onto the internet where they investigate opportunities further and make enquiries.

Brand awareness is vital in building word of mouth marketing, and our research showed word of mouth marketing is worth working for, with 90% of people placing trust in recommendations from people they know. This was the most trusted form of advertising – far ahead of consumer opinions posted online, and brand websites, both with a 70% level of trust.

So, how can you maximise your marketing to take advantage of both print and online, and generate fantastic leads?

Be organised! Manage your marketing

Online marketing can be daunting for some because it is an ever changing world. It pays to have an organised strategy. Focus on an end goal – usually, this is to drive people to your website. Many online activities are interconnected and when you know how to integrate them, you will save time and see results.

Create a strategy that incorporates all of your marketing activities – this might include advertising on radio or in franchising magazines, social media accounts like Facebook, in an online directory and distributing press releases. Assign a date or regular day of the week for each task, and make someone responsible to ensure the activity is carried out.

Keep it fresh and target your audience with the right messages

Write your marketing content with honesty. Give prospective franchisees a realistic insight into how your franchise business model operates, the type of skills required and what they will get out of running it – emotively speaking as well as economically. If you tell them who you are and what makes your business unique right from the start, your marketing will stand out and your sales leads are likely to be higher quality because you will attract people with a genuine interest in your franchise.

Assess, assess, assess

Regularly analyse which types of marketing are generating quantity and quality sales leads. Make sure to take into account the amount of money you are spending on each type comparative to the results. It’s also vital to go deeper and understand how your different marketing strategies complement each other. Traditional media may be great for brand awareness and online may produce sales leads – this doesn’t necessarily mean one would work without the other.

While most franchisors at our breakfast seminar agreed that online is the most effective form of marketing in generating both a high quantity and quality of sales leads for prospective franchisees, they also thought traditional media still has a place. Traditional advertising often generates awareness of your brand among industry and franchising and from there, people search online. So combine the two for maximum sales leads in your franchisee recruitment marketing.