Spoiler alert: we love your franchise. Yes, yours! And in case you haven’t noticed by now, a lot of what we write in these blogs is dedicated to helping you boost your franchise profile, raise awareness for your brand and generally improve the quality of the PR that you do. ‘Cos you know, we’re nice like that. We spend plenty of time labouring the benefits of continuing to be seen AND heard, even in tough times. Especially then, in fact. Because there are so many gains to be made, ground to be won and market share to soak up.
But this blog isn’t about that. This one is for any brand in a situation where, even if you know you shouldn’t and really don’t want to, extenuating circumstances are forcing you to cut back on the activity you’re doing. We feel obliged to say that when you do this, just brace yourself a little for other brands – mainly your competitors – taking advantage of the situation. It’s what we’ve been advising franchisors to do for years… sorry! So, what can you do to ensure that you look and sound your best, even if you can’t reach as many prospects as you used to?
Get your online listings up to date
The number of franchisors we’ve met who pay for a package on a portal and then just leave it sitting there is beyond belief. If every time you walked past a shop window the same old stuff was on display, how likely would you be to go in? Think of it like this: portals are the shopping centre and your profile is your shop window. Keep it fresh and inviting.
You don’t have to rewrite the whole thing every five minutes but be sure to update the information with new stats, new testimonials and new pictures regularly. Add news stories and franchisee case studies on a monthly basis as they are created – if you’re not creating them then give us a tinkle! Upload videos and FAQs – all the great things that you have in your arsenal to keep prospects engaged. They’re doing you no favours sat in the metaphorical bottom draw on your computer are they?
Don’t do one massive bulk update, the idea here is to keep a steady flow of fresh information going to your listings so that they look and feel like they belong to a proactive and efficient franchisor. Not only are you producing great content for regular browsers to see, but you’re also subliminally confirming to them that you are organised, reliable and well-resourced.
Review your website
Accuracy and consistency are the building blocks of trust. Don’t know who said that – maybe us! But it’s true. You may think your website is serving you well, or maybe you have a sneaking suspicion that it’s not. Either way, we would put money on you finding a few errors if you took a fine-tooth comb to it. Not because you or your teams are sloppy, but simply due to the nature of website growth and evolution.
Pages get added, others get edited. You change or adapt the model in some way or make exciting advances in your market. It’s incredibly easy for these things to result in some errors and omissions here and there. From typos to inaccuracies and missing (often compelling) information. As something that is 100% controlled by you, your website can be the jewel in your franchise recruitment crown. It might just need a little polish.
And, in the same way that you’re now going to give your franchise listings some TLC, update everything you possibly can. Make sure you wring every last drop out of all that great content by repurposing it for your website. Flip news items and expert guides into first person pieces, refresh testimonials, add or replace tired video content and link to your social media channels.
Utilise your social media
Ah social media. The franchisor’s biggest ‘I haven’t got time for this/it doesn’t work anyway’ bugbear. Granted, you are highly unlikely to sell a franchise through social media. But you shouldn’t be trying to, really. If you don’t already utilise your social platforms, they are an amazing – and free – way to reach thousands of prospective franchisees and customers.
We’re not suggesting for a moment that you go from zero to hero and set up all the channels. That would be foolish. But even a small workshop session internally should result in some educated best-guesses about where your ideal franchisees are likely to be found. So, focus your energy there to start with.
As well as a way to show off visually, you can share snippets of advice and best practice, exciting developments, impressive milestones and fun stuff too. Social media is the perfect place to flaunt your brand personality. And as we all know, that’s always going to be high on the list of priorities for any prospective franchisee. They want to know what they are going to be a part of, and with whom. So, show them!
If you can’t tell your fleets from your tweets, your toks from your reels or your stories from your snaps, don’t panic. Neither can we. Only kidding – we have experts in-house who copywrite, design and post content for franchisors on the daily. But there really is nothing stopping you doing it for yourself if you have the time and the energy. More ‘mature’ members of the team may wish to sit this particular activity out, it has to be said.
Watch your tone
This goes back to the point about consistency. A great way to really elevate your franchise recruitment activity is to do a sense check and make sure that your brand has one strong, coherent personality and not multiple ones. This can be as literal as how obvious it is that different people have written different articles on your website or whether collateral has been produced in-house or by external specialists. Right down to the style and tone of the language used across different channels.
Are you abbreviating on some and not others? Have buzzwords and jargon been discarded in newer, more modern content but still lumber around in older pieces? If a prospect is going to invest in a franchise, they need to feel safe, secure and confident in the franchisor’s ability to support them. They could be forgiven for having doubts if your brand voice is discordant.
We work with franchisors to help define and articulate a powerful brand voice and to disseminate it appropriately across your various internal and external channels. That sounds complicated but it just means we get you speaking powerfully ‘as one’ and saying the right things in the right places. Please do reach out if you’d like some advice.
Do a bit of franchise PR
Go on, you know you want to. Obviously, it goes without saying that we would love to represent you. But this is meant to be a blog about how to do things for free that will make an impact.
Public relations activity – in this case we’re talking specifically about media relations – is one of the most powerful tools for your business. It builds trust and credibility. And it can reach an audience that, in order to see this content will have chosen to engage with it, not have just been served it as a spammy advert. Showcasing success and adding value in a genuine, informative and compelling format. If you have someone in-house who can string a decent sentence together and spare the time, then we strongly urge you to give this a go.
We have a lot of blogs in our resource centre that can help you get started. And, when the time comes that you want to take things to the next level, you know where to find us.
This was a long one! But worth it, we feel. If you made it this far let us know and we’ll buy you a coffee!
We regularly share PR advice and posts like this to help you make the most of your PR activity. To make sure you don’t miss out, follow us on social media: LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram. If you fancy a chat about this in more detail then get in touch – we absolutely LOVE chatting about this kind of thing. Email email@example.com or call 07921 572554.